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BANKING IN EGYPT

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On the occasion of winning the Best Investment Bank in Egypt for the fourth consecutive year, Global Banking & Finance Review spoke with Hassan Abdalla, CEO of Arab African International Bank about the banking sector in Egypt. 

Hassan Abdalla, CEO , Arab African International Bank

Hassan Abdalla, CEO, Arab African International Bank

In your view what is the current state of Egypt’s economy in terms of stability and potential for growth? 

Egypt is quite on track. The decisions taken by the Egyptian government lately aim to restore financial stability and investors’ confidence, while at the same time, increasing employment opportunities.

Aside from de-pegging Egypt’s Pound from the US Dollar, a number of measures have been taken by Egypt to rectify its large fiscal deficit. To name a few, introducing VAT & progressive taxes, slashing the public sector wage bill, and lifting of fuel subsidies were pre-requisites to approve the recent IMF loan. The move was applauded by Global Rating Agencies which have reaffirmed Egypt’s B-/B long and short-term sovereign credit ratings and revised the outlook from “negative” to “stable”. Hence, the structural reforms should aim to transform Egypt’s economy into a market-driven, private sector-led, competitive enterprise capable of generating high rates of inclusive and sustainable growth.

Egypt is a deep rich market with high resilience, and provides very lucrative returns compared to the risks entailed.

What impact are regulations and reforms having on the banking industry in Egypt? 

We are part of the global banking scene. Financial institutions across the world are facing many challenges, yet I am quite confident of the resilience of the Egyptian banking sector.

As we speak, the challenges facing the Egyptian banking sector are more or less similar to those facing banks worldwide.  We all have to adjust and revise our business models in a very challenging macroeconomic landscape. Topping the list is facing foreign exchange volatility, evolving international regulatory and compliance requirements including new risk management techniques and capital adequacy requirements in addition to tighter banking supervision.

Compliance cost, data reporting, and necessary IT infrastructure are becoming additional costly mandates. Basel III will add further capital and supervision requirements that will put pressures on banks’ profitability and trigger the risk – return trade offs.

Will banking remain a profitable industry? 

It is no longer business as usual.  Banks cannot sustain their profitability unless they undergo a fundamental revision of how they do business, revise policies, systems, structures, including development of human resources skills. It is quite challenging.

Zooming on specific challenges facing Egyptian banks, the main challenge will be adapting and coping with a very fluid and dynamic socio-economic landscape. Egypt offers a very rich landscape with a huge diversified economy, deep market and huge population of around 90 million inhabitants. This situation creates challenges as much as it creates opportunities. It all depends on your ability and agility to develop your business models to leverage opportunities. For example, Egypt has a young population whereby 60% are below the age of 30. This could be deciphered as a burden of unemployment but it also points the way that banks should shift their traditional operations towards micro-finance, entrepreneurship funding, along with small and medium enterprises. Financial inclusion has become a nation- wide mandate endorsed by the Central Bank of Egypt. Egyptian banks are faced with a new mandate, which requires new arrangements as it provides rising growth potential. In the same context, funding clean energy and energy efficiency is a new track that is becoming very relevant to the Egyptian context.

What opportunities do you see for foreign investments?

There are countless opportunities untapped for Egyptian and foreign businesses. Egypt is currently showing promising growth rates when compared other emerging markets. Investments in Egypt tend to provide relatively high return compared to risk. Egypt is characterized by a resilient economy that has been able to withstand and overcome internal and external shocks. Continuing with the structural reform program, Egypt is expected to witness an uptick in growth rates over the medium term due to the inherent advantages in the Egyptian economy; namely a large population, deep market and a highly diversified economy.

What advisory services does Arab African International Bank (AAIB) offer to help individuals and corporate investors achieve their investment objectives? 

AAIB is Egypt’s leading investment bank. Its distinction lies in being a front runner in providing outstanding investment banking and corporate finance services. We offer a plethora of financial advisory services, including distinct and tailor – made – not to mention solution – driven finance structures – customized to our clients’ needs across different sectors. These can vary from short to long-term loans. Our corporate portfolio services include advising on equity placements, mergers and acquisitions, feasibility studies, valuations, escrow arrangements, agency services and raising finance through syndicated loan market. We also lead the local debit capital market in terms of issuing corporate and securitization bonds. AAIB corporate services is backed by integrated services of its financial subsidiaries along with its regional branches.

