10 Email Marketing Experts recommend where to focus
When we ask readers which are the most important digital marketing techniques today, email marketing is always in the top three and getting increased budget in many companies. So, learning the latest email marketing approaches is important given the degree of competition and importance of new mobile email marketing approaches today.
'Even though email competes with organic and paid search for ecommerce orders, it delivers the highest sales volumes than social media or display'
As part of our new Email Marketing Trends 2015: A Visual Guide report we interviewed Email Marketing Experts from around the globe who are successfully delivering email marketing for their clients' brands and they enlightened us to how they feel companies should be maximising their email campaigns this year.
Here's a summary of their insight into their forecasts for 10 trends in email marketing we identified this year:
Trend 1: Simple Email design to work across devices
The move to responsive email design has encouraged simpler email designs with a focus on context, image and to a lesser extent, text in 2014 and we can expect this to continue into 2015. Even though RSD has been around for the last 3 years, Ellliot Ross, MD at ActionRocket, agrees companies need to consider RSD techniques which are effective for mobile and desktop, as we are seeing more recipients read their emails on smartphone and tablets. There is higher CTRs engagement from emails read on a desktop and this can't be ignored
Elliot also tells us that 'in 2015 smarter marketers will ensure their copywriters and design teams are focusing on things like content hierarchy and the experience for the inbox user.'
Here's an example from John Lewis, the full page version shown in the report highlights the move towards more straightforward messaging, cutting down on complex design elements and long-form copy as this example with ‘cards’ for different products shows.
Trend 2: More email animation
Advanced Email Marketers working in predominantly in retail, are finding that animated gifs is an effective technique as more recipients are downloading images. Kath Pay from CloudIQ explains that 'animated gifs capture the reader's attention.,, by using animated gifs and cinemagraphs you can now provide a vibrant, live email that engages the audience.'
A success story is with Dell who lifted their revenue by 109% compared to previous mails by using an animated gif as shown below:
Trend 3: Use of Video in email
It's easier to embed video now in emails with HTML5 rather than clicking through from your email to play it, though this hasn't been enabled across all email clients. Kath Pay's advice is get round this with a video animated gif or static gif.
Trend 4: Dynamic Customization
The reality in email marketing is that the sophistication of our targeting has the biggest response to emails, even though we get excited about design style and trends. Not saying that this isn't important. As Email marketers have been using data for years to personalise their campaigns, based on interactions and profiles, and some using data insertion.
The next level will be with dynamic customization as we're seeing more campaigns being personalised, according to rules and being integration with a wide range of data sources.
Trend 5: Predictive Intelligence
Predictive intelligence involves applying propensity models to identify the combination of content and offers to most likely to generate a response. It's become more popular, as it's readily available as a core feature in many email and MA tools.
Email Consultant Jordie van Rijn from 'Email Monday' and' Email Vendor Selection' based in the Netherlands explains: 'I’m seeing more use of predictive intelligence to suggest offers and content based off of a combination of profile and interests and behaviours within segments. When linked with external data that can be very powerful. This functionality was typically implemented.'
Trend 6: Increase in pop-up boxes for list growth
It's definitely becoming a trend as companies are seeing an increase in their email lists, by using pop-up boxes, a shown in the example below for Crate&Barrel:
Trend 7: Using Social Media to grow your email list
Different social media platforms have solutions to grow your list, though you need to keep up-to-date with their promotional guidelines. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter cards or promotional coupons across this media. Pure360's client employed this tactic across digital channels as an integrated campaign and realised a 20% redemption rate.
Trend 8: Double Opt-in
This new opt-in method allows a recipient to opt into a brand’s email program by sending a blank email to a particular email address. When someone does that, it triggers an opt-in confirmation request email that asks the person to activate their subscription by clicking on a link in the email.
Chad White calls it ' blank email opt-in' and he loves it, as he feels it eliminate malicious sign ups and the risk of hitting a 'typo spamtrap'. According to Chad ' it’s slightly easier than signing up for email via SMS because it requires fewer keystrokes; and it keeps the email signup process entirely within the inbox, which simplifies the process and increases opt-in confirmations.'
Trend 9: Real-time email marketing
For years, real-time marketing has been applied for online PR or known as 'Always-On Marketing'. Tim Watson from Zettasphere has seen some brands try this and doesn't feel its big news but he does say that ' Real time relevant content, such as products, using live images and based on geography or profile is more beneficial – but that just comes back the original point, it's not more creative emails, its more relevant email.'
Trend 10: Location-Specific email marketing
What is this? Matthew Evans from Pure 360 explains it well as 'Location demographics allows you to refer to events, landmarks or stores which are most relevant to a specific segment of users. As well as being highly relevant to users this can also help to drive footfall to your offline stores.'
Given the ongoing importance of Email marketing for customer acquisition and retention in most organisations, understanding the latest email options techniques is essential to businesses to stay engaging and competitive ‘in the inbox’. But we should take care to get the fundamentals right, says Michael Leander, a regular speaker on Marketing Automation and Email Marketing based in Denmark,
Learn more from the Email Marketing Experts
Over the next few weeks, we will share more of their thoughts on how email marketing design trends and email marketing techniques to optimise your campaigns or follow their social media and blogs for more insight.
- Elliott Ross, UK, Managing Director of specialist email agency at ActionRocket,
- Kath Pay, UK, Email Marketing Consultant, Trainer and Marketing Director at CloudIQ
- Jordie Van Rijn, Netherlands, Independent Consultant and Publisher of Email Monday and Email Vendor Selection.
- Chad White, US, author of 'Email Marketing Rules' and Lead Research Analyst at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
- Bruno Florence, France, Email marketing expert. Publisher Pignonsurmail blog.
- Tim Watson, UK, Independent Consultant at Zettasphere.
- Matthew Evans, UK, Creative Developer at Pure 360.
- Michael Leander, Denmark,Commentator and Speaker.
- Torsten Schwarz, Germany, Email and Marketing Automation Author, Speaker & Consultant who is CEO of Marketing-Boerse.de.