Why Email Marketing Still Matters in 2014

emailAt the start of a new year, professionals across the marketing and advertising world begin the search for “what’s next” – the hottest new trends, tactics, and tips for effective marketing in the new year.

Although cutting-edge developments are critically important to the advancement and evolution of digital marketing, it’s important to remember that “yesterday’s” marketing strategies still work pretty well, too. And when it comes to email marketing in particular, it still matters in 2014. In fact, many believe it matters now more than ever.

According to the latest industry data, the number of email users in the United States continues to grow exponentially with each passing year. eMarketer projects that there will be nearly 240 million Americans with email accounts by 2017.

Globally, the community of email users will expand from 2.4 billion to nearly 2.8 billion during the same time frame.

As a direct result of email’s ubiquity and its increasing mobile accessibility, email marketing will be both impactful and essential for the foreseeable future.

Based on the astute observations of many marketing analysts and tech industry watchers, the technologies of tomorrow – Google Glass, smartwatches, wearable computing devices, etc. – will, over time, represent new ways of accessing email. For marketers, this means new ways to target and engage.

Yet, for as rapid as the email marketing landscape is evolving, the nuts-and-bolts of effective email marketing haven’t changed much at all. And they likely won’t any time soon. For example:

  • Relevance is still relevant

Relevance has been called the Holy Grail of email marketing for good reason. When paramount focus is placed on what your customers are interested in (based on everything from their purchase history to behavioral data), you can more skillfully determine what to communicate in a way that resonates.

  • Utility is still essential

There’s no alternative for providing recipients with information or content that they can use. Regardless of your underlying sales or promotional objectives, give the email concrete value by presenting pertinent news, advice, or resources that communicate your awareness of that consumer’s interests and your authority on the matter at hand.

  • Timing is still critical

There’s no universal right time or wrong time to send an email. Consequently, personalization in email marketing isn’t limited to the style or substance of the message. It’s also about connecting on the days and times that generate the best engagement from your unique consumer base. Experiment with timing and gauge the results to find the “right time” for your specific audience.

  • Call to action must still be clear

Providing a weak call to action is one of the biggest mistakes email marketers continue to make. Your email must be as actionable as it is personal. Boldly highlighting an offer, invite, or opportunity with a clear path to act won’t be viewed as pushy so long as the email is still compact, content-relevant, and customized for that recipient.

  • Monitoring results is still vital

Despite the proven techniques often touted, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for email marketing. Luckily, we have email analytics to help us monitor, measure, and modify campaigns. Dedicate ample time to study the results. Eventually, you will identify the variables that work and isolate those that do not.