Ask Anything About: Email

It can be difficult to keep up with every new term or technology available today. Instead of nodding along in agreement, however, it is important to ask questions that will truly help you understand what is being discussed - even if those questions are simplistic in nature.

For this reason, Website Magazine launched its "Ask Anything About" series (inspired by Reddit's popular Ask Me Anything threads) to pair some basic question about a topic with an expert who could answer them in greater detail.

Our expert for "Ask Anything About: Email" is Seamas Egan, Associate Director,  Revenue Operations at Campaigner. Let's get started!

Is email dead? Why or why not?

seamusSeamas Egan: Email is certainly not dead. In fact, in a world that's so quick to adopt the latest and greatest in technology, email marketing has prevailed time and time again as a reliable and effective medium.

According to a recent Campaigner survey, 78 percent of marketers plan to prioritize email marketing in 2018. Additionally, 81 percent listed email newsletters as a top marketing strategy this past year.

What benefits does email have for marketers over other channels?

Egan: Email is fast, cost effective, non-invasive and a great way for marketers to reach a more targeted audience that is eager to interact with them. A study by The Direct Marketing Association found that email has an average ROI of about $49 for each dollar spent, and Convince and Convert revealed that people who buy products marketed through email spend 138 percent more than people who do not receive email offers. Aside from the standalone benefits that email marketing provides, it also serves as a highly integrative and complementary tool for other channels.

What benefits does email have for recipients over other channels?

Egan: Email is beneficial for recipients simply because it is the primary direct channel for marketing. As a user must opt-in to receive personalized email messages, they know for a fact the content they will be receiving is both interesting and relevant to them. Additionally, subscribers often look to emails for the latest brand news regarding sales, discounts or limited edition items. This in turn fosters a sense of brand loyalty that is a win-win for both the marketer and subscriber.

What challenges does email marketing have that other channels do not have?

Egan: There are some challenges that are unique to email marketers -- for example, boosting open rates. Open rates are critical to ensuring a marketer's message is received and fostering interaction with subscribers; however, many email marketers struggle with increasing their open rates. In fact, according to Campaigner's survey, 59 percent of marketers reported their top challenge this year as increasing open rates, up 9 percent from last year. However, with new technology enabling the incorporation of additional tools and tactics into marketer's current programs for a greater degree of personalization, this challenge can certainly be combated.

How can marketers boost their ROI from email in 2018?

Egan: In order to boost their ROI in 2018, marketers must keep pace with advancing technology. For example, predictive analytics stand out as a disruptive technology that will impact email marketing. In fact, 44 percent of marketers expect to see more of it in 2018. Although technology is critical to the success of campaigns this coming year, marketers can't forget the basics either. In fact, 31 percent believe email landing pages would be the greatest ROI boost. Marketers should continue to use the tried-and-true tactics that have helped them be successful in the past, while testing out new tools that promise strong returns.

Speaking of 2018, do email marketers have to care about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if they are in the United States?

Egan: Absolutely. While it may appear that GDPR will primarily be impacting Europe, the enactment of the GDPR will in fact present challenges for any U.S. company doing business in EU member states. Therefore, if a U.S. company has a Web presence and sells to European markets, they are certainly subject to complying with the GDPR's tight restrictions on data integrity, privacy and disclosure.  According to Campaigner's survey, only 1 percent of marketers have listed GPDR compliance as a marketing goal for 2018 -- a serious problem for those who may unknowingly be noncompliant. It's critical for American businesses to understand and migrate toward these standards, as they also aid in building stronger relationships with customers that are actually interested in receiving information about a marketer's brand.

Along the same lines, what is transactional sending, and why don't marketers need permission to send those types of emails?

Egan: Transactional emails are one-to-one emails that contain information that completes a transaction or process the recipient has started with you. They are common practice for retailers, who will send an email after a subscriber purchases an item including information about the item, price and shipment. Due to their informative nature, transactional emails do not require permission. However, it's important to make the distinction that transactional emails differ from marketing emails because people subscribe for commercial marketing messages.

What will be the prevailing trend in email marketing in 2018?

Egan: The prevailing marketing trends of 2018 will center around emerging technology. As mentioned previously, campaigns that incorporate predictive analytics as well as chatbots will really be what breaks through the noise this year. Additionally, social media will continue to push forward as an integral platform for marketers. As integrations become more seamless, this channel will likely build on its existing dominance.  Keep Reading: