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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-05-25

Forget open rates. Today, experts say that engagement is what matters most in email marketing. Having meaningful conversations with your customers and prospects can be a catalyst for earning their trust, growing the relationship and gaining more business.

So how do you get prospects to engage with your content and click through to the next step in their future with your organization? Here are five essential ways to get their attention:

1.  The responsive design requirement: Technology advances continue to make email marketing more effective, and responsive design tops them all lately. Simply put, it is HTML programming that will change in design based on the device that’s opening the email message. As more people access email on their mobile devices, the use of responsive design has become essential.

2.    Synch up with social: Using email in combination with your social media program can give a valuable boost to your marketing efforts. For example, an effective call to action (CTA) in an email campaign would be for the prospect to simply tweet the email content. This can be much more powerful for your business than a less engaging “buy now” CTA. Offering a “click to tweet” button in this way can help spread awareness of your business expertise via your content – and pave the way for further and more widespread engagement. A social share can also be tied in with a drawing or other reward for the email recipient. Through the use of analytics, it’s also easy to track these shares and attributions.

3.    Get creative: Video can help any message stand out from the crowd. However, to be effective, technical considerations must be evaluated, such as file size limitations and the fact that not all email providers support today's varying video technologies. But creativity and movement can go beyond video. For example, animated GIFs create action, increase the wow factor and are a powerful choice if video is not an option. The good news is that testing results across static vs. animated banners have shown that animation draws more engagement every time. Best of all, animation is easy to create and doesn’t have to involve costly design – you can find many excellent resources online.

4.    Test and test again: Studies show that when marketers get lazy and guess which email features will generate better results, they most often guess wrong. That's why testing is an email requirement for optimal success today. But it doesn’t have to be complicated: send your next email version A to 10% of your list; and version B to another 10%. Whichever draws the best response is the version you send to the rest (80%) of your list.

5.    Build trust: Gone are the days of the hard sell. Successful marketers today focus their content on thought leadership and best practices – or on how to approach a particular challenge. And this type of helpful content comes from real people in their organization. After all, buyers first need someone they can relate to – and that means a person, not a product or a company. The actual solution is often an afterthought in the overall process, and many times it is only discussed near the end of the buyer journey. Building trust that paves the way to lasting relationships creates more value to prospects than any product sheet possibly can. 

Lastly, it used to be that marketing and sales were separate and unequal silos. Today, it's clear that when they work together, better things happen. Marketers have the responsibility to create content that leads the buyer experience and serves as the primary conduit through which prospects are moved through their buying journey. By understanding how to best lead the way to the sale, marketers today have become more technical, with a stronger focus on measuring their activities and knowing their numbers -- from click-through rates, to social shares, and yes, email open rates, too. In addition, they not only use email marketing engagement to deliver new customers, but also to help produce repeat customers and cultivate loyal brand advocates. More than ever, email engagement is an important factor in making all of these successes come together.


This blog post was recently published on Marketing Scope.





Email marketing can be a key driver for business growth. If you need to expand your email list to engage more effectively with your ideal prospects and, ultimately, drive more leads for your business, consider giving Outward Media a try.


Image copyright: Copyright: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo

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