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The Rise of Smart Emails

Sep 29th, 2016


Email is well and alive. In fact, there are more registered email accounts today than ever before, which means more emails are being sent every day. According to a 2015 Radicati report, the average user receives 84 emails per day in their inbox. The figure below gives you an idea of what is happening with email right now.

Average number of emails received per day

Most people’s inboxes are overloaded and cleaning up the inbox becomes a chore to do. Despite that, email marketing remains one of the best digital channels to see a return on investment. Although, there is a catch: Email generates fantastic results for those who are taking the time to adapt their marketing practice to the changing expectations of their customers. Mobile computing paved the way for the age of personalization where experiences are tailored to the unique user and user experience became the core focus. Whether it is on desktop or mobile, customers expect a tailored experience when they visit your website and they also expect a tailored experience whenever you visit their inbox. 

In order to achieve the feat, the one size fits all approach to email marketing must be replaced by smart emails that customize the experience to the user. At Only Growth, we define smart emails as an email that leverages a vast set of data to understand a user to the point where it can craft a highly relevant message at the right time that delights and engages each individual user. Let’s break it down into different parts to fully analyze what this means.

The ability to leverage a vast set of data to understand users

This means that email technologies must be able to convert raw data collected from different sources into intelligence that adds more relevance to the email and value to you as a merchant. That intelligence will improve email marketing targeting, product recommendations, and tracking ability, which significantly impacts your return on investment. The technology must empower you to send unique emails to millions of customers with a single click of a button.

Crafting highly relevant messages at the right time that delights and engages the user

Let’s face it, your customers are busy and their inbox is overloaded. For you to reap the reward, your emails must stand out from the crowd. A quick google search on how to improve your email open rate leads to many useful tips like improving your subject line, content quality, list segmentation and spam filter avoidance. All of those tips are useful, but they don’t always do the trick in the long term. In the long term you want your customers to open your emails over and over again because you sent it, not because you have a badass subject line or amazing content inside the email (although the content quality is always a must). In order to accomplish this feat, you must be able to build your inbox reputation. Inbox reputation is very similar to branding; your customers get accustomed a certain level of quality from you and expect to experience it every time they buy from you. 

In order to build your inbox reputation, you must train your customers to expect great emails from you. In the age of personalization, this simply means that you have to send the right message to the right customer at the right time. That way, your emails are always relevant because it adds value to them. That is by far the most sustainable way to drive your open and click through rate.  The right timing should be beyond just keeping a Tuesday afternoon newsletter schedule, it should match the time the recipient (your customer) is most likely to engage with the email.

Smart emails

Thankfully, the email marketing landscape has evolved to the point where smart emails are available to everybody at scale. Amazon led the smart email revolution with their ability to send highly targeted emails to every single customer. Today, there are powerful solutions that give that same level of intelligence to every single small and medium-sized online store. Essentially, they hook into your store, pull all the purchase/product data, and crunch the numbers, analyzing everything, looking for trends in purchase habits. From there, the solution can predict the next 5 products each and every customer will likely buy, similar to the way Netflix predicts movies you are likely to watch next.

The relevance in the email dramatically increases customers engagement which leads to a better click-through rate percentage (a 300% increase), above average open rate and more revenue. Predictive emails are here to stay and are leading the way toward email intelligence. There is going to be more movement in the space in the coming years as most traditional ESPs are adding predictive capabilities to their email marketing solution.

Every year, there is at least one article that proclaims the death of email marketing. In 2016, email marketing was supposed to be dead because chatbots are taking over. Technology will always evolve and improve the way we communicate with consumers. Can email marketing survive those changes? Yes, data powered data emails are already here.

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