IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Why email still makes for a great business tool

FYI, this story is more than a year old

The popularity of social channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – as well as the rise of new age communications tools like Slack – is enough for anyone to think that email is a zombie communications tool that’s only used by people who aren’t savvy enough to move onto something better, more modern and more engaging.

In fact, nothing is further from the truth. Take a look at your own email inbox over the last month or two. It’s probably full of newsletters, promotions and social messages – and, in the run-up to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), emails from companies you have dealt with asking you to assent to new guidelines for receiving emails.

There’s a good reason for sending an email – it’s like digital glue, providing cohesion between all the other online channels. Emails are sticky, they cut through, and when customers open and read them, it demonstrates that they are active, interested and want to be engaged with your company.

Email is not going away. If anything, businesses are becoming more reliant on email. That’s why it’s important to invest in email as a way of reaching your current and prospective customers. New age tools like Twitter don’t offer the same direct connection and communication with your customers that email does. Those tools might be fine for dealing with customer service enquiries, but when it comes to personalised outbound communication, email is still the best game in town.

That said, you can’t just “batch and blast” – you need to have a plan! In a recent study conducted by Return Path, respondents who reported an improvement in the effectiveness of their email communications were five times more likely to have specific email marketing objectives in place. The study also found that participants who are boosting revenue are more than twice as likely to know which other brands are emailing their subscribers. Something to think about. 

Of course, it’s possible to go too far, as a court settlement from LinkedIn a couple of years ago demonstrates. LinkedIn sends emails because it knows they cut through, even though it’s a social network – but in the case of the settlement, LinkedIn acknowledged that it had been sending too many, and was fined $US13 million. 

So how can you avoid the LinkedIn scenario while still using email as a tool to effectively reach your customers? 

According to a survey from Gallup, using email as a customer engagement tool can be an extremely profitable undertaking. The survey found that customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% premium in terms of wallet share, profitability, revenue and relationship compared with the average customer. By way of contrast, actively disengaged customers represent a 13% discount on those same measures.

It’s surprisingly easy to measure your customers’ engagement using email marketing tools. It comes down to analysing open rates, the number of people clicking on links in your emails and the rates of people who are not engaged. This is done by looking at unsubscribe rates and the number of people marking your email as spam. A mainstream email marketing tool will be able to tell you all these things, and more.

It’s also important to monitor a set of “hidden” metrics that are prioritised by major mailbox providers like Microsoft and Gmail. High “Deleted Unread” rates can make you look like a bad sender, while high “Recovered from Spam” rates can make you look like a good sender. These metrics have an important impact on ensuring your emails get delivered, which directly impacts on campaign success.

So, what steps you can take to ensure your email is cutting through? Whether your objective is to communicate with customers, prospects or build brand awareness, the number one way to reach your recipient is to personalise your email. It might seem obvious, but it’s important to ensure your customer or prospect feels valued and as though the communication is speaking directly to them. 

According to this year’s Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census, personalisation is the single biggest area of focus for email senders in 2018 – but it’s also the single biggest part of their programs that they currently “cannot do to their satisfaction”.

There are a number of important reasons for this personalisation disconnect:

  • Low levels of trust between sender and consumer
  • Failure to recognise the sender
  • Lack of relevant offers
  • Imbalance in value exchanged
  • Failure to recognise the impact of external factors (e.g. poor in-store experience, negative press, etc.)

This is one of the reasons the GDPR is leading to stronger program performance in Europe. Stricter consent is building stronger levels of trust, meaning consumers are providing higher quality personal data, enabling senders to deliver better personalisation – which in turn leads to higher levels of engagement and greater ROI.

So is email a zombie? Will it get replaced by Slack, Twitter and Facebook? The answer is no in both cases. Email is the perfect engagement tool. It’s personalised, can cut through the clutter of other communication methods and customers can deal with it in their own time. Every business should be investing in email – not as an afterthought, but as a centrepiece of its communications strategy.

Article by Guy Hanson, Senior Director, International Consulting, Return Path

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS announces new products amid cloud portfolio success
Analytics and AI company SAS is deepening its broad industry portfolio with offerings that support life sciences, energy, and martech.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Nutanix study reveals financial services sector lagging with multicloud adoption
Nutanix has released new research that reveals the financial services sector is lagging behind when it comes to multicloud adoption.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Vodafone NZ buys remaining stake in retail joint venture
Vodafone New Zealand has purchased the remaining 50% stake in the specialist joint venture (JV) with private equity company Millennium Corp.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.