It’s predicted that there could be as many as 4.6 billion email accounts worldwide by the end of 2016, making email marketing more important than ever to businesses of all sizes and niches. Tapping into just a small proportion of this could unlock a huge audience and an equally huge boost in revenue for the businesses that you represent as a marketer. Like any strategy however, perfecting your approach is a must, particularly as consumers are savvier and their spam boxes fuller as a result.
Here we will reveal the email marketing strategies that could help you stay out of the spam box and disclose just how successful they are in regards to generating traffic and increasing click-through rates.
Contextual Emails and Segmentation
So far during 2016, as consumers we have received 7% more emails than last year, and with this spam filters and individual users have become more difficult to impress, and their inboxes even more problematic to infiltrate. Contextual emails are no new thing, and have been a part of the email marketing campaigns devised by advanced marketers for many years, but their role is becoming critical in light of smarter email applications and savvier users.
For those who don’t know, contextual emails are messages that are personalised to each of your subscribers, whether the level of exclusivity comes down to including their name or goes a tad deeper to only send them emails regarding subject matter that they are specifically interested in. Thanks to contextualisation, marketers can ensure subscribers receive the right email at the right time, and this strategy has been proven to increase sales with subscribers actually preferring this approach over other practices.
Contextualisation wouldn’t be possible without segmentation, and this practice is used to essentially categorise your users neatly in their respective boxes. Segmenting your email list can be a daunting process, especially if, like most organisations, the data you are dealing with contains thousands of email addresses. As well as enhancing sales, contextual emails have led to a 14% improvement in click-through rates, boosted subsequent conversion by 10% and increased customer engagement by 74%, with just a customised subject line making the email attached 26% more likely to be opened.
From mobile devices to wearables, the way users view their emails is certainly evolving. A recent study revealed that around 53% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and looking at Gmail specifically, three-quarters of their 900 million users access their email accounts on their mobiles. It is in fact more common for a user to open an email for a second time if it is received and initially read using their mobile device, with those reading for a second time from a desktop computer 65% more likely to click-through. It’s not just mobile device use that is growing among consumers, wearables, such as smartwatches, are transforming the email marketing landscape with 9% of adults now owning one.
As the statistics above detail, it certainly pays to improve the cross-device compatibility of your email marketing campaign, and just like responsive websites, responsive emails are becoming a must for those looking to make an impact via email. There is however a difference between making your emails mobile friendly, as is common practice today, and using responsive email templates. The latter ensures your email can be read and is responsive on any device, whilst, as the name suggests, mobile friendly emails are compatible to mobiles only. Opting for a fully responsive email template will mean you are covered across a range of different devices, with the font type, image size and layout of the email all subject to change depending on the device it is being viewed on. The subject line and brevity of the email should also be adapted to aid cross-device compatibility, two factors that we will explore later.
The Use of Videos and GIFs
Whilst the old marketing saying dictated that “content is king”, it’s multimedia that rules the roost now. There’s no doubt that content plays an important role in email marketing but with evidence that companies who use video as part of their campaigns reported a 55% increase in click-throughs, it is very apparent that static emails are a thing of the past. By next year it is predicted that 69% of consumer traffic generated online will be influenced and even controlled by video, so using videos and GIFs now could just set you up for the future.
The first step to integrating video use into your campaign emails is to resolve your video compatibility issues, which are particularly widespread especially if you have been relying on the power of static emails to push your client’s products and services forward. Then comes the fun part – creating videos that your target audience will engage with, the principles of which are pretty much the same as creating a video for your client’s website or social media channel. When creating a video, remember that quality and content is key, with good lighting and crisp audio making even the dullest corporate videos watchable. Not ready to go the whole hog with video? GIFs are a great way to bridge the gap and add motion to emails, with excellent results.
Content Creation for Email Engagement
The very best email marketing campaigns invest heavily in the creation of content for email engagement, and there are a number of golden rules that must be followed to ensure the content you curate is successfully received and, more importantly, read!
Keeping content short and sweet is vital, especially when considering cross-device compatibility, after all your user may only have a couple of minutes to skim through their inbox and the majority may not even get to the end of your message. In addition to considering the body text of your email, its subject line should be written with care. Like the layout, font and images, the subject line of your email should be optimized, so again keep it short, preferably 30 characters or less. Subject lines that are on the shorter side have been linked with higher open rates. The preview text of your email should be equally as captivating, after all, other than the subject line, this text is one of the first things your user will see.
Despite the rise (and rise) of social media and the marketing opportunities these networking platforms offer, email marketing is still 40 times more effective when it comes to acquiring new business than Facebook and Twitter combined. The power of email marketing can actually influence your client’s social status with subscribers three times more likely to share content received by email via their social media channels than any other resource. Overall email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing strategy, and that includes social media and SEO. In response to the professionals who say email marketing is dead, I say the facts speak for themselves, and emails are still the route to better conversion and increased ROI.
I’d love to hear more about your experiences with email marketing as an advanced marketer, and whether the tips detailed above have helped to achieve better results for the businesses you represent.
Author Bio: Richard Barker is the Founder of the Manchester based web design & SEO agency Harrison Mann. His team delivers a range of services to a multitude of organisations. Richard is a specialist in content marketing, SEO, WordPress and Shopify web design and social media marketing.