One of the greatest benefits of the rise of the internet was (and is) the ability to use email to communicate with people. The evolution of email marketing is fascinating. It began in 1965, when the concept was introduced at MIT. In 1971, the first email was sent via network. And in 1976, Queen Elizabeth is said to be the first head of state to send an email. In 1983, the first MCI mail was offered to the public and in 1996, Hotmail was launched as the first free web-based email system. Suddenly, email was available to anybody who had a computer and access to the internet.
Fast-forward to today, and email is still dominant, playing a vital role in the marketing mix. Today there are more than 3 billion email accounts across the globe, and approximately 294 billion emails are sent per day. As technology continues to evolve, more consumers are switching to smartphones and tablets (mobile) to access the internet and their email.
Mobile marketing is fast-becoming one of the most powerful ways to engage with customers. According to Digiday, mobile now accounts for 12 percent of Americans’ media consumption time, triple its share in 2009.
Consider some facts:
• More than 80 percent of mobile users prefer locally relevant advertising and 75 percent are more likely to take action after seeing a location-specific message (Source: Mobile Audience Insights Report from JiWire, 2012)
• Of the 70 percent of shoppers who used a mobile phone while in a retail store during the holidays, 62 percent accessed that store’s site or app while only 37 percent of respondents accessed a competitor’s site or app. (Source: ForeSee, 2013)
• Retailers’ apps with store mode gather five times more engagement. (Source: Point Inside, 2013)
• Last year, 12 percent of consumers bought anything through social media. (Source: PwC, 2013)
• The number of U.S. mobile coupon users will rise from 12.3 million in 2010 to 53.2 million in 2014, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones. (Source: eMarketer, 2013)
• Retailers’ apps take up the most of consumers’ time at 27 percent, followed by online marketplace at 20 percent, purchase assistant at 17 percent, price comparison at 14 percent and daily deals at 13 percent. (Source: AdMedia Partners, 2013)
• Consumers spent six times as much time in retailers’ apps in December compared to a year earlier. (Source: Flurry, 2013)
• Time spent with mobile apps starting to challenge television: consumers are spending 127 minutes per day in mobile apps – up 35 percent from 94 minutes a day in the same time last year – and spend 168 minutes watching television per day. (Source: Flurry, 2012)
• Last year, 24 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. (Source: IBM, 2012)
In 2012, interactive marketing emerged as one of the hottest marketing trends. Forrester Research predicts that marketers across all industries will spend nearly $77 billion, roughly 26 percent of all advertising dollars, on interactive marketing by 2016. B2B interactive marketing is expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2016, with mobile marketing accounting for much of that rapid growth.
Smart email marketers know that leveraging customer data is the key to creating relevant and effective email marketing campaigns. By tying into customer databases, email marketers can target emails based on key demographic and preference data. Integration with e-commerce systems can help trigger relevant messages based on past purchases. And web analytics data is key to delivering relevant messages based on page visits and shopping cart activity. But is that enough?
According to Email Institute, the email channel not only drives strong ROI in customer acquisition, but it increasingly powerful to engage consumers. Marketers looking to make an impact among subscribers are increasing their use of triggered messaging, also known as automated messages. According to the Q4 2012 North America Email Trends and Benchmarks report, “triggered messages resulted in a 70.5 percent higher open rates and 101.8 percent greater click rates when compared to Business As Usual (BAU) messages in Q4 2012.”
As a marketer, the benefit of triggered messaging is that you can build a program once, tie that offer or message to specific customer behavior and let the automation take over. Since the program is built once and used in a repeatable manner, it creates efficiency. Additionally, when combined with monitoring and optimization, these programs can advance the effectiveness of mailings by improving click and conversion rates. Examples of triggered campaigns include welcome messages, cart abandonment programs and inventory in-stock reminders.
As well, you can’t discount social media to build an online integrated marketing campaign. Social media, SEO, web analytics, blogging strategies and content development can work together synergistically to help make any online marketing program successful. First, you need to define your intentions and goals within social media. Then you have to outline how all the channels can effectively work together to get your message across. Internet marketing veteran Matt Bailey suggests organizing your message with:
• Narrative: Narrative is creating the story around your brand or product that will best communicate with your consumers.
• Development: Once you have your story outlined, the next thing is to develop the right message and then develop it to the right people in the way they wish to digest the content.
• Interaction: Talks about how you will interact with your consumers across all platforms. Blogging, email and social media are all different mediums and messaging should be unique to those platforms. Don’t forget to capture and build email lists from your blogs
• Planning: Developing content calendars and looking at trends should be a part of your marketing activities. This is done so can you deliver timely content to your consumer when that topic or idea is in the top of mind.
If you have questions regarding email marketing, Blue Interactive Agency offers full service email marketing with tracking and reporting for optimized results. We design custom email campaigns including all services from strategy to list management for interactive marketing solutions that drive ROI.