Email continues to be the top channel for the oh-so important return on investment (ROI) category. That doesn’t mean it is easy. I am really looking forward to speaking at ClickZ Live in New York today and the topic of “Pushing the Envelope” is something we always talking about at my agency.
Actually, I kind of hate equating the dynamic and successful email channel with anything old-school like postal mail but now is not the time to quiver over details. Unless those details are the ones making you millions of dollars. And that is possible with subtle and strategic email optimizations. Here’s an overview of what I am speaking on and what I believe are areas that should be top of mind for email marketers these days.
Big Data? Start With Any Data
Experian said 70 percent of brands are not personalizing emails sent to their subscribers. So while Big Data gets the buzz in the C Suite, most email marketers are still not even using some of that great profile or response data to make your subscribers inboxes more valuable and relevant. Your subscribers are not the same, so don’t try to solve Big Data, just the big opportunity which is more opens, leads, and better deliverability.
Turn Your Gmail Inboxes Into a Pinterest-Like Tapestry of Delight
What? The never dull folks at Gmail keep trying to evolve the inbox and we should be thankful. I know creative teams rejoiced across the email world last week when their role in email got even more heightened.
This diminishes the subject line’s importance for Gmail users in the Promotions Tab and brings a (hopefully) carefully curated image front and center. This now means for Gmail users, this image will determine whether someone opens your email. Previously, the image may have driven a click but rarely an open (preview pain users can chime in below). This means segmenting your subscribers by domain and targeting them with different creative and layout than other email domains is a strong consideration.
For B2B, Mobile Means Buyers
With 65 percent of emails now opened on smartphones or tablets, the mobile phenomenon is here. Don’t even debate it. Even B2B companies that have largely ignored the mobile email wave (“our subscribers sit at their desks most of the day,” they have been known to say) know mobile is an opportunity not a threat.
According to a Forbes study, more than 25 percent of execs say they use mobile devices to conduct research on purchases above $100,000 and a large number of execs indicate they would prefer to use tablets and smartphones if vendors make it easier to buy on mobile devices. This means B2B email marketers are in an awesome position to capitalize on this very real need. You heard them – do it and make it easy!
Good, Timely Creative Wins
We all want to send the right content at the right time to the right subscriber, right? Well, with client Chick-fil-A, we solved that by creating a proprietary technology that allows for the right email to be dynamically served based on when the user opens the email. So gone are the days when you are actually excited to read an email or check out a special offer and find you missed it or irrelevant. The Chick-fil-A campaign had the breakfast creative and content appear if a subscriber opened it in the morning and the trademark waffle fries for any open after breakfast time. Good looking, timely, and delicious.
With Halloween, the US presidential election and Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, we're now headlong into the all-holiday-all-the-time stream. And, we all know what's coming.
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Marketers create personas to better understand their target audience and what it looks like. If marketers can understand potential buyer behaviors, and where they spend their time online, then content can be targeted more effectively.
Here's what will happen with email in 2017: nothing is going to change until we as marketers change how we think about email.