The Return of Email Marketing

Jan 26, 2017

The Return of Email Marketing

Small business owners need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends if they want to develop a consistently successful digital marketing strategy. With the way the digital landscape constantly shifts, dependable revenue generating strategies can quickly become obsolete depending on the whims of Generation What’s Next. While marketing for social media has widely become accepted as the most beneficial place for a small business to place their online marketing focus, don’t underestimate the impact of an old friend – email marketing.

A recent survey conducted by the marketing technology firm Zeta Global found that email marketing has actually started enjoying a comeback thanks to the widespread us of mobile devices.

Checking your email once required sitting down, dialing up AOL, and scrolling through weeks of ignored junk mail, cat photos from grandma, LinkedIn requests, and phone bills we’d rather not pay. Texts, Facebook, and instant messaging made checking our email almost as tedious as walking to the mail box to find it stuffed with items that immediately found their way into the recycling bin once back inside.

However, with more consumers going fully mobile, they now have access to their inbox when standing in line at the store, waiting for a movie to start, or while tuning out the conversation at dinner. Email is back, baby! And here’s what Zeta’s latest e-commerce study, which surveyed 1,000 adults in the U.S., uncovered about what successful strategies marketers have found work best using email to reach customers.

Make it Worth Their While

Everyone who has an email account has experienced “The Creep.” While this particular horror story may start out slightly differently for each of us, it always ends the same.

Say you start a new email account with the idea of keeping it only to friends and family. But slowly over weeks and months, you harmlessly sign up for a newsletter, online account, or free trial membership using your new email address. One day, junk mail from a business creeps its way into your inbox. You delete it, possibly even unsubscribing thinking you’ve stopped the infection before it has even begun. However, you find it’s too late. The creep has already started and opening your email now shows an inbox filled with junk mail from countless businesses.

Opening your email once a week to find it flooded with junk mail largely contributed to the death of email marketing as a successful strategy for a few years. However, now that mobile devices allow consumers to check their email daily, once cluttered accounts now find themselves well curated. This means businesses have a much higher chance of catching a customer’s attention through email if they make it worth their while.

Promotional email marketing that offers a discount makes an effective way to drive engagement, especially when done around popular shopping holidays when consumers are motivated to find the best deals. To draw attention to your email, a strong call to action is essential and can help sway a consumer’s decision on whether to buy in your direction. The survey found that 62 percent of survey participants said that promotions highlighting discounts and special offers have helped inform their shopping decisions.

When properly executed around the most relevant seasonal opportunities, online retailers can utilize timely, anticipated demand in the market with offers for enticing deals that help boost sales. The study noted that 41 percent of survey respondents found “free shipping” the most compelling offer, followed closely by 37 percent stating “buy one, get one free” as the most enticing call to action. Furthermore, while everyone loves a good deal, women (50 percent) respond more to discounts when compared to men (40 percent).

So Little Time to Shop

Those who have fought the crowds at Christmas, risked life and limb hunting for midnight deals on Thanksgiving, or been knocked out at Summer Blow Out sales understand that the act of shopping sucks.

There’s a reason why the last enclosed mall in the U.S. was built in 2006, and why 2007 marked the first year a mall wasn’t built in the U.S. since 1950. Consumers don’t have the time or patience anymore to drive to the store, search for their size, and wait in long checkout lines, all to make a purchase that could have been done online from the comfort of their couch.

Online shopping has reached an all-time high in terms of sales. The survey estimates that 33 percent of consumers completed the majority of their holiday shopping in 2016 online. Additionally, the majority of online shoppers (71 percent) were willing to make a purchase on whatever type of device they had convenient when shopping for products, though tablets were preferred when shopping by 67 percent.

Today, online shopping offer consumers the more convenient and preferred method of shopping, especially among people between the ages of 27 to 45, a group the survey found was most likely to do the majority of their shopping online.

Mobile Devices Have Breathed New Life Into Email

Take one day and keep a tally of the number of time you look at your phone. That’s if you dare to know the truth. Don’t worry, if your eyes continuously dart towards your phone’s screen know that you’re not alone.

When examining the data from the 2016 holiday season, the survey found that 34 percent of conversions occurred on mobile devices. With an increase in people actually opening marketing emails from their mobile devices and retailers seeing a growing conversion rate surrounding the use of email, there’s little doubt that email and mobile marketing stands to revitalize itself as a key part of any successful online marketing strategy.


Growing your brand requires establishing a direct line of communication with your target audience. Impactful email messaging now offers small businesses the same potential as marketing for social media, Adwords, and other successful techniques. With the right email marketing strategy, you can deliver the perfectly targeted message, using the perfect channel for today’s mobile consumers, at the perfect time to help grow your business’ bottom line.

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