Email marketers often have a hard time staying ahead of the curve. Sending the same type of message, week after week, can start to have diminishing returns. And yet, it’s scary to try something new – and who has the resources to come up with new email marketing strategies day in and day out?
That’s one of the many reasons Linda West, Manager of Demand Generation here at Act-On Software, recently joined forces with Matt Byrd, Email Marketing Manager at Litmus, to present their futuristic tactics for improving the results of email campaigns. These tips represent the latest trends and best practices from people in the know, with examples showing how leading brands are setting them into action.
Here’s a sneak preview of the topics they cover in the on-demand webinar – take a look and see how many of them you could be using to drive more conversions and better results for your email programs.
1. Behavior-triggered email
Triggered messages go out automatically when a user takes a specific action (or doesn’t take it). The action can include watching a video, abandoning a shopping cart, downloading a white paper, attending a webinar, or entering a contest. It’s a proven way to send the right message at the right time. When an email is both timely and relevant, clickthrough rates go up – and so do conversions.
Even though they’re a powerful tool, triggered emails are often underused. MarketingSherpa research indicates that many companies are using automated response for welcome, thank you, and transactional emails (such as receipts). So far, so good. However, only 24% are using them for date-activated trigger messages (such as birthdays), and just 18% use them in response to website behaviors. That means there’s a high probability that you’ll find that these kinds of triggered messages are a great way for your email to stand out from the crowded inbox.
2. Email lead nurturing programs
A drip campaign is an automated email flow with a series of related messages delivered over a specified period of time. Such emails are used for various purposes, including on boarding and free trials. Where they really shine is in lead nurturing programs. These are a series of progressive emails designed to guide a prospect through a sequence of steps in order to warm the lead up and get them ready to convert. It can be a lot of work to get a nurturing program set up, but it can lead to long-term rewards. A single email, all by itself, just can’t do the same kind of heavy lifting that a series of emails can.
Plus, you can make sure each message is targeted to where the prospect is in the lifecycle, with content and messaging that’s personalized to their needs and interests. And what’s more, these warmed-up leads are more likely to buy more once they convert, because they’re better informed. According to Marketing Sherpa, brands that nurture leads see a 45% higher return on investment than those that don’t. And according to The Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
3. Embedded media and interactivity
Plain old emails work just fine, but another way to stand out from the inbox clutter is to add some pizzazz. Animated GIFs can be an effective tactic to make your reader look twice. They can be a good way to demonstrate a product feature or to add some life and depth to a photo. (Check out some really cool examples of cinemagraphs, which are realistic-looking animated loops.) HTML5 video can be another way to add movement and interest to your email, but it’s also only compatible with Apple Mail, iPhone and iPad email clients, and Outlook.com.
Emails can also be interactive, which is an exciting development. Scratch-it is a new technology that creates an email special effect similar to a lottery scratch-off card. Although it’s easy to see how the novelty could wear off pretty quickly, it’s an interesting way to stand out in a crowded email inbox.
4. Responsive Email Design
Mobile use is exploding, especially when it comes to email. As marketers, we know this. According to EmailClientMarketShare.com, 43% of email opens are mobile. That’s a 400% growth in just three years. So if you’re not designing your emails to be read on a mobile device, you’re missing out on a huge percentage of your audience. Then again, it’s important to understand your own audience’s mobile usage. Some organizations find that their customers and prospects rarely use mobile email. But that’s probably going to change as mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous in everyday life.
Responsive is an advanced design approach designed to respond to the screen size of the reader. It means the content will be resized, relocated, or removed based on the client or device being used. Some ways to ensure a mobile friendly email include:
- Using a single column of content
- Creating a strong visual hierarchy
- Making the buttons big
- Optimizing the preheader text
The term hyper-targeting was coined in Myspace, of all places, back in 2007. Basically, it means interest-based segmentation. You’re probably already creating list segments in order to send targeted content to different people based on their roles, titles, or behaviors. But with dynamic content, you can get even more specific. In fact, using dynamic content, you can create a single email that can have thousands of different combinations of content and calls-to-action.
By creating several different versions of content, relevant to some specific factor (let’s say a customer’s purchasing behavior), you can increase engagement and conversions. Every potential buyer should be recognized as an individual with unique and evolving needs. Dynamic content is a great way to create marketing that’s more personalized and tailored to their interests.
Email was one of the first truly effective online marketing techniques, and it’s still one of the most successful. But most email programs are only scratching the surface of what’s possible. Watch this on-demand webinar to get an up-close look at the many advanced email tactics available to you today. See real-world examples from successful brands like Pizza Hut, Hipmunk, Bank of America, AutoTrader, and more. Find out how forward-thinking marketers are creating personalized, nurturing, and interactive experiences for their audiences – and gaining a huge advantage over the competition.
To watch the webinar, click the image: