Email Marketing

Supercharge your holiday marketing with these 5 email automations

The holiday season is a magical time for consumers and critical businesses. For marketers, it’s a period when customer interactions are at their peak, making it crucial to leverage every available tool for success. One such tool that often goes underutilized is email automation. Email automations, when optimized with a holiday twist, can be a game-changer for your marketing strategy. In this article, we will explore the power of email automations during the holiday season and how giving them a festive makeover can significantly boost engagement and conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of email automations

Email automations have become a staple in modern marketing strategies. They allow businesses to send personalized and timely messages to their audience, triggered by specific customer interactions. However, one common pitfall is the “set and forget” mentality, where these automations are left running without adjustments. During the holidays, this approach can lead to missed opportunities.

1. Abandoned cart – festive reminders to increase conversions

Abandoned carts are a pain point for e-commerce businesses year-round, but during the holiday season they can be especially frustrating. Fortunately, holiday-themed email automations can work wonders in recovering these potential sales. By capitalizing on the festive shopping mood, you can send reminders with a touch of holiday magic. Include enticing offers, limited-time discounts, or even free gift-wrapping to entice customers to complete their purchase.

It’s important to note that holiday shoppers are often in a rush, so your abandoned cart emails should create a sense of urgency. Highlight shipping deadlines to ensure that gifts arrive on time, thus motivating hesitant shoppers to finalize their purchases.

2. Browse abandonment – nurturing engagement with festive flair

During the holiday season, customers often browse through products without making an immediate purchase. This presents an excellent opportunity to convert their passing interest into sales. Your email automations can play a pivotal role in nurturing this curiosity with a festive touch.

Send follow-up emails showcasing the browsed items, along with holiday-themed product recommendations. Add a sense of urgency by mentioning limited availability or exclusive holiday offers. By doing so, you can turn those casual browsers into enthusiastic buyers who are excited to make a purchase.

3. Purchase anniversary – triggering a just in time brand engagement

Purchase anniversary emails are a highly effective automation that not many businesses utilize at all let alone during the holiday season. These emails remind past buyers of their previous holiday purchases, creating a sense of comfort and brand loyalty. By acknowledging their previous holiday purchases and offering relevant recommendations, you can drive repeat seasonal sales.

Furthermore, these emails can help position your brand as a thoughtful and customer-centric choice, which can pay off significantly during the holiday shopping frenzy.

4. Cross-sell and upsell – maximizing customer value with a holiday touch

Cross-selling and upselling are strategies that can substantially boost revenue during the festive season. When customers are already in the buying mindset, it’s the perfect time to suggest complementary or must-have holiday items. Email automations can play a pivotal role in executing these strategies effectively.

Craft personalized emails that recommend additional products based on the customer’s previous purchases or browsing history. Offer bundle deals, exclusive holiday collections, or limited-time promotions to entice customers to increase their order value. By adding a holiday touch to these offers, you can maximize customer value during the holiday shopping rush.

5. Welcome series – anticipating festive sales

Your welcome series is often the first interaction new subscribers have with your brand. It’s a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression, especially during the holiday season. Give your Welcome Series a holiday makeover to bring future sales forward by introducing new subscribers to upcoming holiday offerings and promotions.

Incorporate festive visuals, exclusive sneak peeks of holiday products, and enticing incentives to encourage new subscribers to make their first purchase sooner rather than later. By setting the holiday tone from the beginning, you can set the stage for increased engagement and conversions throughout the season.

Up-to-date holiday season e-commerce stats

Before diving into the holiday email automation makeover process, it’s essential to understand the current landscape. Here are some recent e-commerce statistics to highlight the importance of optimizing your email automations for the holiday season:

  1. Adobe expects U.S. online holiday sales to hit $221.8 billion this holiday shopping season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31), representing 4.8% growth YoY.
  2. Email marketing remains a potent tool during the holiday season, with e-commerce emails getting higher than average response.
  3. The importance of personalized and relevant emails cannot be overstated. According to Statista, personalized emails have an average open rate of 18.8%, compared to 13.1% for non-personalized emails.
  4. A survey by Marketing Sherpa found that 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary communication channel with brands.

Conclusion

The holiday season is a hectic and competitive time for marketers, but it’s also a period of immense opportunity. Email automation, when given a holiday makeover, can be a powerful tool to engage customers and drive conversions. Whether you’re recovering abandoned carts, nurturing curiosity, triggering repeat purchases, maximizing customer value, or welcoming new subscribers, there’s a place for holiday-themed email automations in your marketing strategy.

