5 Ways to Up Your Email Game in 2017
It’s never been a more exciting time to be an email marketer! 2016 has brought lots of changes to email. Gmail took huge strides with their various email clients when they made the decision to support media queries and embedded styles. Outlook surprised everybody when they decided to really engage with the email community and open a channel for feedback so that they can improve their products. Interactive email has become the new bling that every marketer wants to add to their campaigns, but remains challenging to implement.
So, what should you do in 2017 to get to the next level? Check out these 5 recommendations from our team at EOA.
Let Your HTML Enter the 21st Century
We’ve been coding like it’s 1999 for too long! But that’s all starting to change. As the share of mobile clients with good HTML support rises, we’re beginning to see more advanced coding techniques become popular in email. Because web clients and mobile clients are so easy to update, big moves like Gmail’s update can happen surprisingly fast.
Though clients like Outlook will continue to hold back email development for a little while longer, they won’t be able to stop the flood of new techniques and better emails. Microsoft has already shown interest in fixing some of the issues with Outlook. Combined with the diminishing market share of desktop email, coding for Outlook should become a thing of the past. When you have to do it, though, just make sure to include a good fallback!
Feel free to flex your coding muscles and start trying techniques like interactive email! Soon enough, the door for email innovation will be wide open. Here are a few techniques to try if you haven’t already.
- Using Interactive Email to Highlight Content
- Tutorial: Animated Image Carousel for Email with Ken Burns Effects
- Add These Two Innovative Email Layout Techniques to Your Toolbox
- Coding Interactive Hotspots in HTML Email
- The Ultimate Email CSS Animation Guide: Part 1
Rule the Inbox with Engaging, Personalized Content
Last year, we predicted that hyper personalization would be a powerful tactic with a growing number of followers in 2016, and we weren’t wrong. The returns for carefully personalizing emails can be staggering. Today’s consumer expects experiences that are tailored just for them, and content that looks great and applies to their interests.
List segmentation is the first (and more importantly, free) way to send more relevant information. If you’re ready to go beyond creating email audiences based on shared characteristics, dynamic content is the next level when it comes to personalization. With dynamic content, you can send one campaign, one time that is optimized and targeted to every single user by leveraging subscriber data and behavior. While you should still leverage these two tactics, there’s a new kid on the block named Big Data and he’s about to change the email game when it comes to relevancy.
Emerging AI technologies and algorithms make mastering 1:1 messaging through email easier than ever before. This kind of technology enables greater personalization by taking the guesswork out of content curation. For example, a company called Boomtrain uses machine learning that gathers insights about your users and provides predictive recommendations. This then allows you to deliver relevant experiences through personalized emails. Another company called Phrasee uses AI to generate and optimize your marketing language. For example, Phrasee uses artificial intelligence to create conversion-driven subject lines that increased a customer’s revenue by 417%.
Before, people knew about Big Data, but not how to apply it. Now, with these companies and technology, sending the right email, at the right time, to the right person isn’t a pipe dream anymore; it’s a reality. Not only does sending more relevant email help with conversions, it will also help with your inbox placement!
Stricter international spam laws and reputation-based filtering are beginning to ensure that the email that makes it to a customer’s inbox is what they really want to see. This is fantastic if you’re a marketer who sends great content. Your reputation will soar and so will your email ROI.
Email certainly isn’t dead, but batch and blast sure is.
Coding for Mobile Will Show Huge Returns
In the last year, mobile has dominated email opens. This means that marketers must create an excellent mobile experience, from subject line to landing page. As the market share of mobile continues to grow over 2017, investments made now in improving mobile rendering and mobile transactions will pay enormous dividends down the road.
So how can you make your emails really shine on mobile?
- Use media queries to make sure your layout and font size fit the screen perfectly. For most users, media queries should now work in the Gmail app as well!
- If you’re worried about your email not being responsive everywhere, try fluid hybrid design instead. It can be a bit of a challenge to get used to, but it creates fluid layouts in every device and app.
- Check out our 5 easy tips on mobile optimization to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
Streamline Your Email Production
Email production can take a huge amount of time if you build from scratch over and over. Instead, we recommend building and testing a few trusty templates that can be reused as much as you need them. For a more flexible approach, consider switching to modular design. This technique can save you loads of time while allowing for some flexibility in the design of your emails. With modular design, each content block can be coded as a standalone “partial” or chunk of code. Then you can drop any number of these chunks into the “frame” of the email in any order. This lets you mix and match content blocks on the fly to create the look you need for each email.
Modular design is even easier with our Email Editor tool. Our handy Snippets feature lets you save code with a unique shortcut so that you can drop all of it in with just a few keystrokes. The Email Editor also brings lots of other useful features to the table, like instant testing, revision history, an image library and more. Improve your email workflow with our Email Editor today!
Embrace the Unsubscribe
Unsubscribes happen. And you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it! You don’t want to keep disengaged readers on your list. Make sure your unsubscribe link is easy to find at the bottom of the email. Not only is this illegal to hide, but it’s just an added frustration for users.
If you’re able to create one, a preference center is an even better option to present customers with. Preference centers truly put the power of choice back in the hands of the readers. This allows them to stay in touch on mailings they want to receive but unsubscribe from those they aren’t interested in any more.
Hard as it might be to part with a few contacts on your list, a period reengagement campaign is an excellent way to trim dead weight from the list and improve metrics across the board. Just segment out those readers who haven’t opened or clicked an email for a few months and send them a campaign to confirm they want to remain on your list.
What have you got planned for 2017?
The suggestions above can help almost any email marketer improve their campaigns. What plans do you have for 2017? Are there any new tools or techniques that you’re excited to use? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re changing up your email strategy, don’t forget to test! Broken emails don’t get clicked. We can help you catch costly errors before they get sent out. Try our email testing service today, and you’ll see how easy it is to send amazing email.
Author: Alex Ilhan
Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.