The Evolution of
Email Marketing From Static
Blasts To Individualization
Written by Rob Lane.
Over the past 40 years, email has gone from being a corporate electronic memo system to allowing any one of us to send a detailed message to anyone else, from anywhere at any time… and to receive a daily stream of messages from the people and organizations that we trust and value. As email evolved, marketers have been able to connect with their target audience in more personalized and meaningful ways, increasing the effectiveness of this viable marketing channel.
2. Static Blasts
“Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp., sent his first mass e-mailing to 400 customers over the Arpanet, hoping to get attention, particularly from West Coast customers, for Digital’s new T-series of VAX systems.”
The experiment generated millions in sales for DEC and marked the beginning of an era.
With the arrival of the internet in the 90s, and the advent of mass scale, free web-based email platforms, like Hotmail, email marketing floodgates were cranked wide open. So too were the opportunities for spammers. By the end of the 90s, anti-spam laws were popping up and we would no longer accept a cookie cutter email as credible.
3. Rudimentary Personalized Content
Marketers reacted by beginning to think of their audience, not as a collective, but rather as a group of individuals with unique identifiers called names. Rudimentary efforts at personalized email started to appear with customers’ names placed in the salutation. Suddenly, emails were coming in with my name on them… wow there must be something good here!
4. Basic Segmentation
As great as this level of personalized content was, consumers quickly discerned that not much had changed from the one-size-fits-all approach by including a few personal details into a form letter; consumers demanded something more. Marketers learned that by using basic segmentation, for example by pitching a sale in a New York City store only to New Yorkers, they would have greater success in their campaigns.
5. Dynamic Content
Enter the dynamic dragon. By the start of the new millennium, the public had become more discriminating about what they were going to tolerate in their inbox. Spam filters mushroomed, and consumers were now armed with the ability to opt-out of email lists. If marketers wanted their email messages to be opened and read, they needed be much more strategic and flexible regarding the content they were serving up to digital savvy consumers.
Dynamic content, that is relevant to consumers’ interests, wants, needs and identity, was a huge leap forward in digital marketing effectiveness deploying email:
“Research has repeatedly demonstrated that marketing that is targeted and more relevant to the end-recipient tends to see better results. For instance, relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails (Jupiter Research)”
6. Event Based Email
The reputation of the email sender plays a big role in establishing trust with consumers who are bombarded with online offers. The challenge for marketers is to stand out from the crowd by offering even more value, at the right time, in the messages they send:
“The answer was to make emails both timely and relevant through the implementation of triggered email reacting to online user behaviour. The first ever behavioural email was sent in 2001. By 2010 it was reported 48% of online marketers were using triggered emails.”
7. Individualized Email
The New Frontier of email marketing is individualized email that seamlessly integrates advanced segmentation, dynamic content, critical timing and predictive analytics to offer consumers choices they want, or might not even know they want until they see them:
“Email marketing has reached a whole new level of sophistication and effectiveness. Today, instead of sending semi-targeted messages to buckets of recipients according to general demographics, marketers can target individual prospects one at a time according to their tracked content interests, viewing habits and email behaviors (among other actions). ”
As email marketing continues to evolve, those companies that integrate what’s been learned over the last 40 years will have a distinct competitive advantage in connecting with consumers to build trust, increase loyalty and drive revenue.
Rare.io makes it easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails and more! You can learn more about our powerful email marketing automation features here or go ahead and get started right away by using Rare.io for FREE.
And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.