However, it’s crucial not to fall into the “set and forget” trap. To fully capitalize on the potential of holiday email automations, consider enlisting the help of a professional agency. Their expertise can ensure that your email campaigns stand out from the crowd and lead to a substantial lift in conversions. Don’t miss out on the festive frenzy—supercharge your holiday marketing with email automations and watch your business thrive during the most wonderful time of the year.

Elevate your holiday marketing with The Email Factory

While optimizing your email automations for the holiday season is undeniably valuable, it’s also a task that requires careful planning and execution. The holiday season is a busy time, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with other priorities. This is where we can make all the difference.

The Email Factory specializes in email marketing strategies and automation. We understand the nuances of holiday marketing and can tailor your email automations to maximize engagement and conversions during this crucial period. Here’s why you should consider working with the Email Factory:

Expertise:

The Email Factory is staffed with experienced professionals who understand the intricacies of email marketing. They stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices, ensuring that your email automations are optimized for success.

Customization:

Every business is unique, and the Email Factory recognizes that. They will work closely with you to create personalized email automation strategies that align with your brand and target audience.

Efficiency:

The holiday season is fast-paced, and timing is critical. The Email Factory can streamline the process, ensuring that your email automations are set up and ready to go precisely when they will have the most significant impact.

Maximizing ROI:

Investing in our expertise can lead to a substantial return on investment. By optimizing your email automations, you’re more likely to see increased conversions and revenue during the holiday season.

Email Marketing

How to win with email in Q4: two Black Friday strategy musts

With the upcoming festive season on the horizon, it’s prudent to gear up for the anticipated surge in activities. Let’s delve into two pivotal strategies that will serve as the cornerstone for your success during this critical quarter.

1. Prepare the inbox providers for increased email volumes: strategic IP-warming

Imagine your email deliverability as a cultivated relationship. You wouldn’t barge in without letting someone know, would you? Similarly, your emails require gradual notifications to the inbox providers. To guarantee smooth email delivery during the bustling festive period, consider implementing IP-warming strategies. This entails incrementally escalating your email sending volume and frequency from late August through September.

Think of this IP warming as an initial rapport‑building exercise with inbox providers. By establishing a consistent and trustworthy sending pattern, you cultivate the provider’s confidence in your emails. This practice also serves as a reminder to recipients who might have lapsed in engagement. The proactive approach not only ensures delivery but also reinstates your brand presence.

2. Align with algorithm expectations: maintaining consistent patterns

Email algorithms function like an intricate choreography. They’re attuned to your regular steps, but sudden changes can lead to a misstep. During the festive season, it’s customary to elevate your email frequency. However, abrupt fluctuations in sending volume or recipient interactions can trigger algorithmic scepticism, potentially affecting your deliverability.

To foster a harmonious dance with these algorithms, gradually escalate your sending volume in alignment with your plans for the festive season. This measured progression affords the algorithms the time to recalibrate and assimilate your new rhythm, ensuring your emails secure their intended place in the inbox.

Bonus strategy: trigger optimization and collaborative efforts

Triggers play a strategic role in guiding subscribers down the funnel to conversion and increased lifetime value. Update your triggers and if at all possible implement any triggers missing from your armoury (use an agency if you are time or resource constrained). In particular triggers related to browser behavior and the purchase funnel ‑ user experience is paramount during the Black Friday and Christmas season when the most revenue is at stake. Agencies bring a wealth of expertise and insights, streamlining the process of trigger optimization. For further insights and actionable guidance, explore these pertinent articles:

In conclusion, meticulous planning and strategic implementation are integral to maximising the potential of the Black Friday and Christmas season for email marketing endeavours. By prioritising these effective strategies, you’re poised for a rewarding holiday campaign!

Email Marketing

Planning and implementing your email marketing strategy

Email marketing strategy

Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should! It’s an old adage and one many email marketers would do well to consider before embarking on their email marketing strategy.

If we start from what is possible the prospect of drawing up an email marketing strategy, budget, resource and timelines is daunting. I like to start from the other end, not what is possible but what does the business need. It sounds simple and the oft flippant response is more sales but that doesn’t always hold true. So start with a blank canvas and decide your business’s short, medium and long term goals. They may all turn out to be the same – sales, sales and more sales.

