From the days when Google announced their “email killer” Wave, I’ve heard marketers and consultants say things like, “Email is dead.” My response to those who say that to me is always: “Really? What do you use instead?”
I usually don’t get an answer, or someone starts rambling on about social media, private communication networks like Slack, or they claim organic (or paid) search is the only viable strategy. They say if people want what you do then they’ll find you, and a marketer’s (or salesperson’s) job is to ensure that the right people can find you.
While there is certainly truth to the statement that people will find you (and no one can question the growing importance of social media, search and the challenge that communication networks like Slack represent) the fact is that email is still the number one tool in the toolbox for managing and developing business relationships. Consider (sources: Content Marketing Institute & Optinmonster):
- 77% of B2B marketers use email in the marketing mix
- 91% rate email as a key piece of content marketing success
- 3.8 billion people use email
- 91% of users use email at least daily
- You're 7x more likely to originate a customer via email than other channels
- 58% of users cite it as the first channel they go to every day
The problem is that email is a “push” communication tactic, in a “pull” world. Additionally, when you’re sending an email to someone, you are competing for attention in what is probably the noisiest and toughest place to compete - the inbox. This means that your email strategy must rise to a higher standard. Good email marketing simply isn’t good enough.
If you were to spend, say, 20 hours consuming research (I have) on what makes an email work, you could boil the key ingredients to this:
- It must be relevant
- It must be valuable (as defined by the reader)
- It must be personalized & contextualized
- It must be consistent
- It must be easily consumed (this is not (necessarily) a statement about email length)
Strong Subject Lines & Good Email Content are Not Enough for Success
While subject lines, email designs, and content get virtually all of the attention when discussing strong sales and marketing email strategies, there is something far more important that is often missed.
It doesn’t matter how good your email is if two things don’t happen first:
- It must get into your desired recipient’s inbox; a task tougher than ever and getting harder.
- It must get into that inbox at the right time. Email communication has a half-life of 1 hour, meaning that the likelihood of someone engaging with your email decreases by 50% every hour after it is delivered.
A strong deliverability strategy is crucial to ensuring that your emails are noticed and that your prospects engage with your content. In this video, I share the full strategy we provided our clients when designing their email approach.