It may not be fashionable but email marketing is effective, and it’s getting smarter. That’s the view of Daniel Incandela, VP of Global Marketing for email marketing company Return Path.

“Everyone speaks of email’s demise or they talk about account based marketing or social being the next hot thing, but there are 4.35 billion email addresses in the world. Email volume is growing at 4 per cent per yearly and by 2020 there will be almost 260 billion emails sent and received per day,” Incandela told Which-50 during a visit to Sydney last week.

We know that email helps drive 20 per cent of ecommerce sales. In contrast social is 2 per cent.”

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With more brands turning to email, Incandela recommends marketers personalise their messages to cut through the noise.

“Marketers need to understand the inbox is getting more and more competitive. Anything that can be done that is data-driven and is revealed by data insights is going to help with that,” he said.

Return Path is beta testing a product to optimise send frequency based on user behaviour. Using data it has accumulated on each of its clients, the company is building predictive modelling to tell marketers when and how often to send emails.

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“We are taking the strength of Return Path’s data — they’ve been in business for 16 years which is one third of the lifetime of email itself — and they are using that data, insights into the inbox, to essentially look at a segment in the list and test out how and when you want to receive emails,” Incandela said.

“We just did two big beta tests with a major online retailer where the strategy was to actually decrease the number of sends and then with a major global financial company where the strategy was to actually increase sends. Both came back with some really, really positive results.”

Email marketing pros have long advocated for more relevant marketing, with even very high level segmentation such as gender shown to be effective.

“The average consumer will receive 500 promotional emails a month and will open one in 50,” Incandela said.

Relevancy, engaging subject lines and good content cannot be overlooked, Incandela said.

“I think it also comes back to good content, just being authentic with the voice of the brand and sharing content that you think has value. I think that is often overlooked,” he said.

“I think people just build emails, throw the content in and they hit send because they’ve got to get onto the next email. That’s not how it works. You’re taking your customer for granted when you do that.”

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