What Google did for cookies, Apple is about to do for email open rates. With this fall’s launch of iOS 15, consumers have the ability to opt into new mail privacy features that will ultimately block advertisers from tracking email opens and IP data. What does this mean? Marketers will no longer be able to see which Apple Mail users opened their marketing emails. Marketers are about to go from “open sesame” to “open says who?”

For those of us who have relied on the holy trinity of email opens, clicks, and conversions to measure and perfect our campaigns, it truly is the end of an era. And, let’s face it, that is pretty much all of us! What’s a marketer to do?

First, don’t despair. Just as marketers have found creative solutions to the crumbling cookie, we can still find ways to execute and measure highly successful email marketing campaigns. In fact, we at Marketsmith have been anticipating and already solving this dilemma for our clients with outstanding results. Here is some of what we’ve learned.

Put Your Email Marketing Effort Where It Matters Most

The key is to put even more strategic time and creative energy into planning and pre-testing emails, rather than blast and hope for the best. There are three key areas to focus on:

  • Test subject lines through surveys, and test mailing to build a knowledge base of what performs best for your customers. Intriguing emojis? Hard-hitting offers? A friendly voice?
  • Make the most of preheader texts. We see many emails in our own inboxes that ignore this valuable real estate. Did you add information? Make a clear offer? Complement, rather than merely repeat, your subject line?
  • Focus on conversion! After all, this is the one measurement that truly matters. It is far more critical to know what, how, and why purchasers responded positively to an email than to dwell on those who opened it and turned away. Base future efforts on positive performance.

Adopt a “predictive,” rather than “past performance,” mindset.

That’s precisely what we did in a replenish email campaign for our client, Bluemercury. We put our effort into a loyalty-focused CRM strategy that spoke to engaged customers, not opener-rejectors. After all, those rejectors are a difficult and expensive group to convert. While it was nice to know our creative subject lines and preheader texts drove a 21% open rate, it was far more important that those emails drove 69% better conversion than the brand’s previous efforts.

It was an effort that relied on our own propriety predictive AI platform, MarketsmithIQ. Don’t get us wrong; we believe in measurement more than most marketers. The more data on past performance, the better we can plan the next campaign. But the most important thing is not knowing how an email campaign performed after the fact. It is knowing with confidence how it will perform before you hit the send button to millions of consumers.

Apple is merely trying to protect their own customers from an onslaught of bothersome spam. As email-addicted consumers ourselves, we welcome seeing less irrelevant clutter in our own inboxes each morning. And as marketers, we know that making our clients’ emails relevant to the reader through well-tested subject lines and informative preheader texts is the best way to intrigue loyal and potential customers.

Despite the new rules, email marketing is still open for business! To enhance your campaign even more, be sure to consider direct mail as part of your direct marketing strategy; after all, Direct Mail is Far From Dead.