5 Email trends that will affect you and your business
Dmitry Davydov 4 July 2014
1. Usage for personal communications is on decline
Less than 40% emails in an average inbox are from other human beings according to Yandex (Europe’s biggest email provider). And that’s AFTER filtering spam out. The rest are ‘automatic messages’ – registration confirmation, notifications of different sorts, newsletter and e-commerce related messages, including coupons. When is the last time you wrote an email to your close friend or relative? Probably a while ago. Chances are you use Facebook, Skype, Facetime, iMessage or Snapchat to communicate with those who are closest to you.
2. The rise of email-less collaboration. Over two billion dollars have been invested in tools built specifically to replace email at work. Yammer was bought by Microsoft for a cool 1.2 billion dollars. Jive Software raised over $160 million dollars through IPO in 2011. Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz left the “mother company” and raised over 30 million dollars to create Asana - project management solution with the slogan ‘Teamwork without email”. Citrix has purchased Podio for more than $50 million. Atlassian and Slack are taking a swing at email. And it’s working. You don’t have to convince Generation Y that there are better ways to collaborate then send emails back and forth. Or that Dropbox is a better way to share files than attaching them to emails.
3. Email marketing is …sick
Is email marketing dead? Email marketers will try to convince you otherwise. We are not trying to start holy wars here. But email marketing has been under a lot of pressure lately. The problem is this – you can still use email rather effectively to market to your existing clients or prospects, especially the ones that you’ve recently acquired. That works well. However, you can no longer use email marketing to attract new customers. Renting email lists or buying advertising in email newsletters no longer works, as most marketers can attest. Nor does creating squeeze pages in hopes of creating a large mailing list – by some estimates more than 85% of subscribers stop reading newsletters they subscribed to within 12 months. To quote the aforementioned Muskovits: “We’ve hit peak email”. And really that’s OK. We’ve been there with snail mail, with radio, television and print. Things change. Insisting that you can still make a ton of sales through fax blasting just like you did in the 1980s isn’t a good strategy (hint: just google ‘social CRM’).
4. Email goes mobile
According for Litmus, 41% of all emails are now opened from smartphones or tablet PCs. For Gmail than number even higher – 68%. This mobile trend has a lot of implications and not just mobile-friendly email formatting. You’ve probably noticed that when people respond to your emails from their phones, the answers tend to be very short. And since mobile phone is usually with a person 24/7, this blurs the line between personal time and work. Should you answer an email you received from your co-worker on Sunday evening right away or should you wait until you get to work on Monday?
5. The rise of Intelligent Inbox
Rules and filters for your email client are nothing new. But very few people actually use them. With ‘intelligent inbox’ there are very few rules that you need to set manually. The rest is done automatically. Intelligent inbox knows when you receive Facebook or Twitter notification and puts them in Social folder. They know when you receive PayPal receipts or coupons. And they respond to your behavior. For example if subscribed to a newsletter and actually read it – it will be treated as important. But once you stop reading it and skip a few, it’ll be moved to ‘Rest’. The leaders of Intelligent Inbox are Sanebox and Gmail, but there are a lot of other companies who think out of the box about the inbox. Some companies, like Streak, think about the inbox as CRM, while others, like Flow or AnyDo, believe that you should be able to convert emails to tasks with one click. And that’s just the beginning.