If that’s the case your email marketing strategy is a fairly simple one. Build product led emails and send them to everyone on your list as often as you can. Automate basket and browse abandonment, cross sell in sales notifications and dispatch notices. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But in truth this approach, even if your end goal is more sales, tends to be a short term solution. Data apathy, data churn, price marginalisation, stock management, all tend to make this approach, in isolation, one that’s unsustainable long term.

Email drives sales

So what to do, as in truth the ultimate goal of any marketing comes down to sales. We dress it up as brand awareness, customer retention, brand engagement, social media presence – but ultimately all marketing has one goal and that’s to drive long term revenues. So, if we accept that we need to plan our email marketing to fulfil long term revenue targets. This is done using a combination of sales and value-added content which engages the customer as well as sells to them. In essence you need to become the trusted source in the inbox. This has its challenges because marketers have an irrational fear of being seen as spammers. In his book, “Fear and Self-Loathing in Email Marketing”, Dela Quist says: “It is time, for legitimate email marketers – who bend over backwards not to be seen as spammers – to stop feeling so guilty about something they don’t even do”. It really is okay to send an email a day, or even two if you have something new and interesting to say.

In order to understand how best to use email we first need to look at how the long term goal is achieved.

List growth

New customer acquisition, grow the number of people you can realistically sell your products and services to. The more people on your list who look like the other people on your list the better.

Buildfires email list growth blog

List retention

This is like the silver bullet. Grow your list using customer acquisition tools and reduce the churn in your database. Increase the time someone stays a customer then the return on your initial CPA becomes exponential.

Automation

Automate touchpoints to deliver relevant and timely content. Keep your user engaged, recognise special life events and deliver new purchase user guides/vlogs/updates.

display block email automation workflow
Example email automation workflow

Loyalty and incentive programs

Make your user feel special, make them part of your inner circle.

Targeted communications

Segmentation in the data based on generic product offerings. Utilising the one-to-one marketing tools available to you to customise your one-to-many emails.

One too many sales emails

Don’t be frightened of emailing everyone in your base every time you have something to say. The idea of one-to-one marketing is in truth not achievable because you’re just not sure what I want next. It’s okay to assume I want something I looked at, just don’t assume I don’t want something else as well or instead.

Next, we will look at how we utilise the strategies outlined above to maximise our customer relationship and ultimately drive higher, long term revenues.

Let’s take a look at how you go about implementing some of the ideas mentioned. It’s time to flesh out the opportunities afforded by the medium of email marketing.

List growth

How do you go about growing your list? You can do this in many different ways, each one having their own level of effectiveness. The standard tools available are:

Newsletter sign-ups:

Have a clear and obvious way of letting people sign up for emails, hiding your newsletter sign up at the bottom of the contact page is almost apologetic. You’ve paid for the eyeballs, now try and capture them. Place the sign up somewhere obvious. Also, look at using downstream popups to incentivise sign up.

White paper downloads:

Put your valuable content behind a simple sign up to access a download page. In old fashioned sales you’re always taught to get a name for a name. No difference here, you have valuable content, the price of which is an email address.

Competitions:

Run competitions on your site, and in your existing email encourage people to sign up to be entered. If possible, give away experiential prizes rather than material ones. People are much more likely to enter a money can’t buy competition.

Referrals:

Incentivise your base to refer people like them to sign up for the newsletter or sales emails. Remember, people know people like them, if they enjoy your emails so will some of their friends.

display block email capture form
Example sign-up page

Point of purchase:

Be it on or offline, when someone makes a purchase it is the perfect time to ask permission to market to them via email. Make sure your staff do this routinely if on the phone or face to face in store. Make sure your site has a very obvious sign up tick box available when checking out. If at all possible also advertise text to email gateways in store and incentivise those.

Rented lists:

As long as you manage your expectations, renting lists can still be an effective way of building your database.

List retention

List retention for me is the silver bullet, if you can reduce your churn while at the same time growing your list you should be looking at exponential growth in revenues. Email on Acid believe in a “70/20/10” rule for brand emails. This means 70% of emails should be educational demos, tips, storytelling or advisory information. 20% should “centre on content from thought leaders, creating a feeling across your list that your brand is giving them exclusive access to content” and the remaining 10% should be product-focused. This rule is said to establish valuable relationships with your customers making them feel important, which they are! The more important they feel, the more engaged with the brand they will be.

Automation

Take some of the workload away and automate as many of your emails as possible. There are many tools available to help you collect site side data, send an API call to your email platform and subsequently trigger a timely email reminder. These types of communication tend to have the greatest open and click rates and the highest ROI.

