In 2018, 3.8 billion users sent 280 billion emails a day worldwide. It is predicted that by the year 2022, we will reach up to 333 billion emails a day. Email is an inexpensive way to connect with customers and its ROI (return on investment) of 42% is enough to ignite the hearts of marketers …

Faced with these huge numbers, the relevance of an email becomes more and more important when it comes to communicating with customers by email. Marketers want their message to stand out from the other $ 332.999 billion that is sent to customers every day.

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A second trend that is occurring in the business world and which can also be exploited in email is personalization. Finally, the importance of engagement is growing. The challenge is to bring these three factors together to find a way for customers to engage with brands through email.

Adaptation and personalization, by their very nature, increase customer engagement, foster closer customer relationships and, ultimately, increase spending. This is possible in email marketing if we offer individual choices within standardized frameworks.

The standards facilitate communication between senders and recipients and allow email to be more flexible and productive. “Email Just For You” represents the importance of this desired individuality, but also of the quality standards that are the basis of the evolution of email.

Personal experience in email marketing

What can marketers do to personalize more
effectively their messages?

1. Relevance

Personalization is
based on the extent to which email content and email
itself correspond to the needs of the recipient. The email should always be
personalized according to the needs of the recipient, because it is then
relevant to that person. It should be sent with the correct content to the
right person, at the right time.

Personalization must
so go first, as a rule. There could be exceptions,
of course. For example, if I receive a birthday email, it is not
necessary to personalize it more than to wish me a good

2. Personalization

Personalization is therefore a finer categorization within the adaptation of the email. Of course, you must first have additional information from the recipient – and especially with his agreement. Marketers can only use the information that the recipient wants them to use, and they should make it very clear to the recipient that they only work with the information that the recipient allows them to use.

One of the mechanisms for obtaining this information is by asking for feedback or developing a creative campaign of activities where recipients can submit their data. In this way, it is possible to obtain information about customers and their consent to collect and use data. This data can then be used to create truly targeted and personalized messages.

An example would be recipient feedback about a product. However, to achieve this, one of the main challenges is that the different departments of the company must collaborate much more closely than they have done in the past. With this approach, it is no longer possible to operate in silos in the company.

In terms of feedback, for example, there has to be a link between email marketers and customer service. If customer service receives a message from a dissatisfied customer, this information can be incorporated into email marketing activities. But this really requires a change of mentality in companies and collaboration between services.

For more information on how to approach this issue, customer feedback by email is the topic discussed by Leonie Jonker from Paula’s Choice text, “Building RelationshipsThrough Customer Feedback”.

To make the message even more relevant, it is
possible to add information about
upcoming events or webinars. Online signature generators such
that Newoldstamp allow to normalize
email signatures for all employees.

This type of professional signature can add a personalized touch to professional emails and make communication more friendly and humanized.

3. Do not cross the line of non-consent, avoid the so-called “creepy line”

Without data on recipient behavior,
it is not possible to customize. But this kind of data is now
subject to the strict rules of the GDPR. Marketers must
make sure of two things: they have to respect data protection and
avoid the threshold called “creepy line” (defined so
less clear and very individual).

Talking to different players in the industry
email – marketers or security specialists, for example – it
is clear that everyone knows what “creepy line” means, but everyone
defines it differently for itself. That’s the danger – the
Marketers must put themselves in the shoes of their customers.
When we talk about “creepy line”, what we mean,
is that you, as the recipient, receive an email and you can
see from the content that the sender knows something about you that you
don’t want him to know.

But again, this line not to
to cross is defined very individually by each. What everyone wants
the company knows about it differs
from one person to another. Companies must therefore be very careful to
always be transparent and not to use data that scares people
recipients and raising the alarm: “Hey, where are they from, these
data? I didn’t want them to know. ” A possible consequence of
this could be that the recipients unsubscribe from a newsletter, and this
is not what marketers want.

And it’s not just about whether a customer “wants”
let the business know something – it’s about whether the business is
even “authorized” to know. This principle is based on the concept
consent form as set out in the general regulations of
the EU on data protection (GDPR), for example: companies do not
may collect only the data for which the recipient has given them
his consent.

The future lies in personalized e-mail

There are a host of developments on the horizon that have the potential to make the email experience even more individual, relevant and engaging. In terms of the medium to long term future, of course, the email experience is more difficult to define. In the medium term, email may just be the core technology, the messaging system for a stimulating customer experience. Maybe we won’t even have an email client anymore.

