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The past, present and future of email marketing — Manchester HUG round-up

3 mins read

Wondering whether email marketing is a channel still worth the investment in 2022 and beyond? Hear from HubSpot's Strategic Channel Consultant, Ciana Nolan, on what the future of email marketing looks like in her talk at the latest Manchester HUG event.

🎫 If you were unable to join the most recent Manchester HUG but want to make sure you grab a spot at the next one, you can find the details at the end of this blog post.

Hit the play button below to watch Ciana's talk, or keep reading for a quick overview of what she ran through during her Manchester HUG talk. 



Following on from Paul's talk on video adoption and Damien Egan's session on how HubSpot's sales teams use HubSpot, Ciana rounded us off with a quick trip down memory lane on what email marketing looked like in the past before sharing her best practices and what to focus on in the future.


Want more of Ciana's insights?

As a Strategic Channel Consultant at HubSpot, Ciana works with agencies like Digital 22 and Avidly, using email marketing as a tactic with its customers. Follow or connect with her on LinkedIn to get more of her insights.



Email marketing of the past: The king of spam 

Did you know email marketing recently celebrated its 50th birthday? It's actually one of the oldest marketing channels. Although it's old, a lot has changed and most is still relevant. Here's a quick run-through of Ciana's email history lesson:

  • The first email campaign launched in 1978, where a marketing manager sent an email promo to 400 people and claimed to have earnt $13 million from one email send
  • He became the king of spam and inspired more to do the same
  • From 1970 to the 90s, email marketing turned digital and offered more cost-effective methods. But the more popular it became, the more people misused it. This is why we can't have nice things
  • In 1998, privacy laws came to fruition to protect customer privacy and keep spam out. So, maybe someone can tell me why I'm still being told I've inherited a large sum from my long lost cousin who happens to be royalty in Djibouti? 
  • 2018 arrives. GDPR is here. Yeah, let's not go down this rabbit hole again

The past of email marketing revolves around a lack of privacy, no segmentation, no personalisation, very manual and difficult to track and measure.


Want to explore more of HubSpot?

Email is one critical aspect of inbound marketing, but there's so much more to think about. Content. SEO. PPC. If you're new to email or inbound, then we have the perfect resource. Check it out below.


The current state of email marketing and best practices

Ciana revealed that email marketing was the third most-used channel in 2021 after social media and websites, keeping it ahead of content and SEO. She also shared some insightful stats:

  • 99% of people check their emails daily
  • 73% of millennials prefer businesses to contact them through email
  • For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can get $42 back

In terms of best practices, Ciana shared that less is more. Meaning you should send fewer emails, so you don't oversaturate inboxes. Make sure your emails are full of value and don't irritate readers so you don't impact your sender reputation.

With the tools HubSpot offers, you can do so much to cut through the noise, including:

  • Personalisation (Spotify is a great example of a company doing personalisation right)
  • Automation
  • Mobile optimisation
  • segmentation

Ciana also shared some tips on email marketing for mobile devices, such as:

  • Invest in responsive emails for mobile (spoiler alert: you get this out of the box with HubSpot)
  • Increase the size of your links and CTAs to larger than 57x57 pixels
  • Reduce your subject lines to match up with mobile previews
  • Test our emails across multiple clients before publishing them — something else you can do in HubSpot

This is just a quick overview of her tips. Make sure to hit the play button to hear from her in more detail.


Need a helping hand on how to get started?

Don't worry; you aren't alone. If you're after some guidance or advice on where you should focus your efforts and the HubSpot platform, don't hesitate to get in touch.



The future of email marketing

So, what's on the horizon? First off, it's all about interactive emails. 91% of people want it. Plus, it doesn't need to be crazily fancy either. Keeping it simple will work.

Next, user-generated content is where it's at. This will be the best tool to keep audiences engaged in the next few years.

Finally, the talk of the town, user privacy and straying from open rates. Users can now block tracking and add an extra layer of privacy to their digital lives, with Apple's iOS 15 update leading the charge.

Remember, that's fine. We need to cater to our customers, not dupe them.

Moving forward, you shouldn't look at open rates as a measure of success. As marketers, we need to think about customers first. Firefox is doing the same to cater to these needs. It's developing apps to create temporary burner, one-use email addresses, so be prepared for this.


Want more valuable insights? Sign up for the next Manchester HUG now

Avidly UK & Canada hosts the Manchester HUG once a quarter. It's a chance for marketers of all lives to refine their skills and give them the knowledge they need to become HubSpot experts. Visit the events page to see the date and time of the next Manchester HUG. With both virtual and in-person events, there's something to suit everyone.

Get the next HUG session added to your calendar below.