Email, the oldest form of modern outreach, is newly relevant as a tool of marketing communication. Truth is, it’s never really gone away, and new technological tie-ins make it more effective. At our recent breakfast event, experts discussed what makes for the best email marketing campaigns, and the automation tools that make it better.
One of our guests, Cassie Lancellotti-Young, EVP Customer Success at Sailthru, told us why it works, the best new practices, and challenges she faces. Here are excerpts of our (email) exchange, lightly edited for clarity and space.
I.I.: Email seems “hot” again? Why?
Yes, definitely. It’s still the most effective channel to hit a consumer, and open rates are on the rise with proliferation of mobile devices and what Forrester calls the “always addressable” customer. People have been talking about the “death of email” for nearly a decade, but it has not come to fruition, and good marketers are getting smarter about targeting with personalization, predictive analytics, etc. There’s definitely been a number of new channels in the mix, but all are a complement to the email program.
Have you got some hard metrics?
More than two thirds of U.S. adults are “always addressable.” They own more than one device and are on the internet more
than one time a day from multiple locations. At Sailthru, the average open rate fluctuates by client and industry, but there’s a 13% rate across the board, and it’s steadily improving since last year.
What are ways to decide on the best solution?
The biggest thing in my mind is B2B vs. B2C, because different solutions are tailor-made to each. Size of list and email volume are also considerations. We tend to work with (B2C) customers sending more than 50MM emails per year. It’s hard to the justify cost of personalization and advanced capabilities with anything smaller.
What are important integrations?
Any platform with open APIs. It’s the way the market is going and allows marketers flexibility to work with different partners for different needs.
What about best practices in crafting email?
Relevancy, and I’m not talking about first name in a subject line. There’s a “maturity curve” to personalization that moves from “batch and blast” to field insertion, to segmentation, to behavioral and ultimately, a holy grail of multi-channel and predictive. Continuously pushing on that journey is hugely important. And of course, marketers must ALWAYS be testing! I can’t over-emphasize the importance of control groups.
“Many marketers get pressure from a CEO to drive near-term revenue and will rely on a host of dangerous tactics.”
What’s a specific challenge Sailthru has been facing?
Helping our clients balance short-term and long-term business priorities. Many marketers get pressure from a CEO to drive near-term revenue and will rely on a host of dangerous tactics (namely, discounts) to drive short-term gains. There is a need for very strong organizational alignment to balance short-term needs and long-term business solvency.
What should email marketers beware of?
Just be careful of integration points, especially with a lot of consolidation of the various marketing clouds. Also be thoughtful about deliverability.
What’s the best way to build a list, get signups and measure their worth?
Be thoughtful about quality vs. quantity – don’t just look at CPAs, but how new signups engage (e.g. cohort analysis for open rates, opt-out rates, etc.)
Not enough marketers look at cohort metrics.
What’s the favorite tool or technique you’ve seen from someone else you’re not affiliated with you’d like to emulate or incorporate?
Programmatic direct mail. It’s an excellent complement to digital.
What industry issue would you like to see solved?
Organizational alignment to allow marketers to focus on the long-term (right!) metrics and to STAY IN THEIR JOBS! We see a ton of attrition in marketing leadership roles.
Author: Dorian Benkoil