Back to the future: why email still works

Back to the future: why email still works

Back when the Internet was a new concept to most people, email was an amazing ground-breaking technology. The idea of instantly being able to send mail around the world (for free!) was revolutionary and genuinely exciting.

But after a few decades worth of unsolicited spam, inheritance scams and the rise of social media, email has lost its lustre. So given this, does it still make sense for your organisation to invest resources in email as a marketing and communications tool?

The short answer is yes, it does. Email is still incredibly powerful as a communication platform and has several advantages in the age of social saturation. If you’re not taking email seriously, you’re missing out on a range of benefits that email still holds over other digital platforms.

Your audience is there

Social media is the obvious culprit for the decline in the perception of email as the most important digital communication tool and there’s no doubt that platforms like Facebook now take up a large portion of our online lives.

But email has evolved to coexist with social, and still makes up a large proportion of our digital diets. Research conducted by Email Marketing Specialist - Jordic van Rijn revealed that 91 per cent of consumers check their email on their smartphones daily – which means that it remains by far the largest digital platform to reach your audience. And in case you think email is getting lost in the sea of options, research conducted in early 2016 by Caroline Malamut, revealed 58 per cent of adults check their email first thing in the morning.

Furthermore, while this should be obvious but needs to be repeated constantly, people use social media to interact socially – that is, with people they know. Advertisers love Facebook and Instagram because people are on those networks constantly, but as anyone who’s used paid advertising on those platforms knows, there’s a big difference between reach and engagement.  

Research from Cognique shows that 74 per cent of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email. They can open emails at a time convenient to them, with more time to absorb the message and less distraction with notifications and the next post to scroll to.

Social is ephemeral. Email builds engagement.

Email is not as exciting as social from an organisation perspective, because it has a narrower scope of potential. Nail a social strategy and your campaign can go viral, reaching thousands of new eyes. Email is very much confined to those you’ve already encountered and captured onto your mailing list.

But while social has stronger reach and growth potential, email is a significantly more powerful tool for building engagement and retention of your audience. Email conversion rates are up to 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter.

Simple gestures go a long way with email. Subscribers who receive a welcome email when they sign up to your list show 33 per cent more long-term brand engagement. A simple, easy-to-set-up automated welcome email can go a long way to keeping your audience on board with your message.

The potential to personalise your messaging also has a big impact: personalised emails improve click through rates by 14 per cent and conversion rates by 10 per cent. Simple personal information integrations that can be achieved via segmenting and automation can cut through the clutter and resonate with your audience.

Given these statistics, it can certainly be argued that rumours of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While social is obviously a powerful communications tool, it’s not the be all and end all. If you’re not integrating email into your digital strategy, your organisation is missing out on a major opportunity to grow your audience and make sure your message is heard.  

For further digital & social media advice, please contact Campaign Capital.

CGM Communications influences and inspires action through connection and the sharing of stories. We support strategic communication with the community, government and media.