Today, there are more than four billion email accounts in the world. That means that more than half the world can be reached via email. If you haven’t considered upgrading your approach to email marketing, then you risk losing an important opportunity to connect with your audience.
Some people think that email is less important now that there are many messenger and social media platforms for people to communicate. And it is true that personal communication via email is down – a 21% decline since 2008. But people still continue to use email connect with other for consumer and business purchases. In fact, email is exploding as a driver of sales, quadrupling between 2009 and 20013. Further, email is an integral part of the Internet. To do anything online, you need to provide an email address. Whether you want to access a site to play video games, download a music app or make a purchase, an email address is often the ticket to these activities. So email will continue to a significant and effective marketing channel in the future.
But with more and more email dropping into people’s inbox every year, you need to make sure yours stands out. Otherwise, it will not get opened and your audience will never get your message. So if you are going to use email as part of your content marketing strategy – and you should – then you want to really take your emails to the next level. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Keep It in Context
All marketing works best in the context of a relationship. By developing a relationship with your audience and collecting information about your reader’s individual preferences, you can craft effective emails that are specifically targeted to appeal to a selected segment of your audience. These emails are called contextual emails.
Your readers will respond better to a message that appeals to their problems, needs and desires. So you want to hone your emails to target specific segments of your audience. This means that you need to constantly collect and store more information about your subscribers so that you can identify specific segments of your audience.
For example, if you own a sporting goods store and you are going to have a big pre-season sale for your ski equipment, you probably want to send out an email announcing this sale. But a large part of your audience may not be interested in skiing. Sending out an email to your entire list may alienate these readers because it does not relate to them. You want to be able to send this email out to only those who are really interested in skiing. This is where contextual emails really help you.
It used to be that personalization consisted of included your reader’s name in the subject line and body of the email. And this is still a good idea, but now you can specifically target the segments of your audience with messages that will really engage their interest and generate a response.
More than Mobile Friendly
Mobile email opens range between 15% and 70% depending on your specific audience, so you don’t want to ignore this growing trend. If your audience can’t read your email because it wasn’t designed to be read on a small screen, then they are going to move on. And since you don’t know in advance what device your reader will be using when she opens the email, you want to use email templates that employ responsive design. This means that the template recognizes what device is being used and makes sure the email appears as attractive as possible when opened. This is vitally important because not only is smartphone use increasing, but soon more people are going to be using wearable devices like watches. So you need to be prepared for someone to open your email on their watch. Responsive design will help you stay ahead of the game.
Video Killed the Radio Star
As technology improves, video content is becoming easier and more affordable to create. Even better, it has been shown to work. Including a video in an email can increase the click through rate by 200% to 300%. That’s just incredible. Compatibility issues may prevent many people from seeing the video right in their inbox, but links to videos are attractive to your readers who will often click through to watch the video.
If you are developing video content, then integrating this content into your email marketing is a big win. If you don’t have much in the way of video content, you should start looking at how to create it or your competitors will leave you in the dust. One inexpensive way to start is by creating animated GIF images. These animated GIFs bring your email to life with moving pictures.
Even with social media taking over most personal communication, email is still an essential digital communications channel and will be for years to come. Don’t let your email marketing languish. Instead, take it to the next level with contextual emails, responsive design and video content.