Our latest video from The eCommerce Summit, which Blacknight sponsored in Tralee last month, is an interview with Chris Byrne, co-founder and CEO of email marketing and surveys platform SensorPro.

Chris was a speaker at the conference and he was one of a number who higlighted the continuing importance of email marketing.

The reason is simple, he says: “email is the plumbing of the web, so no matter what platform that you’re going to be engaged on, email will always be there”.

Industry figures have predicted the demise of email over the years, most notably Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who remarked in 2010 that email “is probably going away”. Chris points out that some marketers can be over-enthusiastic about shiny social media platforms and their own personal attitude to email. He references fellow speaker Emily Ross of Inkvine Consulting, who advised the audience in Tralee not to assume that their own biases are shared by customers.

Chris thinks Sandberg and others have fallen prey to a fallacy of extrapolating teenage trends into adult business practices, and he shared a recent anecdote where he overheard a group of ladies in their seventies setting up an Instagram account.

“The teenager on TikTok now, probably needed an email address to register for that, but when he’s 24, he’ll still have the email address, but will he be on TikTok? Maybe not”.


Why is email marketing so effective?

“It’s a direct connection between you and the brand, as a consumer and, if that’s something that you’ve engaged with and that you’ve wanted and consented to, there’s no gatekeepers, there’s no algorithm in the way. With other platforms, they kind of gate the content, so that’s why it’s effective”

Email is ‘semi-offline’, he says, letting the consumer respond in their own time.

“If you send me an email and it takes me three days to respond, you’re not going to be put out. Whereas, if you WhatsApp me and I don’t get back to you until tomorrow, you’ll say, is Chris OK?”

Email marketing is proven to work, he says, quoting a thank you email SensorPro received from a hotel after a recent support engagement: “after that campaign we got five bookings”.

“To me that’s ROI. People know that, when they do it properly, they get a return”

Chris quoted Shopify’s Mark McDonald in his talk at The eCommerce Summit:

“e-mail is an especially important tool in relation to ecommerce, where it’s used for sending transactional, promotional, and lifecycle messages. Shopify data shows that email as a channel had the highest average order conversion rate during Black Friday & Cyber Monday”

Subsequently, Shopify announced this week that is introducing a new product called Shopify Email, which will integrate email marketing into its ecommerce platform.

This is the second in a series of videos Blacknight recorded at The eCommerce Summit 2019. We will share more insights from the speakers over the coming months. Subscribe to this blog and you won’t miss any of it – and you should sign up for our monthly newsletter as well.

Tickets for The eCommerce Summit 2020 are already on sale.

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