Ready or not, 2010 is here. And according to eMarketer, 2010 is going to be a good year for email marketing. A December survey revealed that 69% of respondents plan to increase spending on email marketing efforts – more than any other marketing strategy.
To ring in the New Year, we’ve compiled 5 email marketing tactics that are likely to gain even more ground this year.
1. Integrating Email With Social Media.
This email marketing tactic – which picked up steam throughout 2009 as a way to boost customer reach – is likely to spread like wildfire throughout 2010. Consider the results of an early 2009 study by Exact Target, Ball State University and the Email Marketer’s club: 46% of marketers planned to incorporate the two marketing strategies in ‘09, compared to 13% in ‘08—a whopping 253% increase.
Both BtoB and Consumer Marketers are moving beyond simply including links to social profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, in email messages. Some additional tactical ideas for integrating the two strategies include:
- Using a blog to highlight content from an e-newsletter once or twice a month, and inviting readers to download the full content via a landing page
- Conducting a timely poll on Twitter, and creating a visual representation of the results, in an e-newsletter
- Leveraging social media channels to offer email subscribers customized options (i.e., receiving a combination of a monthly newsletter, a Twitter feed with promotions and an RSS feed with daily news instead of receiving a generic bi-weekly e-newsletter)
2. Focusing on Engaging Subscribers.
In a December article from Direct magazine, writer Ken Magill reports that ISPs are now looking into using engagement as a factor to determine if emails get to inboxes. That would mean if subscribers aren’t interacting with email messages, the ISP may stop delivering the messages.
Of course, it’s not yet determined what exactly will constitute an “engaged” email subscriber. But potential measures of engagement we would recommend focusing on improving include:
Open Rates: Try increasing open rates by personalizing subject lines and including clear information in the “from” line indicating who is sending the email.
Click Rates: To improve CTR, analyze if the design of the email is guiding subscribers to the CTA. Web heat maps, for example, can be used to distinguish areas of a Web page most frequently scanned by visitors. Also, give subscribers a reason to click, whether for additional content, a product coupon or a complimentary gift.
Number of Forwards: To increase the number of subscribers forwarding an email, make it as easy as possible to do so. Include the ability to forward the message via email, as well as the option to share on social networks.
3. Re-engaging Inactive Subscribers.
Building an email subscriber is one thing; building an active email subscriber base is another. Virtually every email marketing list contains a group of inactive subscribers, those who aren’t opening emails but haven’t yet unsubscribed.
To re-engage these sleepy subscribers, consider these email marketing tactics:
- Offer the inactive group a complimentary white paper or free trial of a product
- Create a sense of urgency with notifications that their subscription will end soon
- Segment the inactive subscribers and cut back on the frequency of email communications
- Send a series of opt-in engagement messages to the inactive group reminding them of the value of the emails
4. Creating Viral Campaigns.
Viral marketing isn’t a new concept. But today, with sites like Twitter, Digg, Flickr and Facebook, email messages have the potential to be shared like never before. Try out these email marketing tactics in 2010 to help extend your message to a maximum number of customers:
Tailor forward links to specific campaigns: In lieu of the typical “forward to a friend” link, customize the link for the individual campaign, content and audience. For instance, if an email message provides tips to help small business owners build credit, create a forward link with the text: “Forward these tips for building credit to a colleague.”
Don’t restrict access to content: In order for a message to spread to a maximum number of prospective customers, make content free and accessible to anyone. Plus, make all login processes as quick and painless as possible.
Experiment with placement of forward links: Avoid subscribers developing a “blindness” to forward links because the links are placed in the same location for every campaign. Instead, try varying placement, size and color of links.
5. A/B Testing and Optimizing Landing Pages.
Thanks to quickly advancing marketing automation technology, email marketers can more easily perfect landing pages to create a relevant experience and maximize conversions. Many email marketing tools now offer built-in A/B page-testing capabilities, enabling marketers to test multiple page variations and measure the performance of each.
In a recent post on Email Marketing Strategy Blog from Silverpop, CEO Bill Nussey suggests that advanced A/B testing and optimization can easily yield a 5% to 10% lift in conversion rates. Plus, because email solutions are automating what used to be a manual process, marketers can spend more time interpreting numbers and focusing on the creative.
There’s no better time than the New Year to set resolutions and make improvements. As we head into 2010, take some time to assess your email marketing tactics. Could any of these 5 ideas be incorporated into your marketing mix to improve results?