You’ve Got Mail. Will Email Marketing Make a Comeback in 2021?

Email Marketing

The keywords of today’s digital world are: Privacy, Consent, Personalisation, Ad-free, and super-human customer service.

These words may very well be the definition of Email Marketing.

Since Email Marketing is the very first digital marketing channel, year after year, we find ourselves bracing for its final demise. Yet Email Marketing technologies have only shown to become stronger, better, more advanced, while continuing to be respectful of how the audience (email recipients) are addressed.

The past year we’ve seen eCommerce platforms, especially those related to groceries make very good headway on the use of email marketing in Thailand. Coupon codes, point updates and personalised product recommendations are sent to frequent buyers via email.

As oppose broadcasting the same message to all users, we’ve seen eCommerce businesses make very good use of email marketing’s underlying technology to segment, automate and craft highly personalised mails.

There is a stigma that comes with the term email marketing, which is spam. Many have yet to re-understand what the channel is really about. And the simplest way to do so is by defining some email marketing key terms.

Email Marketing Key Terms

Segmentation is how marketers organise subscribers into categories based on a set of criteria, such as geographic location, purchase history, demographics and much more. By segmenting subscriber and member information that have been provided by the brand’s loyal buyers, marketers are able to learn what products and services would interest each type of subscriber and cater the right content to the right person at the right time.

Dynamic Content refers to automated personalised content that gets sent to individual subscribers based on their interests. For instance, a teacher’s Lazada newsletter may include the latest promotions on stationaries and educational toys, while the Lazada newsletter for a computer technician may include the latest tech gadgets. Dynamic content means the products and services displayed in the email newsletter were automatically created to cater to the interest of each subscriber.

Marketing Automation is where it gets interesting for the all powerful email marketing technology. Imagine you have 1,000 brand members and you’d like to greet each member with a birthday special coupon. If you were to do this manually, it will leave you no time to do anything else. Marketing automation here means the ability to have the email platform automatically generate and send out the birthday special email without you having to write out each one.

For eCommerce and online shopping websites, this is very beneficial. It means setting up triggers for reminder emails to be send out whether it’s for shopping cart abandonments, favourite product reminders and much more; all automatically.

Split-Testing is about testing certain content, layouts and the day and time emails are sent out that works best for your members and subscribers. Most email marketing platforms supports A/B and multi-variant tests.

Now that we have some key terms defined, that hopefully lets you see email marketing in a different light (from simply being spam content to a technology-backed marketing process), let’s take a look at some platforms you can get started with.

Free and Freemium Email Platforms

Technology-backed email marketing is far from spam blasting emails on bcc. eDM (electronic direct mail) platforms are some of the most powerful types of MarTech (marketing technologies) that have been developed throughout the years.

A well-known platform with the same underlying technology is non other than Salesforce. Let’s take a look at some free and freemium email platforms that any small to medium size business could start with.

  • Mautic
  • List Messenger
  • phpList
  • OpenEMM
  • MailChimp
  • SendBlaster
  • GNU Mailman

And ofcourse, the list should come with a useful comparison chart.


Some are easier to use for crafting emails and setting up automation, while some provides better analytics and insights. It’s important to note the service reputation as well, as this may impact deliverability.

Email Marketing Key Success Factors

So then, what are some key success factors when it comes to email marketing? Here are a few:

Audience Permission – always make sure you have consent and permission from your members and subscribers to send them emails. This in itself shows initial interest to keep getting updates about your products and services and will reflect in a healthy ROI for you, as opposed to wasted efforts on audiences who showed no interest to receive your updates.

Timing – Goes a long way. The right content to the right person at the right time. A simple example is, you’re not going to want to send mothers their newsletter updates between 8-10 PM, because they’ll be busy preparing the kids for bedtime. And come morning, your email may not be on the first position in their inbox anymore.

Content – Spans far more than about personalising the email content, but has to do with the email subject line and preview text as well. For example, if the email subject line appears like spam, most likely your email is going to be filtered into the subscriber’s spam inbox.

So will Email Marketing Make a come back in 2021?

It may very well do so. Firstly, because the foundation of email marketing is about first-party information with consent (single or double opt-ins), there’s no privacy issues here. It’s simply about moving from snail mail to digital mail for the latest updates from your favourite brands.

Secondly, AI has started to play a much bigger role to automate large member databases to ensure the right content is sent to each member. Right content here meaning the content they are interested in.

Thirdly, year after year we make predictions that the end of email marketing is here. It will be replaced with AdTech and ad networks, third-party data and what not. However, email marketing has been quite ‘sticky’. It’s not letting go that easily.

So, just maybe it’s not just about staying put as another digital marketing channel this year, but to make a grand entrance and comeback this 2021 when CRM (customer relationship management) is quickly becoming more and more prominent.

Interested to get started on your email marketing efforts the right way, feel free to get in touch with us.

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