Email marketing: what’s changed in 2020?

Email marketing. Ever since the early noughties, it’s been a go-to method of promoting your services.

It’s one of the cheapest ways to engage with your audience and, done well, it can yield impressive results.

Yet with the number of emails being sent at an all-time high, our over-saturated inboxes are brimming with unread emails. If you have a dwindling click-through rate, it can be easy to assume email is on the way out.

However, the Data & Marketing Association revealed that email marketing is more relevant than ever.

Data from over 2,000 respondents showed that receiving an email is by far the preferred method of communication. The study found 46% of recipients would rather receive an email than any other channel, compared to 26% for post, and 24% for text or face-to-face.

However, despite email being the channel of choice, a worryingly high percentage of recipients didn’t think the majority of emails offered value. From the 2,000 surveyed, just 13% said that over half of the emails they received were actually useful.

Those under 35 are more likely to find an email beneficial. If your business has a strong millennial base, it looks as though email is the most effective way to speak to them.

Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA, said:

“It’s clear from our findings that email remains at the heart of brands’ ability to communicate with customers, but they also highlight key areas where marketers can improve, such as relevancy and frequency of contact”


With a clear preference for discounts and relevant emails, it seems marketers are often missing the mark and sending content that doesn’t align with their customer’s needs.

We’ve picked out the key findings from the study:

Our main takeaways?

Yes, email marketing is still relevant. In fact, it’s more relevant now than it perhaps ever was – especially for millennials.

But while it’s increasingly important, the DMA study suggests consumers have a lack of value in their inbox. This means that, while there’s still everything to be gained from sending an email, it’s also more important to deliver campaigns with meaning.

With more and more emails cluttering up inboxes, your email will need to stand out from the rest. Here are our tips for planning an email campaign that really speaks to your audience:

It’s all about the value

According to the DMA findings, consumers prefer emails that offer tangible value (like an offer). While it’s not always possible to hand out discounts and deals, it’s always worth thinking about the value you’re offering in the email. Are you offering tips that can help your audience save time or money?

Think outside the (in)box

Dare to be different. Whether it’s a punchy subject line or a funny emoji, being a little quirky can pay off. With so many emails to sift through, your audience is more likely to click on something that strays from the norm.


Personalise it

When it comes to email marketing, the more personalisation, the better. You can use your email marketing tool to split your audience into different segments to help you deliver targeted campaigns.

It’s up to you how you decide to target your audience. Here’s our favourite methods of personalising campaigns:

  • Demographics

Targeting your audience by demographic type is a great way of boosting your click-through-rate. In fact, 74% of marketers say that personalisation increases customer engagement.

A good starting point is age. If you have a fashion brand, for example, splitting your campaigns by age ensures you’re sending the right products to the right age group. You can also tweak your messaging to avoid alienating any age group.

  • Journey behaviour

If you’ve created an email journey, it pays to consider your reader’s actions. Have they read your latest email but not clicked the call-to-action? Or maybe they’ve seen your email but not opened it?

You can get a little clever and tweak your copy around their behaviour. For example, if they haven’t opened any of your emails, you could phrase your subject line to stand out more:

source: twilio

  • Buying history

Are you speaking to repeat customers or brand new prospects? Knowing where your audience are in the sales funnel can help you target (or retarget) customers successfully.

Want to maximise your email engagement? Take a look at our work with Royal Mail

Case study