is email marketing obsolete?

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, in fact, it’s evolving.

What was once just a method to send information to many people at once has transformed from scalable mass communication into scalable, one-to-one communication. Advanced software tools now enable new capabilities like alternative campaign branches within a chain of emails, behaviour-based email send triggers and advanced, integrated analytics.

“Only 6% of companies are strongly of the opinion that email will be redundant in five years’ time and 69% believe email will continue to be one of the highest channels for delivering ROI.” -Adestra, 2014.

Email marketing is adapting to modern technology and modern marketing needs.

“48% of consumers say that they prefer to communicate with brands via email.” Capterra, 2014.

Consumers don’t mind email or nurture campaigns, what they mind is irrelevant information, overly promotional content and too frequent communication. By focusing on eliminating these deterrents, marketers can ensure their emails are read and appreciated by those who receive them; ensuring that this form of communication won’t be obsolete anytime soon.

A hindrance to this mission is the lack of behaviour- based and advanced nurture campaign capabilities within email marketing platforms (EMPs). Many organisations remain uninformed about the advanced capabilities of email because they use their tried and true EMP to handle their email marketing. Unfortunately, this means those organisations are missing out on the advantages of marketing-automation-powered email marketing. For many, it may be time to switch*.

“Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion.” Capterra, 2014.

“Companies view email marketing as a better return on investment than PPC, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and mobile marketing.” ExpressPigeon, 2014.

Email within a marketing automation platform

Marketing automation platforms contain an email marketing feature, but this feature is more powerful than the standalone email marketing platform organisations are used to.

Drip vs. Nurture

EMPs are capable of sending a one-time series of emails to a large group of addresses and tracking whether emails are opened or not. This approach is often referred to as “batch and blast” for obvious reasons and this style of campaign or series of emails is called a “drip campaign”. Marketing automation technology enables a more advanced type of campaign called a “nurture campaign”.

A nurture campaign can be set up to be ongoing so people can qualify for it at any time, and their behaviour drives the emails they receive throughout the campaign. For example, if person A does not open email 2, they are sent email 2 again 24 hours later or email 3 instead after 1 week. The standard drip campaigns offered by email marketing platforms cannot accommodate this branching or the behaviour-based changes. With a drip campaign the process would look more like this: person A does not open email 2, they are sent email 3 one week later like everyone else.

Additional email advancements

Analytics can generate automatic, customised reports based on things like recipient reaction to the email (opens, click-throughs, unsubscribes) or average time to purchase post-campaign. A/B testing can be used to dynamically determine which of two potential emails is performing better and then programmed to automatically only send the best email to any future recipients. Lastly, all those advanced capabilities are amplified by their integration with the entire suite of tools within the larger marketing automation platform. Data from email is more detailed, more frequently updated and can be combined with insights from other tools to enable more accurate analytics, predictive performance and multichannel buyer profiles.

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, but it has undergone some updates. If you’re still sending email via an email marketing platform, you should start thinking about making the switch to marketing automation software to ensure your email marketing remains relevant and effective. If you need assistance upgrading to MAP contact us to discuss.

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