Email: The internet’s cockroach

Emanuel Henriques

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Odd title, huh!? Myth or not, we have all heard about cockroaches’ natural resilience and their infamous ability to survive a nuclear holocaust. True or not, it offers us a great example of how to adapt and survive. In our connected, mega-social, app-driven world, Email is a perfect example of the relentless and sheer determination to stay alive against all odds.

Since the dawn of the internet, it’s hallmark purpose has been closely linked with communication – engaging, reaching out, personal expression or relaying information. Email is undeniably one of the very first digital milestones in history, and despite its relative age, it is still astonishingly relevant in 2019.

If we peer back in time, a countless number of communication platforms have appeared, peaked, and slowly faded into digital oblivion. Yahoo Messenger, AOL, ICQ, MSN, and other instant messaging programs; Social platforms like MySpace and Hi5, or even remote IRC, all represented different ways to communicate. Slowly but surely, the world witnessed the rise of Social Media, awing us all with its supernatural ability to share and spread information as wildfire. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and many others have become the weapon of choice for any corporation, business or organization to effectively promote their products and services and stay updated and relevant to an ever-changing populous.

The very first email was sent (and received) in 1971! So, how does email still fit in 2019? How does it stand against newer, trendier social media platforms?

Facts first, around 90% of adults in the US claim to use email on a regular basis. That’s a massive amount of people! When compared to 70% usage of social media, it sounds even more impressive. Even though email doesn’t have all the bells, whistles, and fancy features flaunted by its newer communication cousins, the numbers alone should convince us. Email matters and it must be a cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy.

Here are 5 Email Strategy tips:

Don’t be a nag.

Regular email communication is an easy way to stay connected with your customers. Yet it is incredibly important not to overwhelm. Defining the frequency and the amount of information is key. We all want sales and we’re passionate about our companies, but the consequences of trying too hard with too much can end up labeling our newsletters as worthless spam.

It’s not you. It’s them.

A successful newsletter should provide your readers with the content and information they actually care about. It is tempting to talk about ourselves but keeping our own egos aside and focusing on what our customers want to read and know will increase engagement.

Make it worth opening.

The fact someone gave us their email address doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll read our emails. Assume nothing and aim to include content that serves your readers, making them eager to open, read and ultimately, engage – like a good book you simply can’t put down! Most importantly, write your content to match your brand and make it sound as authentically you as possible.

Rinse and repeat.

Content and good writing are absolutely essential but you can’t neglect the scientific side. Analytics, keywords and other associated data points can and should be a part of how and what to write. When in doubt, experiment with different approaches and don’t be afraid to try something new. Iterations and engagement tracking can help you find the right balance and voice. Try different headlines, layouts, and even laser-focused content written to what you already know about your readers. A/B testing is no longer relegated to web design and can/should be an effective part of your email strategy.

Hold Fast!

Before you jump behind your digital typewriter and start flinging words out of your fingers, focus on creating a strategy first. What are you trying to achieve? How will you measure success? Who are you writing for? Create a battle plan that is consistent with your brand and the rest of your digital marketing efforts. Your ‘wasted’ time planning will pay dividends later, especially when your emails, campaigns, and social media channels are all buzzing with eager fans. Devise a plan and stick to it!

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Some might say email is on its dying gasp as the younger generations take the oars of the digital world. Perhaps…but for now, the metrics prove that the good ‘ole email, the cockroach of the internet age, is still the juggernaut of online communication and deserves its place in any successful marketing strategy. Use it wisely.

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