Email marketing reigns supreme when it comes to reaching customers. In terms of other channels, a recent survey puts email ahead of text marketing, direct mail and social media.
It can still be a challenge to craft the perfect message, however. Herewith, a view for 2015 of what remains hot and what is clearly not (courtesy of top emailers at Constant Contact and Salesforce Marketing Cloud)!
- Predictive intelligence. Using the Big Data in an organization to deliver personalized recommendations is white-hot for 2015. This adds extras to your emails—specifically your transactional, cart abandonment, and browse abandonment emails—can make the difference between sales or no sales.
- Responsive design. Mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive emails designed to be read on smartphones are a must this year. The big change in 2015 will be marketers behaving like the rest of us—gathering content and immediately creating and sending email campaigns in a more grass roots manner. An example would be a car dealership taking pictures at a dealership event, and right from an employee phone, sending them via an email campaign to customers and test-drivers who participated.
- Subject lines with #hashtags. Faster, faster! This year marketers will use hashtags in subject lines to drive action without an open, and send a social signal at the same time. Downside: sometimes using a hashtag in the subject line suppresses opens as readers engage immediately with the social network hashtag. Just know this if you’re measuring based on opens.
- Real-time personalization. Email in 2015 will be known as the one channel marketers can really own. With social networks limiting organic reach vs. their paid small business efforts, email gives you control over exactly who sees the content, thus making personalization easier and more effective. Add in the easy-as-a-finger-swipe technology of the smartphone, and you have the ability to implement real-time personalization.
- Batch-and-blast. Time to let it go. With permission-based email marketing as the standard, batch-and-blast is now a thing of the ancient past. Email campaigns now need to be relevant, welcome and timely. With the surge in location-based marketing, it’s context as the new king. What’s helpful are small research projects ahead of time, such as taking a look at what subscribers are opening and then doing segmentation. While many brands will still do broadcast emails, they’ll see in shrinking revenue from their campaigns.
- Static emails. Totally not hot. Subscribers to your emails are getting pickier by the minute. Expectations are high in terms of what you choose to send. So every email needs to look like a one-off with each customer in mind. One-to-one content, personalization, predictive intelligence, exciting news and more. The whole enchilada each and every time.
- Standard subject lines. Subject lines are the Holy Grail—a bad one means instant relegation to the spam folder. Anything over 40 characters is a risk, as are exclamation points or “buy-now” lingo. Subject lines need to be relevant, hint at germane content, and to the point.
Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn