- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 15, 2015
- Email marketing
Pop quiz! Given the choice, how would the majority of young people prefer to communicate with companies?
The answer may surprise you. It’s email. Social media might seem like the obvious choice, but email is still king, according to new research.
That doesn’t mean that your social media efforts are unimportant or misguided. A recent study found that 49% of millennials engage with brands on social media, so it’s very much an essential part of your marketing plan. But if the key to content marketing is delivering what consumers want to read the way they want to read it, then an exceptional email effort could help set you apart from your competition.
More than 40 percent of respondents in another study chose email when asked what their preferred method of contact with companies was. Fewer than ten percent replied that they preferred to communicate on social media. And while you probably already know that people use the Internet to research hospitals and doctors before making appointments, you may not know that email is their second choice after search engines when it comes to online research.
The one place everyone looks
Email has an advantage over social media because it’s not segmented into dozens of competing networks, each with their own best practices, requirements for sharing images and other visual content, and recommended posting schedules. Sure, email presents its own challenges, and you still have to convince recipients to actually open your messages, but you don’t have to worry about messages going completely unseen because someone didn’t look at Facebook or Twitter at the right time.
Nonstop communication in your pocket
Young people aren’t just reading emails—they’re reading them everywhere they go. Mobile open rates have been climbing dramatically in recent years. In the third quarter of 2014, 66 percent of emails were opened on smartphones or tablets, meaning that mobile-friendly email design isn’t a luxury anymore. Much like websites all across the Internet, emails that only display properly on desktop computers are quickly going the way of the dinosaur.
The continuous presence of email on your smartphone is throwing a wrench into when people read their email as well. Scheduling your messages to go out at the beginning of the workday? Many users have already cleared out their inboxes by then. That means you need to include early morning and evening send times in your email testing.
Flexibility is paramount
Email users are more flexible than ever, and your email marketing needs to be just as flexible if you hope to reach them. You need not only responsive design that displays beautifully on all devices but also clear and concise copy that’s easy to read on a small screen and doesn’t bury your call-to-action underneath a mountain of text. If your longer emails aren’t scannable, you’re probably not getting your point across to the majority of recipients no matter how your open rate says you’re doing.
When it comes to email marketing, every step of the process is critical, from building your opt-in list to creating compelling content to optimizing that content for your particular set of subscribers. Only by prioritizing each and every one of them can your email marketing program have the most success.