Some say the marketing world is moving away from using emails in favor of messaging apps, rich text capabilities, social media and other mediums, but the main reason why people are losing motivation to open emails is because these messages are typically irrelevant to them.
The Internet has essentially created a shift from scarcity to abundance. The modern consumer has the world available at his/her fingertips and if a product or piece of information doesn't seem to fit the needs in this very moment, a more suitable candidate is a swipe away.
This extreme availability of goods and services has changed the consumer into a powerful, hyper-individualized personal brand who is navigating by the "what's in it for me" principle (WIIFM).
As a stakeholder within a company, it has never been more important to understand the modern consumer and provide her with value and resonance from the very moment she comes in contact with an enterprise. Part of the process of understanding the consumer involves outlining the so-called buyer's journey. Furthermore, gathering insights into what challenges or tasks the consumer feels she is facing when moving along this very journey is critical to being in the running for consumer attention and dollars.
An example of a buyer's journey could be the need to plan an upcoming vacation for a family of five. As this buyer's journey progresses from a state of attention to which destinations might be good for a family with three kids, to particular considerations on specific places to stay, see eat and relax; lots of questions arises, which the buyer is seeking answers or solutions to.
So for a travel agency specializing in trips for families, it is crucial to understand both where a buyer is on her journey and which questions or challenges are important for the buyer to have answered in order for her to make the "right" decisions.
So, back to our initial statement about email not being relevant for the receivers. For a long time the holy grail has been to get a hold of a visitor's email address. Besides being the first step of moving a visitor to a lead in the classic inbound model, it was also regarded as an open-ended permission to send them newsletters. Hoping that eventually a particular subject-header or a piece of content would hit, and the lead would transform into the golden egg better known as a customer.
The permission we have obtained from the user should be handled with care. Not just for the sake of losing their attention, but also to avoid wasting their time. If the travel agency sends out a newsletter about tips and must-see sites for backpackers in Asia to our user from earlier, it so far from the users preference that we run the risk of losing her altogether.
Luckily for the marketing departments of the travel agency (and the rest of us) there is a lot of great help available for creating relevance for our digital customers. Broadly speaking, marketing automation is the super hero needed to help us. By collecting and analyzing data structured from visits on the travel agency's website, the marketing department will quickly be able to identify different behaviors related to a specific subject. Our user would probably have visited different pages related to her upcoming travel. Pages, which would be very different from the pages a solo backpacker with interest in Asia would have visited.
By working with the behavior and the personas in relation to the steps in the buyer's journey, the travel agency will soon create automated email flows with timely, relevant content to the right people. And of course; an email in the inbox addressing the very situation a user is in, is much more likely to valued and opened, creating the reason for a sale.
About the Author Asger Laursen is an IT Architect with
Novicell, an award-winning digital consultancy from Scandinavia that has been delivering hard-hitting digital marketing strategies and enterprise software development for almost 20 years. The company's experts stretch across Europe with offices having recently been opened in Barcelona, Copenhagan, Madrid and London.