I've been seeing stars in my inbox lately, along with arrows, hearts, airplanes, hashtags and asterisks, all in subject lines aimed at making these emails stand out from all the other messages. A growing number of email marketers are using this new gimmick to get recipients to notice and open their emails, as well as the usual suspects: the fake "oops" or correction email and the phony forward-reply. Little tactical changes like these might drive a short-term incremental lift in opens, but they aren't a long-term solution, because they don't address the fundamental reasons why subscribers engage with or ignore …
Relevance is the most valued currency in modern email marketing. With countless messages from as many brands reaching your subscribers across multiple channels, the only way to make an impact is to either be highly targeted or exceedingly lucky. Since I'm not writing for the Rabbit's Foot Insider this week, I'll focus instead on the former: targeting.
I don't consider myself a typical "consumer." I meet many of the persona characteristics of a typical dad, from a buying perspective. Yet I am a really hard persona to understand from a marketing perspective. How do you engage the tech-savvy, the frequent traveler, the multiplexed consumer that has discretionary income yet comparison shops, and requires brand experiences to buy most things? Where does the email channel fit with a growing audience that has similar traits?
Anyone who knows me will get a kick out of the headline of today's article, as "Forrest Gump" is one movie I just cannot watch all the way through. Something about it wears on my last nerve. I know that I am in the minority and that it is a beloved film. To its credit, although his drawl is a bit much for me, I do have an appreciation for the wise sound bites that Forrest bestows on viewers throughout. I'm sure that 18 years ago there was little inclination that these quotes would be used to describe the world …
"While social media is constantly improving, there haven't been any meaningful improvements to email in a very long time. That's a major challenge for email going forward." My head nearly exploded when I read those words, which I've paraphrased to protect the highly respected social media expert who uttered them. Being drunk on the social media Kool-Aid had clearly stricken him blind to email's evolution over the past several years. For anyone else who hasn't been paying attention, here are just a few of the highlights:
A few surprises showed up when my company analyzed the email-marketing practices of Internet Retailer's Top 500 online retailers this year: On the up side, more retailers are cross-pollinating their email and social channels for greater growth and engagement. They're also emailing more often in the critical first 30 days after opt-in. But the study also found that fewer marketers offer new subscribers options either to customize their email programs or to avoid unsubscribing later on.
My father has always been good at turning a phrase. I'm often told my "gift for the gab" comes from him. As with most fathers, he was never shy about sharing insight and rules for life as I grew up. With Father's Day near, I started thinking about some of those bits of wisdom and realized many could be applied to email marketing.
Don't blame the ISPs for your mail landing in the spam folder. Blame the spammers. Over 85% of email received into our network of ISPs around the world is considered spam. This creates a herculean task for ISPs to ensure that the email ecosphere is safe and trusted, and that good messages get delivered to the inbox and bad ones are blocked or sent to the spam folder.
As a parent, I would love to believe that it is my influence (my husband's too) on my children that make them smart, funny, confident and just so darn cute! But realistically, it is some combination of nature and nurture that make my children who they are, Much like with children, when evaluating email campaigns, we may be biased to attribute success in a single mailing to the new thing we tried with the content, or the time of day when we sent the email, or the new subject line -- all factors under our direct control -- rather than …
As the season turns, most B2C brands introduce brighter color palettes, outdoor aspirational photography and upbeat seasonal messaging to their email campaigns. Beyond those essential creative touches, summer also offers distinctive opportunities to make email campaigns useful to subscribers' daily lives. It's not necessary to change the primary messaging; these tactics can be used to support existing campaign plans or put a new spin on a regularly featured product.