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The popularity of email has increased exponentially since it was first introduced to the public in the mid-1990s. A mere 10 million people had an email account in 1997. By 2018, that number had risen to at least three billion—and it's still climbing.
Because of the large numbers of people using email, many marketers have developed in-depth email marketing campaigns to build their customer base. Email marketing is similar to billboard marketing in that it's easy to reach an enormous number of would-be customers who are just passing through. The trick, as with all marketing, is converting email opens into successful sales and increased brand loyalty.
Current Trends in Email Marketing
It's true that social media has become increasingly popular over the past decade or more, but email is still an essential online marketing tool. The latest Adobe Consumer Email Survey found the average person spends more than three hours a day on work emails. That's on top of the 2.5 hours they spend checking and responding to personal email. The survey also showed that, despite competition from social media platforms, email use is up 17% year-over-year.
In addition to still using email as a major form of communication, most people are checking email everywhere, all the time. The researchers found that 86% of people check their personal emails before leaving for work, including 28% who check email before even getting out of bed. Throughout the day, people are checking email in the car, while exercising, and even in the bathroom.
Email has become an expected and anticipated part of everyday life for millions of people, even for Millennials, who are often associated with the latest in tech and social engagement.
In 2017, Fluent Inc. conducted a survey that focused on the driving forces and consumer habits of Millennials and found that, out of all digital advertising methods surveyed, email is the most effective—more than social media, website ads, and promotional text messages. More than two out of three Millennials reported that promotional emails have influenced their purchasing decisions.
The reason so many customers are reporting that emails have influenced their purchases is because marketers have gotten smarter about their campaigns. Emails that contain clear calls to action are both vital and effective. The results of a 2016 marketing professional survey revealed that 80% of respondents named email as their most useful tool for customer acquisition and retention, far ahead of organic search results and social media.
That finding drives home the point that customers who respond to email marketing are often looking for a way to further engage with brands. Email marketers can capitalize on that built-in interest, leading to higher per-sale revenue and increased brand loyalty.
Three Ways You Can Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Building an effective email campaign isn't intuitive. However, by applying a few basic principles, you'll be able to reach more potential customers, engage more subscribers, and convert more interest into sales.
1. Focus on subject lines
Subject lines might just be the most important element of a marketing email: No matter how compelling the copy or how powerful the call to action, if recipients don't open the email, they'll never get to that good stuff.
According to Campaign Monitor, there are several subject line strategies that can enhance your emails' chances of being opened. Choose the one that best fits your brand's style, your end goal, and your target customer. Your internal customer data may lead to targeting segmented groups with varying subject lines for the same marketing email.
2. Segment email marketing lists
Targeting your email marketing campaigns to specific groups can increase open rates by about 14% and decrease unsubscribe rates by just under 10%, according to data by MailChimp. It makes sense: People are more likely to respond to a message that feels personal rather than generic or gimmicky.
Go beyond age and gender demographics, and dive into your marketing data to designate key categories. Consider targeting segments such as new subscribers, or grouping based on interests, preferences, activity level, and abandoned shopping cart. The more targeted your email is, the better.
3. Send mobile-friendly emails
It should come as no surprise that most emails are opened on a mobile device, typically a smartphone. The statistics are eye-opening. Litmus Software reported that emails opened on mobile devices account for more than 40% of all email opens, higher than both webmail and desktop opens. It's crucial, then, that the emails you send be mobile-friendly.
Constant Contact outlined these best-practices for creating these mobile-friendly emails:
- Keep email copy concise. It can take practice to strike the right balance between concise and detailed copy, but it's worth the effort.
- Be careful with graphics and photos that load too slowly or are too small to read on a smartphone screen.
- Make your call to action very clear. Keep in mind that people often skim emails while doing other tasks.
Improve Your Marketing Skills
Email is a powerful tool that can help you get your marketing message out to an almost unlimited number of recipients. Targeting your email lists to various segments can result in a better conversion rate. Email elements such as compelling copy, eye-catching subject lines, and mobile-friendly emails will give you an edge in running an effective email marketing campaign.
No matter how you are targeting potential customers, an effective marketing campaign is one that makes it clear that you understand what drives consumers. You can become an expert and improve your skills with an online MBA from Virginia Wesleyan University. The program gives you the flexibility and hands-on attention you need to get the most out of your education. Graduates are able go on to careers in entrepreneurship, management, public relations, and more. Plus, it's one of the most affordable programs in the region.
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