I attended an event yesterday morning at the offices of the law firm CMS in London entitled "2018 Technology Predictions" which was presented by a team from the Investment Bank GP Bullhound.

What was particularly interesting was the future role of email:

"2018 will be the year the volume of corporate emails sent in the US will cease to grow and begin to decline"

We were told that much of this decline will be due to fewer internal emails being sent as more and more companies use instant messaging platforms such as Slack. (Indeed 43% of Fortune 100 companies now use Slack!)

But more interestingly, from a marketing point of view, external emails are dropping as well:

"From 2016 to 2017, average email monthly send rates dropped from 9.8 to 8.1, and while engagement increased marginally, email marketing has been overtaken as an effective marketing tool."  Sendgrid, 2017 Global Email Benchmark Report

This decline should probably come as no surprise because, as seen in the quote below, the average email open rate of marketing emails is 22% and the click through (the metric that really matters!) is under 4%.  So why bother?

Here at Passle we launched an "email tool" last year called ISTATOY (I Saw This and Thought of You).  It allows the experts in a firm, to share their expert insights directly with their key clients and prospects.

Over the last few years we have been working with some of the biggest Professional Services and Tech firms in the world.  Working directly with the experts in these firms we have seen that most of them are not actually trying to influence (and sell to!) thousands of people.  Often, they have a very small, but highly targeted list of clients and potential clients - and those are the only people in the world they need to influence and engage with. We call it Expert-to-Expert marketing.

Yesterday, we ran some analysis on the click through rates of ISTATOY.  Since launch, the average click through for emails sent using ISATOY rate has been an astonishing 51%.  That is over 12 times the average click through rate of marketing emails.

This clearly highlights the power that email can still have when done in a very targeted and non spammy way.  The key to this is personalising the email and sharing  something that is useful and informative to that individual. What you should be sharing is summarised superbly in a recent report by LinkedIn and Edelman which says that the best insights and thought leadership are:

  1. Timely and relevant
  2. Provide insights on specific trends and challenges within the target customer’s industry
  3. Is easily consumable e.g. short form and infographics
  4. Is focused on current industry topics
  5. Trusted Source: It is forwarded by someone the recipient knows and respects i.e. Expert-to-Expert marketing

The decline in email may be upon us but that brings a huge opportunity for a smaller number of highly targeted, highly personalised emails to the people that matter most.  If you do this effectively then the open rates and click through rates will soar upwards and your business growth should not be far behind.  

2018 might just be the year of email after all.