Email data could be provided to us based on its relevance and immediate importance by AI-based assistants, and our responses will be dictated rather than typed – which is far from our current email experience. But we will have to wait to see.

However, in the near future, we see that the border between different marketing channels or marketing tools is blurring. For example, it becomes possible for recipients to interact by email as if they were on a website. Pilot projects for interactive email are underway.

The advantage for the sender is that it can provide a personalized experience without requiring users to log in or go online, and recipient interaction and engagement are much better. Users can click through a photo gallery, write comments, experiment with a range of colors, all without leaving the email, as Mark Robbins of Salesforce explains in his interactive email interview.

One of the email interactivity projects is the Google AMP for Email project, launched in early 2019. It enables dynamic content in emails, and can do interesting things like bringing real-time data into the mails. Going back to my birthday email, a sender using AMP could integrate real-time data into this email, like today’s weather in my hometown or my current location.

If it’s raining a lot, the birthday offer could be a 50 percent discount on a new rain coat, while if the weather is nice and 35 ° C, I could get a 50 discount percent on swimwear. This will make certain types of emails much more relevant.

Why should marketers be “seduced” by email standards?

Such innovations in the email world don’t
are only possible by creating standards that everyone can use.
But email standards don’t necessarily convince
marketers. They are not very interested in ensuring that
their emails conform to it. Marketers tend to be interested
more to the pretty photos, the design, the colors and the ability to follow.

Many marketers do
not consider that the implementation of technical details is relevant to
their industry. Partly because we don’t see the result
at once. This is a challenge that we face in implementing
a standard, new technology or best practice:
sometimes we don’t see the result right away. And if you work
in the marketing department and you have dashboards to fill out
and objectives to reach at the end of the quarter, nothing encourages you to
set up the technical details.

So what are the results of implementing technical standards? The long-term result is that you can still send emails. And therein lies the problem: there are few positive incentives, but there is a high risk and the damage will be there in the long run. Therefore, we need to rephrase the question: what are the consequences of not applying technical standards?

The answer is this: if you don’t apply best practices now, you will have a very big problem in the future – your reputation could be ruined and it will be very difficult to repair. Perhaps you will have legal fines from your customers and email service providers will no longer even send your emails. If you haven’t set up a reporting system, you won’t even notice. The clear message is therefore the high risk of inaction.

Email security analysts have started to understand the need to promote technical standards, and they are starting to speak to senders of marketing emails in a language they understand. The BIMI standard is a very good example. BIMI allows a brand to display its logo in the recipient’s inbox if DMARC is implemented in a specific way by the sending domain.

So if you have implemented DMARC effectively, your brand logo will be displayed in the inboxes and this is a language that marketers understand. And I think that’s the point on which the industry has to work together in order to make these standards attractive, as Marcel Becker and Seth Blanken speak in their interview “Email Revolution”.

Another standard under development is With, the goal is to build a “smart inbox” – a digital assistant for email management. Such initiatives can have a profound effect on the email experience of the future. The problem is that before a machine (whether it’s your email client or your voice assistant) can help you with an email, it must first understand the subject of an email .

Although machine learning has already made some progress in interpreting email information, schema-org may offer a better and cleaner solution: let the email itself say its purpose , through additional tagging and meta-information. Brands, in particular, would benefit from doing so because the sender then has 100% control over the interpretation of the email by different machines or smart inboxes.

CSA promotes standards development

The CertifiedSenders Alliance (CSA) promotes the development of standards and technologies that improve email.

First, we set standards
quality. This means that we are looking at the current law and talking about
with email service providers and senders, so the industry
email. We also need to update the standards regularly, at least
need. CSA criteria make an excellent set of best
practices. So here we are talking about theory.

We then certify shippers who comply with these standards and put them into practice. And we have technology partners and email service providers who have implemented the senders list that meet these standards and have a deliverability advantage for them. So if you follow CSA best practices and have your brand certified, or if you work with a CSA certified email service provider, you will have the benefit of better deliverability.

In addition to setting standards and certification, we also encourage the development of new technical standards and new technologies that are always presented at the CSA Annual Summit, where experts talk about new developments, in white papers as well than during interviews. Finally, the CSA seal means that senders care about the quality of their emails and that is of great interest to their customers.