Email isn’t the newest and sexiest digital tool on the block, but it’s still one of the most reliable ways to get your products in front of current and prospective customers. As the ways that we interact with the Internet change, email marketing is changing with it. To make sure that your business continues to be able to make an impact with email, you’ll need to adjust the way that you use it. Here’s a little bit of what you’ll see:
1. More people on mobile. More than half of all email is now opened on mobile devices — and, 49 percent of non-apparel retail customers convert on mobile. People use their mobile phones not just for e-commerce, but also to research local purchases. A significant percentage of people who start looking at a product on their mobile device go on to make a purchase, whether online or in a local store.
With this in mind, you should be making your messages as mobile-friendly as possible. Responsive design allows you to create attractive messages that look good no matter what size screen they are opened on. Keep image file sizes small so that they open quickly on any network connection and don’t hog too much of your clients’ data. Also, use lots of subheads, bullet points, and short sentences so that your messages are completely scannable, while on the go.
2. Personalization is bigger than ever. We have access to more data about retail customers than ever before.
Use that information to deliver highly personalized emails that appeal directly to your customers’ tastes, buying habits and budgets.
Personalization starts with your subject line. Address your recipients by name and include a short pitch that gives them a hint of what is inside. Experian writes that emails using personalization have an open rate that is 29 percent higher than average and a click-through rate that is 41 percent higher.
What’s more, good personalization goes beyond using your customers’ names. You can increase responses by geotargeting and sending messages based on local weather. For instance, an unseasonable April snowstorm may prompt a clothing retailer to send New England customers an email about last-minute deals on sweaters. Warm weather in Florida means it’s time to send customers messages about getting their cars summer-ready.
3. Timed deals can add urgency and improve conversions. When customers open an email and see a timer counting the hours and minutes left in a sale, this makes them understand that the time to act is now. No one wants to miss out, and they are likely to at least click through and see what is available.
You can also ensure that your emails are absolutely up to date by pulling information from your website inventory into an email when it is opened. This way, customers don’t get excited and click through, only to find out that the product they were interested in is sold out. Your emails will always feature currently available stock for your customers to buy.
4. Get a boost from social. Social networking continues to be one of the most popular online activities. Combine your email and social marketing efforts to get a bigger bang out of both.
Add social contests to your email marketing messages; customers get entries by sharing the link with their friends online. You get more exposure, and they get chances at discounts and prizes.
Live-pull social networking feeds from platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to show the latest and most relevant conversations about your brand. You can also encourage customers to share discussions under a specific hashtag so that you can easily follow the conversation and highlight the best content in every email.
By making social networking part of your email marketing, you strengthen the community around your brand, creating a supportive fan club. People who share your email features on social networks can bring new people to your brand. And, those who connect on social are more likely to sign up for your emails for sales and discount codes.
With its low cost, ubiquitous use and high conversion rates, email will continue to be one of the best tools in your arsenal for reaching customers and making new sales. By keeping up with the latest ways your customers use email and the newest technology to keep your messages fresh, you can get a great return on your marketing investment.