Email marketing in 2017?!? Before you navigate away thinking we’re out of our minds, think about it for a second:
- In a constantly connected world, what’s the one thing everybody has?
- What’s the most direct connection to a customer in a digital space?
- What ties together virtually every digital platform. Think login credentials or notification emails.
You guessed it: email. Just because it’s not ‘hip’ or ‘sexy’ it’s still the most adopted technology platform.
Most digital platforms are built to exchange consumer attention for advertising revenue. Yet, email is free. The customers are already there with no middle-man or mysterious algorithm.
Where Email Marketing Can Go Horribly Wrong
Facebook gives you an insane degree of personalization and targeting. But only if you’re willing to pay for it. And even so any user at any time can ignore your content. Facebook itself gives them the tools for it. These platform’s revenue correlates with the attention they can broker. Thus advertisers will always be at a disadvantage.
Now. Let’s set aside the scenario where you buy email lists, which we strongly discourage you doing so. Good email marketing is reactionary. Customers are willingly and directly express their interest in your company or product. They give you the most personal information they have.
Email has all the advantages and the simplicity, yet it’s often mistreated.
How? Here are some of the most common email marketing mistakes and why they fail:
- Emailing too much. Customers have an information overload-problem as is, and then you pile on
- Not emailing at all. If you forget about your customers, they sure as hell going to forget about you. And a lot faster, too.
- Using blanket templates. Email may be a constant in technology but content consumption is changing. Customers expert personalization.
- Going for the sale. Just because they showed an open mind to your business, customers still need to be convinced to buy
- Not coordinating between marketing campaigns. Branding is about being consistent. And it makes things easier for both your customer and you.
How To Win Email Marketing in 2017
In our framing post we talked about the three pillars of marketing win for 2017:
- customer journey mapping and hyper-personalization
- native content creation
Here’s how your email marketing strategy needs to be adapted to rest on these three pillars.
Customer Journey Mapping and Hyper-personalization in Email Marketing
It doesn’t matter if it’s an existing space or a whole new one, every marketing strategy for 2017 needs to start with aligning the business to the market.
This involves mapping out a customer journey. Content must be placed at strategic intercept points of this map to capture attention. Email marketing campaigns are at the largest of those points.
Once you mapped out your market you can start personalizing from the outside in. Email is content that benefits from all levels of personalization.
The position of email is a constant between different platforms. You can use it as a cornerstone for bringing in more personalization options.
Email ties into all major technology trends:
- Apply big data to email list segmentation you can create different content.
- Speaking to specific people creates a layer of personalization. Set up delivery at convenient times based on time zones.
- Automation tools can enhance your personalization in email marketing campaigns.
We’ll be talking about big data and automation in separate posts. (Third and sixth, respectively, in the series.)
You need to be both macro and micro and everything in between to succeed in 2017. A smart marketing strategy will come with a premium.
Native Content Creation for Email Campaigns
Every platform has its own ‘language’. Marketers need to adapt their messaging to fit around them. Not doing so lowers conversion and retention at best. At worst, it outright hurts your branding efforts and cuts off revenue and growth.
Email is no different. It has its own delivery system and particularities like subject line, size, and compatibility. These define not only what’s possible but also what’s effective.
A) Email campaigns benefit from brevity.
Like all digital technology, email is subject to an enormous amount of information overload. The shorter and more direct the email the better. Every once in a while, a long email will perform well, but it needs context and setup beforehand.
B) Storytelling techniques are uniquely suited to enhance email marketing.
Craft compelling storylines to tie together an email series in an engaging campaign. (We’ll be covering storytelling later in the series. We found that in addition to being a strategic approach, we should treat it as one of the technology platforms as well.)
C) Emails are excellent gateways for multichannel funnels.
Email itself is restricted in many ways, but it’s an excellent conversion tool. Use it to advance a customer within the lead generation funnel. Creating a hook in email to lead to content on other platforms should be a standard.
D) Feedback is comprehensive, automatic, and reliable.
There’s no other platform, save perhaps a website, that gives this much information. Email tools are able to record every aspect from open rates to click through trends.
Learn the language of email marketing and use it, creatively and natively. We’re way past the time when open rates were near-full and everybody was excited to get email. Standing out is not only still possible but crucial.
Engagement and Email Marketing
The point of customer journey mapping is personalization. The point of personalization is keeping up the engagement with our market.
Email is the only platform where engagement is default.
You can read it, not read it, delete it, act on it… the one thing you can’t do is not engage with it.
Email should be placed at the most foundational level of a customer journey map. It’s natively engaging in one form or another. It provides automatic baseline feedback across the entire marketing strategy. And it’s practically omnipresent when it comes to customer adoption.
There’s no downside here, other than misusing the technology.
Still, many marketers don’t think about the “stop-start-continue” approach. What if you asked your customers these three simple questions:
- What should we stop doing?
- What should we start doing (that we aren’t already)?
- What should we continue doing?
Reaching out to your customers kickstarts engagement to a direct level. When they feel their opinion matters and voices are heard, they’ll start telling you.
Whoever has the attention of the market wins.
Email Marketing in 2017 and Beyond
Email marketing in 2017 isn’t an archaic notion. It’s the foundation for everything else that comes after it. The technology may be older but also mature and fully adopted by the market. Different platforms capture different audiences — but email is simply above the normal segmentation.
Email is a technology platform with near-complete customer adoption. It has virtually no cost. It’s inherently built for both proactive and reactive actions.
Too many marketers seem to follow trends blindly. Big data, artificial intelligence, or virtual reality are useless and ineffective without strategic vision.
New technologies aren’t replacing older ones but enhancing them. When all’s said and done the winners will be those who are able to meet the habits and expectations of their audience. A feat impossible without the strong foundations of email.
So, where’s your winning email marketing strategy for 2017?
We can create you a winning email strategy and save you the time and headaches.
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