The new year brings much-needed breathing time to address email marketing strategies. In this post, I’ll explore email marketing trends and offer four suggestions for email strategy for 2017.
1. Nurture New Subscribers
During the holiday rush, your site likely acquired new subscribers and first-time buyers. These new email recipients are extremely valuable to your business. It’s imperative to nurture them. Consider the following ideas.
- Use appropriate frequency. New subscribers from the holidays are likely gift purchasers. They may require a lower volume of emails.
- Send relevant offers. Analyze what new customers purchased, and the amounts, to send relevant offers.
- Express gratitude. Let them know they are a valuable customer. Treat them to a special offer or a simple “thank you.”
2. Emphasize Mobile
For 2017 your email strategy should emphasize mobile, making it as easy as possible for recipients to complete a purchase from an email opened on a smartphone. Roughly one-third of all online purchases are now done on a phone or tablet. If you are not designing emails for smartphones — to be read and to enable a purchase — you are leaving money on the table.
But getting clicks from an email on a smartphone can be difficult. Here are tips to increase opens and clicks from mobile users.
- Use responsive design so email renders correctly across all web browsers and email clients. In a study from MailChimp and Litmus, responsive design increased clicks from mobile users by nearly 15 percent.
- Preview email creatives (especially when not using responsive design) on tools such as Litmus, and design creatives to be optimized for the browsers or clients that make up most of your subscriber file. For most brands, this will likely be iPhone users on Gmail.
3. Develop an Email Road Map
Write a draft calendar for 2017 that includes the types of emails or promotions you want to run throughout the year. These can be repeats of successful campaigns from 2016, new ideas, or even replicating what competitors have done. The point of the exercise is to physically write a plan on a calendar, as a high-level schedule.
This plan will provide a basic roadmap that can be refined monthly. As each month approaches, you can finalize offers, themes, frequencies, and other details.
4. Commit to 1 Email Improvement for 2017
The return on investment from email marketing is typically positive because the cost to send is so low. Despite this, allocate money to make at least one overall improvement in your email for 2017. This could be an overdue project or another idea that will generate good results, such as the following:
- Switch to a more advanced email deployment tool, to facilitate, for example, segmentation, abandoned cart emails, and other auto-generated emails;
- Invest in an email preview service such as Litmus or Email on Acid;
- Develop responsive design templates;
- Clean-up your database, including email verification and data appends (matching customer info with an email address);
- Attend an email-specific conference or webinar.