Pillar 4 | Email
In 2017, there were 3.7 billion recorded global email users. This number is predicted to grow to up to 4.1 billion users by 2021. It’s been 40 years since Ray Tomlinson sent the first email and it continues to be one of the most effective digital media channels, surpassing social media marketing according to research conducted by SmartInsights.
In a head to head comparison with Facebook and Twitter, email is still the preferred platform for receiving promotional messages.
While customers may be more proactive on search engines or social media, they are more likely to be reached and willing to interact with a brand through email. This is why email is still the preferred method of communication between brands and their audience, and a key pillar of digital strategy. If social media is your platform for personalised customer engagement, then email is what you can use to solidify that relationship. It simply engages recipients in a way that other platforms cannot. Customers are able to read messages in their own time and respond at their convenience. It keeps better record of conversations and access to email content is not restricted to a particular device or region. Email can also be easily forwarded and used to reach groups of people simultaneously.
Email continues to have a wider reach than social media. Only two percent of people may see a post on their social media feed, but ninety percent of emails reach their intended inbox. And in a post-GDPR setting, where many marketers have seen their email lists significantly reduced, it is important to remember that customers voluntarily sign up to a brand’s email list, allowing email marketing to reach those who have already expressed brand consideration and purchase intent.
With an average return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every $1 spent, email maintains its relevance as an accessible and affordable digital marketing channel and lead nurturing tool.
Make Your Emails Matter
Post-GDPR, it’s critical to consider the type of email communication that can make the most impact. Transactional emails or emails that are a result of an action on the customer’s part such as downloading a brochure, completing a booking, or filling a form, have become significantly more important. Not only do they give you a valid (and GDPR compliant) reason to reach out to your customer, they also prompt you to communicate with your customer just as they’ve recently interacted with your business, while your hotel brand is still fresh in their minds.
Why Make Email Part of Your Marketing Mix?
First, email tells you a lot about your target market. The way that your recipient list responds to your business gives you indispensable market data. Email allows you to gauge user interaction and segment this data to create detailed buyer personas. These personas can, in turn, be used to flesh out the rest of your marketing mix, e.g. to optimise PPC campaigns, to generate social media material and website content, resulting in higher quality leads.
Second, email works well with mobile. Mobile internet traffic is continuously poised to overtake desktop and, as of April 2018, already accounts for 51.2% of webpage views worldwide. Emails can be easily adapted for multiple mobile devices thanks to its minimal formatting options, making it easier for you to reach your target audience on their preferred device.
Third, email is easily personalised. Because email can provide you with a lot of information about your target market, it also makes it easy to create a personalised experience for them. Automated behavioural trigger emails can be used to keep your readers engaged with your business, while landing pages on your website customised according to your buyer personas can more successfully prompt users in your email lists to engage with specific aspects of your brand. These activities help strengthen your site’s online presence through customer engagement and retention, resulting in a more authoritative website.
Samantha Salazar, Digital Marketing Specialist at Bookassist (www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.
Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.