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We don’t talk about email (no, no, no)
Nick Westergaard - For The Gazette
Apr. 7, 2022 6:30 am
I don’t know where I’d be without my dad jokes. They remind me so effectively of exactly who I am. Just ask my five kids … (cue cymbal crash/rimshot).
But seriously, folks, email marketing is no laughing matter. It consistently out performs just about every digital channel and yet it’s a bit like Bruno in Disney’s “Encanto.”
For those unfamiliar, “Encanto” follows the story of the magical Madrigal family in the mountains of Colombia. Each family member has a special gift or power save the protagonist, Mirabel.
Uncle Bruno's powers of predicting misfortune left him ostracized as detailed in the film’s hit song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” — another artfully crafted ear worm from Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The family doesn’t talk about Bruno because they don’t like what he reminds them of.
As marketers, we don’t talk about email for a variety of reasons. First, we're obsessed with what’s new. Email isn’t nearly as sexy as TikTok or even podcasting.
Second, there’s a bit of a “file drawer problem” with email. Coined by psychologist Robert Rosenthal, this idea suggests that we tend to file away things that don’t reinforce our hypothesis.
In this case it’s our belief that, because email is old, it shouldn't be anywhere as effective as emerging digital channels.
The problem with all of this? It’s simply not true. Instead of treating email like the Bruno of our digital marketing family, we need to talk about it. Here’s why …
Email’s still got it
As it turns out, there’s a lot of compelling data we’re ignoring in that file drawer. That’s because email marketing is extremely measurable and it’s easy to access analytics and discern value and business impact — especially when compared to that trendy upstart social media.
Rather than fading into the background, email’s performance gets stronger with each passing year.
Let’s take a quick look at the state of email marketing:
Email is bigger than Facebook — While we talk about Facebook’s 2.5 billion users almost constantly, most are blissfully unaware of the fact that nearly twice that number have email accounts.
By 2025, Statista predicts that there will be 4.6 billion daily email users. And those users are sending over 300 billion emails each day.
It’s many customer’s preferred channel — According to Constant Contact, 72 percent of customers prefer email as their main channel for business communication. Oh, and that applies to all ages — 74 percent of baby boomers, 72 percent of Gen X, 64 percent of millennials and 60 percent of Gen Z Users.
Email engagement is up — Hubspot notes that marketers have reported a 78 percent increase in email engagement over the past year.
Email is key to content — According to the Content Marketing Institute, as many as 87 percent of marketers use email marketing to distribute their content.
Email delivers big time ROI — Campaign Monitor reports that email marketing ROI is 4,200 percent. That means marketers get about $42 back for every dollar spent.
Marketers value email — Seventy-eight percent of marketers also say that email is important to overall company success. Fifty-nine percent of business-to-business marketers say email is the most effective for generating revenue.
Email versus social media — And finally, four out of five marketers report that they’d rather give up social media than email.
As you can see, email remains an effective tool, providing targeted, data-driven marketing while also building loyalty, trust, and revenue through consistent, branded communication.
Well, what are you going to do about it?
Spoiler Alert: At the end of “Encanto,” the Madrigal family embraces Bruno. In short, they talk to and about Bruno more than ever before.
We need to do the same thing with email — we have to embrace it and start talking about it more.
Here are some best practices to give you something to talk about:
Strategy — When was the last time you updated your email marketing strategy? Start by dusting this relic off and making sure it’s suited to the times and includes items such as …
Segmentation — Help Scout notes that segmentation can increase click-through rates by 50 percent.
Personalization — According to Data Yield, 88 percent of respondents said they look more favorably on emails that feel personally written for them.
Automation — Even something as simple as an autoresponder email has an average open rate of 98 percent with a 37 percent click-through rate, reports Get Response.
You also should consider how you can use drip campaigns to nurture customers along their journey through your sales funnel.
The thing to remember about best practices — Above all, “best practices are what works best for you and your brand,” notes DJ Waldow, co-author of “The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.”
When you try these things out — test! According to Litmus, A/B testing can increase your ROI — already high for email — by as much as 37 percent.
Don’t let email be the Bruno of your marketing family.
Talk about it more than you are today. Because talking about something is the first step in making it better.
And, as evidenced here, email already packs a punch. When you treat it like the powerful channel that it is, you’ll be on your way to making marketing magic.
Nick Westergaard is marketing strategist, keynote speaker and author of “Brand Now” and “Get Scrappy”; email@example.com; @NickWestergaard.