Direct Line Blog

Why Email Marketing Remains So Effective

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A simple reward, apology, thank you, or reminder can go a long way with email subscribers.

Email remains a strong channel for brands and their messages.
Email remains a strong channel for brands and their messages.

Except while on the job, I rarely use email to communicate.  If I want to share fun pictures or a compelling news story, it's Facebook or Instagram. If I'm looking to fire off a random thought, you guessed it: Twitter.  And if I want a response in five minutes, or less, it's the speedy text message. For the past few years I've prided myself on evolving past email and morphing into a social maven.

Turns out I was wrong.

Earlier this week I had an epiphany: I carry on conversations through email all the time—with marketers. Email marketers are always grabbing my attention with some of the most enticing, compelling, and informative email messaging. And I respond by either buying a brand's products and services or extending the conversation to others or with the brands on social media. (Most certainly, social can be an extension of your email campaigns.)

Truthfully, email messages remain a strong channel for brands and their messages. In fact, a 2013 study from predictive analytics firm Custora shows that customer acquisition through email had more than quadrupled in just four years and accounted for nearly 7% of customer acquisitions.

These figures seem to match my experiences. So, I've plucked a few of the best email marketing messages from my inbox, and thought I'd show you some of the campaigns that were most effective in terms of prompting me to take some action.  I find my most valuable email messages usually fall into one of four categories: the abandoned cart email, the apologetic note, the thank-you message, and the reward email. Of course keep in mind others can be just as effective, such as loyalty programs or geo-targeted emails.

But these are just some of my fave examples that got me to purchase from or praise the brand.

Shop, shop on: The abandoned cart email
I had already bought a much-deserved handbag from Kate Spade, and considering I'm over budget this month, I decided to abandon a few of the items in my virtual shopping cart from the brand's new, less expensive extension, Kate Spade Saturday. However, Saturday reminded me just how much I need these items, by sending me an abandoned cart email. I think I'll be rummaging through my cart again.

Oops, my bad: The apologetic email
Tell me, who doesn't respect someone who can admit she's wrong? That respect extends to brands, as well. An email can be a great way for marketers to acknowledge, apologize, and then take action. I have much respect for ProFlowers.com for offering this major discount after broken links made ordering my Mother's Day flowers difficult.

And kudos to Optimum cable for apologizing for its disrupted cable service during my highly anticipated, couch-potato weekend.

Dude, you rock: The reward email
Loved this one from Amazon. For the umpteenth time, I rented The Devil Wears Prada on my Kindle, despite my family's protests to give up the movie. But Amazon showed its appreciation with this nice reward for my purchase: a promotional credit to my account.

¡Gracias!: The thank-you email
Who doesn't want to feel appreciated? I received this little note of appreciation after attending a fun night out hosted by Live in the Grey, a social movement to mesh your career with your passion.

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