4 Email Marketing Trends to Capitalize On
More marketers are beginning to focus on new strategies to drive increased revenue in a changed email environment. The keys to success will be to send less email; leverage new data sources from channels like social media; better design for mobile devices; and extend personalized messaging in email beyond the inbox. Below are four strategies to improve your email marketing program:
1. Reduce email frequency to less engaged users. According to the Responsys Retail Benchmarking Report, response rates were down almost 10 percent last year, largely due to the continuing increase in email frequency.
Most marketers know they should send less email, but many are afraid doing so will drive down revenue. Fret no more as there's a way to both send less email and make more money. Start by defining inactive segments accurately and sending readers content that's most likely to spur them to action. Here's how to get started:
- Define engagement segments by last open/clickthrough date.
- Test to determine which segments of your database generate high unsubscribe rates along with low revenue. Often it's those who haven't responded in 15 months or more, although your actual time period will depend on your typical buying cycle.
- Study your less engaged segment to determine which kinds of campaigns drive response — e.g., free shipping or new product announcements. Send only those campaigns to this segment.
2. Leverage social data to drive higher email relevance through personalization.There's a huge data source out there that most marketers aren't putting to good use. Tap into your customers’ social data graphs to greatly improve your messaging. Add the social networking data you have on your customers to your other targeting data, such as purchase, browse and profile information, to create highly personalized content.
- Invite visitors to log in to your website with Facebook Connect or other social sign-in applications. This will yield social graph data that you can use for segmenting and targeting email campaigns.
- Study this data to learn which posts customers respond to, which products they've liked or even who their friends are. Use this information to create different versions of email content.
- Create customer segments based on influence in social networks. Offer your most influential customers premium content or other offers. Send active customers on social networks exclusive content that they can share with their networks.
3. Respond to the growth in mobile readership by redesigning messages for the mobile inbox. While mobile email open rates increased 34 percent in 2011, according to Return Path, only 3 percent of mobile openers ever view the same message again on a desktop computer. If you haven't retooled your email templates lately, now is the time.
Design emails for the smallest screens. In order to help your email look and function correctly on a mobile device, put the key information at the top of the message. You have about 200 pixels and a couple of seconds to tell the reader what's in your message. Be sure to write a compelling subject line in 25 characters or less and add only essential links to your pre-header, header and navigation. Move the rest lower in the message. Finally, use HTML text and keep in mind that most mobile email clients disable images by default.
To create email layouts that are easy to read and click on you need to increase body copy font sizes. No font should be smaller than 13 points. Also, allow for a 45-pixel-square click zone on individual clickable items. Use email templates called "responsive layouts" that style the HTML according to screen size. Here are some more tips for designing mobile emails:
- condense navigation from five items to three across;
- design primary imagery and content scale to drop extra space on sides;
- use a four-column product grid so that it can easily collapse in half; and
- design a tertiary message so that the image can be hidden and the message stays intact.
4. Use display as a retention tool to complement your email program. The inbox is becoming a cluttered environment for marketers, and subscribers are becoming less tolerant of repetitive messaging from the same company. Marketers therefore must start to deliver highly personalized messages outside of the inbox. Display is quickly becoming the optimal channel for targeted and personalized advertising to identified users. Here are several ways to go beyond traditional retargeting campaigns to incorporate display as part of your overall CRM strategy:
- Identify email openers with special cookies that enable individualized targeting through display advertising.
- Target recent purchasers with personalized display ads that feature recommended products or exclusive offers for repeat purchases — e.g., matching accessories to handbag purchasers.
- Add banner advertising into current multiwave automated programs. Target new subscribers who haven't clicked on a welcome email with a personalized banner ad that reflects their preference center data, click activity or recent web browsing history.