Marketing automation tip: three email trends for 2012

Young green plantYour inbox is likely awash with holiday emails, but as 2012 approaches, marketers are already gearing up for their next targeted campaigns. Don’t fall behind the pack – here are some trends to watch that’ll keep you in the game:

Make email mobile friendly. It is no longer an option – it is a must.

As we enter 2012, the explosive growth of smartphone usage means that more of your email subscribers are using mobile to read their emails. In fact, sources say at least 30% of email users have read email with a mobile device (comScore MobiLens, Feb 2011). If your emails aren’t optimized for those platforms, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Some retailers add a link to a mobile-friendly site, but why add another step between your email and the end goal? Instead: skip the mobile-friendly link at the top of your email and just make it mobile-friendly in the first place.

  • Use larger font
  • Shrink the width of your email to 600 pixels
  • Increase the size of your calls to action so someone’s finger can easily “click it”

Be relevant or you may be tossed aside

Email providers have gotten ‘smart’ this year, filtering and prioritizing emails for users so they don’t have to do it themselves. Google’s “Priority Inbox” feature and Hotmail’s “Sweep” put the most important information at the top of the inbox so it doesn’t get lost in the clutter. But how can you make sure your email is considered ‘important,’ not ‘clutter’?

Our suggestion – make use of behavioral data to provide more relevant messages to your users:

  • If someone visits a specific product but doesn’t purchase, set your up an email campaign to send with more information on the product.
  • Similarly, if you see that a visitor is concentrating on a specific service or product category on your website, send a follow-up email with more information.

The key to being relevant is getting good data and knowing how to use it. Not only will the inbox-filter features be more forgiving, but your customers will appreciate the personal attention when they open the emails.

Help email and social play nicely with each other

There seems to be a constant war about whether email or social ‘win’ out in the end. There’s an obvious fact being overlooked, though – this doesn’t need to be a war! Email and social are both fabulous tools that can work off of each other (for examples of how to make this happen, see Marketing automation tip: three ways to “socialize” your email). In 2012, more people will begin to recognize this symbiotic relationship, and the dialogue will stop being about using one versus the other. Instead, it will be about how the two areas can support and foster each other to provide you with the highest quality marketing. Will you be leading this charge?

As email marketing continues to mature, you need to find new and clever ways to set yourself apart from the rest. Effective marketers will be focused on the end user’s experience. Stay on top of these current trends, you’ll be ahead of the game, grabbing readers’ attention and enticing them to purchase when and where they’d like.