1971. Ray Tomlinson, a programmer who has been working on a project for MIT, that we simply call “the Internet” today, sends the first email. Not many years later, in 1978, Gary Thuerk – an employee of the Digital Equipment Corp – sent out the first Email Marketing campaign. There have been only 400 recipients, but the result is surprising and it generated $ 13 million in sales.

Today, the Email is preparing to reach its 50th birthday and while most technologies invented half a century ago appear hopelessly obsolete, it continues to have surprisingly high performance in terms of ROI if compared to other (new) channels for marketing.

Globally, there are nearly 3 billion email users, with over 110 billion emails sent every day. It’s no wonder that the email remains one of the most powerful ways for companies to market and relaunch their products. Other channels and technologies are evolving, but the popularity of email shows no signs of slowing down.

Here are some reasons:

It is the preferred form of communication

Besides the number of users that exceeds that of any other channel, according to a Campaign Monitor study (July 2019), more than half of the surveyed users prefer to receive commercial communications via email, compared to SMS or push notifications. Research shows that this applies in several industrial sectors: from retail, travel and entertainment, to digital media, to nonprofit and B2B, where its daily use reaches the highest levels.

Proven ROI and Engagement

Given the number of users who claim to prefer email to other channels, it shouldn’t be surprising that it provides an incredibly high return on investment (ROI).

According to a research by Optin Monster (January 2020), the Email Marketing has a potential ROI of up to 4400%.

Such a high value certainly depends on the fact that the acquisition of the list and the sending rates have minimal impact on the overall cost. But not only that. In a well-targeted Email campaign, the recipient is legitimately interested in what you are offering and therefore he will interact with your brand with greater propensity.

The concerns regarding the new GDPR legislation has led many marketers to fear negative impacts on their email campaigns, but more than a year after its introduction, we can say that the GDPR has brought anything but negative effects. Companies are now required to have greater awareness and strictness on the acquisition practices, the use and maintenance of their contact databases. The same transparency and attention is required from companies that, like Bancomail, provides email lists. In this sector, respecting the law must represent a contractual form with your customer. A campaigns success depends precisely on the quality of the contacts.

Today, with the GDPR, everybody has to make sure that the relevance between the message and the recipients of the email is guaranteed, for this reason it is likely that emails continue to record higher engagement rates than other forms of digital communication (the research by Optin Monster shows an average involvement rate of 22.86% compared to the average 0.6% of the main Social Networks).

Email evolves and integrates new technologies

At almost fifty years of age, email would not be as effective without developing over time.

With most emails open on the go, inboxes become increasingly contextual. Behavioral data and geolocation guarantee consumers to receive updated news just when they are read. Hyper-personalization and micro-segmentation thus lead to SVCO, or to the “single view of the customer”, the unique view of the individual consumer. Knowledge and artificial intelligence combine to help companies predict needs and to respond with instant and ever-changing personalization. Email Marketing “1 to many” becomes “1 to 1” as easy as before.

Email = Success?

Although it is clear that email will continue to be relevant well beyond its fiftieth, is up to companies to make use of and exploit this relevance.

Email is an excellent marketing tool, but only if the priorities of the recipients are taken into account. Marketing professionals must ensure they don’t waste this resource, despite its inherent resilience.