In the race to digital transformation, telcos, ISPs and hosting providers are under intensive pressure to perform. Telecommunications industry executives are scrambling to migrate their organisations to the cloud, convert to 5G, integrate AI, analyse big data, adopt blockchain and not get left behind.

At the same time, their organisations are under constant scrutiny to reduce customer churn, attract new customers, cut costs and grow profit margins. It is not an easy industry to be in.

But there is some good news on the horizon, if CIOs, CMOs and Product Managers stop chasing mirages and instead look right in front of them to a product already (most likely) in their arsenal – branded email hosting.

 

Branded Email Hosting

With The Radicati Group predicting in March 2018 that more than 333 billion emails will be sent per day by year-end 2022, email hosting represents a huge and expanding opportunity to astute telco, ISP and hosting providers.

But email hosting tends to be like that shiny jacket that has always been in the cupboard but no one really knows when to pull it out or how to use it to their best advantage.

Most telcos, ISPs and hosting providers have long been offering email hosting as part of their portfolio of services, but it has typically been misunderstood (by executives who have seen it as a liability rather than an asset) and/or poorly executed (by in-house tech teams who are not email experts and therefore provide only a very basic user experience).

In today’s quest for brand dominance, branded email hosting has the power to boost brand recognition, increase customer engagement, reduce churn, cut costs and become a key source of alternative revenue – if companies are able to recognise and harness its true value.

A key part of this solution is to think like an OTT (Over the Top) media service aiming for an awesome customer experience, rather than a traditional telco satisfied with offering basic webmail services.

 

5 Benefits of Branded Email Hosting

In years gone by, branded email hosting often consisted only of pasting a company logo onto an existing email interface. But times have changed.

Today, brand customisation has not only become more sophisticated and all-encompassing, but best practice email hosting now takes a more holistic approach to the relationship between email hosting and overall brand revenue. Five key benefits include:

 

1. Boosting Brand Recognition

Email hosting presents a unique opportunity for telcos, ISPs and hosting providers to discreetly, or not so discreetly, promote their most valuable asset – multiple times a day.

If the 2017 Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report figures are accurate, consumers are still so obsessed with email that they are giving their email provider 5.4 hours a day to keep their brand top of mind.

 

2. Increasing Customer Engagement

If an email hosting provider can offer a positive branded email experience, their consumers might know, love and think about their brand more than ever before.

In fact, The Temkin Group’s 2016 study of 10,000 American consumers showed that customers who enjoyed a positive experience “are 5 times as likely to repurchase, 5 times as likely to forgive, 4 times as likely to refer[, ] 7 times as likely to try a new offering and up to 14 times more likely to buy than potential new customers.”

 

3. Reducing Churn

“Email hosting is important to us because we know some of our power and gas customers would leave if we did not offer email,” says Gavin S, ISP Systems Engineer at a leading power, gas and broadband company in New Zealand.

This sentiment underlies comments by Arthur Middleton Hughes, Vice President of The Database Marketing Institute in 2008:

“Statistics in dozens of industries have proved conclusively that the retention rate is a function of the number of products that a customer is buying from your company. The higher retention rate of multiple product purchasers is the reason why telecom companies are trying to sell “The Triple Play” of phone, broadband and TV. By selling a landline customer broadband, you make a profit from the broadband, but you also reduce the likelihood of churn by this particular customer. If you can also sell him TV service, you may have him for life. You make it [a] nuisance to switch.”

 

4. Cutting Costs

If the lost revenue from a churned telco customer is US$1,117 and the average customer acquisition cost for a new customer is US$400, telcos need to be careful not to lose more customers than they can afford.

“In the current downturn, many companies are tightening [their] belt. But too many are missing their biggest opportunity to keep costs down: building loyal relationships with customers…” says Fred Reichheld, fellow at Bain & Company and the inventor of the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

“Return customers tend to buy more from a company over time. As they do, your operating costs to serve them decline. What’s more, return customers refer others to your company. And they’ll often pay a premium to continue to do business with you rather than switch to a competitor with whom they’re neither familiar nor comfortable.”

 

5. Growing Revenue

Despite the rise of messaging platforms as alternative advertising channels (for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat), email is still the only digital channel that gives direct access to a customer’s inbox.

This means that branded email hosting is a CMO’s dream, because it offers an unencumbered route to advertising, upsell, cross-sell and increasing overall brand revenue. No complicated, mystery algorithms to stonewall marketing efforts. Just advance to GO and collect $200.

 

Fight Churn & Grow Revenue

Branded email hosting can help telcos, ISPs and hosting providers to fight churn and grow revenue. That’s why companies such as BT, Singtel, Telstra, Optus, SoftBank and VentraIP offer an email service to their customers and actively encourage customer sign-ups. It is also why astute CEOs, CIOs and CMOs are increasingly tapping into the unlocked potential of email hosting to attract customers who churn less and spend three times more across their portfolio.

Email hosting done right, with a modern and enjoyable customer experience, can boost brand recognition, increase customer engagement, reduce churn, cut costs and grow revenue – via paid email fees, upsell, cross-sell, in-app advertising and an overall 3x boost to brand revenue.

After all, despite the rise of alternative messaging solutions, email is still the only digital channel gives you direct access to your customer’s inbox.

“There isn’t really an alternative [to email]. Sometimes people will have Facebook messenger turned on, but 99 percent of the time if you’re sending a message to a human you don’t know well, you’re using email,” said Slack’s co-founder Stewart Butterfield in The Verge in 2014.

So, if telcos, ISPs and hosting providers want to stay close to their customers…

They should stay close to their email.

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