The past couple of years have been big for predictions in email marketing!
If you believed the hype, we would have seriously considered a return to plain-text with the rise of the Apple Watch, suffered catastrophic Gmail opt-out rates with native unsubscribe, been forced to take a more visual approach with the grid view for Gmail promotions tab and more.
The good news is, none of this seems to have much relevance now. Here are my four tips on blocking out the noise and focusing on your email marketing program in 2016 and beyond.
1. Keeping it Simple
Last year email marketers went to town on using emoji’s in subject lines, especially after Mailchimp rolled out emoji support. GIFs were also trending, with seemingly most marketing emails either including one or being the single focus of the creative!
While both add a level of playfulness and interactivity, the inbox was a busy place. The good news is, there seems to be a return to simplicity, and as Mailchimp recommends, “focus on your message, not your craftiness”.
Before you are 100% clear on what works best for your brand, keep your subject line, content, design and CTA clear.
A great place to start is with a minimal template and if you’re looking for a quick fix, check out Dynamite – it’s a great example of how an elegant design and the use of whitespace can be highly effective in highlighting what you are promoting.
2. Listen to Your Subscribers
It’s easy to forget that your subscribers are people with likes and dislikes (not just leads). Firstly, always watch your open, CTR, unsubscribe and complaint rates. That’s the fast way to gauge whether your email was engaging or not. When appropriate, use what personalisation you have at your disposal (eg: firstname).
If you want to take it to the next level and gauge subscriber sentiment, you could generate feedback by adding a simple “Did you find this email useful?” line in your footer that leads subscribers to a survey. Keep it short and concise though; you’re not after War and Peace.
If a survey seems like too much commitment, check out this fun widget. You never know, this feedback may just generate the next idea that takes your email program to the next level.
3. Optimise for Mobile
If you’re not using device compatible templates, make this an immediate priority in your roadmap. According to Litmus, Apple iPhone is the number 1 email client for 2016, with 33% of us using it. And offering a great user experience to your subscribers will boost your engagement!
Most email service providers have inbuilt mobile optimised templates, but if yours doesn’t/you want something custom and have budget to spare, consider hiring an email marketing developer on Envato Studio or Upwork. Just ensure you do you research and ask for previous work examples before you hire.
If you are confident with code and considering something off the shelf, have a look at the 1,100+ premium email templates available on Themeforest.
3. Create Tailored & Timely Content
The batch & blast approach is dead. It’s not sustainable, nor will it help you conversion rates.
Sending the right content to the right subscribers at the right time is imperative.
If you don’t know much about your subscribers, you could consider running a campaign asking them for more details through a simple preference centre. You may wish to consider offering an incentive or freebie in exchange for this information, which will help boost your response rates.
Once you’ve collated this info and built some basic segments, consider tailoring content based on the location of your subscriber.
Of course it’s important not to put your head too deeply into the sand. There’s plenty of resources available where you can quickly stay up to date with industry trends and the latest innovations including Litmus, Email on Acid, Campaign Monitor & Mailchimp.
Happy email marketing!
Featured image: Emoji Flat Icons, Photodune.