Ensuring Your Email Gets Read in a Changing Digital World

  |  September 8, 2011   |  Comments

As inbox engagement evolves, marketers must adapt their email programs. Here's how. Second in a two-part series.

In part one, I discussed how email fundamentals still rule when it comes to getting your email opened in the inbox. Today, let's examine more recent strategic trends and how digital marketers must adapt their email program to prevent being ignored as inbox engagement evolves.

The Smartphone and Tablet Impact

Speaking of mobile consumption of emails, any forward-thinking digital marketer should be considering the implications of how their emails are viewed, as well as when and where. It used to be easy, with consumers reading emails at night and on the weekends, and B2B marketers having their messages read during the business day (at least, that was the very broad assumption). Now your email might be read by the soccer mom minutes after deployment in the carpool line with her smartphone, and the busy executive at night on the tablet as she catches up on emails that survived the triage process during the business day. So that means everything from the aforementioned from and subject lines to the creative, coding, and messaging (as they will render and impact uniquely compared to a PC) needs to be considered with this in mind. When utilizing proprietary methods that deliver content and designs are optimized for multiple devices (desktop, smartphone, tablets, etc.), and are in real time from a single campaign, what matters is the core content that is most relevant to a user on each device.

Integrated Channels and Leveraging Social

Want your emails read? Try giving a clear call to action that uses the email as a jumping-off point to a preferred (for you and the subscriber) channel that closes the loop on conversions. More specifically, ensure that it jumps out in the subject line. VIP 25% Offer (Buckhead Location Only) Ends Thursday, August 25 5PM ET. While this sample subject line may be long and some mobile devices may not show the whole message, it sets up the value proposition, sense of urgency, and enough detail to drive the sense of location, and the VIP status can trigger a response.

Socially-driven emails perform very well as long as you move beyond the buttons and icons (follow us, "like" us, and other generic calls to action) and toward a more specific and benefit-oriented message. Ensure that the message to drive adoption of social channels features a clear reason (Q: Why would I want to check in on Foursquare at your location? A: The mayor eats for free every Monday) and that there is some substance behind the initial push (meaning after you "buy" your "likes" with a coupon, there is a community behind the offer worth engaging with). Teasing this in the pre-header, subject lines, and your current email foreshadowing the value of the next email they will receive can all trigger interest.

Of course, the list goes on and on (deliverability, segmentation, brand quality, etc.) and varies by client, but remember, all the hard work and bells and whistles in your email don't mean much if you don't get noticed and read. What are your magic bullets for getting through to your subscribers?



Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at NewInboxBook.com and SimmsJenkins.com.

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