As email marketing heads into its teen years, it’s only natural for members of the community to want to talk about the evolution of this practice. Aside from the intriguing nature of this introspection, it also presents a unique opportunity to learn from a few lessons of the past. With this in mind, let’s take a few minutes to delve into the history of email marketing best practices, where this industry stands now, and how keeping a keen eye on where it’s heading in the future could be the key to sustained success for your brand in the inbox for years to come.
The Email Marketing of Yesteryear
According to Solomon Thimothy of The Huffington Post, the big draw for email marketing in the infancy of this process was to “cast a wide net” and hope for the best. As archaic or unrefined as this may sound, it actually was a relatively successful way to approach the rising importance of the inbox. After all, without the optimization tools of today, doesn’t it make sense for quantity to push quality to the backseat in these early days?
Additionally, this “spray and pray” take on earlier email marketing had little understanding of the need for content that addressed the needs and issues related to the lives of consumers. Instead, this time period was defined entirely by promotional content throughout every phase of the approach when reaching out to customers.
The Industry as It Stands Today
If that look into the past sounds a lot different from what you’re used to doing with campaigns of your own in the present day, you’re not wrong. Thimothy goes on to highlight the fact that email marketing has come a long way in terms of effectiveness and reach, all thanks to some major industry breakthroughs.
At the top of this list of innovations is the shift away from “one size fits all” email marketing and toward personalization. Essentially, marketers and the brands these professionals represent have learned over the years that sales pitches are a part of the process, but this practice needs to be supported by content that addresses pain points in a personal manner. The days of mass messages that show little emphasis on the user are long gone, replaced instead by content that’s driven by value, creates a personal connection, and are often fired off based on a triggered event.
Where’s This Practice Heading Next?
So now that we’re up to speed with the history of email marketing and caught up with this industry’s current progression, it’s time to talk about the question that’s undoubtedly at the forefront of your thoughts: What’s next for the world of inbox outreach? As Nicole Fallon of Business News Daily explains, the next step for email marketing relies upon the continued acceptance of “Big Data” and real-time responses as well as shifts within your target audience.
To put it simply, with seemingly every brand and industry across the web trying to get a foothold in the inbox, continued success moving forward relies heavily upon your willingness to stay relevant and in-touch with your audience. The best way to accomplish these goals? Having a steady stream of reliable data that tells the story of the people that matter most to your brand, as well as a way to translate this knowledge into actionable inbox content in real time.
Ensuring Your Brand Always Stays Ahead of the Curve
If all of this sounds a little cloudy, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Thankfully, one of the best ways to overcome this fear of the unknown and ride what Patrick Tripp of Inc. magazine calls an email marketing “renaissance” into the future is by arming yourself with a team of trusted experts who know how to forge ahead with cutting edge tactics.
From converting consumer data into contextually relevant content and imagery, to personalizing these offerings based on local factors like news stories and the weather, there’s nothing in the email marketing “rulebook” that says you have to travel this path all on your own. Even if you’re just looking to bounce a few ideas off of someone who has been around the block a time or two, aligning you brand with the right platform and professionals can ensure that you always make the most of the finite number of opportunities found within the inbox. Adding in the fact that email marketing has changed so much in the time it has been around, it only makes sense to do everything you can to put your best foot forward as this practice continues to grow and evolve.