With the increasing emphasis on the role of social media and search engines on marketing at large, many companies who are planning their 2014 marketing budgets are asking themselves: “Should we continue to focus our efforts on email marketing?” The answer is definitely “YES!”
In 2013, companies spent up to 20% of their entire marketing budgets on email marketing, and this is expected to increase by 10% in 2014. The question then arises, “why are companies spending so much on email marketing?” According to the Direct Marketing Association, for every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, the average ROI is $40! In 2013 almost half of all email recipients made at least one purchase based on a promotional email.
Now that you’ve decided to continue your email marketing efforts for 2014, what are you going to focus on? Here are 3 ideas to take with you heading into the New Year.
Optimize For Mobile
A recent study conducted by Epsilon has concluded that the average open rate for marketing emails for 2013 was 29%, which is up 3% from 2012. This percentage is expected to increase even more in 2014 due to a nearly exponential rise in mobile opens, which is now up to 51%. With the majority of subscribers now opening emails on mobile devices, it is essential to optimize your campaigns for mobile. With that in mind, here are 3 quick tips for optimizing for mobile in 2014.
- Click space is important. How many times have you been irritated because you were unable to click a link? A lot, and your subscribers will feel the same way. To solve this issue, include buttons in your emails. When creating a button we recommend a click space of at least 45×45 pixels (perfect for your fat thumbs).
- Shorten your subject lines. On mobile devices the amount of characters seen in a headline is less than on a desktop or laptop; we suggest simplifying subject lines and limiting them to 60 characters. This will allow subscribers to get the full message instead of seeing a partially cutoff subject that might be difficult to understand.
- Landing Pages are equally as important as the email design. It is time to move away from your flash landing pages, which seem as if they take days to load. Users hate when they click through an email and land on a page that is unusable or takes forever to load. We suggest migrating your landing pages over to an HTML 5 responsive design.
In 2013, one of the biggest trends in email marketing was the integration of social sharing. The addition of social icons in email campaigns has been known to boost an email’s CTR up to 115%. However, the boost in CTR is not the only advantage of including social sharing in your email campaigns. Social sharing allows your campaign to have a second life outside of the inbox. Yes, we are talking about viral marketing. Just think about it – Since Facebook has over 1 billion users worldwide, each averaging a network of over 100 friends, the opportunities with Facebook alone become virtually endless. If we add Twitter & LinkedIn to the mix, the opportunities just keep getting better. The moral of the story here is to take advantage of your list along with all their social connections by granting them the ability to share.
This past year Facebook was the most popular social sharing option (surprise). It was placed in 91% of all social emails. However, statistics are showing that LinkedIn may be the platform that we need to focus on in 2014. In 2013, emails that contained LinkedIn sharing icons had a CTR of 9.6% compared to Facebook’s rate of only 4%. For this coming year, I suggest adding LinkedIn sharing icons to your email campaigns when appropriate. This is most important for B2B newsletter-style email blasts. For strictly promotional emails (sales, special offers, etc.) I recommend only including Facebook and Twitter.
Doing It Right
It seems like every other day I get the question “can’t I just buy a list?” The answer is still no, and it always will be. Want to know why? First and foremost, any reputable email vendor will not let you use a purchased list. Here are a few more reasons:
- There is no such thing as a clean list for sale. When you buy a list, it is almost always a list that has been used and abused by others who have bought that list as well. Also, these lists will almost always contain dead emails that bounce. Remember, unusually high bounce rates can cause your account to be flagged.
- If you buy a list, you are a spammer. When you buy a list, the people on that list never actually subscribed. Therefore, when they receive an email from you they will mark it as spam, and you will be flagged.
- Your Reputation will be harmed. There are organizations out there that are dedicated to stopping spam emails. These organizations plant emails on lists that are being purchased in order to identify who is a spammer.
So in 2014, if you were planning on buying a list: don’t do it. You would only be hurting yourself, whereas choosing the organic alternative will pay off in the long run.
One of the most exciting parts of email marketing is coming up with creative ways to get emails to add to your subscriber list. People going to your website and subscribing online are not the only ways to get subscribers. Does your company or organization attend any conferences or tradeshows? People often attend events like these because they want to hear what you have to offer! Next time you are at an event, ask the organizer if they have a list that is open to attendees. This is only one of hundreds of different ways to grow your subscriber lists. For 2014, have fun with your email marketing and focus on growing your list the right way.
Email marketing is still here and constantly evolving. We expect big things to happen in the email world in 2014, so make sure that you prepare accordingly. Remember, be sure to optimize for mobile, take advantage of social, and do things the right way. Most importantly, have fun with your email marketing, and generate some amazing content that your subscribers are sure to love.
What are your predictions for email marketing in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.