The future of email: less segmented and less personal
Marketeers always look around: what is the competition doing? What is the industry doing? It’s part of their job to know the market. E-mail marketeers also need to know their battleground: the inbox. I’ll give you a look at the average inbox in 2011: less segmented and less personal.
Less personal and less segmented?
What? Less personal and less segmented? That totally contradicts everything I was meant to believe! But yes, 2011 will be the first year that the average message in your mailbox will become less relevant via personalization and segmentation. For some five years the experts are saying that each following year would be the year of relevance, adding that segmentation and personalization are the ways to get there. But this year it is not.
A fork in the road
In reality we see a clear a fork in the road. On the one side the highly advanced and more mature e-mail programs and on the other hand the less sophisticated use of e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing is still growing and growing and this growth is not primarily coming from the top segment, but from the bottom tiers. The numbers from the DMA show that the number of email has reached an all time high, but less of these have personalized or segmented content. For instance the e-mail with personalized content has dropped from 38% to 22%. The average 2011 inbox therefore will contain more email from the bottom tiers, making it less sophisticated.
Webshops for example
For instance small webshops are popping up like there is no tomorrow (and for some of them there will not be), but they are all growing their e-mail lists and some are quite successful at it. Growing fast and still making a good buck with a small marketing budget, priorities usually are not yet into developing a higher sophistication in their e-mail marketing. Knowledge, budget and time recourses are usually the main constraints. It is very easy to set up an e-mail marketing program, but it seems hard for them to get the minimal basics in place and a lot harder to get it right. Especially because they don’t have a lot of experience in the field.
So what should I do?
Don’t get me wrong, the way to get into people’s minds, hearts and wallets is still to deliver value. And segmentation and personalization are top tactics to raise that value. Just know that you are in the inbox in between all these e-mailings with average to low value. My advice: be sure to make a good first impression, grab the attention at the start and set the right (high) expectations. If you can deliver on that, you can carve a notch in the (mental) priority inbox.
Takeaway: Know that your e-mailing sits between lots of uninteresting messages. So make a great first impression and use tactics like segmentation to deliver on added value.