Established in 1964, AAIB has a strong regional presence with branches in Egypt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut. With 90 branches in your network, what are your plans for expansion and development of your self-service channels

AAIB is the only private Commercial Bank with growing presence in the region. AAIB’s presence in the region is not only by having branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut. AAIB has strong business relations with many countries in the region. It has deep business relations with leading corporates in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar.

On the other hand, AAIB has made a significant investment in expanding its local branch network. It aims to reach a network of 100 branches by the end 2017 with more focus on geographic footprint in Upper Egypt & the Canal Area. Egypt has a large youth population, which constitutes a great opportunity for retail banking growth. With a total number of banks in Egypt of 40, number of branches for total banks

in Egypt are only 3,824 as of December 2015 (CBE). Banking density is 1 branch for each 23,600 persons which is very low compared to the rest of the world. AAIB Network Expansion Strategy is enhancing its geographical spread across Egypt and enhancing its self-service channels. AAIB is targeting to be the third bank among peers in terms of customer reach by the end of 2017. The planned network expansion is to reach almost 100 branches by the end of 2017. The additional branches that will be launched during 2017 are scattered among different untapped governorates and include branches in strategic areas such as vital Egyptian ports.

As for the self-service channels, AAIB is targeting to grow its ATMs network to reach 410 ATMs towards the end of 2017. The bank also has 2 Auto branches. Moreover, the bank is conducting studies to introduce unmanned branches/ banking units in shopping malls, universities and residential compounds to improve customer reach and enhance customer experience. AAIB is also focused on probing Mobile Banking in 2017.

Enhancement in offering the payroll service as well as an ongoing innovation of new products and market segments introducing unique products and service offerings. In addition, improved and accelerated delivery channels through migration to ATMs and mobile payment gateways; and intelligently rationalize the branch footprint locally & regionally to increase banking penetration and outreach.

AAIB is now also preparing branches to serve for special needs and is planning to have 5 fully equipped branches.

AAIB has evolved from being just a bank to a fully integrated financial group offering asset management, brokerage, leasing, and mortgage services. How does this benefit your clients and what plans do you have for future growth?

AAIB’s mission is to offer a continuously evolving array of services to the entire region, developing new business arms to that effect. The Bank’s growth was propelled in 2008 with the establishment of four subsidiaries; Arab African Investment Holding (AAIH), Arab African Investment Management (AAIM), Arab African International Securities (AAIS), Arab African International Mortgage Finance (AAIMF) and the newly established in 2014 Arab African International Leasing (AAIL). The establishment of which transformed AAIB from a Bank to a full- fledged financial group. Therefore, AAIB has realized the benefit of synergies and consolidated services to our clients through its financial arms, perfected by a related diversification within the financial services markets. Moreover, the bank is planning to launch “SANDAH” with KFW Bank aus Verantwortung, a green field microfinance company that will serve the untapped microfinance segment in Egypt.

AAIB recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Can you tell us more about this agreement and what it means for investors? 

AAIB is the first regional bank to conclude   a MOU with the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone(SCZone)on January 3, 2017. It aims at providing investors with bank’s unique financial and investment products and services, which will definitely help to boost the flow of investments into the region. Enacting the MOU, the bank will have the right to arrange and fund loans, offer its distinctive banking products, and provide investors with bank’s renowned financial advisory services. Besides holding projects and partnerships between the public and private sectors including navigation sector and its affiliated ports. That’s in addition to the participation in providing funding alternatives for all economic activities including the industrial activities.

SME’s represent a large portion of Egypt’s GDP. What are the biggest challenges facing SME’s right now in Egypt? 

The role of SMEs proved efficacious in the development of many economies around the world including the United States and China. That is because they are easily initiated and carry benefits to the citizens as well as the state.

The SMEs may be the best solution for Egypt’s current economic state as a long term objective. SMEs have the ability to provide a large number of jobs to subdue unemployment and substitute imports of finished goods. Egypt has a total of 6.4M enterprises, whereby only 400K are formal.

Although the government has taken steps to bolster the sector, little success has resulted. Compliance with the new norms requires working on the demand and supply side categorically.  Initiatives in financial literacy, KYC, and leveraging on bank’s infrastructure might precede lending to SME clients.  Commercial banks are yet to remain conservative with respect to lending to this segment.

