Often overlooked, never appreciated, email is still the backbone of a company's go-to-market strategy.
Email gets the brunt of the bad press because of spam and the sheer volume of junk that gets delivered into inboxes, but the fact is email is not going away anytime soon. Sure, tools like Slack are all the rage at work, and the “kids” don’t use email because they defer to things like Snapchat and Instagram, email’s value is in the world of the “grown-ups.”
News Feeds and Channels are great complements to email because you can maintain a singular path for conversation in one place and anybody can jump in, follow the thread and arrive in the same location. want to communicate with has an email address and it’s just as archivable and organized as any other tool you have. Email is searchable, it is able to be put in folders, and if you use one of the dominant forms like Gmail, you have a record that pretty much never goes away.
One of the first things I did when my kids were born was secure their respective email addresses. I used Gmail because I knew it would continue to be organized and useful as they got older. I started sending them personal notes in their first year of life and I continue to do so until this very day. They may not choose to do much with email when they’re teenagers, but when they get older and join the workforce, I think they’ll find it valuable.
Brand marketers use email to engage with their customers, both during acquisition and retention stages. Email is still the ability to deliver a message on the consumer’s terms. They can choose to engage or not. They can refer back to it when they like. They can forward it or print it out — you’d be surprised just how many people still print out their emails.
To make email work, you have to do certain things well. First, make sure you limit the volume and find the right balance between informing them and overloading them.
Second, make sure your emails are quick and to the point. If you are delivering insight, be brief. If you are requesting action, be clear.
Third, make sure deliverability is not an issue.
Limit the number of outbound links to ones that are in your primary domain and focus the desired actions on just one or two. If you give them too many choices, they will choose not to choose one.
You should also find the right balance between images and text in your emails, especially as you speak to a younger demographic. You can tell a story with a picture and you can get actions to be taken if you’re clear and focused. Two companies I think do a great job of this are Product Hunt, a curation of the best new tech products, and The Hustle, which provides tech and business news. Both are quick, succinct, humorous and to the point. I would imagine they get a high open rate, the best measurement of email efforts.
Don’t overlook email anymore. Email is not a secret weapon, but it’s one that the casual observer overlooks. It can be one of your most valuable tools.