Email is here to stay — in fact our latest study shows over half (51%) of UK office workers expect email usage to increase over the next two years . Mobile devices are encouraging the majority of us to obsessively check our inbox around the clock, and a massive 81% of us check email outside of working hours. A third (31%) of people even admit to checking their messages while still in bed in the morning – a figure which jumps to 50% for those aged 18–24.
Our continued addiction to email, particularly by millennials, means nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers still prefer to receive marketing offers in this way, way ahead of direct mail (20%), social media channels (6%), the brand’s mobile app (5%), text message (4%) and phone (2%). Email is more relevant than ever before, and marketers cannot afford to let promotional messages go stale.
So why then are the majority of email offers sent by brands left unopened? Consumers are clearly not being wowed and are left frustrated by brands that have not yet broken away from the days of blast-style emails. People want to see fewer emails (35%) and less repetition of the same messages (34%), while those checking email on their smartphone are turned off by having to scroll too much to read an entire email (28%), the layout not being optimised for mobile (21%), and having to wait for images to load (21%).
One thing which hasn’t changed, however, is our appetite for offers and vouchers. Two thirds (67%) of people said they would be more likely to open a marketing email if the subject line made it clear there was an offer or voucher, with women aged 18–34 the savviest shoppers.
Email Marketing: Old dog, new tricks
Email has been a mainstay of office culture for more than 30 years now so, of all the marketing disciplines, this is often the one in desperate need of reinvention. Brands must learn to do new things with the old technology — like geo-targeting, video and buy buttons – and adapt to constantly evolving email habits. Only in the past couple of years, for example, we’ve seen an explosion in the use of emoji with nearly a third (30%) of UK office workers using the pictures or facial expressions not just with their friends but in emails to their boss. As informality has crept into the workplace, four in ten (39%) people will use also emoji when emailing a direct manager and 59% when emailing peers.
We have also seen a growing trend for email detoxes, with 35% of people now saying they have some self-imposed time out. The average detox lasted 5.5 days and respondents reported feeling “Liberated” (33%) or “Relaxed” (44%).
Detoxes aside, email marketers have an undeniably devoted audience. The priority must be to keep consumers engaged through more dynamic content that reaches the right person, with the right content, at the right place and at just the right moment. Email has stood the test of time, and brands need to make sure their messages keep the same relevance.
About the research: Between July 13–17, 400 UK office workers were surveyed about their use of work and personal email. All respondents owned a smartphone.