Egypt’s SME sector remains underdeveloped with less than 8% of total firms have credit. The main challenges facing borrowers are collaterals, access to finance, and lack of entrepreneurial skills and managing accounts. Banks have to be equipped with the necessary infrastructure, training of manpower, delivery channels, business and operational model, credit and risk management.

The program recently launched by the Central Bank aims at increasing the SMEs lending share of total banks’ portfolio to 20% over the next 4 years.

In this context, we are constantly building the infrastructure necessary to substantiate this move. We are structuring a fully-fledged specialized SMEs unit inside our bank, considered the best new revenue streams.  We have also focused on investing in training emerging calibers from the corporate and retail lines of business to build a strong knowledge base in SME funding and through a joint training program with Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Can you tell us about some of the support services you offer SMEs and how does the support offered to SME clients differ from the needs of large corporations? 

As I mentioned before, the bank is planning to launch its SMEs company “SANDAH”.A green field microfinance company will serve the untapped microfinance segment in Egypt. Creating a completely new microfinance institution that requires an innovative, proactive approach to the challenges of risk assessment and efficiency of the low and middle-income segment. AAIB’s role would be enhancing access to credit vital to Egypt’s economic growth and job creation.

The support given to the SMEs differ from the needs of large companies in many ways. A crucial element in the development of the SME sector is access to finance, particularly to bank financing, given the relative importance of the banking sector in serving this segment.

Small businesses cannot usually afford to pay for the kind of accounting and book keeping services they need, nor can their new employees be effectively tested and trained in advance. Moreover, to compete in global markets, SMEs need to develop new business strategies and deploy new technologies.

SMEs provide tremendous growth potential but require a healthy ecosystem to evolve in scale.

Interviews

Round Table Feature – Attracting FDI at times of crisis

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Round Table Feature – Attracting FDI at times of crisis 2

In recent years the growth of Northern Ireland’s financial services sector has been fuelled by an unbeatable combination of world-class talent, highly competitive operating costs and research excellence in a low-risk, pro-business environment.

Of course, like many economies across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Northern Ireland’s communities and many of its businesses. But, thanks to this quality combination, the sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience and continued to thrive, leading to sustained job creation and high-profile customer wins from some of its leading players, including Allstate, Citi and Aflac.

To examine the patterns behind this continued growth in the face of adversity, we recently hosted a ‘virtual roundtable’ with senior figures from established businesses across Northern Ireland’s financial services sector alongside the nation’s fintech envoy, Andrew Jenkins and Invest Northern Ireland’s Steve Harper.

Here, our panel explored the market qualities investing financial services companies look for and discussed the elements they believe a business should invest in to build resilience and as an in-market team during challenging times.

Meet the panel

John Healy – Vice President & Managing Director, Allstate Northern Ireland: John leads Allstate NI’s team of 2,200 experts. He has 25 years’ experience in technology, predominantly in the financial services domain. He has extensive experience at leading global teams, developing strategy and delivering solutions to address business and technology issues.

Keith Farley – Managing Director, Aflac Northern Ireland Ltd: Keith is responsible for setting up Aflac’s European Centre of Excellence. He has relocated to Belfast, UK and is creating a new organization that will offer both software development and cyber security solutions. With a goal of growing from 0 to 150 professionals in a few years, this team will be a critical part of Aflac’s global digital strategy.

Leigh Meyer – Head of Global FX/MM & EMEA Markets Operations Belfast Site Head Citibank: Leigh has worked for Citi for 22 years, covering a number of products from derivatives to FX.  He is also the Northern Ireland Chair for TheCityUK, a private-sector membership body and industry advocacy group promoting the financial and related professional services industry of the United Kingdom.

Darragh McCarthy –Founder and CEO, FinTrU. In 2013, after many years in the banking industry in London, New York and Frankfurt, Darragh founded FinTrU in Belfast having recognised the increased demand from global investment banks for high-quality resources to navigate the ever-increasing regulatory landscape. The company employs over 600 people in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. 

Steve Harper, Executive Director International Invest Northern Ireland Steve’s role at Invest NI, the region’s main development organisation, is to promote trade and inward investment into the area.