The sort of things you can try are…

Welcome/acquisition:

Welcome programs work best when they come as a series of emails which lead the recipient down various paths of action dependent on whether they open and click a particular email or take a specific site side action.

display block workflow
display block workflow

Basket abandonment:

Someone has put a product in their basket on your site but not completed the purchase in a timely fashion. Post that data to your email automation tool, most of those on the market (ours included) can handle this easily. This data will then populate a predefined template and trigger an email to the recipient encouraging them to complete their purchase. Fresh Relevance in their Rip Curl case study show in excess of 10% of those customers receiving a basket abandonment email go back to purchase the item.

Basket abandonment statistics
basket abandonment uplift from Fresh Relevance

Browse abandonment:

Almost identical to Basket Abandonment, Browse Abandonment happens when you implement business rules such as “identified email address has viewed a product 3+ times without going further, trigger this template with this personalisation in it”. These type of emails are seen to generate in excess of 3% increase in sales.

Event led:

Birthdays, anniversaries, insurance renewals, these type of emails just sit there in the background and trigger daily depending on when someone matches the criteria. This is a simple but effective way of increasing your brand loyalty and triggering clicks back to your site. In their birthday email, Audit Experian said birthday emails out perform promotional emails in nearly all KPIs

Birthday email campaigns audit
Experian Birthday Emails Campaign Audit KPI’s

Cross Sell:

Not only should you cross sell in your order confirmation emails but also dispatch notifications, delivery confirmation and in truth, any other order point of contact. Forrester Research found a 10% increase in AOV on purchases where a recommendation was clicked on.

I am just scratching the surface of what’s possible with automation, essentially, if you can whiteboard the process we can implement an automation program that will sit in the background and increase your revenues from email.

Loyalty and Incentive programs:

This is just an extension of the Nectar, Clubcard, MyWaitrose (other loyalty cards are available) card you have in your wallet but in an online format. Richer Sounds do this very well at point of sign up. You’re encouraged to be a VIP and you’re told what you’ll get by becoming one. It helps with both list growth and list retention.

Targeted communications:

Your email platform will almost certainly have the functionality to segment based on any data held within your database. You can then send targeted communications to people based on the products they’ve previously bought, those they’ve browsed, those that compliment previously purchased products, the list is almost endless. You can do many different targeted emails or if you can code using the dynamic tags, or outsource that bit to an agency like us, you can build one email that dynamically inserts the relevant targeted element based on the data. It is also possible to use some of the personalisation tools out there to scrape in particular offers from your website in real time and drop them into the dynamic personalised section of the email.

The takeaway

The possibilities and the opportunities afforded to you by utilising the tools available and the skills of a professional email marketing company can have a material effect on your bottom line. It is no coincidence that the companies who have fared better in the current pandemic are the ones whose online presence and email marketing programs are constantly pushing the boundaries, whereas the ones that have struggled were slower to embrace the opportunities afforded them by the technologies available.

Email best practice

How to figure out when is the best time to send your email campaign

It’s a question that comes across our desk almost weekly, “When should we send out the email, when is the best time?” – The answer as with so much in email marketing is… “it depends”. Working out when you should send an email is really unique not only to the company sending it but even unique to the content of the email itself. If your goal is to increase your engagement rates then you are going to need to work out when is the best time to send emails.

We have been sending out emails for quite a few years now and to say ‘we’ve seen it all’ would be a bit of an understatement. With over 5 million emails sent every month by myself alone. Therefore we can say with a great degree of certainty that there is no one perfect time to send an email. The best time really does vary from industry to industry, business to business as well email to email. Unfortunately for you dear reader there is no singular time that is best for all emails to be sent. Although that would make all our lives a lot easier.

The main goal of any email is to drive traffic to a website. This email engagement can only be improved if every part of the email is carefully designed to suit the audience. This includes everything from the pre-subject line, copy, design, email length, buttons and even the send time.

Test, test, and test again

Getting email engagement to increase really does require quite a lot of different tests. This includes testing the send time, subject lines, copy, design, and other key elements of the email. Ideally each aspect of the email is tested one part at a time as to not cloud the results from any specific test.

Having so many things to test and evaluate may seem daunting at first but by systematically working through each with a number of A/B tests you should start seeing patterns of engagement. Make sure to test one aspect at a time and also try run 1-3 A/B tests per item so you are sure of the results. Employing other tools like our subject line creator tool can also assist with this process.

