Digital Marketing Insights
April 15, 2011 | By Kara Trivunovic
As we hit the halfway point in April, I thought it would be interesting to re-read some of “2011 Email Marketing Predictions” lists and then create a new list of what’s actually happening in the world of email marketing (with some examples from what we call “Breakthrough Emails,” or emails that show the rest of us how email marketing should be done):
1. Moving Away From “One Size Fits All” Emails. The explosion of digital technology has meant “cheap and easy distribution” for many email marketers. The result: the same email gets sent to new customers, old customers, and even disengaged customers. The best email marketing targets individuals or carefully selected customer or prospect segments. This makes simple marketing sense, but it does require some investment in time, resources and strategy. However, the end result is worth it – not only will you see your performance metrics jump, but it will also help you avoid the dreaded email filter. As one email marketing professional put it, today’s email user’s problem is not spam, but having too much to choose from in their inbox. His point: only the relevant emails will get noticed.
2. Integration with Social Media and Mobile Devices. Messages should complement each other across the communications spectrum. A piece of email marketing, in other words, shouldn't contradict the company’s latest Facebook post. Moreover, emails have to be readable, sharable, and “interactable” across viewing platforms. In addition to making your email engaging in typical email clients, you also need to consider the mobile experience. Imagine a subscriber opening up an email on her iPhone, then discovering that she has to scroll down or across to see relevant information, and then…you just lost her.
3. Video (and other Built-In Interaction). Increased processing power and bandwidth make downloading and watching videos easy, so people are beginning to expect to see them in their email. While many email clients still prevent video from playing straight from the email message, including a screenshot that links to a landing page can be an effective way to take advantage of the power of video while increasing clicks and creating a launch pad for exploring other content on your site. See this Fandango Breakthrough Email for an example of a multimedia email marketing strategy that works.
4. The Goal: Interaction and Conversation. Yes, email marketing is ultimately about selling products and services, but the way there is through engagement with the customer. In other words, email marketing should aim to build and maintain long-term relationships. This InterContinental Hotels Breakthrough Email never tries to sell anything, but it sure makes being a part of the InterContinental rewards program a lot of fun.
5. Ongoing Trends. Anti-spoofing and anti-phishing initiatives continue to evolve; no doubt because e-hooligans keep coming up with new ways to fool people. We also see more sophisticated attempts to secure consent before a piece of email marketing is sent, especially because some countries (like Canada) have passed legislation requiring such activity from email marketers. Email abuse, coupled with the meteoric rise of social media, have prompted some to cry the death of email; however, studies suggest otherwise. When you actually survey people, you find that email remains the primary way people interact with family, friends, and businesses over the Internet.
One other trend is, we think, rather obvious: email marketers keep experimenting, which pretty much guarantees that tomorrow’s email marketing trends may be quite different from today’s. Between our Breakthrough Reports and this blog, we’ll keep you up to date on this always-evolving industry.