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What email content do your customers want to receive?

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 31 Mar, 2020
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Chart of the week: Discounts, receipts and advanced notice of products/sales are the top performers for email content according to customers, but marketers are not following suit in their email comms

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) published its Marketer Email Tracker 2020 last week. Combining insights by marketers and customers alike, the report explores email’s multi-faceted role in communicating with consumers across all stages of the customer lifecycle – not just as a transactional channel, but one that can be used to inform and build long-lasting relationships.

Email is customers' top pick of the channels

Research by DMA found that email topped every channel when customers were asked their preference for receiving information, including appointments/reminders, customer service, new products, and tutorials.

In this report, email outperformed all other channels listed below:

  • Messenger
  • Post
  • Text
  • Face-to-face
  • Online
  • Phone
  • Social media
  • Email

This news is music to email marketers' ears, since this channel has the monopoly of all aspects of pre- and post-purchase customer communication. However, smart marketers will recognize that demographics use technology in different ways. In fact, DMA's Customer Engagement: Acquisition and the Customer Mindset has reported for the first time social media has overtaken email as 18-24 year olds' preferred channel.

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To complement their Marketer Email Tracker 2020, DMA undertook a more in-depth study into mature email consumers, aged 45-65, and their use of this channel. Tim Bond has kindly made available this infographic and commentary on the Smart Insights blog: How to engage mature consumers with email marketing.

“The importance of email to a business cannot be understated. It remains the primary channel that both marketers and consumers prefer across all stages of the customer lifecycle. It’s able to assist brands to enhance customer experience across each stage of this journey like no other channel

“During these challenging times for many people, we are seeing email used as a key medium for organisations to communicate with their customers. Brands are using email as the primary way to provide customers with advice, reassurance and updates.”

- Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA

How are marketers communicating with their customers?

Following their customers' lead, marketers also reported utilizing email as the primary channel for every information type. Although, notably, social media is being increasingly used to inform customers of ‘New products or services’ (61%), ‘Discounts, offers or sales’ (54%), and ‘Advice, information or tutorials’ (52%).

Meanwhile, phone calls are still seen as useful for ‘Customer Service’ (53%) and online ads offer opportunities when it comes to ‘New products or services’ (40%), and ‘Discounts, offers or sales’ (38%).

The stats for marketers' distribution of information by channels, as well as the study's division of information into categories, can be found in the chart below:

Email communication type

What do consumers want from their emails, and what are marketers giving them?

As we can see from the above, alongside tactical usage of other channels for particular information types, marketers are well and truly on the email bandwagon - and the average consumer would rather receive email contact than anything else.

But, what email content really makes consumers tick? The DMA found that, by comparing consumer preferences with businesses' current email strategy, analysis reveals both influence and opportunity.

Clearly, email's influence as a means to share engaging content and the latest information with customers is evident in the chart above. Moreover, the range of information type recorded for this channel extends beyond a channel simply to share ‘Discounts and offers’.

However, there remain potentially missed opportunities for brands in ‘Email receipts’ (28% gap) and ‘Access to other benefits’ (17% gap), with both having a significant disparity between consumers liking this information in emails and marketers seeing them as effective.

“Email continues to evolve to meet the challenge of an integrated digital world by providing a more diverse range of messages than ever before and delivers impact across every stage of the customer lifecycle.

With customer experience now being the driving force behind marketing effectiveness, email marketers need to focus their energies on understanding how we can properly maximise its effectiveness in the right way to add value to the customer experience.”

- Mark Ash, CEO at Pure360

Your email strategy

Is your company making the most of your email comms? With this latest report comes the justification you always wanted to properly invest time and resource in your email strategy.

Moreover, what information types do you currently communicate by email? Is there more you could do? What training or e-learning would facilitate that? These are the kind of questions marketers need to evaluate now to stay ahead - especially in the current economic climate, where digital tools for keeping customers engaged are more important than ever.

Auhtor's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle is a Digital Marketing Executive at Smart Insights, responsible for managing the company's social media and content campaigns. With over 5 years of marcomms experience, Gabrielle's interests lie in the customer journey, marketing data analytics, and project management. Gabrielle enjoys traveling, going to church, and good conversation - alongside her busy second-life as a trobairitz. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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