Q&A

What has been your experience as a financial services business operating in Northern Ireland during COVID-19?

Leigh Meyer, Citi NI: As a global company we have been fortunate to have the technology infrastructure to move almost our entire workforce to work from home successfully with little change to our day to day operations. In Northern Ireland, this means we continue to hire, and have successfully on boarded 172 new employees to Citi Belfast virtually over the last four months. The result has been that our client support was largely uninterrupted and continued to give our fullest care and attention in very tough times.

Keith Farley, Aflac NI: As a technology company, we have been very fortunate to have 100% of staff work remotely with minimal disruption. We were also able to continue hiring during the pandemic – more than doubling the size of our team from 19 employees in March to 50 in August.

Darragh McCarthy  FinTrU: Likewise. We made the decision in early March to facilitate 100% of our employees to begin working from home. The infrastructure in Northern Ireland has allowed us to manage this transition smoothly and maintain our productivity with client delivery.

What initially attracted you to Northern Ireland as a destination for your business?

Keith Farley, Aflac NI: We were attracted to Northern Ireland for many reasons, but it really boiled down to three words we have painted on our wall: Resilient, Reinventive and Adaptable. While these words reference the long history Belfast and the nation have in agility, they were proven once again proven during this pandemic.

John Healy OBE, Allstate NI: The availability of skilled technologists was the main reason for setting up an off-shore location in Northern Ireland over 20 years ago.  The original plan was to create a workforce of 200 but the quality of the people and skills available has meant that we have grown to a multi-site operation with 2,400 employees in Belfast and the North West.

Leigh Meyer, Citi NI: Put simply, its value proposition. Northern Ireland offers skilled people, competitive costs, great infrastructure and high standard of living, all with close proximity to London, the European, Middle East and Africa region. The nation also benefits from a central time zone ideal for supporting Asia, North and South America.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU: In Northern Ireland, there is an incredible opportunity to partner with leading academic institutions including Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College.

FinTrU has undoubtedly benefited from these mutual partnerships with our Financial Services and Legal Academies providing local graduates with the opportunity to work on the global stage with the largest Investment Banks in the world.

How can regions support businesses to be more resilient during crises like the pandemic?

Leigh Meyer, Citi NI: Regions can help ensure that the infrastructure is robust, scalable and fit for purpose – this applies to both physical and technical infrastructure. It is also essential that policy makers give clear guidance on what health and safety measures they require, to boost the confidence of people travelling to and from work and in their everyday lives.

Keith Farley, Aflac NI: We believe that investments in infrastructure continue to be critical, especially urban and rural internet connectivity as we shift to more flexible work environments.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU: In terms of the Financial Services industry, I feel crisis management and leadership is crucial. Having a clear strategy in place from the top can help alleviate the anxieties that others will face during a period of crisis. Regions can help businesses to be further resilient through investment in appropriate infrastructure to allow for the transition from office to homeworking in all areas across Northern Ireland.

What have external organisations (like Invest NI) been able to offer in terms of support?

Keith Farley, Aflac NI: Invest NI has been a great partner in introducing us to the region and the opportunities that exist here to hire world-class technology talent in a business-friendly environment.

Leigh Meyer, Citi NI: We have been in touch with our Client Manager throughout the pandemic. Invest NI has supported Citi from 2005, starting with the initial inward investment feasibility study and financial assistance to help expand the workforce in Belfast and training and development costs. We are also engaged with the NI Chamber of Commerce, CBI NI, Belfast City Council and universities and schools for exchange of ideas, support, driving the business agenda for the country.

Steve Harper, Invest Northern Ireland: We have worked hard to ensure that all businesses benefit from being part of Northern Ireland’s diverse economy, embedded resilience and agility. Even during the height of the pandemic, we were able to work closely with the Department of Finance and the Business Services Organisation to help match NI companies with government calls for much needed medical equipment and PPE. We received over 300 offers from businesses who expressed interest in supporting the fight against COVID-19 by developing prototypes and products for testing to ensure they comply with regulations. Many then went on to receive orders for PPE, ventilators, testing and sanitiser.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU: We made the decision to not avail of any COVID-19 Governmental sponsored support initiatives or furlough any employees due to our ongoing growth. However, the resources provided by Invest NI such as the ‘Recover’ support which include ‘HR advice to build skills’, ‘Build resilience through leadership capability’, ‘Invest in ICT solutions and technologies’ and ‘Operation excellence to adapt to COVID-19’ demonstrates its commitment to the companies that have invested in Northern Ireland.