1. Divide your list into segments

The first step is to divide you database into smaller segments. Ideally the divisions are not arbitrary but based upon matching characteristics such as, purchase history, geographic location, age, gender or as many matching characteristics that seem relevant. Hopefully by grouping similar subscribers together they will produce less random results and make testing to those segments more accurate.

Most email marketing platforms have segmenting tools built in and if not we can assist with any data segmentation you might require.

2. Create your tests

With your newly created segments it’s time to start testing. It is important to be able to measure the success of each test so try not to test multiple things at once. Always be goal orientated with each test. For example, “Does placing high value products near the top of emails result in higher sales for these item?” Make sure you tests are also based on some real world knowledge, for example people will always spend more closer to pay day. So this might skew some results if you’re testing close to those days. Try and isolate your tests as much as possible.

It is also important to also build on the findings of your tests. So for example if your Sales email is always the most profitable email and you know people spend more on payday. You should certainly then test if your Sales email is more effective if sent closer to payday.

3. Divide each segment into control and test groups

Once you have decided what you are going to test divide each segment into two equal numbered sub-segments. Your ESP should be able to do this for you. It is important to ensure each sub-segment is large enough to produce meaningful test results. If you think the segments are too small you might want to adjust what you are testing or add more data. The final option would be to run more tests to remove and randomness from the results. There is also a useful calculator you can use to calculate a good size

4. Create two versions of the email

To make the test create the email as you normally would then create a version that will test your hypothesis. This can be anything such as reordering of content, subject line, overall design, button placement.

5. Measure the results

Ideally your ESP has a robust reporting suite or heat-map capability. This should allow you to easily see which email generates more engagement as well as allowing you to see what element of the email is generating all the clicks. To really make sure of the results you could run 1-3 additional tests, testing the same thing to remove and randomness from a one off test. For evaluating send times make sure that you’re getting the same type of engagement you would expect regardless of when you send the email. Then choose the send time that gets the most engagement.

Build on the wins

Now that you have established the best time to send or any other aspect you have been testing implement these results on the main database sends. As long as the results are replicated in the main sends you are good to begin at the beginning of your testing cycle again. Testing should be a consistent practice that you continuously include into you marketing calendar. Remember also that just because a Sale email might perform well close to pay day doesn’t mean you should send your welcome emails out then to. You might find Welcome emails perform better if sent only 30 minutes after sign-up.

The key point with trying to improve engagement through email testing is to remember to constantly tailor your tests and ultimately your approach to your audience. Use your educated guesses to guide your questions and then make decisions based on the real data you get back from tests.

Email Marketing

Your email open rates are changing

Unless you’ve been living on a remote island somewhere you’ll know that on September 20th Apple’s iOS 15 update was launched. It contains a feature call Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) which – amongst other things – will eliminate the ability to accurately track email open rates.

For the uninitiated, email opens are recorded using a tiny image in the email code. When the email is opened, that image loads, which tells the sender an email was opened, by whom, when, where and on what device. What Apple have done is add a ‘middle man’ into the mix. Emails are now firstly routed through Apple’s proxy servers to pre-load email content – including the tracking image – before serving the email to the original recipients.

This will make it impossible to tell whether real people or Apple opened your emails. We won’t know when the open happened, where the person is located or which Apple device they use. That means no more mobile vs. desktop insights!

For some email campaigns, we are already seeing the percentage of emails where the device data is being hidden by MPP at 20%. That’s double what it was a week ago and we expect this to increase as more Apple users install the latest iOS 15 update.

What will the adoption rate be?

Whilst MPP won’t be switched on by default, when opening email for the first time after installing iOS 15, you are presented withprf a screen asking if you would like to be tracked or not.

When Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency tool in April, 96% of people opted out. There is no reason to expect Mail Privacy Protection will be any different. I mean, who in a post-GDPR and Cambridge Analytica, Facebook etc. world would say ‘Yes, please track me’!

So, from now on you can expect to see your open rates jump. You just won’t know if any of that increase is real. With estimates putting Apple proxy opens at 75% you can be sure this jump isn’t because your audience suddenly loves you more.

…and why does that matter?

The upshot of this is that open rates will no longer be a useful metric when measuring subscriber engagement. This has repercussions for a range of emails you may already be sending, including:

  • A/B testing subject lines using opens to determine the winner.
  • Targeting based on the last open date.
  • Automated workflows and journeys that rely on someone opening an email.
  • Send time optimisation based on previous open times.
  • Countdown timers may also show incorrect times as they will start at the Apple open rather than the real recipient open time.
  • Local content driven by opens or IP addresses, such as the nearest store location (although this is more of an issue in large geographies like the USA rather than the UK).
  • AI platforms that use email opens in their algorithm for creating optimised subject lines.

