Email's not dead, it's just getting harder to do well
(c)iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Earlier this year, researchers revealed the average person’s attention span is eight seconds. That’s one second less than the average attention span of a goldfish, and roughly how long it took to read this sentence.
This change in attention span is arguably a result of consumers becoming digital multi-taskers, known to switch media platforms as many as 27 times an hour.
Using multiple devices to consume content, consumers are faced with a myriad of diversions such as websites, social media, SMS, games and broadcast programming, leaving little room for much else.
As a result, marketing content across all channels is increasingly competing for attention in a vast sea of digital distractions. As a marketer, you need to be a lot smarter and consider the best tools at your disposal in order to make your voice heard amongst all the noise.
One of the best tools for this may very well be the humble email.
It’s a common misconception that the email is dead, or dying, in a sea of social and digital platforms, but this isn’t true. This simple communication method still lies at the very heart of modern digital communication, with the obligatory email sign-up providing access to social networks, app stores or online purchases.
It's not dead
While email is certainly not dead, it is definitely getting harder to do it well, especially as consumers are demanding improved and customised email experiences.
There is a temptation to churn out content, but marketers should instead become content creators
The demand now is for emails that are easy to read, personalised and relevant. Spamming irrelevant content will only result in it being ignored, or worse, unsubscribed from.
The performance of these emails must also be monitored in order to gauge the success of them, and what could perhaps be done better in the future.
Whether a newsletter or a targeted offer, you need to measure and test your emails in order to drive customer engagement. It may seem like a daunting task, but there are a number of technologies and platforms that help marketers analyse data, and create targeted emails which not only saves time, but improves ROI for the business overall.
There are a number of steps that marketers must take in order to reap the benefits of a successful email marketing strategy, and make their voices heard above everyone else.
First, you need to integrate data from multiple channels to create individualised emails, use tests to identify the messages that gain the highest open rates, automatically eliminate duplicate addresses, and finally deliver the email straight to your customers’ inboxes.
These steps help marketers deliver consistent messaging across all channels.
While email as a tool is arguably one of the best to help your message break through the digital marketing noise, you will only capture someone’s attention if your message is relevant, timely and engaging.
But how easy is this to accomplish?
First, you must unite all the customer information in your control. Connect the world that you control, and add in an understanding of what your customers are doing on the channels that you don’t have control over. Otherwise, there is a risk that you will struggle to see the complete picture.
You must also be strategic with your content strategy. As you develop a clear understanding of your customers as individuals, you will discover their preferred channels, alongside the frequency they desire, and the appropriate topics.
Plan your approach accordingly, and be strategic about when and how you communicate, staying focused, clear and on point.
Understanding how each channel is unique is also crucial, and the core message must be consistent between them. However, the content and how it’s delivered needs to be channel, and platform, specific.
Consider factors such as the expectation for two-way engagement, the importance of aesthetics, and the use of visuals and sound.
Next, your message needs to resonate with increasingly busy consumers.
To the point
Messages must be relevant, quick, distilled to the core and easily consumed. If you can do that, and deliver your message in a fun and brand appropriate way, you will have a positive impact.
Finally, marketers must be content creators, not content manufacturers.
There is a temptation to churn out content, but marketers should instead become content creators, ensuring content is created for individual customers. Know what the customer expects, and look at the data to tell you what works, and what doesn’t.
Email will continue to play an important role in digital marketing, but how these campaigns are implemented moving forward will be crucial in ensuring messages don’t get lost in the age of distraction.
It’s more important now than ever before to make sure that marketing tools and campaigns resonate with target audiences, as if you don’t reach them within those first few seconds, you may not reach them at all.