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, what do you think are the challenges and opportunities facing the financial services sector?

Keith Farley, Aflac NI: We are going to need to work together with employees to ensure they feel safe traveling to work, knowing that their safety is a priority, but also that people want to return to a city that is open for business. We also need to learn from the pandemic to make our work environment safer, more inclusive and flexible. As a community, we recognised the impact we have on each other, as well as the importance of human interaction. We should not take that for granted again.

Steve Harper, Invest Northern Ireland: The resilience and agility demonstrated by businesses in the local financial services sector – and beyond – throughout the crisis really sets our region apart as a positive force and a lucrative location for business. This couldn’t have been achieved without its diverse business landscape, supportive environment, and of course, its excellent calibre of people. As we move forward, I strongly believe that this experience has unleashed a renewed sense of purpose and a collaborative and enterprising spirit that will serve us well as we recover and look forward – and these are qualities that this new world absolutely needs.

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU: Social distancing and remote working from home can leave people feeling isolated, especially those who are away from their families. At FinTrU, we invest heavily in our company culture and pay careful attention to ensure that it is not lost whilst we are working away from the office. It is important for businesses to consider the challenges faced by their people and to have empathy towards situations that may be experienced by others.

What do you think financial services organisations will look for going forward, when it comes to investing in new markets?

John Healy, Allstate NI: The financial services industry has seen dramatic technology-led changes over the past few years. Many have looked to improve efficiency and implement game-changing innovation, while seeking ways to lower costs. Meanwhile, Fintech start-ups are disrupting established markets, leading with customer-centric solutions developed from the ground up. To best serve our industry, markets will need highly skilled technologists in a range of areas: Blockchain, Robotics, AI, Cloud and Cyber Security, to name but a few. There must be collaboration between government, education and industry to prepare and sustain the skills that are required now and in the future.

Steve Harper, Invest Northern Ireland: Quality digital connectivity has proven essential during the crisis, and, as our lives move increasingly online, for these organisations it will become as critical to economic sustainability and growth as water and electricity are to our everyday lives today. Wherever you go around the world, those places that have invested in solid digital foundations have, in most cases, proven to be the most resilient. This is because digital services and solutions underpin innovation and productivity, as well as businesses’ ability to scale.

Leigh Meyer, Citi NI: Finance businesses value the ability to relocate staff effectively, source new talent and offer rewarding careers. We look closely at the broader legal, regulatory and tax regime. The UK’s operating environment needs to remain competitive, not least as the Brexit transition phase comes to an end. A robust infrastructure is also important, particularity digital/tech infrastructure in this current climate as we evolve our methods of training our employees to virtual. 

Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU: Without the correct infrastructure, it would not have been possible for businesses such as FinTrU to adapt to a situation like COVID-19. This robust connectivity and investment in technology will be a very important consideration for any company when investing in a new market. However, risk and cybersecurity represent an important area for Financial Services organisations to consider. This industry is more reliant than ever on technology, and a lack of risk management or compliance can cost an organisation greatly.

Finally, I feel the most important consideration for a company when it comes to investing in a new market is the people. The talented workforce will make up your organisation in terms of the client delivery as well as shaping the company culture.

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Is the upskilling of compliance teams in financial services the key to delivering fast and effective identity verification?

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Is the upskilling of compliance teams in financial services the key to delivering fast and effective identity verification? 3

By Charlie Roberts, Head of Business Development, UK, Ireland & EU at IDnow

With the global pandemic driving the world’s population online, identity fraud is becoming increasingly attractive to criminals. In 2019, even before COVID-19 struck, the UK fraud prevention service – Cifas – recorded in excess of 223,000 cases on its National Fraud Database, an increase of 18 percent on the previous year and a 32 percent rise over the previous five years. And looking ahead, experts predict that by 2021, the damage caused by internet fraud will reach $6 trillion, making cyber fraud one of the world’s fastest growing and most dangerous economic crimes.

Of particular concern for the financial services sector, is IBM’s recent report which revealed that in 2019, it was the most targeted industry for cyber criminals.

