The email inbox of today is vastly different from the inbox of the 2010s — or even the inbox of a few years ago. Today email is ubiquitous and has become the venue where consumers manage their relationships with brands. Email generates $38 for every $1 spent by marketers.
The onset of COVID in 2020 greatly spurred the frequency of brand communications with consumers via email. Initially brands were communicating new COVID protocols and programs, but as the need to drive online traffic only increases, so too do the emails. In fact, Forrester forecasts that email marketing message volume will increase 40% this year.
How can brands use this traditional marketing tool in new and innovative ways? Build brand affinity while also reaching new audiences? Avoid spamming customers and instead engage users with dynamic visuals? While email may have been around for ages, there are new technologies unlocking engaging experiences for retailers and customers alike and ushering in a new era of email marketing.
Email is Easily Personalized
Brand marketers can’t undervalue the importance of personalization — especially in email. Today’s modern shopper expects a seamless experience across digital. Marketers doubled down on email and digital marketing last year, meaning now brands can expect competition for attention in the inbox to only increase. How can brands stand out? Personalize. Email is one of the most easily personalized marketing channels.
Take for example Sephora. The brand earns top marks each year in the Retail Personalization Index with its personalized emails that are integrated into the Beauty Insider loyalty program across mobile, so that customers have the same experience regardless of their entry point. How? Leveraging data insights, predictive analysis, past purchases and customer journey touch points. Even the slightest bit of personalization can make a user feel more connected to a brand.
Email is Established — Across Generations
Email is a trusted channel by both consumers and brands. According to a 2020 study from Bluecore and NAPCO Research, consumers find email to be the preferred (and most personal) channel to hear from brands. In fact, 73% of millennials prefer that brand marketing communications come via email.
Even Gen Z considers email an important mode of digital communication, despite the common assumption that social media is the best way for marketers to connect with this generation. A recent report from Campaign Monitor found that 58% of this in-demand demo check their email multiple times a day, and 81% reported checking email at least once a day. But Gen Z users do expect an elevated digital experience, meaning brand marketers must consider innovative and engaging ways to connect via email. How?
Revolutionizing the Inbox With AMP
AMP is an open-source framework that makes mobile pages load faster. In your email inbox AMP is a more engaging and dynamic experience. For users this means the ability to submit RSVPs to events, fill out questionnaires, browse catalogs or respond to comments, all within your inbox. Emails can also stay up to date, displaying the freshest content from comment threads or the latest recommendations.
For marketers, AMP makes that communication between a brand and customer seamless. It essentially lets users engage with emails as they would a webpage, all without needing to open an external browser. For brands, that means their customers can browse the latest offers, view dynamic listings and carousels and even make purchases, all without ever leaving their email inbox. A truly frictionless and engaging experience.
When thinking through your email marketing strategy, always remember these five core tenets: the email campaign must be useful, relevant, personal, engaging and actionable. All too often email marketing is considered a passive strategy, but the technology tools today have made the email inbox incredibly dynamic. If you haven’t already, now is the time to rethink your email marketing strategy and tap new utilities available to connect with your customers.
Andrea Wasserman is Global Head of Commerce at Yahoo where she leads a team of engineers, designers, marketers, strategists, and operators, accelerating the company’s commerce business and building new shopping experiences for Yahoo’s 900M global monthly users. Wasserman is a consumer sector leader, entrepreneur, and intrapreneur with a background across stores, e-commerce, marketing, merchandising, and product who invests deeply in developing people.