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04
Feb

Show me the money? Email Marketing in 2016!

Email went big in 1996. As did Jerry Maguire. We look at how email marketing holds up in 2016.

In 1996, two things happened: emails overtook paper mail in the United States as the most-sent items of written communication, and the highly quotable rom-com Jerry Maguire hit our screens. That was 20 years ago. If that makes you feel old, it’s ok, we feel it too!

The world has changed a lot since then – Tom Cruise is now more of a meme than a movie star, and digital marketing has changed in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. Circul8 has been keeping up though: we scoured Litmus’ State of Email Report 2016 for this important advice for email marketing in 2016.

Here are our top 3 takeaways…

1. “Help me, help you” – Make it easier for customers to get the emails they want.

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“Often times, a subscriber would be happy to continue receiving emails if only they could receive messages less often or on different topics. Many opt-out processes are now managed in preference centers, but as more subscribers rely on ISPprovided opt-out methods, marketers can’t use their preference centers as a last resort anymore.” 

– 2016 State of Email Report (Litmus)

Just as there are a variety of channels through which you can reach your customers, there are also a plethora of delivery options for email marketing. Sometimes, we can be afraid to make unsubscribing easy, because we know we’re sending marketing material that will never be as welcome or relevant as an email from a friend, or work colleague.

As part of your email strategy, go bold and go beyond the polite “Click here to unsubscribe” option. Send out direct communication asking your customers when they’d like to be contacted, and what sort of information they are interested in.

Gmail now allows users to block your email content within the app, which means they don’t even have to step through your unsubscribe system (no matter how user-friendly or polite it is). As these platforms provide users more tools to reduce email burden, you want to be one step ahead and ask the questions first.

TIP: Build in more sophisticated preferences, and don’t bury that unsubscribe button!

2. “Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?” – Send more relevant information.

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“The arrival of the “block” button should be yet another reminder that marketers need to send more messages that are contextually aware, making use of segmentation, personalization, dynamic content, triggered messaging, and other tools and techniques to create better subscriber experiences.” 

– 2016 State of Email Report (Litmus)

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to the crunch we can be tempted to send messaging to as many subscribers as possible to get the word out there. Email is increasingly in danger of becoming the new telemarketing – unwelcome, unwanted, and rarely arriving at a good time.

To prevent customers viewing your emails as an intrusion, spend time curating your lists to ensure they are being sent to those who’ve opted-in, and who have expressed interest in the content. Segment out those who are unlikely to be engaged, and hone your message. The shorter the better.

It’s also important to remember that how we view emails is shifting – the recent “peeking” option in iOS9 means that users can hover over an email and get a preview. That will count as an “open” according to your metrics, but unless the content is engaging, relevant, and targeted they won’t click through.

TIP: Relevant content is more important than ever. Invest in creative approaches

3. “You had me at hello” – You can judge an email by its subject.

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“Think of preview text as a “second subject line” and use similar strategies to improve your campaigns. Be useful, specific, and, if appropriate, have a sense of urgency. This is also an ideal place to add an additional persuasive element to encourage your subscribers to open.”

– 2016 State of Email Report (Litmus)

So, we all know that an eye-catching subject heading that doesn’t set off the spam filters is the holy grail of email marketing. However, focusing on the subject line isn’t enough in 2016. Various email platforms now provide users even more preview info in the inbox, which is another opportunity to get your customers excited about your content.

If you’re not careful, a lot of platforms will display whatever text is at the top of the email. You can craft the most ingenious subject heading, but all that hard work can be undone if the preview text offers nothing but an “Email not displaying correctly?” message, or even worse “Use this area to offer a short teaser of your email’s content.”

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Source: 2016 State of Email Report (Litmus)

TIP: Invest some time in sending out test emails to a variety of email platforms to maximise your campaign’s efficiency, and avoid any email embarrassment.

Written by Nic Dorward