We have come a long way since Gary Thuerk sent the first mass e-mail in 1978. It might have only reached a few hundred people, but back then, that figure was impressive. Almost 40 years later, we continue to use the same technique to reach customers, staff and stakeholders. Laura England, account executive at technical PR agency, Stone Junction, details its substantial transformation
Advances in SEO, content marketing and sophisticated automation tactics have slowly pushed some traditional techniques into digital obsolescence. Despite this, e-mail marketing continues to remain relevant. Throughout its 40-year life span, the medium has seen some questionable techniques. Nevertheless, a few changes and improvements that come to mind are definitely here to stay.
According to Experian, a large percentage of e-mails are now read on mobile devices – two thirds, to be precise. In fact, the growth in use of mobile phones and tablets is part of the reason e-mail marketing has remained so popular. Without a doubt, most of us understand the importance of responsive design. Despite this, just eleven per cent of commercial e-mail templates are optimised for mobile viewing. If e-mail marketing is part of your marketing strategy, responsive design should be a top priority.
A personal touch
In today’s society, everything is personalised, from TV adverts to Starbucks cups, everything is tailored for you. While personalisation of e-mails certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, we’re finally beginning to see this tactic done well.
E-mail marketing has gained a relatively bad reputation when it comes to personalisation. Even luxury brands have fallen victim to the easy but detrimental mistakes of poor tailoring in their campaigns. While it is true that brands could easily scrap this technique and avoid embarrassing mistakes, according to various studies, e-mails containing personalised elements have transaction rates six times higher than those without. Despite this, less than 30 per cent of brands use this tactic in their campaigns.
Long live the light box
Most of us will have experienced a pop up box on our screens whilst browsing online. Often referred to as a light box, the tactic is a pet hate of some marketers because they consider it a nuisance to the customer. However, using a light box is no different to a call-to-action in your sidebar or including a subscribe option in your e-mails. Perhaps, just a little more direct.
Aside from providing a useful platform to notifying the user of a deal or promotion, the sign-up function through light boxes has been known to expand e-mail lists between five and ten times faster than traditional sign-up fields. For me, that is worth disrupting the browsing experience for a few seconds.
Now, more than ever, e-mail marketing is a tool to be embraced and used to its full potential by marketers. Outliving the likes of affiliate programmes, pop-up ads and classified advertising, there is no doubt that e-mail marketing is here to stay.
Laura England is an account executive at technical PR agency, Stone Junction. The award-winning agency, based in Staffordshire, focuses on public relations and marketing for businesses operating in the technology sector. Laura was appointed the company’s e-mail marketing specialist in 2015.