Ashley Zeckman

Silverpop’s Loren McDonald Discusses 4 Top Email Marketing Trends – #MNSummit

Ashley Zeckman     Email Marketing

Loren Mcdonald“Good morning Mumbai! Wait, I’m in Minnesota.”

Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations for Silverpop has been on a worldwide tour travelling from India to London and finally here to the Midwest. Loren was not shy about admitting that he feels a bit like a fish out of water, he’s an email-marketing guy, surrounded by search marketers at MNSearch Summit.

In Loren’s compelling presentation we found out why email still rocks, the difference between smartphone and tablet users and creating actionable data. Below are some of the highlights:

Trend #1 – Email Still Rocks

According to a recent study by Marketing Sherpa, 7 in 10 consumers have made a purchase influenced by email marketing. There is no denying that email is still very much alive, and has a significant impact on purchasing decisions.

Still not convinced? McKinsey & Company found that email conversion rates are 3x higher than social media and the value of an email conversion is 17% higher than that of social media.

Trend #2 – Mobile Usability

Mobile email activity is not closing in on desktop usage; it has already surpassed desktop usage. Consumers are getting more and more used to browsing on their smartphone or iPad to find the information that they need.

Approximately 53% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Only three years ago, that number was less than 20%.

Now in all fairness, the increasing use of Phablets (a smartphone with a screen sized between a standard smartphone and a tablet) may be slightly skewing the number of smartphone opens and interactions.

We need to eliminate the friction for our users to improve engagement. If there are too many barriers for the user, than they are never going to engage.

Trend #3 – Responsive Design

Unfortunately, many designers focus too much on the coding and design concept of responsive design for email marketing. This approach typically results in the simple restructuring of the size of images or text on the email that will be viewed different depending on if someone is using a desktop or a mobile device.

More importantly, email marketers need to be not only considering design structure, but how their consumers are using email.

A mobile user walks into a coffee shop…

There’s nothing worse than walking into your favorite coffee shop and realizing there is a line of other zombie-like individuals waiting to get their morning drip. While you’re waiting in line and trying to pass the time and ignoring your quickly approaching coffee craving hysteria, what are you going to do?

If you’re like most people, you may open some apps or games on your smartphone. Like it or not, you’re also going to check your email. While waiting in a situation like the one mentioned above, you’ll likely delete the emails that don’t catch your attention, mark some for discovering later and forward or reply to those that are relevant to you.

The likelihood that you’ll see an email advertising $350 Michael Kors black leather booties and pull out your credit card right then and there is highly unlikely.

A tablet user takes a break…

Unlike their smartphone counterpart, tablet users are not traditionally on the go. Let’s assume for a second that a tablet user has just kicked their feet up on the back porch with a cold adult beverage in-hand and receives the same Michael Kors black leather bootie email.

The likelihood that this user (assuming of course that they really are coveting those black booties) will make a direct purchase at that time, significantly increase.

The most important thing to understand about responsive design is that people will do things differently and act differently with different devices.

Trend #4 – Making Data Actionable

“To know a person…watch what they do, not what they say. “
– Danny Santagato

Behavior gives us a lens into our audience’s purchase intent. The major shift we are seeing is the idea that when you grab hold of a concept of focusing on an individual’s customers behavior is not what you’re trying to sell, but what each customer is looking for.

Email marketers need to begin reacting in real-time to individual’s behavior. Email marketing automation is a tool that enables companies with the scale to achieve this objective.

Sometimes, broadcast email works. However, marketing teams may not always understand the negative repercussions of over-emailing and under-targeting. There are two types of email marketing approaches:

Traditional Marketing: It’s all about “the plan”: The objective is to fill up the email-marketing calendar with X emails per week. All email communications will be created and sent based on that calendar. Unfortunately, that approach is very much “us” based, and has nothing to do with the needs of our customers.

Behavioral Marketing:This approach is all about the customer. In fact, think of yourself as acting like a great concierge to meet the needs of your customers. In addition to the calendar based programs, your team can create 40+ automated email programs that will go out 24/7 365 to whomever based on a behavior or an event.

The behavioral marketing approach requires automation to provide scale. Loren used an example of a small company they were working with that used to send birthday emails manually to each and every customer. That is the definition of manual.

Bonus: The Integration of Search & Social

There are quite a few low hanging opportunities to integrate search and social with email marketing including:

  1. Landing Pages: You can build a dynamic email based on the search terms that consumers used to get to your landing page.
  2. Lead Scoring: If marketing automation is being used, begin incorporating keywords into lead scoring. Keywords can be scaled higher or lower based on what was used to drive the consumer to your website.
  3. Keyword Driven Email Content: There is also an opportunity to incorporate the keywords used in search results to drive the content of your email campaigns.

Be sure to check out Loren McDonald’s tip in the new #CMWorld eBook – The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

Follow @TopRank, @azeckman, @eprokop1 and @JoelECarlson for live updates from #MNSummit.

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.