Emails for Branding
Brands and enterprises today send various emails to us consumers, but broadly they are of two types: transactional (after we have done an action) or promotional (a call to an action). Promotional mails tend to be long with much text, many links and have numerous images to make an emotional appeal to us. Everything is about getting us to act – in those few seconds when we open and decide to scroll or skip. While emails even today are a brand’s best friend in terms of the clicks and actions that they drive, the basic format of emails has remained largely unchanged for many years. This is because brands have to pay for every communication they have to send (typically 1-3 paise per mail, or about 13-40 cents per 1000 emails). As such, the compulsion is to push as much content as possible. Given the low price point of emails, even a small number of clicks is good enough to deliver the RoI (return on investment) to create a profits flywheel for brands.
The question I started considering was: what if these branded emails could be miniaturised and made almost free? The real cost of sending an email for service providers is very small – meaning that emails have a high gross margin. What if branded microns could be offered for nearly free with a promise to recipients that every micron would have something new and useful in a clutter-free presentation? Could this open up a new win-win communications format for brands with their customers?
When something is free, there is potential for it to be abused. We are all subject to a lot of spam in our email inboxes. However good the filters of the mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, many spammy mails do get through – it is a cat-and-mouse game. In the past few years, the situation has improved and therefore so has the efficacy of emails. It takes a lot to get mails into Gmail’s Primary Inbox – and this ensures brands work hard to ensure engagement and action with their emails.
Microns, by their very nature of being short and info-rich, are likely to have extremely high engagement – they will be read on arrival into the inbox. Every micron opened will lead to subsequent microns being delivered into the inbox because of the way the algorithms work. Microns can thus be used for something that email has not been used for – branding. By having emails delivered at a near-zero cost into the inbox, brands have an infinitely scalable opportunity to be in front of their current and prospective customers every day.