Get Ahead in the Email Marketing Game in 2017

Get Ahead in the Email Marketing Game With These 5 Tactics

As times and technology change, so do the opportunities to make your mark with email marketing. Plenty of services have changed in the last year, from Google’s new support of media queries and embedded styles to Outlook’s zeal for engaging the email community with an open feedback channel. It seems the major email providers truly are interested in making their customers happier with enhanced options. The hot topic now is interactive email, and everyone wants it. However, it still is difficult to implement. Once the kinks are worked out, every email marketer will add it to their messaging arsenal.

In the meantime, how can we make 2017 another strong year in the industry? We’ve got these five tips for taking the lead in the email game.

1. Bring Your HTML Up to Date

Too many mobile clients are still using dark-ages coding. Fortunately, that’s getting better every month. Sophisticated coding techniques are now showing up in more emails as mobile clients gain access to stronger HTML support. In fact, the Google upgrade that we mentioned above was possible because web and mobile clients are relatively simple and quick to update.

Still, not every email client is blazing a path toward improvement. Microsoft has shown interest in updating Outlook, but it probably won’t happen for a while. In the meantime, others will continue to use techniques and craft better email, and Outlook can’t stop them. You shouldn’t have to do much coding for email in Outlook, but if you do, be sure to have a backup strategy. Considering the reduced market share of desktop email, this should soon be a thing of the past.

When you are ready to leave old coding behind and try out some of the new strategies such as interactive email, don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. By the time new innovations roll around, you’ll be well versed in the latest coding approaches.

2. Fine-Tune Your Email Production

Reinventing the wheel for every campaign is not going to get you very far in terms of productivity. The smart money is on templates. You can build a small arsenal that can be modified and tweaked as needed. That way, it won’t be difficult to create something unique each time by just rearranging the pieces. Consider a modular approach. You can’t beat the flexibility modular design offers, and it is simple enough that anyone can work with it. Each block of code is a standalone chunk, and then you drop any combination of these into a template frame in any configuration you desire. Every email will look different even though all you’ve done is moved the boxes around. Genius!

We can even take simplicity one step further with our email editor tool. All you have to do is use the snippets feature to create unique shortcuts to saved code. When you are building your email, you just drop the snippets in with a little keyboard magic. Plus, the email editor offers a revision history, images archive and instant testing as useful secondary features. And that doesn’t even cover all of the ways you can improve your emails.

3. Harness the Power of Engaging, Personalized Content

We told you last year that customization was going to be the name of the game in the marketing world. We were spot on, and the secret is out. Many email marketers are taking advantage of hyper-personal content and the impact it makes in terms of engagement. Customers love information they feel was created just for them, and the returns can be amazing if it is done properly.

There are several ways you can tailor your content to be recipient-specific. The simplest – and least expensive – option is list segmentation, in which you send messages based on shared characteristics. But if you want to take personalization to the next level, you should be looking at dynamic content, which is customized for every single recipient, based on their behavior and subscriber data. That means you make one email in one campaign, and the content is dynamically matched to each individual without your intervention. If even that approach is old-school to you, it’s time to embrace Big Data.

Big Data is artificial intelligence at its best when it comes to email marketing. Programs like Boomtrain and Phrasee boost conversion rates by using predictive content and custom subject lines, to name just a few strategies. Boomtrain helps you craft customized content based on previous buying habits and predicting what specific customers are likely to buy next. Phrasee tracks effective subject-line choices and helps you know what to write to engage readers the most.

Big Data has been around for a while, but now the technology has caught up and learned how to truly optimize its capabilities. This translates into better inbox placement for your messages and a significantly higher conversion rate. Plus, it makes recipients happier, though they might not know exactly why. Keep in mind that spam restrictions around the globe are working to filter out irrelevant messages. That’s why artificial intelligence and personalized content are so important. If the recipients actually want the emails, they won’t end up in the spam folder and you can reap the benefits.

4. You Must Code for Mobile

The data confirms it: People are looking at email on their mobile devices. Your open rate will be dismal if you don’t ensure every message looks awesome in the mobile format. You start building your relationship with the recipient the second they get the email, and you want their experience to be great through the whole process. Nothing turns them off faster than content that is poorly rendered.

Here are some techniques for making sure you mobile messaging shines:

  • Use fluid hybrid design to make sure emails look great on every device
  • Media inquiries can show you how fonts and layout will look on mobile. You can even use it in the Gmail app.
  • We’ve got five other tips that can help make the process easier.

5. Don’t Fear the Unsubscribe

Don’t waste time and energy on people who aren’t open to receiving your content. It’s not personal. Beside, wouldn’t you rather focus on people who will actually read the message? Make sure the unsubscribe button in clear and functional at the bottom of the email. Failure to do so is frustrating at best and illegal at worst.

Of course, you can simply ask readers what types of messages they really want to receive. Create a preferences center so they can fine-tune what they want and what they don’t. Everyone will be happier with this approach, and you might see better conversion rates in the long term.

For a true housecleaning, how about a re-engagement questionnaire? Just contact the people who haven’t opened an email in a while and ask them if they still want to hear from you. If not, no harm done. But if they do, it could refresh their interest in your messages and lead to more revenue. Plus, it helps ensure the subscriber metrics are more accurate.

Are you going to try some new techniques in 2017 to increase your reach and improve conversion rates? We’d love to hear about them. Remember that whatever method you try, it’s vital to do a test first to avoid broken links. We can help you avoid these errors before the email goes out. Give our email marketing services a try today!