Email Evolution: New Trends in a Proven Marketing Communications Channel

by | Aug 31, 2011 | Blog, Blog Archive, Distributed Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing | 0 comments

Deb McAlister-Holland

By Deb McAlister-Holland

For nearly 3 decades, I’ve had an email marketing campaign of some kind running every business day.  Yes, there was email 30 years ago.  In fact, email is 40 years old

Back when I sent my first few campaigns, there wasn’t a lot of commercial email being sent.  I worked for a computer company, and the people who got our email were mostly people who had purchased our products.  They were happy to get a notice from us about a new toy they could buy to add to their system, or a new software product that was available. 

I remember thinking that email marketing was the simplest thing I’d ever been asked to do.  Later, when I worked for a consumer entertainment company that is one of the highest volume emailers in the world, I realized just how complicated email marketing was — and how many regulations there are to comply with.

But things continue to get even more complicated as time goes on. I’ve read (and written) a number of articles, presentations, white papers and tutorials on how to do email marketing better.  There were three truisms I learned early in my career that have been floating around so long that they were almost taken as gospel.  Those truisms were:

    • Send commercial email during business hours, because that’s when people read email sent to their business email address.  (Note the underlying assumption that people have a unique business inbox that’s separate from their personal email inbox.)
    • Don’t send people too many email messages — your open rate will go down if you send more than one or two emails a month.
    • As other forms of communication become more popular, email will follow direct mail and personal letters into the dust bin of marketing history.

Turns out, the first two are dead wrong — and for now at least, so is the third one.  In fact, a study we completed in July 2011 shows that multi-channel marketers rank email as the most effective marketing channel they have.

I just finished a new white paper called Email Evolution: New Trends in a Proven Marketing Channel that explains why these old ideas are changing, and how marketers have to adapt to some pretty striking changes in the way people interact with and read email.

It’s not long — just eight pages including the cover page — but I tried to fill it with data and practical information that almost anyone can use today to get better results from their email marketing efforts. 

What does it include?

  • Why email still survives as social media grows
  • How email and social media became “adult homework”
  • When to send email for the best (and worst) results
  • What it takes to build smartphone-friendly emails

That last point — making your email marketing efforts accessible and attractive for the 88% of email users who read their mail on mobile devices — is critical to achieving good results.  I think the most valuable information in the white paper are the six tips for making email display better on mobile devices, and the data on how to time your messages for best results.  Click here to download it now. 

Photo credit:  Constance Ashley Photography.