Email marketing – making it work even harder

Sarah Miller | November 14, 2013

Earlier this year, I wrote about making what’s working in email marketing work for you. My article focused on the strategic side of email marketing – integrating efforts, leveraging existing communication and tapping into your list early in the lifecycle. Image of icons popping out of iPhone lying on tableBased on the article’s site traffic and readership, I wanted to add some other helpful nuggets on how to make your email work even harder for you – this time focusing more on the creative and content.

First of all, your email marketing efforts do work. In fact, 66% of US online consumers said they’re more likely to respond to email than any other marketing effort.1 So, that’s good news! But what can you do to ensure your email marketing dollars are working as hard for you as possible? Invest in engaging and relevant content. Here’s how:

Think Mobile First

When thinking about your email marketing, you’re missing out on huge opportunities if you’re not thinking about mobile readership first. The stats tell the story here:

  • Over 145 million smartphone owners2
  • 48% of emails are now opened and read on a mobile device3
  • 63% of US consumers say they delete an email immediately if it’s not optimized for mobile3
  • Email is the top activity on smartphones – even more than browsing or Facebook!4

So how do you ensure that you’re thinking about your mobile readers? Start thinking about mobile optimization – either by ensuring that the layout and content are mobile-friendly, or by using responsive design. Responsive design automatically adapts the content to the device on which it’s displayed, so the formatting is right whether it’s on a desktop computer, tablet or phone. Some key elements to incorporate when creating a mobile-optimized design:

  • Present content in one column
  • Eliminate horizontal scrolling
  • Keep images, but ensure they are relevant and help tell the story
  • Increase font sizes so the user doesn’t have to zoom
  • Build links as thumb-friendly buttons – especially your call to action
  • Optimize form fields so users can easily fill them out – utilize drop-down menus
  • Set up telephone numbers so users can call numbers by clicking on them
  • Leverage pre-header or snippet text to pay off subject line while prompting reader to open

Another important consideration when thinking about your mobile experience is where to put your unsubscribe link.  Don’t risk getting unsubscribes added to your list just because you put the navigation too close to another menu item.

Content is King

In order to get opens, click-thrus and ultimately conversions, it all comes down to your message and how much it captivates your audience. Utilizing innovative technologies that make your message even more meaningful and can help increase response rate.

Innovative ways to engage readers through your message include:

  • Geo-targeting – Use the technology of the device or the desktop IP address to create a targeted message that speaks to the user where they are. Acknowledge the city they’re in. Drive them to a store location that’s near them. Connect your offer to a local sports team. All of these are great ways to increase your message’s relevance by geo-targeting.
  • Connect through Social Media – Another great way to make your messaging even more engaging is by using real-time social media, such as live tweets. You can also connect to Pinterest boards. Make your email connect across your channels, and see your engagement rates rise.
  • Animation – Used correctly, animation can make your email more engaging and break through the clutter. Everyone likes to watch the clapping monkey dance. But they will truly engage with the message if the clapping monkey is part of your story.
  • Custom Apps – We’ve recently worked with Movable Ink, a vendor that provides a platform allowing marketers to send emails that change in the inbox and adapt to the recipient’s time of day, location, device type, social context and much more. Movable Ink provides a range of apps that make your email message more engaging and meaningful.  Apps include:
    • Countdown Timer – Show days, hours, minutes and seconds using a countdown clock.
    • Creative Optimizer – Optimize a single-shot campaign while it’s running.
    • Device Targeter – Customize content to the device that your email is read on (mobile, tablet, desktop).
    • Feed – Easily pull real-time updates from your RSS or data feed.
    • Geo Targeter – Display content targeted at the current location of a recipient.
    • Inventory – Find the websites and nearest stores that carry a specific product or brand.
    • Local Maps – Show local maps with points-of-interest based on where a recipient opens your email.
    • Rules Engine – Display content based on recipient context like time of day, weather, location and device.
    • Social Chatter – Stream the social media conversation around your brand into email.
    • Tweets – Add live tweets to your emails with just a few clicks.
    • Web Crop – Crop live content from any web page and add it to a campaign.
    • Video – Embed, target and measure engagement of videos in campaigns.

Technology and innovation abound! And your email marketing campaigns are a great way to incorporate these efforts in order to make your creative as compelling and meaningful as possible.


1ExactTarget, “2012 Channel Preferences Survey”

2comScore Reports August 2013 U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share

3Return Path, August 2013

4IDC, “Always Connected,” August 2, 2013


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