It’s not always easy to see where marketing is headed in the future, whether that’s one, five, or 20 years down the road. Experts produce a lot of content and clicks by making all sorts of predictions about what’s coming next, but even the experts are just making their own best guess based upon what they see around them. In this one case, though, we don’t have to do much speculation or guessing. The future is living in many of our kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms right now, and it’s voice.
For enterprise B2C marketers, email is among the most effective tools for reaching out to and connecting with customers. But it’s also a medium that’s challenging to leverage effectively, particularly when nearly everyone uses it — the competition for inbox space is fierce, and there’s no sign that people’s attention spans are getting longer. We understand the difficulties enterprise marketers face when it comes to maximizing their email ROI, but we wanted to dig deeper and see exactly where their priorities lie.
That was the motivation behind our recent survey, where we asked enterprise marketers to talk about their biggest challenges, top priorities, and their evaluation of how well they’re meeting their email marketing goals. It’s helpful to hear stories and talk in the field while discussing issues with clients, but this was an opportunity to look at a wide cross-section of enterprise marketers to take the temperature of the email industry, and what’s creating the biggest obstacles to success for marketing teams.
Ever get an email from a brand you loved, and they spelled your name wrong? Or called you by someone else’s name? It kind of hurts, doesn’t it? You know they didn’t put the email through a proofreading process before they sent it. If it’s a brand you don’t even remember signing up to get emails from, you probably laugh and hit Unsubscribe. But if it’s a brand you like and want to hear from, it can be hard for them to undo the damage.
As consumers expect more personalization from the emails in their inbox, the pressure grows on marketers to deliver. But, especially at the enterprise level, it’s never been more difficult to consistently create the kind of experience customers expect. While the CRM marketing cloud does a lot well, it also requires chopping up data and syncing it with the cloud, costing precious time and resources. And that lost time damages the marketer’s ability to reach customers with relevant messaging. That means your messages are just like so many others’ — general and impersonal. It’s the same mediocre experience your subscribers can get anywhere. You haven’t earned their loyalty.
We all agree email marketing is one of the top drivers of customer engagement, yielding the highest potential ROI of all marketing channels. We continue to see enterprise businesses investing more and more into email marketing, but are they optimizing their email efforts to improve deliverability?
With ReturnPath’s studies on email metrics, they show that read rates continue to drop annually and more messages are hitting the spam/bulk folder. Contrarily, they also found more consumers were marking promotional email as “Not Spam.”
Most ISPs (internet service providers) utilize machine learning to determine how they should filter inbound mail. Their primary goal is to ensure their users are happy, by delivering “wanted” mail to the inbox and keeping everything else out — whether it’s never delivered or filtered to spam. So it’s not necessarily that users aren’t engaging with email as often, but rather that ISP filters are becoming more aggressive — often filtering messages that users want to see in their inbox to the spam folder.
So as a sender, what are some best practices to follow to ensure your marketing emails are hitting customer’s inbox?