The reports of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
We’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the first email being sent. This is closely followed a few days later by the 50th anniversary of the first email trying to sell magic viagra pills being sent.
Email is like capitalism and democracy. It’s the worst form of digital communication… except for all the others we have.
Despite it’s shortcomings (and it has many), email is one of the best ways we have as brands to talk to our customers.
New innovations in email are closing the gap between email experience and the experiences we have on websites and in messaging apps.
We’re now adding interactive experiences to emails, tailoring messaging based on individual purchase history and reacting to user actions.
A great email marketing campaign is timely, relevant and personalised. In practice this means an email that contains information the receiver wants to know, about something they’re interested in and at a time when that information helps them.
The perfect email sent after a customer has already made a buying decision is automatically a bad email.
Despite what the media may have made you think, no. There are six lawful bases under GDPR, of which two are relevant for email marketing – consent and legitimate interests.
You can send emails to customers or prospective customers provided you either have their consent to do so (they have opted in) or they have provided you with their information and it would be reasonable and in your legitimate business interests to communicate with them.
As an example, if you obtained someone’s details when they made an enquiry into buying one of your products, you would have a legitimate interest in sending them further emails to win the sale, and it would be reasonable for you to do so, unless they were to then ask you not to (by opting out or unsubscribing).
However, if you collected their details when they made an enquiry asking for advice about repairing one of your products, you couldn’t reasonably believe they have any intention to buy from you, and therefore it would be illegal to send them any communications unless they consented.
You must keep a record of what lawful basis you are using for every customer, which is why some businesses prefer to simplify things by only relying on consent.