I recently attended the Email Evolution Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference brought together hundreds of experts in all aspects of email marketing — from content development to deliverability to SPAM compliance and more. Together, we explored the complexities of people-based marketing, the consequences of a bad email capture form, and the joys of marching in a traditional New Orleans second line parade. Needless to say, we covered it all.
Below, five key takeaways from the experts in email.
1. Deliverability is Key
It doesn’t matter what you have to say, if you’re not even able to say it. Deliverability can make or break your email strategy. According to The Relevancy Group, nearly 52 million email messages marketers send annually never even reach the inbox. Issues with HTML coding, photo and text links, domain and IP reputation and more can all impact your deliverability. Make sure to consistently check your bounce rate, open rate and reputation data to prevent deliverability issues.
2. Don’t Fear the Dreaded “Unsubscribe”
No email marketer wants a prospect to unsubscribe from their email list. But your content isn’t for everyone — and that’s okay. Marketers need to make the “Unsubscribe” button easy to find within email content. If you don’t, you could have bigger problems on your hands. Over 50% of consumers say it’s easier to mark an email as SPAM than simply unsubscribe. These SPAM complaints have a major impact on your domain reputation (much more so than unsubscribes!) and will ultimately hurt your deliverability. Make it easy to opt-out of email. You’ll save your customers and yourselves a headache.
3. Improve Your CTAs
We’re in the midst of a CTA crisis. Too many email marketers rely on vague language to entice subscribers to join their list, or click on elements within an email message. Phrases like “Join our email list!” tell a potential subscriber nothing about the types of content they may receive, or how often. Use your CTA wisely and give potential subscribers the logistics they need to make an informed decision about if they want to be a part of that email list. They’ll appreciate the extra information, and you’ll see a more engaged list of subscribers. Within the email content, rethink generic phrases like “Click Here” and “Learn More” to stand out from the crowd and build more brand love.
4. It’s a Journey, Not a One-Off Transaction
Email is one element of the content journey. Think three steps ahead — what happens when someone clicks a CTA within an email? Where do they land and what kind of content will they see? What happens after that? Email marketers need to get smarter about creating a layered journey through customized, interesting content. We need to marry strategic data analysis and flexible organizational structures to ensure we’re building upon email engagement in the right way. Think about the content that an email subscriber engages with, and uncover other interesting content they may also be interested in to guide them on their content journey.
5. Focus on the Future
What works today won’t always work tomorrow. Email marketers must constantly try new things and test their strategies in the market. The majority of people now read email on their mobile device, which is driving a sea change in the way we design email content. Soon, voice activated devices like Amazon Alexa may be the platform of choice for your subscribers. How will we design email content for these systems? Change is the only constant. It’s an exciting time to be an email marketer and we need to focus on the future to ensure we’re delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time.