2013 Blueprints: Email Marketing

Email marketing is a big deal. And its importance is only growing, which is why I decided to feature it in the first part of my 2013 Blueprints series this week.

What follows is a blueprint you can follow to improve your email marketing program in 2013. These suggestions are based on my own knowledge and industry experience, and were put together in order to help you prepare for the coming year. If email marketing is not something you’re currently doing, then start, then revisit the tips and ideas below.

  1. Design for mobile first – The number of people receiving emails on their smartphones is growing. The percentage of people opening emails on their phones is growing. You don’t have to be a genius to see that there is a trend here worth paying attention to. The old, ‘design for desktops and account for mobile’ will no longer apply by the end of 2013. You should design for mobile, knowing that if it’s easily read on a phone, it’s just as easily read on a larger screen. This means shorter subject lines, less text, and a slimmer layout.

  2. Deliver value – Email marketing is not going away, but the “lazy” consumers who stay on your list for no reason are. Consumers today are more savvy about all things technology than they used to be, and they won’t hesitate to unsubscribe or complain about your emails. So as long as you’re sending, make sure you’re sending something worth receiving.

  3. Use email more – If you’re delivering value, you probably have room to use email more than you already are. Sure people complain about receiving too much mail, but you don’t hear them complaining when what they’re receiving is useful. Special offers catered to their needs, exclusive content they want to read, and friendly reminders are all welcome emails. And since people are checking email from anywhere, and are used to doing it more frequently, there is room to send out more emails next year than you did this year.

  4. Further segmentation of lists – To use email more, and to deliver more value, will likely mean further segmentation of your email lists in the next year. With more data available, and the ability to send custom messages based on user preferences, the companies that are winning the email marketing game are the ones who are not sending the same message to everyone. Know who your customers are and deliver emails based on their interests and habits. They will get a better response, and allow you to send more emails effectively.

  5. Activity-driven emails – There’s no email more effective than one that is triggered by an action. These can come in the form of signups, purchases, visits, and cart abandonments. When you email someone directly from an action they took, and get it in front of them soon, you’re likely to get the best response. These are becoming more popular, and easier to set up. Ask your web developer about setting them up today.