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Email Marketing Evolution: Staying Relevant Digitaly

Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective means of reaching target audiences for businesses today. Email marketing first took off in 1978 when Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corp sent out the first mass email via Arpanet in promotion of DEC machines resulting in $13 Million worth of sales!

1. Personalization

Email personalization is an effective strategy to boost engagement, conversions and other metrics. Email personalization entails using subscriber data to craft emails that are tailored directly to their interests – when done well it creates the illusion of direct dialogue between customer and brand while giving a unique experience; done poorly it may annoy subscribers or lead them to report your emails as spam.

Personalizing email marketing begins with including the recipient’s name in various aspects, from subject line and greeting, through to body copy. Studies have demonstrated that emails including first names receive 29% higher open rates and are more likely to be read than those without.

Advanced personalization techniques involve segmenting your audience and sending tailored content directly to each group. This can be accomplished by analyzing data such as previous purchases or demographic information to create the appropriate segments. By targeting each message to specific individuals you can ensure it resonates and build stronger relationships over time.

Personalization has become an integral component of digital marketing and has come to be expected by consumers. Users have come to depend on services like Spotify for personalized playlists based on what they enjoy listening to and genres of music they prefer.

Email marketing can help keep businesses relevant in an ever-evolving digital environment, but staying abreast of industry trends and best practices is critical to its success. By adding personalization into your email marketing strategy, you can ensure you remain ahead of competitors while offering exceptional customer experiences.

2. Automation

Email marketing provides marketers with a powerful means of creating highly tailored communications and engaging subscribers on an individual basis, but running successful email campaigns requires time and effort. Automation provides them with the means of automating the most labor-intensive parts of their campaigns – freeing up time for more creative strategy development and innovative content production.

Email marketers truly hit their stride during the mid 2000s when ISPs introduced tools to protect subscribers from receiving unsolicited email, such as Windows Live Sender Reputation Data (2008) and Hotmail Sweep/Google Priority Inbox/Priority Inbox (both 2010). These changes forced email marketers to be more strategic with their campaigns by sending content that was relevant and engaging for subscribers.

By the end of 2010, 48% of online marketers had adopted trigger emailing (i.e. emails sent in response to user behavior), meaning marketing emails needed to be both timely and relevant in order to avoid being caught by spam filters or ending up in junk folders.

Email remains one of the key digital channels available to marketers for connecting with customers and prospects, according to a recent survey, in which 90% of both B2B and B2C marketers believe email is essential to their efforts.

An effective email automation strategy can help businesses manage a growing customer base without needing to hire additional team members. Autoresponders, for instance, can be set up to send automatic messages after customers purchase or sign-up forms are completed – keeping customers from getting lost amongst all of the busyness while building strong relationships between businesses and their audiences.

Consumers today value brands that can connect on a personal level and email remains an effective tool to create this connection when used as part of an adaptive multi-channel communication plan with deep knowledge of customer behaviour and technology innovations.

3. Social Media

Email marketing has evolved tremendously over time. Once considered an internal communication channel between offices, email now plays a pivotal role in business communication, commerce and relationship-building – not unlike social media! Although email may get less recognition now, its role remains important and remains essential to marketers of all kinds and sizes.

Email began to flourish as Internet access widened, particularly during 1998 with Microsoft’s launch of Internet Mail service (which would later become Outlook) and Hotmail providing free public email accounts, expanding email marketing’s ability to reach a larger pool of potential customers.

This marked the dawn of an era where recipients had more control over what landed in their inboxes, forcing marketers to be more strategic if they wanted their emails to reach recipients. According to Return Path in 2009, 30% of commercial emails did not make it through and Merkle found that lack of relevance is often the primary reason subscribers opt out of future email communications.

ISP’s began developing their own filtering systems during the late aughts to prevent recipients from receiving unwanted emails, including Windows Live Sender Reputation Data (2008), Hotmail Sweep (2010) and Google Priority Inbox (both 2010). As these filtering systems evolved further it was necessary for marketers to improve their email practices, which involved improving content of emails as well as using ALT text when images are disabled and creating trigger emails based on online user behaviour such as making a purchase, visiting a website or leaving their email address behind.

Employing trigger emails and marketing automation systems that enable advanced segmentation, marketers are now able to develop highly tailored campaigns. This provides customers with a more individualized experience between the brand and themselves resulting in better email engagement rates and improved email reputation.

4. Digital Data

Email marketing may seem old school, but it remains one of the most effective digital marketing tools. Trusted by consumers and offering more personal experience than other forms of advertising such as social media ads, it provides an ideal platform for reaching and connecting with audiences over time – people typically keep their email addresses for some time after opening an email and can be easily reengaged by your brand at a later point in time.

Email marketers today can leverage advanced marketing automation systems to personalize messages for a tailored customer experience, increasing engagement and conversions as a result. Email remains a powerful marketing channel for B2B and B2C brands alike.

Email marketing also allows businesses to connect with their target audiences at all stages of customer journey, from acquisition through retention. By sending relevant, targeted communications at just the right moment based on customer actions and behaviors, emails enable companies to expand customer reach while keeping existing ones happy.

Email marketers enjoy direct connections between their business and subscribers, giving them access to first-party data that can be leveraged in future campaigns and used to deliver relevant offers tailored specifically to each subscriber’s preferences. Utilizing such insights increases the chance for a positive ROI from email marketing initiatives.

Now, as we enter the fourth decade of email marketing, it is vital to recognize how rapidly digital technologies are evolving. This presents email marketers with the challenge of adapting their strategies and approaches quickly enough to keep pace with audience needs; but several best practices can help email marketers thrive no matter what technology may bring their way.

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