Despite the proclamations that email marketing was dead in 2010, the data and practice by marketers suggests that email marketing is alive and well and will continue to be a mainstay of customer communications in 2011. Given the continued importance of email marketing, as we go into 2011, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the opportunities to make better use of email marketing based on my following of the trends and the email marketers, email consultants and agencies I spoke to in 2010.
5 success factors for your email marketing in 2011
1. Decide how email best creates value for you in 2011. One of the best posts giving advice here is by Loren McDonald - read his 8 implications for email marketing in 2011. For me his suggestions show how you must understand the value email marketing can create for your organisation. This starts with tagging email in your analytics to go beyond the click, again much more common today, but not universal. See our posts on campaign tracking with Google Analytics and tracking email marketing with Google Analytics. Then you need to consider which content and offers works best for the different types of audience you have using different social channels and email. As Loren points out, the social channels are a great way to boost opt-in to enable better targeting of the audience that still prefers this channel. But this needs a joined-up approach with a clear definition of what you offer through each channel to encourage opt-in.
2. Revisit your contact strategy. I've written a lot about approaches to defining a contact strategy and selecting the best frequency for email marketing. The start of the year is a good time to plan to revise your contact strategy which has become even more important now that email communications must fit in with social media communications.
3. Integrating engaging social content into your email marketing. We know that the different forms of social content really engages audience, this is why Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and blogs were so popular in 2011. So you can make your email marketing more engaging, by making it social, some simple examples:
- Promotions within social media
- Reviews and ratings of products
- Most popular, most commented content from your blog
- Polls and discussions
4. Using a blog to integrate your email and act as a hub for your email customer communications. For many years in training sessions, I have pleaded that a blog is essential for all companies to give them a voice online. It's been good to see in 2010 that many small and medium-sized companies have created blogs to help them get closer to customers (although many are stopped by the myths of why blogging isn't for them, more on this later). Blogging gives you an efficient way to give you the benefits of content within your site to attract visitors via SEO, but also provides a destination for visitors to your social presence of email marketing
5. Use more or refine event triggered behavioural emails. This approach has been possible for many years in more advanced email software systems but it is now available in most low-cost email marketing services also. Mark Brownlow provides some strong arguments for using different types of behavioural email marketing in his Smart Insights post on 5 ways to win with email marketing in 2011 which also suggests how to best blend email and social media marketing .
If you want to read other perspectives on email marketing into 2011, I recommend this excellent digest from many commentators in email marketing I admire on trends in email marketing.