Where can you find most people on any given day? At their email inbox. That’s right, email is still an easy way to find your audience and the powerhouse for driving consumer engagement. I know some of you are already thinking Email is so yesterday… But email is NOT dead. In fact, I believe companies will send more email marketing messages in the next 10 years than they have since the beginning of the internet.

Why do I make such a bold statement? I believe when done right, email is the most cost effective and engaging marketing tool. Be careful, when done wrong, it not only misses campaign goals, but can fail to meet potentially harm your brand. More reason to better understand email, right?

I’m writing this post to help marketers understand how email marketing has evolved, in a good way! Email now allows brands to communicate with their audience in a personal manner – giving readers content to quench their thirst and allowing marketers to have meaningful engagement with their consumers. Execute email marketing correctly and it’s a win-win for the brand and its audience. However, failing to meet the expectations consumers have come to expect from email campaigns can cause some damage. Let me explain.

Okay, we’ve all had the experience of receiving overly generic email messages that do not fit our personal interests or needs. If I were a betting man, I would wager dollars to donuts that those messages were part of a “batch-and-blast” campaign where thousands of people received the exact same message because they were simply in the brands database. Email has become so much more than the basic level of adding the recipients name and sending the same message to a large group of people. This is a good change for email, and everyone involved.

Today, marketers create segments to communicate with their readers on a personal level. Software enhancements to marketing automation tools, eCRM platforms and better email tools have brought personalization to a new level. If you ask me, it’s just in time!


Content Needs to be Local and Personal

Today’s consumers have a lot of expectations. And rightfully so, the millennial generation has grown up digital. They’re accustom to immediate gratification from the internet. They believe brands should know them as much as they know the brand. It’s become the marketers job to understand their consumers, where they live, and know what they’re interested in buying. Creating personalized content has stretched far beyond including their name in the salutation, it requires you as a marketer deliver a delightful experience based their interests and where the live, shop or visit.


Readers are Demanding the Right Content at the Right Time

Savvy marketers know the right thing to say and the right time. That means creating content around current events, news and holidays. This means your email marketing team needs to understand consumers in your database well enough to know what is on at the top of their mind and leverage it to send relevant and timely content. An example could be communicating about backpack sales to moms of school age children during the back to school timeframe, or coupons for piecrust and pumpkin pie recipes right before Thanksgiving. Executing the right message at the right time will build engagement and lead to successful email campaigns, while sending irrelevant offers or information will do the opposite.


Here are two simple questions to test if your content is truly relevant:

 Will the email deliver something of value and meet their personal needs?

Is the email being received at a time when the content will provide some personal utility?

If you answer “No” to either of those questions, your email marketing campaigns are more likely to sink than swim.  


Personalization is more than content. It also includes design.

People are becoming increasingly visual. That means you need a design that captures their attention and encourages them to engage in your content. Here is where I need to be clear. When I say design, I’m talking about responsive design and mobile-friendly emails. That means whether your content conforms to the readers’ device rather than colors and fonts. Don’t get me wrong, esthetics can be important, but it’s not as crucial as mobile-friendly design for two important reasons.

I’ll start with huge increase in consumers who use mobile devices for everyday activities. How much is huge? Statistics show 53% of emails are opened on a mobile device. If your emails are not delivered using a mobile-first mentality, it’s likely it will be overlook every time you communicate with a customer who is reads email from their mobile device.

Secondly, we live in a world where smartphones, tablets and computers are updated as often as the wind changes direction – or so it seems. Each of these devices is unique in its own way with varying screen sizes. Responsive design is one way for your content to display with a delightful experience on any digital screen. The bottom line, don’t make your readers pinch and expand to read your messages. Failing to create mobile friendly emails will leave your call to action and other relevant content similar to searching for a needle in a haystack. Marketers need to recognize that email design is part of personalization by designing a positive experience that meets the needs of their personal devices.


The Perfect Email Requires the Right Resources for the Job

Marketing automation and the evolution of email has required marketers to elevate their game when it comes to email marketing. The new level of email marketing requires brands to begin with a strategy that will reach its audience on the personal level I mentioned earlier. Advanced elements involve customer journey mapping, consumer personas, building database segments, contact scoring as well as other tactics that are used to deliver personalized, timely and relevant content.


Marketing Automation

Once you have the strategy in place, make your life easier with marketing automation. As I’ve mentioned a few times, marketing automation is largely the reason email has advanced. There are multiple tools you can use (Silverpop, Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua) to streamline, automate and measure your marketing activities. It enhances email marketing by placing email campaigns, landing pages, consumer scoring, consumer nurturing, social marketing, marketing analytics and more resources under one platform making it easier to segment audiences and deliver content based on personal interests, locations or significant dates in a continuous style.


Email Design and Coding for a Positive Experience Across Platforms

We already talked about responsive design and how consumers need to be able to read emails on any device. That process begins with coding, but there’s more to consider than just different devices. There are also multiple different emails software programs (Outlook, iMail, Thunderbird, Pegasus, Foxmail, i.Scribe, etc.) in additional to web services (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) and many of these will display emails differently. Our email team codes emails to best fit the users’ device and software based on marketing strategy, email creative design and campaign goals.


Make Sure Your Emails Pass the Test

Your email quickly becomes a face for your brand the moment after you send the campaign. It is important to check and test your emails prior to launching them. This should go without saying, but I’ve seen multiple email messages that contain spelling errors and other simple mistakes. Here is a basic checklist to consider prior to sending your next campaign:

  • Proofreading and Spellcheck
  • Test Hyperlinks
  • Images Loading Correctly
  • Email is Responsive and Mobile Friendly
  • Email Displays Correctly with all Email Software
  • Send Count Matches Your Segment Count
  • Account for All Compliance Items – CAN-SPAM Act, HIPAA, COPPA, and other regulatory issues

When done right email is one of the highest performing marketing tactics.

However, doing it right requires precision and flawless execution. It’s likely your internal marketing team will learn that there are not enough hours in the day, or days in the week to give this marketing channel the attention it requires. If that is the case, consider outsourcing your email projects to an agency. At Three Deep, we are not just interested in representing your as your agency, we want to create a successful business partnership. Our team sends over 245 million permission based emails every year for some of the most recognizable brands. Contact us today and see how we can help improve your email marketing.