Email is not dead

Still Mailing After All These Years

Email has undergone a transformation throughout the years. In the mid- to late-90s, sending an email was the primary means of communication for everyone. However, with the advent of instant messengers and social media, as well as the proliferation of spam and junk mails, email lost some of its luster.

Despite all the changes though, email remains an effective channel for communication, especially for marketers reaching out to their target audiences.

According to researchers from Forrester, US consumers who have received marketing emails have been more receptive to them this year than they were four years ago - only 42% of recipients in 2014 deleted advertising emails compared to 59% from 2010. Also, 25% of consumers in 2014 believed that email offers are a great way to find out about new products and services, a sentiment that only 17% shared four years ago.

Easier access to the inbox

The change of heart made by these consumers has a lot to do with the ease of consuming emails from their inbox. In earlier years, people had to log in to a desktop or laptop and sign in to their accounts before gaining access to their online inbox. Nowadays, with the widespread use of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, email checking can be done by just pulling out a phone and pressing on the app to open the inbox.

Email activity using mobile devices has simply become much more common nowadays. Drawing from these finding by Forrester Research, 42% of emails sent by retailers to their subscribers are opened using a smartphone (28% in 2013) and 17% using a tablet (16% in 2013). More research suggest that the average mobile email open percentage is now close to 50%.

Another factor that can be considered that explains the renaissance of email marketing is the updated interface Google developed for Gmail. Serving over 500 million users, Gmail is probably the best and most popular free email service online. Unlike other email clients, Gmail makes a conscious effort to make viewing emails a breeze starting with its Priority Inbox feature.

As with most innovations, this feature was not warmly received by its users, but users have adapted as they looked more closely at how it benefits them in the long run. The Priority Inbox allows users to automatically sort out the emails that matter to them. That means less junk mail appearing at the very top of your unread messages and more emails that you really want to read.

Google goes out of its way to revolutionize how people see email as a positive and useful communication medium, rather than as a source of headache: The companyís systems make it simple to deal with all the junk mails that people receive. With the soft launch of Google Inbox, Gmail automatically categorizes the emails that users receive according to Bundles. What Inbox does is cluster similar and less important e-mails like Promos, Social, Updates and emails that are automatically sent to you, into one entry on your inbox so that email designed to keep the most important emails on top of the unread list.

Perception towards email marketing

Lastly, and arguably the most important factor is the change of perception towards email marketing: Marketers and brands are changing their email marketing strategy, putting out more thoughtful emails that actually engage subscribers.

Marketers are putting in more effort to creating a click-worthy email. Besides being able to share information and ideas through emails, brands have integrated email into their overall marketing strategy, allowing them to build lists and leads that they can later convert into customers.

This can only be achieved by following the best email practices where marketers craft an irresistible headline. 42% of subscribers delete emails that donít display correctly on mobile phones, so a responsive email design is needed. Unbeatable copywriting then helps to lead people down to the Call to Action (CTA): Recipients are thus more likely to respond.

By providing recipients with a compelling argument to commit to the desired action, emails have just become much more fun to read, regardless of their promotional nature. According to the same survey conducted by the people at Forrester, recipients are receiving fewer promotional emails from brands this year (39%) than they did in 2010 (49%), while more people are finally unsubscribing from email offers they donít remember signing up for (37% in 2014 compared to 31% four years ago).