New technologies have improved email automation, tracking, and innovation, and these changes have created interesting new possibilities for smart marketers.
Complex marketing campaigns are no longer exclusive to the Fortune 500. These new technologies are becoming more affordable and accessible and as a result, smart startups and small businesses should consider them as part of their marketing toolset.
To help you step-up your email marketing game in 2017, let’s look at 5 of the biggest changes we expect to see – and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Use Vendor Stacks
According to a Campaign Monitor study, “Most marketers stitch together the technologies they need to automate complex tasks and deliver personalized, relevant experiences to customers.”
The study found that 82% of marketers at small to medium sized businesses use “best of breed technology stacks” in order to create and execute their email marketing strategies. The technology stacks reflect different email marketing vendors that marketers connect together to create a customized email marketing flow.
Previously, a business would have to hire a large marketing company to execute all of its email marketing strategies. As you can imagine, hiring a large marketing firm can be very costly for small businesses and startups and most simply couldn’t afford the expense.
Today, instead of hiring a big marketing firm, marketers are able to choose which services they will actually need and use and buy those services when they need them. By only paying for the services they need, marketers can save their companies a lot of money!
With 251 email marketing software options, there’s a good mix for your company.
For more information on affordable marketing stacks for small businesses and startups, check out $9 Marketing Stack: A Step-by-Step Guide.
2. Strong Design Is Important
Despite concerns that people are flooded with email, email marketing will continue to be an important marketing tool. But, companies will need to step-up their email marketing game to stand out.
Consumers receive tons of commercial email every month, making their inboxes noisy and full. Smart companies will focusing on improving email content, calls to action, and importantly, the design of their emails.
Emails of 2016 have set a standard for how emails need to be in 2017. Engaging content paired with attractive design seasoned with some interactivity shall be necessary for your emails to STAND OUT in the inbox. Animation using Keyframe, Live backgrounds, Cinemagraph GIFs are predicted to be the best elements to dazzle your subscribers as soon as the email is opened.
When it comes to design, you have several options. You can find or make cinemagraphs on Giphy and find email design inspiration from Hubspot and Really Good Emails. And of course, you can leverage crowdSPRING’s community of 200,000 creatives who’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world with great custom design, including email campaigns.
3. Measure Success
As with any marketing campaign or strategy, it’s important to test whether or not your actions are meeting your goals and expectations.
Click rates become a little less important and in-email engagement becomes more important. And you need to measure that in-email engagement using new metrics like email interactions, which are special opens that are triggered by engaging with interactive email elements.
By focusing more on engagement, companies can better determine how to follow-up with their customers and prospects, what messages actually received a response, and gauge if people truly spent time reading and interacting with the content.
If people don’t feel compelled to click on the call-to-action in the message, then they are not likely to become a customer and probably didn’t care for the content of the email. Measuring interaction gives marketers a deeper look at what consumers actually respond to.
For more information on measuring email engagement check out 6 advanced KPIs for measuring email engagement.
4. Don’t Leave Timing To Chance
Consumers are extremely sensitive to the timing and frequency of emails, and are easily annoyed or ignore excessive amounts of email.
Jordie van Rijn, an independent email marketing and marketing automation consultant, tells his clients to not leave timing to chance. He emphasizes the idea that the smarter people and email marketing programs become, the harder it will be to succeed in email marketing without a specifically timed game plan.
The future is bright for those that make email marketing a priority. Based on the 200+ email marketing trends for 2017 I collected, it is still one of the best channels to invest in. Smart marketers should include more event-triggered emails into their strategy. The goal is to make the subscriber/customer press send on the moments that matter to them so they are always timed perfectly. Don’t leave your timing to chance!
For more information on event triggered automation, read Triggered Email: The Killer Conversion App.
5. Collect Information To Segment Campaigns
In the past, marketers have focused on collecting email addresses in order to create a big bank of emails to which they can blast their campaigns.
But not all customers are alike. Different customers will pay attention to different emails, proven by the 100.95% increase in click rates on segmented email campaigns.
It’s important for marketers to understand how to cater to their specific niche audiences. Marketers refer to this as segmentation, which lets them separate customers into smaller, more focused groups and target them in different ways.
Mail on the Mark explains why collecting more information makes such a big difference, and where companies can begin.
You need to collect (or build) beyond just an email address. In the past several years, many companies have asked for the most minimal amount of information: just an email address. But if you don’t collect any other data, you cannot do any segmentation or personalization. Think about what other information would help you. It doesn’t have to be full contact information (as people don’t like to share that), but consider adding a question about their area of interest, their industry or their general geographic location.
For ideas on how to collect email addresses, take a look at 29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Newsletter. For guidance on what type of information to collect, check out 10 Questions to Ask When Collecting Customer Data.
Trends in email marketing are constantly changing. Let us know what email marketing strategies you are using to stay ahead of the competition.
Image source: Olu Eletu
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