What’s keeping email alive and kicking is its ability to adapt, improvise and innovate along with the changing digital landscape but the biggest challenge for email marketing today is inbox placement writes Kunal Tomar, Head of Sales, Experian India.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” - Charles Darwin
After analyzing the Google search results, the number of search results found for the phrase “email is dead” is over 1.5 million. Last we know is that there are around 200 billion emails being sent out each day and the number is only growing. Notwithstanding the plethora of obituaries, email marketing remains one of the important channels for marketers.
What’s keeping email alive and kicking is its ability to adapt, improvise and innovate along with the changing digital landscape. The biggest challenge for email marketing today is inbox placement i.e. avoiding email landing into spam. If say you spend $100 on an email campaign and 95 per cent of the emails are sent in the spam folder by MSPs (mail service providers), you only get $5 worth from your investment. The top 5 things to watch for higher inbox placement are – following email security standards (like SPF, DKIM & DMARC), reducing bounce rates (data quality), improving positive email engagement (open rate, click rate and CTOR - click to open rate), containing negative engagement (spam and abuse complaints) and last but not the least, the content which should be engaging and should avoid spammy words.
The top 10 tips that come to my mind for a successful email marketing campaign are:
Imagine sending an annual fee based credit card email campaign to college going students. What do you think the open rates and click rates be like? Getting the target segment right for the product or service remains one of the top criteria for a campaign’s success.
Responsive Emails and Landing Pages
With more than 50 per cent of the emails being viewed on the mobile devices, it is imperative to design responsive emails which render optimally across all device types viz. desktop, tablet and mobile. Even after getting the responsive email right, what if the landing page where the link is taking the user to, is not responsive? The customer may close the web session due to sub-optimal rendering of the web page on the mobile device impacting campaign ROI.
This is considered a no-brainer in the email marketing world, but many email designs falter or do not have clear ‘call to action’ CTA buttons to prompt user action to click. Simple things like CTAs in the first fold, contrast colors, animation on CTA and multiple opportunities to click on the email can have a dramatic impact on enhancing CTORs.
Short Subject Lines
Having an engaging subject line is not enough. Again with more than 50 per cent emails being viewed on mobile, brevity of subject lines is important say 6-7 words. Long subject lines with critical part of the message being at the end may not be visible while viewing on the mobile device. Additionally using A/B testing to get a winning subject line leads to a significant impact on the open rates.
While reading emails on the mobile device, the consumer decides in a split second whether to open the email or not. The email pre-header is another enabler, often ignored in email campaigns. It is a complementing text which shows just below the subject line and gives an additional insight into the content of the email which can nudge the consumer to open the email. Used effectively, it can have an immediate impact on lifting the open rates on mobile devices.
Building a genuine subscriber list of customers who want to subscribe to the marketing communications, also called the opt-in subscriber base. A permission based email marketing campaign will be much more effective than a mass blast with a spray and pray methodology.
Personalization and Dynamic Content
A marketing message addressing the consumer directly by the first name in the subject line or inside content has a better change of grabbing attention. Also, monitoring consumer behavior to personalize the email message with dynamic content makes the recipient feel like your business cares about them. Though this is a very useful tool for marketers, it is important not to overdo it since it could border on being intrusive.
Video and Animation
Use of videos and animations has a positive impact on subscribers’ attention and make them more likely to click on the emails. This usually works better with high involvement products and services like luxury holidays, automobiles, white goods, wellness products etc. Video emails can also be a potent tool for driving newly launched ad videos which the marketer wants to go viral on social media.
Re-targeting and Re-marketing
Re-engaging with the existing customer base is always a profitable proposition and using email marketing campaigns like abandoned cart, browse behavior based emails, thank you emails with offers, product replenishment emails, and ‘missed you’ campaigns have been formidable tools for re-targeting existing customers.
Cross-channel marketing is the next big thing for marketers. Cross-channel marketing is about reaching the consumer at the right time with the right content through the right channel. It creates more intelligent interactions across all channels that exceed customer expectations every time, inspire longer term, organic brand advocacy and drastically increase profitability. The days of marketing channels working in silos are numbered with marketers moving to using email, SMS, app push notifications, web banner ads etc in tandem through cross-channel marketing platforms.