Email is one of the original and most effective digital marketing channels of all time. It still is very effective. That’s why every performance marketer knows email marketing.
But new email solutions are being launched. There are emerging marketing technologies that need to be integrated with email. And privacy changes, which are impacting email.
Let’s start with some history
The first email was sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in 1971. Without any marketing calls-to-action, the email was: "something like QWERTYUIOP." Tomlinson is famous for introducing the “@” symbol in email addresses.
The first known marketing email was sent in 1978 by Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp. Thuerk sent this email to a list of 400 addresses to let them know about a new product. This email resulted in about $13 million in sales. Generating $13 million in sales for every 400 emails sent is performance marketing.
Despite being a 50+ year old digital marketing channel, email marketing outperforms younger and fresher channels. According to research from all-in-one platform Sendinblue, email is the favorite digital marketing channel ahead of social media and mobile marketing solutions like SMS.
Fast forward – email challenges impacting performance today:
As inspiring as Gary Thuerk’s results were, today’s email marketers are dealing with a range of new technology and privacy-driven issues.
Managing email on mobile devices: A challenge from the last ten years, which continues to grow is the management of email campaigns on mobile devices. Data from the Ireland-based marketing firm Wolfgang Digital, finds that mobile email browsing surpasses desktop by almost 20%. Thanks to email technologies featuring responsive design layouts, email marketers can rest assured knowing that all recipients can have a positive and engaging experience reading their email, regardless of the device or operating system. Email marketers must test all devices, operating systems, and email applications before hitting ‘send’ on the campaign.
Tracking performance on Apple devices: Since the rollout of iOS 15 last year, Apple has stopped email marketers from using an invisible pixel. This pixel could track when emails are opened and the user’s IP address. It enabled determining the user’s location and tracking online activity. Now, Apple preloads all email content including the tracking pixel, making it appear that the user opened the email. Email marketers today gain minimal data on iOS emails. They’re also lacking audience segmentation data, email flow data, and A/B testing data based on open rates.
So what do performance email marketers need to do to address these changes? According to email solution provider MailerLite, Apple’s privacy changes will force email marketers to focus on engagement metrics like conversions and clicks. The company recommends using open results from past campaigns when Apple still enabled tracking open rates to assess email subject lines. MailerLite also recommends integrating other functionality into emails to increase engagement. This functionality includes surveys, quizzes, and videos.
The new era of email privacy: Beyond the changes from Apple, since the introduction of GDPR in 2018, privacy initiatives have increased in digital marketing. With the end of the Web browser cookie coming soon, email marketers should expect greater controls on privacy while enabling users to easily view their data and opt-out.
Email performance marketing tips
Personalization: Camera retailer Adorama personalized their emails according to the brand of camera that each consumer had recently purchased: Canon, Sony, or Nikon. This resulted in an 18.25% increase in revenue and a 25.33% increase in average order value. Great improvement just because the emails were personalized according to the brand each consumer recently purchased.
Leverage customer data and preferences: With email marketers having access to so much data, it’s important to use this data to ensure you’re most effectively supporting your customers with email. At French retailer Notshy, the marketing team goes beyond purchases made in the last 30 days and looks at specific data that even includes the date of birth, language preference, and zip code to optimize performance. The point: Be smart with your data. Your clients will appreciate it and spend more.
Think omnichannel: Despite the importance of email, marketers should be thinking omnichannel. According to Frost & Sullivan, omnichannel is defined as "seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels". This means that marketers should be engaging users via email as well as via other channels, such as SMS, social media, etc., in a unified manner to provide an integrated effort.
Data from HIPB2B shows that the omnichannel engagement rate is 18.96% versus 5.4% for a single channel. That’s an almost 4x improvement. Omnichannel enables marketers to engage across the prospect experience, capture that engagement in various forms and unify those data streams so that they can be fully monetized.
From user acquisition to retargeting, email marketing is a performance marketing channel that continues to deliver.
Are you unsure which mobile marketing solutions are best suited for email marketing following Apple’s privacy changes? Or do you want to refresh your email marketing? Regardless of your email marketing needs, reach out to Creative Clicks to understand how to optimize email marketing performance.