Marketers have been debating back and forth about whether email marketing is dying for many years now. Let me say this, email marketing is alive and well and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’s growing. In 2013, there were nearly 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide, with that number expected to increase to 4.9 billion by the end of 2017.
According to a study done this year, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. This study found that email marketing acquires customers nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined!
However, with the average subscriber receiving 416 commercial messages a month, it’s crucial to abide by these rules if you want your messages to not only be delivered in the inbox, but opened and read as well.
1. Keep a clean list
Email Service Providers (ESPs) such as Google and Yahoo are becoming very strict about marketing messages, making it harder for marketers to get their messages out. It’s important to keep a list of people who not only have working email addresses, but are also engaging with you, meaning they open your emails and click on them.
Old email addresses that are no longer being used by consumers (but still exist) will trigger spam filters and your sender score (which determines how good you are at following the rules), may be affected. As a result, your message may not even be delivered to inboxes. A good way to prevent this from happening is to only email people that have opened or clicked on your emails in the last six months.
2. Segment your database
So, you maintain a good list and your messages get delivered to their inboxes. Are you sending the same email to everyone in your database? I hope not. People have different tastes and interests so it’s important to segment your list and target your customers. This will increase your chances of your audience engaging with your brand.
Let’s just say you’re a library and hosting an event for kids. Sending an email to people who don’t have kids may not be the best use of your time and resources. Sure, they might know someone who has kids and might want to attend, but most likely, they won’t even open the email to find out what it’s about.
3. Be consistent and transparent
Map out your campaign from the audience you’re targeting to the message you want to deliver to the action you want your customers to take. It will help you ensure that your message is consistent and that you’re not confusing your audience.
Whether you’re attending a meeting or sending an email, first impressions are always important. In this case, it would apply to the subject line. This will tell your customers what the email is about and based on that alone, someone will decide to open it, making the subject line crucial for success.
64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line (Chadwick Martin Bailey).
However, it doesn’t stop there. The subject line needs to be aligned with the rest of the message in the email so your customers are not confused about what they’re reading. If I get an email with a subject line saying: 5 reasons to visit Washington DC this summer, I expect to see five events happening there during the summer months followed with a call-to-action to reserve a spot or book a hotel room.
4. Optimize for mobile
According to the latest U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, mobile email opens surged to an all-time high in Q4 2014. The report says that 66 percent of all emails in the U.S. are now opened/read on smartphones or tablets. Making your email design responsive is more important than ever.
Many companies optimize their website for mobile but forget about their emails. Create templates that are simple and easy to view on mobile so your users can read your emails and take actions right from their smartphones. Be clear on the call-to-action and keep the email short and to the point. No one wants to scroll through a long email on a small screen.
5. Integrate with social media
Stop thinking email marketing vs. social media and start thinking of using both in tandem. Encourage your customers to visit and follow your brand on social media sites. Be sure to include icons at the bottom of your email and call-to-action to make it easy for them to find you on those sites.
Once people have opened your emails, you can also retarget them on social media sites with specific ads based on their interests. Someone opened your next event invitation but didn’t register? No worries, you can always show them ads on Facebook or Twitter to remind them of the event and even give them a special incentive to attend.
Image courtesy of flickr/freezelight.