Although some industry observers have been predicting the death of email for some time, the instant electronic version of letters and postcards remains a popular means of communication. However, even email’s most stalwart defenders will admit it has grown a bit stale compared to newer forms of electronic communication such as texting and social media.

For example, the PowerInbox extension allows marketers to send promotional emails with one-click shopping functionality. Marketers can also send emails with videos playing directly in them, as well as send emails integrated with customized social content so that recipients can see what their social network contacts have been viewing and purchasing, and update their own view accordingly.

PowerInbox claims that emails featuring its content and functionality are producing conversion rates of more than 20 percent, compared to the typical 2-12 percent conversion rate for promotional emails.

eRFM Makes Email More Dynamic on the Back End

PowerInbox makes email a more dynamic marketing tool on the front end. Engagement RFM, or eRFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value), combines online behavioral and transactional data to improve the accuracy and segmentation of email marketing campaigns, essentially making it more dynamic on the back end.

eRFM identifies a consumer’s likely future actions based on factors including web behavior, email engagement and RFM. It defines five stages in the customer lifecycle: acquire, convert, develop, retain, reactivate. Consumers are then positioned within one of the five stages and their movement from one stage to another is predicted. Automated rules can send users in a particular segment a specific type of campaign or process.

ToutApp Integrates Email with Social, Mobile

And of course PowerInbox is not the only vendor to try to make email more dynamic on the front end, either. The newly released version 5.0 of the ToutApp email management/analytics platform features integrations with several leading email, social business and mobile platforms, and also includes a few new tools. 

ToutApp 5.0 now directly integrates into the Microsoft Outlook and Gmail email platforms. In addition, the solution integrates into the Salesforce social business platform and the iOS mobile environment. Tout email templates and a tracking sidebar are added to Outlook, allowing users to see when emails are opened and viewed, while new Gmail tools enable users to prioritize their inboxes based on groups. Updated Salesforce integration logs contact data from Outlook and Gmail, while inserting Salesforce data into email templates. And an enhanced iOS integration brings email templates and feeds to the ToutApp iPhone app and provides a web interface specifically designed for the iPad.

Email may be bland, but it remains a highly useful consumer communication device, meaning marketers cannot ignore it. And email remains especially popular with older (i.e., wealthier) consumers who may not be as familiar with newer communication technologies such as mobile and social. Marketers should investigate tools and methodologies to make email more dynamic on both the front and back ends, or wind up ignoring email at their own peril.