Email e-Volution

Written by Grace Roberts

The email has become a lifeline when it comes to communication within business activities. It’s rapid evolution and popularity can be attributed to its usefulness and its wide availability. The introduction of this channel was traced right back to before the birth of the Internet.

With the 20th birthday of e-Village, let’s look back and see how we have harnessed the power of the email over the last 20 years and lead you down a path of discovery to unlock all of its potentials.

A brief history of the email

Believe it or not, but the first email was sent almost 50 years ago in 1971 by computer engineer, Ray Tomlinson. Ray developed a system of sending messages from one computer to the other using ARPNET, which was the US Department of Defence system’s intranet which eventually became the foundations on which the Internet was built.

But how was the sender supposed to ensure that their particular message went to the intended recipient?

The @ symbol. It has stood the test of time and will remain that way for years to come.

Email’s use as a marketing channel was stumbled upon somewhat accidentally by marketing manager Gary Thuerk in 1979. His task was to invite 400 customers to an event. He took the initiative to email them on mass; the company went on to sell $13million worth of products.

By the late 1990s, internet users had multiplied from 55 million in 1997 to 400 million in 1999, by 2000, having an email address had gone from being a luxury to a basic necessity.

 

The dawn of the email had begun.

Enter e-Village

Over the next 20 years, email went from strength to strength. The opportunities endless and ground-breaking, innovative ideas are still emerging today. In its infancy, email was simply a way of communicating a message from one person to another. No fluff or frills, a simple message.

 

An unexpected bump in the road

Smartphones played a significant role in the way email was developed. By 2001, mobiles supporting email functionality hit the shops. Changing the way we interacted in an online space, giving us the ability to access our emails from our mobiles. Still, at this point, emails were not coded for a mobile device, resulting in them becoming broken and illegible. Highlighting the need for mobile responsive emails and between 2009 – 2011, where smartphones became “smart” this functionality became essential.

Digital marketing strategies developed to include lead generation. The collection of email addresses is pivotal in this technique and communicating your message to your prospects. Marketers now had to find a way to go the extra mile to stand out in an inbox awash with similar messages.

It isn’t a secret that as humans, we have an innate need to feel special. People buy from people, and to win over prospects emails needed to require a certain level of personalisation. From personalised subject lines to relevant content based on the consumer’s prior behaviour, email marketers now have a platform to conduct A/B testing of emails to optimise their lead conversions and customer engagement.

Interaction in communication

We just mentioned the personalisation of an email would increase your open rates and ultimately your lead conversions. In more recent history, the inclusion of CSS and HTML coding within emails allowed marketers to get even more creative with their messages. They were given access to include more interactive components. The longer a prospect interacts with you, the higher your chances of conversion.

The interactive aspect of communication continues to adapt to a much higher level. e-Village recently announced their newest feature – AMP in email. AMP offers the user a much higher level of interaction. Recipients of AMP emails can now fill in their information – sign up for an event or a newsletter without ever leaving the email. One less step between your user becoming another notch in your bounce-rate!

How does the future of email look?

The future for online communication is steering towards a genuinely automated and intelligent experience, we’ve picked 3 of our favourite current trends which we believe will be of the utmost importance when transforming the way we communicate.

  • Artificial Intelligence 

Each individual leaves a virtual fingerprint online. Their behaviours and preferences are saved in every nook and cranny. Artificial intelligence can use that to predict which subject lines will achieve the most opens, the optimal send time for each individual and can give each user an engagement score, improving your deliverability, relevance to your customer and ultimately your conversions

  • Omnichannel Experiences 

Although email is still rated the 2nd most preferred means of communication, your marketing strategies shouldn’t stop there. Creating an experience that seamlessly flows from a receipt received in a physical shop should translate into an email, and even further, that information reflects the content shown via a mobile app.

  • Personalisation through dynamic content

Someone in the south doesn’t need to know about an in-shop offer happening in the north. Much like a man doesn’t need to know anything about feminine products. Having dynamic content within your email can generate highly personalised content based on sophisticated data segmentation.

Has email hit a dead end?

Most certainly not. When the founders at e-Village started, they were told the Internet was a “phase”, and even today, it’s a common belief that the age of email is coming to an end. From the beginning, online communication posed endless opportunities for growth and progression, and we believe that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its capabilities. We do not doubt that email will continue to evolve with us, for us.

Where do we go with email?

Email has never been more important in terms of communication and we believe our customers can do even more with it. With the introduction of new elements, we want to encourage and support our customers to communicate on scale in a highly personalised way with their target group. We listened to our customers and soon we will be launching new features, such as Artificial Intelligence. Keep your eyes peeled!

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