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iOS 15 Kills Email Open Rates | Companies Now Turn to Handwritten Notes
iOS 15 Kills Email Open Rates. Use Handwritten notes instead
If you depend on email campaigns for the majority of your marketing, you're about to get a rude awakening.
Imagine a world where email open rates skyrocket from 15% to 40% and beyond — and yet the same percentage of people are reading your emails. This flagship metric suddenly loses its value because it becomes impossible to measure with any accuracy. What could cause such bizarre behavior?
Apple and their iOS 15 update.
The latest release of Apple's iOS operating system has a time bomb built into it that will chip away at marketers' confidence in email open rates — slowly at first and then with increasing intensity — until this most important measure of email success becomes wholly meaningless.
Let's look at what's going on.
IOS 15 Will Break Email Open Rates
The most recent release of the tech giants venerable operating system has changed the way it treats email security. It will present users with a choice to activate "Mail Privacy Protection" for any Apple Mail apps they use. Experts agree that most people will opt for the extra protection, and when they do, their Apple email apps will begin marking every message "open" whether or not it was ever viewed.
Let us say that again for effect. Apple mail apps are starting to flag every message that comes in as opened, regardless of whether it ever actually was opened. Given the iPhone's dominant market share, these false positives will become a flood of bad data, destroying email open rates across every industry, around the globe.
Now we see why the new iOS 15 update will make it near impossible to measure a campaign's effectiveness. When your email campaigns return a staggering 45% open rate you won't know what percentage of that is just Apple apps automatically flagging every message. Maybe you had a good month. Maybe you didn't. The truth is buried in an avalanche of false opens.
Of course, open rates aren't the only metric email marketers use, but it's the most significant. It's possible to get a general picture of market sentiment using other measures, but none match the accuracy and immediacy of the open rate. With that metric removed, the future of email marketing is in question.
Handwritten Notes Can Replace Email Marketing
With email's most intelligible metric removed, it's hard to trust your results. Instead of muddling forward, making do with less than useful alternative measures, it's time to look at changing strategies. It's time to move to handwritten notes.
Handwritten communications have a few things going for them, and even more so now that email's deflating. For one, handwritten notes enjoy a remarkable 99% open rate. And this figure has been stable for a very long time. This is some chart-topping blip caused by bad data like we're seeing with email open rates. This is a well-documented figure that's been invariant for years. Handwritten notes get opened nearly every single time.
"That's fine, " you might say. "I can imagine that handwritten notes get opened. They're unique. They stand out from everything else that appears in your mailbox. But you can't send 10,000 handwritten notes in a matter of minutes like you can with email." And you'd be wrong.
Simply Noted Makes Handwritten Notes as Simple as Email
Simply Noted takes the labor out of handwritten communications. We've developed a fleet of advanced handwriting machines that create super convincing handwritten cards and letters. Our proprietary "Infinity" fonts are capable of recreating the subtle details that tell the eyes they're looking at real handwriting. The result is a staggering effect. Your prospects won't know a human didn't handwrite your notes.
We offer a number of powerful integrations allowing you to trigger handwritten notes in exactly the same way, using the same software that you use to send email campaigns. We've streamlined the process. Sending a personalized note or 10,000 is as easy as sending an email, and it's equally effective.
Marketers can segment their audiences and design complex automations in exactly the same way they would for email. The only difference is that you're triggering us to create personalized, handwritten notes.
Imagine if you could fuse the emotional immediacy of a handwritten note with the speed, ease, and flexibility of automation. That's what you get with Simply Noted, and it's the root of why handwritten notes should replace email in your next campaign.
Why Are Handwritten Notes So Powerful?
Why are handwritten notes so powerful? What's the magic of handwriting? Looks look a little deeper.
Handwriting grabs attention more often than typed notes do. When you handwrite notes, people are more likely to read your notes (compared to typing them).
Hands down they're favored because people tend not to open emails from people who are not 'their' contacts, therefore, opening the mail when it arrives in the post makes the recipient feel slightly more valued. Secondly, when you handwrite a letter or card you make sure that you put time and thought into it - its more personal and thoughtful.
Handwritten notes feel more personal because they are. They're crafted by hand for a specific recipient. When we handwrite a note, we choose our words carefully as they'll be read by the recipient. When we type an email or text message, it's easy to gloss over what we're trying to say because there is no physical connection between us and them - they can't tell if we've taken time to craft our message.
Handwritten notes are nicer to look at. Typed emails and letters may be more legible but they lack the authenticity of your handwriting - people enjoy reading what you've written. Think about it, when you receive a handwritten letter, do you feel special?
More to the point, handwritten notes are rare. We all use computers, iPads and smartphones to communicate so it makes the recipient feel special when they receive something handwritten. Handwritten notes are more than just communication - they're a connection between you and another person.