As a result, perhaps unsurprisingly, financial institutions are increasingly being thrust into the spotlight when it comes to digital security and protecting the identities of their customers.

These worrying figures are certainly one driving factor in the UK government’s new Digital Identity Strategy Board, which has developed six principles to strengthen digital identity delivery and policy in the country.

So how can financial institutions tackle the growing problem of cyber crime? We caught up with Charlie Roberts, Head of Business Development UK&I at IDnow, to talk about the importance of upskilling inhouse teams in a bid to deliver fast and effective identity verification.

What is the benefit of taking a hybrid approach to identity verification?

Charlie Roberts

Charlie Roberts

We already know the important role technology is playing in the fight against cyber criminality – from biometrics and machine learning to artificial intelligence (AI) – and we recently discussed the significance of supplementing this verification technology with human identification experts. These professionals are able to use their intuition and understanding of human interactions and behaviours to identify when a person is being coerced or dishonest.

However, while these highly skilled and trained identification specialists are playing a vital role in the fight against cyber and identity crime, for some financial institutions, particularly larger banks, they present a barrier.

How will owning the entire verification process benefit financial institutions?

Working on a SaaS basis, typically, identity software vendors provide financial institutions with the software and technology required for identity verification however, the final decision on verification rests with the vendor’s algorithms or ident specialists.

However, many banks want to own the entire verification process, from utilising the technology and software to making the ultimate decision on the identity of a person. By handing this level of control over to the bank, institutions can integrate the verification systems within their own infrastructure, enabling the people that know their brand the best to set their own levels of security and determine what is authenticated and what is declined.

Why should banks consider upskilling inhouse compliance teams?

While working with a third-party verification specialist is the preferred option for some, for others, the idea of upskilling and training existing compliance teams in identity verification is the priority, empowering the bank to own the process and the risk. Long term, it will also provide significant cost savings while showcasing a major investment in talent and people, which will undoubtedly help attract and retain customers too.

Is the time right to invest in inhouse identity verification systems?

With the UK seeking to develop a legal framework for digital identity, it is clearly becoming an increasingly important feature on the governmental agenda, not least to ensure that not only can people feel safe online, but also to deliver faster transactions and ultimately add billions to the economy. As such, all eyes will soon be turning to the safeguards the financial sector is putting in place to help protect the online identities of customers.

Arguably then, now is the time to invest in a robust identity verification system that will not only provide the advanced technology needed to automate the process, but that can help train and upskill inhouse teams to truly deliver an embedded and hybrid approach to identity verification at a time when it is of paramount importance.

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ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick Talks Email Marketing and Deliverability

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ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick Talks Email Marketing and Deliverability 4

For a channel that’s been deemed “dead” by some, email marketing is doing more than well. You can expect an average return of $42 for every dollar you invest. But what does it take to achieve such a high performance?

In this exclusive interview, ZeroBounce Chief Operating Officer Brian Minick breaks down the main ingredients of successful email campaigns. With more than 10 years of experience in Operations, Minick and his team are currently helping thousands of email senders across the world land in the inbox. Let’s see what he has to say about improving inbox placement, engagement, and email marketing ROI.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in email marketing this year?  

So many facets of the economy and the world have slowed down drastically or even stalled completely, but one thing showing no sign of stopping is email marketing. Email marketing is doing better than ever, but there are also new challenges that go along with this year.

Email engagement has gone up 200 percent since the pandemic hit. With everything being pushed online, it makes sense that businesses and people are heavily relying on email.

However, that’s not to say email marketing hasn’t suffered in other ways. There has been a massive increase in what we refer to in the industry as “churn.” Many were laid off or placed on leave. With their email addresses removed or abandoned, this has resulted in a rapid decline in email list quality.

Those bouncing emails lead to lost opportunities if companies don’t validate their lists regularly. Especially for the B2B sector, taking measures to restore email hygiene is paramount during these months.

How has ZeroBounce adapted to these changes to stay relevant in the market? 

For starters, we can easily help senders identify the bad email addresses once they get turned off. It’s important for many reasons, and one is to make sure you’re reaching real people.

Apart from that, we recognized our customers needed more tools to make their email marketing successful. So, this year, we launched three deliverability tools: a mail server tester, blacklist monitoring and an inbox placement tester. They all help marketers detect potential issues before they send, so they can increase their chances of landing in the inbox.