Going forward, list hygiene management using non-openers over time will become a challenge although as Apple can only cache images if the Mail app is running, it means those email addresses are valid.

There is a chance this could all backfire of course. The muddying of these waters will mean emails that are less targeted and none of us want that. We have all come to expect a high level of personalisation. Sometimes we even claim we are happy to trade a degree of privacy for an improved experience. However, I can’t see this becoming a big enough issue to prompt large numbers of people going into mail settings on their iPhones and switching MPP off again.

So what can we do to best prepare our email marketing for the future?

Who’s who?

The first step is to understand the email client breakdown of your audience to determine who uses an Apple device. You can also create a reliable opens audience for non-Apple Mail users as you can still use the open metric here.

Update and remind people about your email preference centre. Give them a range of choices on how they would like receive emails from you. And – as always – keep your email list clean to stay on top of deliverability.

Focus on click rates

The goal of any campaign is most likely not about how many people open an email but how many make a purchase and in between the email open and the website is the click. We are already focused on click rates and now we’ll need to rely on these even more. The open-to-click metric will also need changing to clicks compared to emails sent.

Expand your engagement-based segments

As open rates become increasingly unreliable, double-down on your engagement criteria to include clicks, web visits and purchase activity. The numbers who meet these criteria will naturally be smaller but it’s a good way to continue having highly-targeted engagement segments.

Segment your contacts based on how far they are on their path to purchase. This provides another data-driven measure of intent that can be used for targeting.

Add new channels

Other channels like SMS and push notifications can help expand your reach. In 2020, the number of SMS messages sent increased nearly 400% with conversion rates doubling.

For web push notifications, the increase was around a 30% conversion rate, which is nearly five times what it was the previous year.

Whilst you should consider these channels to mitigate no longer having complete email open data, neither SMS or push notifications have open rates at all so have always had to measure success in terms of conversions. It’s also worth reminding ourselves that email is still at the top of the pile in terms of ROI. A drop in the accuracy of measuring open rates isn’t going to change that.

Shopping data

Place more importance on customer purchases using recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) data.

If you don’t already have one, create a customer lifecycle program which can identify customer stages based on all of these other metrics. It will allow you to build and automate data-driven campaigns based on purchase behaviour.

Be creative

Be adaptable so you are able to move quickly when things change. We should always be looking for new ways to provide value to our customers. The ultimate goal is revenue from initial and repeat purchases, not open rates.

As marketers, we have all the data we need to help understand customer preferences which should allow for smarter promotions overall. The open engagement metric may be more unreliable, but the metrics of clicks and conversions remain unchanged.

Hide My Email – should I worry?

Another part of Mail Privacy Protection allows people to hide any of their email addresses (e.g., Hotmail/Outlook, Gmail, etc.) by generating unique, random icloud.com email addresses that forward to their real email address. These are used only once. If people hide their email from multiple companies, they will have generated multiple fake emails (one for each website).

icloud email addresses aren’t anywhere near as prevalent as Gmail or Hotmail/Outlook. Nonetheless it’s worth tracking your email data at a domain level to check for growth.

These fake email addresses can be deleted which means next time you mail them they will hard bounce and, If you get a lot of these, your email deliverability will suffer.

Another challenge is tying email activity to purchases when, say, someone signs up for your newsletter with Hide My Email but then later make a purchase using their real email address.

Whilst it is early days, Hide My Email is unlikely to gain enough traction to become a problem. After all, there have been similar services available for years. Also, if you’re seeing lots of new random icloud addresses appear in your database then you have a more fundamental trust issue. These people saw enough of a reason to hide their real address from you in the first place.

The future is bright

If your core objective of marketing is to provide the right value to the right customer at the right time, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

However, Apple’s iOS 15 update is certainly making it more challenging. Apple may be leading the way but expect other companies to follow suit. We should all see this as an opportunity to look at the other ways customer engagement and behaviour can be measured and improved.

Ultimately what Apple has done is a good thing. We have all had our trust eroded over the years by unscrupulous marketing. Spammers often use harvested email addresses. There is ever-pervasive advertising that follows you around the internet. And the almost sinister use of AI algorithms that present us with filtered realities within social media platforms – just to keep us there longer so we see more ads.

In this brave new world it has become easy to forget the marketing fundamentals of building trust and respecting our customers. Apple have just given us a reminder.