Ten years ago today I started writing EmailKarma.net, I can’t believe how the time flies… over this time as an industry, we have evolved, changed, adapted, and have grown exponentially but we continue to stumble and forget to learn from our past mistakes to prevent the same issues over and over.

With that in mind here are a few things I’ve observed about email marketing over the last decade of blogging about the email marketing industry (and the last 17 years working in the industry):

  • 1 – Email is still one of the best communications channels for personal and digital marketing communications. It’s survived it’s philosophized death more times than I can count; at the hands of mobile, social, slack, etc… Still growing and getting stronger, it is still the preferred channel of consumer/brand interactions and i don’t see this slowing down.
  • 2 – It’s evolved to deal with the ever changing landscape of mobile devices (virtually non-existent 10 years ago). While the channel has evolved marketers are still making the same mistakes as they were 10 years ago; list purchase, over mailing consumers, sending to the disengaged consumer, mailing to their suppression files…
  • 3 – Spam is still a problem and too many marketers are still walking the grey line of being on the wrong side of the permission spectrum.
  • 4 – Anti-Spam laws and privacy laws are forcing consent based practices and regulation of marketing practices. Remember when we all talked about self-regulation and failed at it… yup we get laws instead. Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is finally fully enforce (minus the PRA), GDPR is on the horizon… and you all thought CASL was hard to comply with just wait.
  • 5 – So many companies are still missing out on the benefits of email by sending batch and blast messaging (because it works) vs tailored communications targeted at individual preferences and behaviours. Many companies I’ve talked to, particularly small and mid-sized, are not emailing their consumers at all.
  • 6 – List size is everything, NOT. Email is no longer about batch and blast to the largest group of people you can accumulate. While a short term success its far more common to see delivery issues occurring to companies mailing to addresses that are not engaged and not active to have significant delivery issues than those that are regularly decreasing the frequency of mailings and eventually cleaning out the groups of users that no longer want your email but have never unsubscribed.

In closing I’d remind everyone that spam filters, user frustration, legislation, third party email management tools are all still going to be hurdles for email marketers and that with the right elements of permission and relevance you can build a successful and prosperous program.

Remember #EmailIsHard, and as I said when launching EmailKarma.net all those years ago “It’s not the size of your list, It’s how you use it”.

Thank you for being part of the ride!