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Email Marketing: Time to Do Better

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Written by: Dean Gorman | Aha-Writers

A few weeks ago, we looked at some data points that make a compelling case for investing in email marketing. Now we’ll explore current trends to help you make the most of this tried-and-true channel.

Whether you realize it or not, the way you engage with email has changed significantly over the past few years. Along with the rest of the digital world, email is evolving at a dizzying pace—with marketing automation, integration with apps and social networks, and the rapid growth of mobile technology.

Mobile first or bust

No question about it—if you want to optimize your email marketing program today, one of the first things you should focus on is the mobile experience. Of the 247 billion emails sent every day, 48 percent are now opened on a mobile device. Worldwide, 897 million people use mobile devices for business and personal email.

To set yourself up for success in the mobile environment, start by focusing on the following areas:

  • Responsive design: Mobile-optimized content isn’t just nice to have; it’s a requirement as more and more people use smartphones and tablets for email.
  • Targeted content: Mobile attention spans are shorter than ever. Emails need to offer useful, relevant content and get to the point quickly.
  • Clear subject lines: Cryptic subject lines are easy to scroll past or select for deletion; subjects should be straightforward and short enough to be read on a small screen.
  • The pre-header/preview: The text that appears after the subject line when you scroll through your inbox is prime real estate. Why let it default to utility text like “Having trouble viewing this email?”
     

Make it social

Another way to modernize your approach to email marketing is by integrating your email and social media. Rather than just tacking a few social icons onto the end of your email, challenge yourself to truly integrate the programs. Encourage users from your social channels to subscribe to your email newsletter and vice versa. Entice each side with sneak peeks or exclusive content from the other channel.

Personalize to optimize

Your audience is evermore leery of marketing and increasingly savvy about avoiding it—or at least controlling the way it intersects with their life. So marketers must do the hard work of finding ways to make their content personal, highly relevant and worth a reader’s time.

Be creative, and think outside of the usual email tactics. Give your audience incentives by holding contests, polls and quizzes, or giving out prizes. And the great thing about email interaction is that you can measure it and capture leads at the same time.

The takeaway

As customer behaviors change and mobile continues its rise, we as marketers need to stay on our toes. We need to evolve as fast as the technology that drives the behavior changes.

This isn’t the end of the road for email—it’s more like a fork. You can either adapt your approach to meet these new challenges (and reap the new rewards) or continue down the old path and slowly but surely watch your audience go dark. 

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