Where is the email marketing industry headed? Experts weigh in
Email marketing is one of the most trusted channels at the marketer’s disposal to connect with customers and convert them into loyalists. As emails have become a crucial way for personalised and conversational marketing, many emerging technologies are shaping the future of email marketing.
To explore this, and to gain a deeper understanding of the Email Benchmark Report 2022 (EBR) published by Netcore Cloud, industry experts like Sharon Supriya, Senior Director - Marketing & Growth Strategy, BYJUS; Sandesh Gupta, Head of Digital Marketing - USA, MPL; and Chaitanya Chinta, Global Business Head, Email, Netcore Cloud, came together to share their insights on the report, which is a study of 100 billion emails across 20+ global industries.
Key findings of the report
Chaitanya kick-started the discussion by shedding light on some focal points of the report. “We have witnessed a tremendous shift in the industry in the last few months of the post-pandemic period, in terms of brand strategy innovations that are fundamentally changing the way marketers implement their email programs. So, as part of the learnings from this report, I'll break it down into two parts – the latest trend shifts and the benchmarks we’ve arrived at,” he said.
According to the report, a larger population engaged with email this year compared to last year from a deliverability standpoint. “Market delivers many emails, but some of them make it to the inboxes, while others go into spam. Often, when the mail is delivered spam, you don't necessarily get any engagement, or there are hardly any people who visit spam folders and check their emails. So from a deliverability standpoint, the industry average has been around 78-82 percent, and Netcore today delivers around 94-95 percent of emails in the inbox,” explained Chaitanya.
Optimising email marketing for mobile devices
“With an estimate of almost 4.3 billion global email users, and with the number of new smartphone subscriptions increasing by almost 20 percent each year, every business should look at optimising email marketing for mobile skills,” said Sharon.
Sharing her list of commandments for the same, she highlighted, “To start with, the subject lines should be limited to 7-10 words, with fewer emojis. Secondly, call-to-action buttons should be added or summarising the mailer body on pre-headers. Thirdly, lengthy emails should be avoided, and the design and copy should be mobile-friendly. Next, it’s always best to personalise subject lines to your email body based on a persona or user activity based on clicks. Last but not the least, what has worked for a certain industry may not work well for all industries, and thus requires A/B testing to understand your user better.”
EBR also mentions how Send Time Optimization (STO) – an AI-powered feature that delivers email campaigns to users when they are most likely to check their inboxes – can act as a game changer.
“There are time-bound offers in digital marketing. If someone opens this particular email at a certain point, you can always opt for a time-bound experiment, where you know, they are just seeing right, and then there is an offer, which is going to expire, the natural tendency is to rope in another two. Of course, there is a very high chance that the offer will expire at the time they are seeing or opening the email. However, these are a few of the direct and indirect impacts of STO,” added Sandesh.
Email privacy and segmentation
Building on EBR 2022’s point on churn analysis or email churn – users who have either unsubscribed from a mailing list or turned cold by not responding to your emails anymore – Sharon feels that the impact is not just on future sales, but also on the present cost. So, the best way is to avoid churn or prevent it from happening in the first place.
“It’s best to have a predefined mailer journey for pre-sales as well as your postal user. The pre-sale users have made an effort to register as a lead to know more about your product. So, your pre-sales journey should answer and help him discover more about your services or offers, how it is different from the competition, and so on. For the post-sale users, give them reasons to keep coming back by showing them the day-to-day values of using your product. Talk about feature updates or special offers, or build repetitive contests or a fun activity they will love to participate in so they get addicted to it in the near future,” she added.
The next segment discussed was Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for emails delivering a personalised experience to every Gmail recipient. AMP emails act as a website or app, allowing customers to take all actions right inside the emails; they need not click and go out to a web page or app. This greatly minimizes user drop-offs and leakage of valuable leads that happen with conventional HTML emails.
Talking about the importance of AMP for MPL to interact with customers, Sandesh said, “When you are specifically getting AMP for the gaming industry, a user can come and interact with that particular thing. It’s like how quickly you can play this game, try out a few moves, show some tips and tricks, and get your shot better. So, all these can only occur through an interactive platform, and we are able to provide an interactive gaming experience directly inside the AMP emails.”
AI for email marketing
Several retail brands are utilising Netcore Cloud’s AI-powered email delivery feature to impact their email deliverability positively. AI applications for email marketing remain in content optimisation, whether it is set subject line optimisation or personalisation that you can create, and even automated content creation. One of the most powerful aspects of AI is audience segmentation based on past and current behavioural data of the customers. Having the right segmentation is of utmost importance in delivering customized and personalized messaging that resonates with the recipients.
“Netcore added a fourth layer, which is towards email delivery. For example, if you're sending a signup confirmation, a password reset, or any email when the user is waiting on the other side of the email, speed should be the topmost metric that you should measure. So, by the time a user switches on to the mailbox, the mail should be there, and this is where the delivery layer comes into the picture,” noted Chaitanya.
Sandesh here added his views on modifying their AI features accordingly, keeping in mind the changes in user behaviour while using emails, agreeing to the idea of optimising parameters across mediums.
Experts concluded that interaction, intelligence, and innovation are the three factors driving email marketers to enact next-level strategies. Email enables interaction with users closely, especially in the post-pandemic era. Then, there are tools and technologies today to get a lot of intelligence about users’ data as they engage with you via email. And finally, everything is encircled by innovation which enables us to do things not just more productively, but also efficiently - as exemplified by AMP emails.