Is email dead? No, BUT the old antics of Spamming lists and sending generic messages to prospects and candidates is certainly phasing out. After years of abuse by marketers and salespeople, email recipients are taking action to avoid inbox clutter and ending spam once and for all.

At TrueLeads, we focus on helping salespeople, recruiters, and marketers find contact information for top prospects and candidates, however, after receiving that contact information, it’s up to our users to send emails that surprise, delight, and engage their recipients.

If you plan on having an effective email strategy in 2020, keep the following trends in mind to maximize your chances of successful outcomes.


1.  Real Personalization

Remember when adding someone’s {}, {title}, and {company} was considered personalizing an email? Well, those days are long gone, in fact, adding these generic fields using automated email programs may actually be hurting your response rates, and puts you at risk of making embarrassing mistakes (see figure 1.0 [I’ve blocked the company’s name because I’m a nice guy]).


When it comes to 1-to-1 emails from salespeople or account managers, it’s more important than ever to research recent events at the client’s company (using platforms such as Owler can be a great way to keep up with recent news) and check the prospect’s recent posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Your emails should include some sort of relevant, recent information based on your research, showing the prospect that you care enough about their business to put in a little effort. This sounds obvious, however, the vast majority of prospecting emails we receive are completely generic and NEVER receive a response.
If you’re doing mass email marketing, it’s crucial that you complete in-depth cohort analysis of your email lists to separate recipients based on features such as previous purchases, location, age, gender, interests etc and tailor your messaging accordingly. If you haven’t captured information about your recipients upon signup, using identity resolution tools such as FullContact to help fill in the gaps.
Here’s the thing, consumers don’t mind being advertised/sold to as long as the product being offered is relevant and timely. Knowing everything you can about your email recipients is absolutely vital for email sales and marketing in 2020.


2.  Personality is Key


Over the past 2-3 years, we’ve seen a massive rise in followings for daily newsletters like the Skimm and Morning Brew, as well as podcasts such as Robinhood’s Snack Daily. These outlets have done a nice job marketing their product, however, it’s apparent that their Virality Coefficient (K-factor) is also greater than one, meaning that for every user, they gain additional users due to organic sharing/recommendations. One of the reasons these outlets have done so well (and a lesson we can all take from their success) is that they inject personality into their content.

For example, when you read an email like Morning Brew, your experience is much more entertaining and engaging than reading a standard news story. This makes their content something readers look forward to, while also providing information that keeps readers up-to-date on important current events.


Any time you have the chance to add personality to your emails (whether they’re direct sales emails or marketing initiatives) you should GO ALL IN. A few things to remember:

1. Keep your personality consistent and authentic.
2. When appropriate, add humor and wit to connect with your audience.
3. Write emails/content that either excites, entertains, educates, or entices the recipient to take action.
4. Before hitting send, always ask yourself “is this email serving the recipient OR only serving me?” if the answer is the latter, DO NOT SEND.


3.  (Un)Subscription Addiction

2020 will see a record number of email recipients unsubscribing from marketing/sales emails.
Approximately 90% of emails in the US are opened with either Apple Mail, Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo! This means that marketers and salespeople are at the mercy of any changes that these tech giants make, and they recently made a massive change that will have a drastic impact on un-subscription rates. All of these platforms have now created one-click unsubscribe functionality to help email recipients quickly opt-out of email communications. This feature is extremely valuable for subscribers, as it helps them avoid cumbersome opt-out user flows, but it hurts marketers who rely on massive email lists to distribute their messaging. The images (fig. 1.2& 1.3) below show how easy it’s become to unsubscribe from emails on mobile:
Here’s our controversial philosophy on opt-out rates: You should ENCOURAGE email subscribers to unsubscribe from your list if they’re no longer receiving value from your communications. Encourage people to unsubscribe? Sounds insane, right? Here’s the truth… the only way to build your business using email marketing is to grow a tribe of prospects/customers who LOVE receiving information from your company. You do this by focusing on AAV, Always Adding Value.
We recently had the chance to meet with a startup who is focused exclusively on adding value to Millennial and Gen-Z Entrepreneurs. They’ve grown their email newsletter list to 14,000 subscribers which is solid, however, what’s much more impressive is that they currently see a 70% average open rate and 40%+ click through rate! When the time comes to ask subscribers to purchase a product or service, the company has already built up so much brand equity that the “ask” is easy. Gary Vaynerchuk describes this strategy in his 4th book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, which details the importance of adding value BEFORE asking for the business – this is a great 
read for those involved in sales and marketing.
The truth is, if an email recipient is eager to opt-out of your email communications, they’re likely not the right fit for your company anyways. Conserve your efforts and focus on the recipients who resonate with your messaging. These people are your “true fans” and your goal should be to add as much value as you possibly can to them before looking to increase your reach.
Overall, selling and marketing through email communications will remain an important part of any successful go-to-market strategy in 2020, however, the rules of emails have changed and the rate of this change is certain to accelerate in the future.
Thanks for reading!
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