GDPR is an acronym that slammed a (very large) nail into the coffin of email marketing.
Until the privacy laws changed in May 2018, a never-ending queue of companies sent consumers newsletter after newsletter; eshots, sales notices, brochures, articles, and more, straight into their inboxes. Pre-GDPR, the sheer volume of information received often meant recipients didn’t open or read any of the messages sent.
On a practical level, email marketing is a cost-effective way for any company to promote its wares. No printing or delivery costs, no paying for expensive airtime or column inches. As a result, the number of prospective emails sent to existing and potential customers boomed.
The boom got out of hand, however, which was one of the reasons the GDPR laws were changed. Companies were sending hundreds and thousands of eshots, spamming our inboxes, based on negligible permission from consumers (if any at all). Consumer data was bought and sold, which became a profitable industry in itself.
Though an easy, quick and affordable solution for businesses, once every company caught on, each of their individual messages became lost in an ocean of noisy spam.
The revulsion and confusion around email marketing in May 2018, which was when GDPR was introduced, saw a lot of businesses reverting back to traditional methods, such as print media and direct mail.
Now the herd has dispersed, email marketing messages don’t have as much competition in each individual discipline, and the strict privacy laws at least mean that a consumer, if they are willing to receive an email from a company, actively want to hear from them – a natural filter that cuts through the ‘not bothereds’ and ‘never will be bothereds’ to the ‘I actually might, you knows’.
Which means that email marketing is having a relative revival. The benefit, resulting from GDPR, is that any eshot is much more targeted to an individual consumer than in the past. And it’s this personalisation that’s going down a storm.
In 2019, though perhaps taking a little more time (which does have a small cost attached; time = money), personalising emails has a strike rate worthy of the effort. Opting to talk directly to the individual, rather than a templated, generic spiel about what the company has to offer, today’s eshots offer individually tailored advice, statistics, benefits and offers. They don’t necessarily use the opportunity to sell, which is a good reason why many are opened and read. They talk to the recipient, not at them. They use email to strengthen the relationship between company and consumer, knowing that it adds to the latter’s experience of the brand.
Some eshots today embed video and other technologies, viewing the privilege of being open in someone’s inbox as the opportunity to wow and entice, rather than to sell, sell, sell. These savvy companies also understand that three-quarters of recipients will open the email on their smartphone and subsequently tailor their content to compensate. No long, text-heavy round robins; instead, visually-impressive, interactive messages.
In summary, email marketing is more alive than ever. The mailing en masse and shouting into a vacuum has, thankfully, gone.