I’ve spent a lot of time this summer geeking out over email with email nerds from all over. We’ve all come to the conclusion that we’re basically the Macgyvers of the internet.
We’re masochists, we love the pain the email world sends our way, we love to push the limits of email, we do things no one else wants to do. Yes, it is stressful and difficult and gosh darn it why can Google build a driverless car but still not render CSS in the < head >?! (Thank you Kevin Mandeville at Litmus for that comparison). We do it because we see the value and ROI email marketing has.
I’ve got countless notes, Post-Its, newsletters, nightmares, memories, emails, and tweets about everything I’ve learned about email marketing this year and here, I narrow it down for you. The top 5 things I’ve learned about email marketing this year (you should care because you want that return on investment, and every one loves a list, just ask David Letterman or anyone browsing Buzzfeed).
1. You can’t deny the power of segmentation
It’s probably the strongest tool in your tool belt right now. Fine, maybe it takes a bit more effort to set up than a regular batch and blast campaign but it’s well worth it in the end.
You want to save money on your send volumes? Heck yes, you do. Start segmenting. Let go of those people who will never buy your regularly priced merchandise and forget about those people who haven’t opened an email from you in over 12 months (psst… they’ve dumped you and are cowards about it, just give us that unsubscribe). Stop wasting your money sending to people who aren’t interested in you anymore.
I recently had the luxury of attending Litmus’ Email Design Conference and speaker, Jenn Rhee spoke about her experience with segmentation at Udemy, she saw a 13% increase in open rates, 52% increase in clicks and -28% unsubscribes. I think we can all agree that these are numbers we want to be able to share with out executive teams, right? Make the time to start segmenting, start small by removing your unengaged subscribers and as you see success, I’ve no doubt you’ll be hooked on segmenting every list, all day, every day.
Related: Using CRM with Email Marketing
2. Life’s too short to rebuild the same email over and over again.
Amiright? It’s really easy to get caught up in your day to day work schedule and not put in a few extra hours to templatize everything. Eventually, what ends up happening is you have 30 versions of an email and not one of them is a master copy. It’s messy, it’s off brand and it’s inefficient.
I know what you’re thinking…
Take a few hours to create a “master” email that has blocks of every variation you can include in an email template (i.e. a block with images to the left and text on the right, one block of a hero image, a block with a bulletproof button, etc). Make sure your code is nice, clean and indented so beautifully and make it available to your team. Your header and footer will remain consistent, but the body content can be changed up and remain on brand and you’ll never have to code from scratch again.
3. We get it, it’s *insert every holiday in the calendar*
You know when it’s Black Friday, it’s not a day that *really* sneaks up on anyone. We’ve been waiting for it since last year and if your subject line includes “Black Friday”, you’re really not standing out in extremely crowded inboxes.
Same goes for Labour Day.
Stop being a cliche. Take the time and put some effort into your subject lines, when you do, you also stand out in the inbox. So how do you do that? One of my favourite examples of a holiday email comes from the folks at Foot Cardigan, these guys really know how to speak to their database.
Subject line: Your Mom Goes To College. Check out the email here.
4. The fold doesn’t exist.
I feel like this topic calls for that Mean Girls gif, right? We’ve spent years focusing on keeping things above the fold but thanks to things like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., we’ve gotten used to the infinite scroll. While I think there’s a time and place for a true infinite scroll, I do think you can ignore the fold in your emails on the condition that your email has valuable content that grabs your subscribers’ attention that drives them to keep on scrolling.
5. Vous n’êtes pas un robot.
Full disclosure, I’m currently preparing for a trip to Europe and proper prep included a screening of Eurotrip, which reminded me of the robot scene included above.
Back on topic…
Develop a voice for your emails, that’s real, human, authentic. It really helps build a long-lasting, trusting relationship with your subscriber. You’ll make them laugh, you’ll make them cry and you’ll live happily ever after.
Let’s see this in action, I’m going to re-write that previous paragraph but remove all personality from it. You tell me, which do you prefer?
Develop a strategy on how the corporate brand speaks to the consumer. Put together several words the encapsulate the brand and ensure all marketing communication in on-brand, regulated and consistent.
Oh sorry, I just happened to take a 45 minute nap. Did you read it? All of it? Be honest. Because it was meant to bore you. Have some fun with your content, and get a positive emotional reaction from your fans.
MY Message to Email Marketers
And on the topic of having some fun, let’s wrap this up with one final gif. Email marketers, you may get knocked down, you may still use tables, but guess what? You’re valuable members of your team and you do the things no one else wants to do…
Prepare yourself for the holiday season by downloading our free eBook of the best email campaigns from the 2014 season by clicking below: