by Jay Morris
If you’re a baby boomer, you probably remember this gem of a marketing slogan from the 1980s: “Radio. It’s Red Hot!” It was radio’s claim to relevancy and continued clout at a time when advertisers were salivating over new media like cable TV and consumers were falling in love with CDs and videocassettes. But as an Esquire magazine headline announced in March 1984, “RADIO LIVES!” In fact, radio experienced a renaissance of sorts in the 1980s. It was portable, it was immediate, and it was local.
Fast-forward some 30 years, and today’s red-hot medium is — drumroll — email. Yes, email. Email may seem dowdy compared to its young, upstart social media cousins, but it remains the king of the digital jungle when it comes to reaching consumers and influencing buying decisions.
Consider these facts as you weigh which media to invest in at your firm:
- The 3.7 billion people, according to an analysis by The Radicati Group, who use email are a larger audience for marketing and communication than either Facebook or Twitter users.
- Consumers spend huge chunks of time checking emails — 5.4 hours each weekday — and it’s still their preferred communication channel at work, according to Adobe’s most recent annual survey of consumer email use. Adobe found consumers check emails while walking, working out, talking on the phone, eating dinner or even attending formal ceremonies.
- Emails get read — 61% of emails analyzed by Return Path were fully read, with emails received on mobile devices the most likely to be read. Return Path found consumers prefer mobile over web platforms nearly two to one.
Most important, the Adobe survey shows that email delivers what consumers want in brand communication. “Sixty-one percent of consumers indicated that they prefer to receive offers via email, which is a 24% increase over last year,” Adobe reported.
Adobe says no other form of communication comes close to email as the consumer’s preferred method of contact, including direct mail (18%), mobile apps (6%), social media channels (5%), text messages (5%) and phone calls (4%).
How to Use Red-Hot Email
Email marketing should be a no-brainer for agencies and companies. The good news is that there are many solutions to choose from, and most of them can be fully integrated with your customer relationship management software. New leads, renewals, cross-selling — there’s a proven email strategy out there.
Based on its survey, Adobe has these four tips for email marketers. Keep them in mind as you reach out to insurance consumers.
- Personalize: “34% of consumers said they get frustrated when brands recommend items that don’t match their interests.”
- Inform: “40% of consumers told us that they wish email content was less promotional and more informative. They’re savvy about when someone’s selling too hard.”
- Mobilize: “21% of consumers who check messages on mobile devices are annoyed about brands’ lack of mobile optimization.”
- Pace yourself: “Half of consumers say that the most annoying thing about emails from brands is when they arrive too often.”
As McKinsey & Company noted in a 2014 article: Email marketing works! It’s 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter, and it prompts purchases at a rate at least three times that of social media. In other words, it’s red hot.