Get Out of Your Email Rut

When it comes to digital marketing strategies, email is a retailer's faithful friend.

Not only is this channel a dependable communication method, but it also consistently provides a positive return on investment (ROI) for marketers -- with the Direct Marketing Association reporting that for every $1 marketers spend on email, the average ROI is $40.


The problem with faithful friends, however, is that it is easy to become too comfortable. In email's case, retailers are inclined to become satisfi ed with their technology and content strategies, making it easy for them to ignore emerging trends that have the potential to boost this channel's performance. Let's challenge the status quo with three modern ways to get out of an email rut.


BONUS: 5 Responsive Email Templates
With reports indicating more than half of emails are opened on mobile devices, make sure your email campaigns are responsive.


1. Design for the Small Screen

Google reports that 82 percent of people use mobile phones to check their emails, yet an eConsultancy study found that just 25 percent of marketers actually optimize their email messages for mobile. This poses a big marketing performance dilemma for retailers who have neglected optimizing their messages for the small screen thus far. Especially since GetResponse found that 42 percent of subscribers will delete emails that don't display correctly on their mobile device.

Luckily, the 'Net is full of platforms and technologies that offer mobile-friendly email solutions. GetResponse, for example, offers more than 500 templates that are responsive as well as a "Mobile Email Preview" tool that enables marketers to view how messages appear on the small screen during the design process. Popular email marketing service MailChimp also offers responsive templates, along with a couple of other handy features, such as its "Inbox Inspector" tool that can be leveraged to test campaigns across a variety of mobile email clients.


2. Capitalize on Data

Thanks to the combination of modern technology and the amount of available data, retailers are presented with countless ways to tailor messages to individual subscribers.

This doesn't mean retailers should throw out the strategies that have been favorable to their bottom lines through the years, such as segmenting based on interests and leveraging retargeting customers who have abandoned their shopping carts. Retailers, however, should consider newer, more contemporary approaches.

Email Aptitude, for instance, offers a technology that delivers messages based on engagement behavior. Dubbed Frequency IQ, this feature looks at the actual engagement of contacts in the email channel to determine how often individual subscribers should receive messages throughout the week. According to Email Aptitude Co-Founder Forest Bronzan, this creates a very relevant user experience because it allows merchants to cater to customers based on their actual behaviors. Moreover, the tool is automated and can be set up to recalculate subscribers' behaviors once a week, which means subscribers who are interacting with emails on a regular basis will be moved to a new group that receives messages more frequently, and vice versa.


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Discover how to use the weather for better email relevancy.


3. Be Visual

We live in a busy, hyper-connected world where image based content tends to resonate better with consumers across all channels. Previously, however, email marketers were told to avoid using images because subscribers were required to click on the "display image" links in order to view them. Google changed this, however, when it announced at the end of 2013 that it would automatically display images within Gmail inboxes.

Marketers now have a better chance of having their visual content seen by subscribers the way it was intended, which could influence both click-through and conversion rates. Be cautious though, because other email providers have not yet followed suit. That said, it wouldn't be a surprise to see some follow in Google's footsteps sooner rather than later.


Getting Out

Retailers have a lot on their plates, which can make it very easy to become complacent with everyday tasks like email marketing. But in order to keep the spark alive between your shop and its customers, it is important to intertwine some new strategies with the old - it will keep both your business and its customers on their virtual toes.