It feels like every year for the last five years or so, some marketers and experts have predicted email marketing to ultimately die off. While some email marketers have struggled in recent times, others have flourished by using new technology to target subscribers and make emails more relevant to the audience.
The fact is, it’s still a fundamental method for digital businesses. An average of 269 billion emails was sent per day in 2017.
But, 2018 holds some potential nasty surprises for email marketing. So, the question is… Will email marketing die in 2018?
That’s right. The new general data processing regulations come into play on the 25th of May 2018.
With the new regulations, it makes it slightly more difficult to get subscribers to your email lists. You now have to tell the users EXACTLY what they are signing up to.
What emails do you send? Newsletters? Third party promotions? Are you bringing back inactive customers? Abandoned basket sends? You must state very precisely what you’re going to be emailing them for, and give them options to opt out.
Not only that, you have to have the users consent and agreement. No more pre-checked tick boxes such as ‘I want to receive newsletters and third party promotions’, this simply isn’t good enough anymore. Again, it’s going to reduce the number of emails you can send.
So fewer opt-ins, smaller email lists and It will be tough work to get someone to agree to receive third-party promotions.
Related Article: GDPR: What You Can & Can’t Do
One of the most significant concerns for emails with GDPR is abandoned cart emails. Who is seriously going to opt into “can we have your permission to send you an email when you leave something in your basket without purchasing?”
SalesCycle reported in 2016:
74.52% customers abandon baskets.
44.1% of abandoned cart emails are opened.
28.7% click-through rates.
5% conversion rates.
That’s going to be a severe gap to fill when GDPR impacts these numbers.
I spoke to Darryn Hall, Founder of DynamicPath about this subject.
“The very thing that makes cart abandonment emails so effective, namely the use of personal data, may now make them a somewhat toxic asset without careful consideration, especially if you are using a third-party service.”
With the principle of Accountability at the core of the GDPR, Data Controllers are less willing to tolerate ‘grey areas’ and will have to communicate upfront with their website visitors as to what emails may be sent. If relying on consent then the visitor may not opt-in. If building on a legitimate interest, the visitor may choose to object. In either case, send rates will be hurt.”
A lot of marketers are turning to other ways to communicate with their members & readers via social media.
There are some great tools out there that allow you to message users via social channels easily. Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp are becoming hugely popular with this form of remarketing.
ManyChat, a provider to send messages via Facebook Messenger, they claim a 4x better open rate than email.
While Josh Fechter, co-founder of BAMF Media, told me that they see around about 5x better engagement than emails using ManyChat.
WhatsApp Marketing is on the rise too. With 1 million active users on Whatsapp, some big companies such as Clarks, Hot UK Deals & Social Chain all use this solution to communicate.
A staggering 70% of Whatsapp messages are opened, it’s a great way to get your messages out there.
Both of these software’s don’t just do bulk sends either. They are both capable of automated sends, replies, targeting and dynamic content. So they have the capabilities of email marketing, and get better engagement… Maybe you should give it a try?
OK, so this has all been a bit depressing so far, especially if you’re reading this and your job role is email marketing. It’s not all bad!
On the flip side with GDPR, there is a strong argument that your opt-ins will be lower. BUT, the quality and engagement of those opt-ins will be far better as they genuinely want to receive your emails. As a majority of ESPs charge by how many email subscribers you have, it will also lower costs.
What else will 2018 bring? Better technology, more ways to target data, greater optimising tools, more dynamic content.
I’ve also seen a lot of talk about emails become more visual, with 3D designs and multiple ways to engage within an email.
Regardless of any changes, email is here to stay. According to SmartInsights, return on investments is still an outstanding 30 times on spends.
Still, the question remains, what will happen to email in 2018? Fact is, trying to predict these things, no matter how experienced you are, is just about impossible.
Drop your thoughts in the comments below.