Other Enhancements You Can Make to Your Mailing Strategy
Switch to handwritten notes is one of many alterations you can make to your current tactics to come out ahead of Apple's move.
Perfect Your Messaging
The one thing that remains constant is that people want to be informed, entertained and have their needs met. The more you do this effectively, the more likely they are to engage with your brand.
Do you have a plan for your messaging? What's it going to say? How can you best connect with your audience so they'll read it? Use A/B testing to gauge the effectiveness of specific phrases and CTAs. Rate each one against a battery of metrics and keep the ones that work. Toss those that don't. Then iterate, change, tweak, and keep tweaking to drive more effective results.
Another way to make sure your mailings are effective is to make sure they're personal. Address the recipient by name, and use a personalized message. Generic messages feel cold and impersonal and are less likely to be read. Make sure your message is relevant to the recipient, and that you've taken the time to personalize it.
Clean Up Your Contacts
If you're finding less than optimal results with email or handwritten campaigns, the problem may lie in your mailing list, not your messaging. The majority of the time, a poor response to a campaign is a result of poor data hygiene.
Inaccurate records not only hurt your campaigns, they actually lead to higher costs and lower ROI.
ExactTarget's 2012 Benchmark Email Report shows how poor data hygiene can affect your results.
The study found that companies with high deliverability achieved three times the open rates and eight times the click-through rates of companies who had poor deliverability. Research reveals that every 1% improvement in deliverability leads to a 1.7% improvement in revenue and that there are huge opportunities for improved deliverability through email list hygiene.
To ensure success with your next campaign, clean up your data. This includes scrubbing the lists of incorrect or unusable information - for example, removing any records where an address is incomplete or a phone number is missing a country code. You should also remove any duplicates, as this can skew results and make it more difficult to accurately assess your lists.
In addition to removing incorrect records, you may need to expand your list with additional names. A recent article from the Huffington Post reveals that consumers are increasingly finding companies via online recommendations and reviews. By adding in records from sources like Facebook and Twitter, you can capture new names, as well as important consumer sentiment about your brand.
Just Focus on Providing Great Service
Marketing efforts aside, a great strategy for growth is to hold on to the customers you already have. That way new customers aren't simply replacing old customers that have fallen away because of inattention on your part.
The best way to do this is by focusing on customer service, something that has disappeared in many organizations because the efficient mass production methods of the last century allowed businesses to grow larger than ever before. Great customer service results in satisfied customers. These customers are more likely to spend money with you, and also more likely to recommend you to their friends.
Great service costs less than acquiring new customers through traditional marketing methods such as cold calling or direct mail. It is also much easier for your business to track the ROI of your customer service efforts because devoted customers stick around longer and provide repeat business.
Don't Forget to Go Mobile
Mobile marketing is something that most business owners haven't yet started looking into, but they should. Consumers use their mobile devices in nearly every aspect of their daily lives and depend on them for everything from finding a local restaurant to checking the value of an investment portfolio. If your company isn't giving consumers the chance to do business with you through their mobile devices, you are missing out on a lot of potential revenue.
Apple's Controversial History
Apple has a history of questionable moves with its iOS products. For years iOS updates have been known to introduce bugs and other quirks that cause problems with how apps work. They've also demonstrated a willingness to break IP in order to get their way.
But Apple is no stranger to controversy. The company has been embroiled in a number of controversies in recent years, most notably around its tax practices. In 2016, the company was found to have paid just $14.5 million in taxes on profits of $181.7 billion over the previous four years, a rate of 0.008%. This led to criticism from politicians and the public, with some accusing Apple of using tax havens to avoid paying its fair share.
Apple has also been criticized for its poor working conditions in factories where its products are made. For example, in 2010 it was revealed that workers at an Apple supplier in China were being forced to work excessive hours and were subject to harsh conditions. This sparked protests and calls for a boycott of Apple products.
And Apple's environmental record has also been criticized, with Greenpeace accusing the company of "dragging its heels" when it comes to doing more to tackle climate change. Apple responded by saying that it was working hard to promote renewable energy and reduce its carbon footprint.
Apple has also recently clashed with regulators in Europe over protecting encryption and privacy. In 2016, Apple refused to comply with a court order to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. It argued that to do so would create a backdoor and put the security of all its customers at risk, but authorities argued it was just for this one case.
The FBI later claimed to have found its own way into the phone, but Apple later said this was not the case and it would still be impossible to unlock newer phones running iOS 11. In September 2017, Apple introduced a new feature called "USB Restricted Mode" which blocks USB access following an hour of inactivity. While the company says this is to protect customers from hackers, security experts say that it will also make it harder for law enforcement to access data on iPhones.
This latest move is sure to anger marketers, but there's precious little they can do to change the tech giant's mind. When Apple makes a decision, they rarely back down. The only way forward is to change the way you think about marketing. Handwritten notes should be a part of your path forward.