In case you haven’t noticed, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament, known as “March Madness,” is now underway. With the countdown to the April 4 championship full of upsets and surprises, the games are attracting fans from around the world, and excitement is running high.
In the spirit of the contest, I thought I would establish my own competition across email marketing strategies. Check out my list below to see which tactics come out on top, and should be in your marketing “bracket” now and for the rest of the year:
- Desktop computers vs. mobile devices: Many email marketers continue to design their email campaigns as if their communications will be received on a laptop computer. But considering mobile viewers as a secondary, lower-priority audience is a mistake. While this philosophy may have sufficed in years past, it no longer works now: in 2015, for the first time, mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic. Meanwhile, mobile e-commerce is following right behind, with mobile accounting for $13 billion of online sales during the 2015 holiday season--an increase of 59% over the previous year. It’s now incumbent upon marketers to create and design content for mobile readers to ensure emails are readable and engaging on a mobile device--just as much as (if not more than) for desktop computer screens. If not readable on a mobile device, a recent study says 71% of people will simply delete your message. It seems the tables have truly turned--marketers may nowbe better served if they designed their emails for mobile first, then tested for desktop screens second. Winner: mobile devices.
- Interactive content vs. static content: As marketers attempt to rise above the noise of electronic communication, they are discovering that interactive content not only helps present their stories, but increases responses as well. For example, it’s been reported that including dynamic content can increase open rates by 73%, while adding video can boost click rates by 300%! But interacting with prospects involves more than merely having them passively watch a video or animated gif. Innovative brands are presenting content that requires the recipient to take an action to receive a special offer or promotion. This might include tilting or shaking their mobile device to reveal a discount code.The point here being that the days of passively reading emails are gone – getting recipients to be engaged and interactiveis what matters now. Winner: interactive content.
- Brand content vs. user-generated content: With the rise of social media, marketers now have better insight into real-world user experiences. With a universe of photos (“look at my new cool shoes”) and videos on hand, marketers can enlist this user-generated content as part of their own emailand marketing campaigns. Content such as this, originating from platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, works to build advocates. According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers; while just 15% trust a brand’s recommendation. Winner: user-generated content.
- Delivering value vs. sending the message: When creating email campaigns, instead of sending yet another “25% off limited time” offer, marketers should first answer the question, “what value am I bringing to my audience with this message?” Think in terms of your market’s shared struggles, challenges and headaches, and how you can provide some information to help--either a video, webinar, event or blog. Your product and its features and functions should be considered secondary, at best. The point is, your brand should be viewed as a trusted, respected problem solver, making your email messages a welcomed offer of assistance. Winner: delivering value.
These winning strategies clearly demonstrate the importance of being in synch with your audience’s preferences, interests and challenges. Making use of them in your email messages will set up your marketing campaigns for a championship season this spring, and for the rest of the year.
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