Email marketing is a popular channel for marketers nowadays, widely used by brands as an effective way to send targeted messages to consumers containing their latest news and promotions. I often come across numerous articles claiming that email is dying out, however statistics say otherwise with 74% of marketers agreeing that email will still be one of the highest channels for delivering ROI in five years time (Econsultancy Industry Census, 2015). But what is our take on where email is going over the next few years?
1) Email will still be here in 10 years time
Email killers get far too media attention – there are others at the moment such as Slack, the internal communication tool. Even Slack will say they are not a complete email killer, they have a defined purpose which is to stop the endless chains of internal discussions by email and streamline communication. This won’t kill email – email is still the universal tool for communication between people, just like Skype or WhatsApp won’t kill the phone.
2) The email address as your digital passport
To be honest, this is already happening and I only see this expanding. Your email gets you easy access to most places on the Internet, Facebook needs an email address to sign-up and get notifications, and services such as Paypal are created through an email address. Facebook, Twitter and Google have even woken up to the idea of allowing advertisers to target their users based upon email addresses they hold.
Increasingly there is a demand from all parties for there to be a single unique identifier that everyone can use, and email is where this is heading. I myself come across numerous different situations a day where I am asked to supply my email address, and I can only see this growing.
3) Personalisation becomes relevance
We often talk about the difference between personalisation and relevance and how they are not the same thing. Just personalising an email does not make it relevant – personalising an email so you show a hero image based upon their gender doesn’t make it relevant. This is where email marketing is currently maturing, as marketers are finding that they need to go further than simple personalisation and segmentation strategies to deliver unique content to each individual customer.
4) Live Email Content
Until recently, email has always been a static medium. Once the email is sent, the content is locked down and can’t change. With half of emails sometimes opened after the first 24 hours there are circumstances where that becomes a problem – products go out of stock, promotions end and new products arrive.
Now in the world of cheap cloud computing, new opportunities emerge to resolve some of these challenges and in ten years time, I expect email to not be a bunch of static HTML, but a rich, live experience with content streamed in.
5) Deliverability issues become a thing of the past
Over time deliverability has slipped off the radar of being the number one email topic, mainly due to email providers getting far better at solving the issues of spam and legitimate email. Gmail made a big leap by creating the Promotions and other tabs, which allows clear segregation between the different types of emails we receive, and therefore allows us to keep on top of the mountains of emails within our inbox. This type of innovation, along with the rise of reputation filtering will be added to with new initiatives from the email providers that will actually benefit email marketers as their emails will become less susceptible to the spam folder, unless they pursue illegitimate tactics.