In a world where consumers are being bombarded with ads and marketing messages, it’s getting harder and harder for brands to stand out from the crowd. As such, many digital marketers feel pressured to adapt new, unproven strategies to reach the right prospects and hit their customer acquisition goals. But is this wise?—Probably not. The truth is, it’s the tried-and-true methods of reaching people that still perform the best when it comes to converting prospects into customers. Which is why—even in the midst of an increasingly dynamic technology landscape, where consumers enjoy so many avenues to purchase—it’s email that still forms the backbone of modern customer acquisition.
Email is ubiquitous tool for communication
Email is one of the most intuitive, inexpensive, and widely available modes of modern communication. It is as convenient for consumers to use (low-barriers to entry) as it is for businesses, and when it comes to marketing reach, it can be virtually limitless depending upon a brand’s access to first- or third-party data.
- More than 4 billion people use email.
- Email adoption is growing by 3% per year.
- 91% of consumers check their email every day.
Email is effective—really, really effective
As far as marketing channels go, none is as across-the-board effective at transforming consumers into customers as email. Email helps marketers reach people with timely messaging that encourages them to shop in-store and online. Moreover, email makes it simple for brands to stay top-of-mind with prospects, which not only increases the likelihood of direct sales, but it also broadens general consumer awareness (increasing the possibility of indirect or referral sales). It is that kind of efficacy that allows email to drive the best ROI of any channel available to marketers.
- About 40% of all consumer purchases are directly influenced by email.
- Median ROI for email marketing is 124% higher than the median for direct mail.
- 73% of consumers say email is their “preferred” channel for receiving marketing messages.
Email acquisition is fast to set up, execute, and optimize
Compared to many other modes of new customer acquisition, email is quicker to set up, run, and optimize. Much of this speed is derived from AI, which makes personalizing email content content and product offerings based on individual interests, demographics, and real-time behaviors (pulled from continuously updated consumer profiles) a snap. Always-on predictive insights allow marketers to effortlessly optimize everything from the subject line and template design, to send time and send frequency. The best platforms for email acquisition will also accommodate enterprise-level volume, provide advanced sequencing, and offer continuous optimization so it’s straightforward to both acquire new customers and engage current ones.
- Email goes where people go—62% of email opens occur on mobile.
- Deliverability is off-the-charts good—99.5% successful in Zeta’s case.
- Setting up and launching an email campaign can be done in as little as 24 hours.
Email offers marketers incredible personalization
Personalization greatly influences customer acquisition—the more personalized the message, the more likely it is to resonate with the consumer. And the more resonance a marketing message can create, the better its odds of transforming a consumer into a paying customer. In terms of reaching potential customers at scale and in a personalized way, few if any digital marketing mediums can compete with email. With email, marketers can personalize content based on a long list of factors including: content consumption, transaction history, location data, gender, age, and more, making it easy to provide hyper-relevant content to prospective customers at just the right moment in time.
- AI-powered personalization delivers a 288% lift to email open rates.
- AI-powered personalization delivers a 556% lift to email click-through rates.
- AI-powered personalization delivers a 100% lift to email click-to-open rates.
Email is what people want
A personalized brand message or promotion is great—but if it isn’t delivered in the channel people want to see it, it’s going to fall flat. As far as marketing goes, the one channel consumers consistently prefer over all others is email. Why? Well, here are a few reasons. In addition to being flexible enough to adapt to the experiential preferences of an individual consumer (e.g., adjusting for dark mode), it’s easy to personalize, it isn’t restricted to arbitrary character limits (e.g., a sponsored post on Twitter), it requires more thoughtful consideration to produce than other forms of content (e.g. SEM advertisements), and it comes with certain protections (e.g., authentication checks, etc.) that make people feel more at ease it comes to engagement.
- 83% of consumers believe email is the best way to get brand communications.
- 62.9% of retail-related consumers indicate email is their preferred mode of contact.
- 58% of consumers check their email before checking other online media (social, news, etc.) every day.
Email is more necessary than ever
One of the reasons digital is such an effective medium for customer acquisition is its connection to identity technology. This is especially true as consumers spend more time on an ever-widening array of digital devices and channels. Without identifiers, marketers would struggle to understand how their spend drives everything from engagement to acquisition to incremental revenue. The threatened loss of the cross-domain IDs (as announced by Google) and mobile-ad IDs (a.k.a. MAIDs, as announced by Apple) means marketers may soon be without one of their most effective weapons in the fight for new customers. So, where does email fit in the picture? Well, if cross-domain IDs and MAIDs disappear, email will be one of the few suitable identifiers left for marketers to tap into for customer acquisition.
Using email as an identifier (as part of a broader, integrated acquisition platform) will allow marketer to be more responsive in their communication with prospects, provide more consistent messaging, and be more accurate in measuring results. Coupled with AI, marketers will retain the ability to personalize at scale, and more rapidly adapt to changing consumer engagement patterns. Would email be a perfect replacement for cross-domain IDs and MAIDs?—Of course not, but it will certainly help alleviate some of the pain marketers might otherwise feel.
Customer acquisition is important. We’re here to help.
Talk to Zeta—Our experience using email as either a standalone acquisition solution or as part of a broader, omnichannel acquisition approach is second-to-none. Whether you need advice, actionable insights, or straight up results, the acquisition experts at Zeta are here to help.