It’s a crazy time for all businesses and as the needs change, ZeroBounce likes to stay one step ahead.

From your experience talking to customers, what are the main challenges they have? How do they overcome them? 

Brian Minick

Brian Minick

Most of them have old databases that need cleaning. They may have an email list that has been dormant or neglected, and it causes bounces and spam complaints.

Sending newsletters or promotions to an outdated list is not a good idea. It jeopardizes the deliverability of emails to every person on the list, even the valid contacts. We help them get rid of the bad, ineffective and fake email addresses. Thus they can communicate more efficiently, boost their brand awareness, and increase ROI.

So many things go into creating a successful email campaign. What would you say are the most important ones? 

It’s so important to have a list made up of people who double opted in because you know they want to be there. Just as important is making sure all of your email addresses have been verified. These things ensure the greatest chance of arriving in the inbox.

But showing up, and doing so consistently, is only one part of it. You also need great subject lines. Your subject line is the first thing people see and it has a dramatic impact on your open rates.

Finally, well-written, relatable copy and a great call-to-action can push you across the finish line.

What type of content do you think brands should send out during these difficult months? 

It’s a tough time for so many. Brands have had to adapt their messaging and tone of voice, and those that didn’t have seen a decrease in engagement. People are less likely to respond to hard sell pitches right now. So, they key is to create content that shows genuine empathy – whether that content is for email, social media or other channels you use.

Keep in mind that everyone has felt these months, and some more than others. Show you’re there for people in a meaningful way.

Please give us one “trick” anyone can use in their email marketing today and see immediate results. 

Come up with two great options and then use A/B testing. Go with the one that works better!

What can you imagine in the future of email? 

With email growing in every way, and all indications showing no sign of slowing down, I see it getting even harder to land in the inbox. And if and when you do, every one of your emails will be competing with so many others.

Marketers are constantly refining their tactics and fine-tuning personalization to deliver the most relevant content, to the right person, at the right time. The competition will be even more intense, and that’s a good thing: it forces us all to get better.

What would you say to those struggling to keep their businesses afloat right now? 

Email marketing costs you very little, but has a great ROI. Keep on pushing and sooner or later you will find success. It is one of the most affordable ways to get in front of millions of people. If you aren’t using email to its fullest potential, don’t think about the time that has passed. Think of all the opportunities ahead of you.

It’s not too late. In fact, in many ways, it’s just starting.

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By Pete Hanlon, CTO of Moneypenny COVID-19 has taught us a lot. We have embraced technology, some might say, survived...

Futureproofing Your Credit Management Now 18 Futureproofing Your Credit Management Now 19
Finance11 hours ago

Futureproofing Your Credit Management Now

By Marieke Saeij, CEO, Onguard The pandemic has forced a shift in day-to-day operations for the majority of businesses. In...

Will covid-19 end the dominance of the big four? 20 Will covid-19 end the dominance of the big four? 21
Top Stories22 hours ago

Will covid-19 end the dominance of the big four?

By Campbell Shaw, Head of Bank Partnerships, Cardlytics Across the country, we are readjusting to refreshed restrictions on our daily...

Why cybercriminals have ‘Gone Vishing’ during the COVID-19 Pandemic 22 Why cybercriminals have ‘Gone Vishing’ during the COVID-19 Pandemic 23
Business1 day ago

Why cybercriminals have ‘Gone Vishing’ during the COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 215,000 vishing attempts in the last year alone As new coronavirus restrictions look set to confine much of...

Risk Mitigation vs. Risk Avoidance: Why FIs Need to Maintain Risk Appetite and Not Place All Bets on De-Risking 24 Risk Mitigation vs. Risk Avoidance: Why FIs Need to Maintain Risk Appetite and Not Place All Bets on De-Risking 25
Finance1 day ago

Risk Mitigation vs. Risk Avoidance: Why FIs Need to Maintain Risk Appetite and Not Place All Bets on De-Risking

De-risking aims to protect financial institutions from the increasing pressures placed by regulators and threats, associated with clients operating in...

Using AI to identify public sector fraud 26 Using AI to identify public sector fraud 27
Technology1 day ago

Using AI to identify public sector fraud

When it comes to audits in the public sector, both accountability and transparency are essential. Not only is the public...

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