Email has lent itself to marketing since the platform’s inception. Where “electronic mail” once mirrored postal mail in form and function, the platform’s versatility means that each message should be personal, adaptable and engaging to a variety of audiences.
This year, marketers need to stop considering email technologies and tactics as standalone tools, but rather as parts of a much larger, engaging puzzle. Doing so will allow marketers to get creative, innovative and smart with their email approaches. Here are a few tactics you may be familiar with and how to combine them for greater engagement.
Combining dynamic content and mega merge
When married together, mega merge and dynamic content display are a power couple. Using mega merge and dynamic content display, email marketers can create personalized email messages for each unique subscriber. Here’s how it works.
- Mega merge – Using mega merge, marketers can pull demographic and historical information in to the content of an email. We’ve found that the more often a consumer’s name is mentioned, the more successful an email is. “Dear [name]” is no longer sufficient. With mega merge, marketers can personalize by name, location or other demographic characteristics to automatically personalize an email. This has the added benefit of directing the reader’s eyes where you want them via the reader’s name or other merged information.
- Dynamic content display – All of the consumer data pulled in from a mega merge can then be integrated into an email on demand and adapted to each unique email subscriber. As the name implies, dynamic content changes based on input. The most successful dynamic content videos or slides incorporate merged info.
For example, in a large hospitality company’s recent Year in Review email, the company pulled in reward holders’ names, how many hotels – and the location – specific rewards holders stayed at, along with recommended hotels and locations based on stay history. The mega merged content changed based on an email address. So no two people received the same email – each rewards holder received a unique video tailored to their own experience.
Other key features combined
Smart email marketing doesn’t end with the marriage of mega merge and dynamic content. Marketers can optimize their email marketing by combining traditional tactics with new technology.
- Mobile scalable hybrid layouts – The most effective emails will allow content to adapt to where a consumer opens an email (phone, desktop, etc.), and have a 21 percent higher click-to-open rate. But responsive design is nothing new and marketers can take it one step further with a mobile scalable hybrid layout that offers one layout for big and small screens alike. The best part about the layout? It’s 100 percent readable and doesn’t require users to zoom or pinch. Essentially, this is responsive design done right.
- Social excerpts – Email is great, but stronger when integrated with social media. Marketers can optimize their email marketing efforts by implementing social excerpts – social content (like tweets, photos or comments) that is pulled right into an email’s message. This provides real-time updates of consumer reactions toward a brand, and is a great way to engage an email audience.
By incorporating social excerpts into an email, brands can encourage subscribers to share deals, which will allow marketers to track brand advocates and tailor future deals to those influencers.
- 100 percent readable with images off – Last year, Google found that image blocking effects 43 percent of emails, challenging marketers to communicate with consumers quickly and tarnishing the look of an email. However, incorporating images and content with new technologies allows brands to connect with their consumers, regardless of their email settings.
One hundred percent readable with images off ensures that all text is displayed and readable, whether or not images are loaded, allowing brands to make a great impression with their emails and communicate their message affectively.
- Sticky content – Promotional and sale emails are essential to increasing revenue, but stronger when paired with sticky content – content-based messaging that doesn’t directly sell to the subscriber, but rather delivers interesting and relevant messaging (quizzes, tips, etc.). This type of content increases email opens by 12-24 percent.
Consumers aren’t always in a position to purchase, and as a result, aren’t looking for promotional emails. By personalizing emails based on a consumer’s lifecycle, marketers can keep specific segments engaged until they are ready to purchase again.
Great email-marketing campaigns should deliver results such as increased clicks, opens and purchases. Combining technologies and tactics, email marketers can deliver engaging messages more efficiently to exceed their marketing goals. To see some of the most innovative email-marketing brands, check out this year’s Email Design Lookbook from Yesmail.