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Email: Still The Digital Glue of Online Marketing

February 4, 2014

I am a big fan of email marketing, and have been for a long time. Having run an ESP (Email Service Provider) for 10 years, I've had the opportunity to see the power of ROI that the email channel can deliver for marketers across many different industries. Albeit email is a nascent channel for marketing, it still, in 2014, is one of the most powerful mediums out there. It truly is the digital glue and the workhorse of online marketing.

Much has changed in email in terms of its fusion and integration with social media and mobile; however, there are some basics that are timeless to adhere to with your campaign practices. Below, I have highlighted three practices to help keep some of the important aspects of campaign optimization in check:

  1. Be optimized for mobile: Responsive design is where it's at.
    Here is a great resource and primer on how to make the most of your emails across mobile devices. WhatCounts, our email service provider, offers a great post giving you what you need to know about how to make your campaigns hum in a mobile world.
  2. Test, Test, Test: Don't say you know, unless the data speaks for itself!
    At the sake of stating the obvious, email offers an incredible opportunity for marketers to optimize their campaign metrics through the use of testing. There are several variables that I would consider baseline to always be testing…yes, always. One of the biggest downfalls of campaign optimization and performance revolves around stagnant production procedures. To ensure you are "always optimizing," make use of working in a process that allows you to test, at the very least, the following variables:
    • Subject Lines: A/B split test your subject lines to see which ones provide a better open rate.
    • Time of Day: Depending on your content and offer, hitting your audience's inbox at the right time of day can make a dramatic improvement in your campaign’s performance.
    • Day of the Week: Every list is different, so it’s key to figure out which day of the week works best for your audience. I've seen travel industry clients get their best open and response rates on Saturday mornings at 11am, which is taboo according to well "industry best practices." Set a matrix where you can review open rates and click-through rates across a few sends and try different days of the week (and dare I say, potentially on the weekends).
  3. Personalized, Smart Marketing: Relevance always wins. 
    As all smart marketers know, hitting the right audience with the right message at the right time is the holy grail of online marketing. Much easier said than done though. That said, email offers an incredible opportunity for messaging personalization, through use of the data that you may have on hand already, or data that you can begin to build around your list. Email personalization can be as easy as including the recipient’s first name in the greeting, and go all the way down to personalized offers based on interest and past click-through performance.

If you would like to learn more about how to optimize your email marketing campaigns, be sure to drop us a line.