By Andrea Wasserman, Head of Global Commerce, Verizon Media
Today’s email inbox 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-19 over a year ago greatly spurred the frequency of brand communications with consumers via email. Initially, brands communicated new COVID-19 protocols and programs, but as the need to drive online purchases increased, so did brand marketing emails. In fact, Forrester’s recent Predictions 2021: B2C Marketing report forecasts that email marketing message volume will increase by 40% this year.
As email communication increases, brands must be able to answer these three question:
While email may have been around for ages, new technologies are 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. Marketers doubled down on email and digital marketing last year, and brands can now expect that competition for attention in the inbox to increase. So, how can brands stand out? Personalize. Email is one of the most easily personalized marketing channels.
Take, for example, the personal and beauty care brand Sephora. Each year, the brand earns top marks in the Retail Personalization Index (RPI), with personalized emails integrated with its Beauty Insider loyalty program across mobile. As a result, customers have the same experience regardless of their entry point, which is critical as today’s shopper expects a seamless experience across digital. How does Sephora accomplish this? By leveraging data insights, predictive analysis, past purchases and customer journey touchpoints. Even the slightest bit of personalization can make a user feel more connected to a brand.
Email is trusted across generations
Email is a trusted channel by both consumers and brands. According to a 2020 study from Bluecore and NAPCO Research, consumers say email is the preferred (and most personal) channel for hearing from brands. Nearly 75% 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 58% of this in-demand demo check email multiple times a day, and 81% reported checking email at least once a day. Gen Z users do expect an elevated digital experience, though, so brand marketers must consider innovative and engaging ways to connect via email.
Revolutionizing the inbox with AMP
What’s AMP? An open-source framework that makes mobile pages load faster. In your email inbox, AMP creates 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 their inbox. Emails can also stay up to date, displaying the freshest content from comment threads or the latest recommendations.
For marketers, AMP makes communication between a brand and its customer seamless. In essence, AMP lets users engage with emails as they would a web page without opening an external browser. For brands, that means their customers can browse the latest offers, dynamic listings, carousels, and even make purchases, all without ever leaving their email inbox—creating a truly frictionless and engaging experience.
When thinking through your email marketing strategy, always remember these core tenants: the email campaign must be useful, relevant, personal, engaging and actionable. All too often, email marketing is considered a passive strategy. But today’s technology tools 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.
Get even more insights on how to engage shoppers. Check out our commerce infographic for more info.
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