The Evolution of Email
Written by Franco Varriano.
In 1971, Ray Tomlinson invented direct email messages. Before his invention, electronic messages could be shared only on a very limited network. Despite its early ubiquity in the ARPANET during the seventies and eighties, it was the launch of Hotmail in 1996 that made email available for everyone who had access to a computer. By 2003, more than 77 million workers in the US who used computers had access to emails. Fast forward in 2012, 90 millions of Americans accessed their emails on a daily basis via mobile devices. The numbers are similar in the rest of the developed world as email literally change the way we communicate.
2. The Email Eras
The Spray and Pray Era
Interestingly enough, email marketing started in the early nineties. It is commonly referred to as the era of spray and pray because marketers were blasting emails to whomever did not opt out of the list. There was so much email blasting that in 1998, Oxford Dictionary added the word “Spam” in the English dictionary and the US government updated the Data Protection Act to include email opt-out.
The Email Database Era
At the dawn of the new millennium, email marketers began leveraging databases to sort customers based on specific attributes. In fact, the 1st behavioral email was sent in 2001. That early work laid the foundation of email segmentation. At the same time, Anti-Spam regulations became more strict and Spam Laws were introduced in most developed countries to fight abuse. An unrelated event took place in 2007 and changed the email marketing landscape: The introduction of the iPhone. Despite the fact that Blackberry did enable email on mobile devices, the iPhone changed the way we relate to our mobile devices by introducing an app centric operating system which led to a new industry powered by the latest technology in mobile computing.
The Segmentation Era
By 2010, email segmentation became the norm. According to DMA reports, 85% of email marketers were extensively using segmentation tools to send better emails and 40% of emails were opened on mobile devices by 2012. Segmentation led to automation which enabled email marketers to put their marketing operations on wheels. According to eMarketer Reports, in 2013, email marketers who took advantage of automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%, and 53% of marketers ranked email marketing as the most effective digital channel.
The Predictive Era
Fast forward in 2015, a new breed of emails were introduced to the landscape. Basically, they enable email marketers to deliver precise, personalized content and relevance at scale. A good example of such product is Rare.io’s predictive email marketing for online stores who enables marketers to send personalized product recommendations to thousands of customers, as shown in the image below.
The relevance in the email dramatically increases customers engagement which leads to a better click-through rate percentage and better conversion.
With the passing of Ray Tomlinson, the future of email is in our hands and we must keep innovating to keep his legacy alive. As far as the future of email, we must add intelligence to our tools to send better emails. We define email intelligence as the ability to leverage a vast set of data to understand a user to the point where we can craft a highly relevant message at the right time that delights and engages them.
Wait, did I just describe Predictive Email? Maybe
If you’re looking to get more out of your email marketing – Rare.io is the platform for you!
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.