If you think that social media had made email marketing obsolete, think again. Email is still the most prominent web-based medium, used by the largest segment of the digital population, and on aggregate, email messages are more pervasive online than social media contributions. On the other hand, people have grown tired of- and suspicious towards promotional content in general, and sensitive about spam in their inboxes in particular. The popularity of services like Unroll.Me which aim to clean-up email accounts by unsubscribing from unwanted content illustrates this overall fatigue from email advertisements.
Bottom line: email marketing is as relevant as ever, but it has to be used smartly to be effective. When embarking on an email campaign, consider the following principles.
Hyper-segmentation, personalization and customization
According to Ben Givon, Bulk emails, generic messages, and target lists segmented by simple demographic variables like gender and age will no longer do. The key to success in the current email marketing arena is the trifecta of micro-segmentation, personalization, and customization. The emails’ opening line should address recipients by their name and the content should be tailored to as targeted an audience as possible, by segmenting subscribers based on past behaviors and preferences (e.g., previous purchases, searches, downloads).
Cross platform integration
Create a holistic marketing campaign by integrating your social media accounts and websites in email marketing. Technically, this may take the form of including social media handles in the email copy. Conceptually, Ben Givon teaches ways to coordinate email blasts with social media activity (e.g., by giving twitter followers a heads up informing them to look out for an email message and providing a teaser about its content).
Eye-catching and engaging content
Subscribers are exposed to more promotional material than they would like. Make your emails stand out by incorporating fun and visually appealing content:
- People will often delete an email before even opening it. Create informative and engaging titles that will arouse the reader’s interest.
- Don’t settle for the standard header-copy-image-footer format. Use principle from web design, such as a grid layout to create innovative and beautiful designs that please the reader’s eyes. Abide by the 80 percent text to 20 percent images ratio that Ben Givon preaches and avoid using just one image in the email.
- Incorporate engaging content like games and rewards in the email’s main body.
Finally, as with any marketing campaign, study your audience’s preferences and use this insight to inform message design. Be sure to include several rounds of A/B testing to determine which content works best and to be sure that technical features (especially if using automation in the process of customization) are working properly.