Relevancy will make or break your e-mail strategy

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The problems facing e-mail marketers shift like the sands in a desert. Fortunately, most of the recent challenges — whether they be deliverability, SPAM, erosion of trust or competition in the inbox — can be addressed with one over-arching premise: relevance-enabling tools.

Tools such as dynamic content, drip marketing, trigger-based messaging and click-stream analysis — post-click analytics — give e-mail marketers the means to attack the relevance issue head-on.

It is rare nowadays to see an online marketer focusing exclusively on a deliverability issue. Despite the fact that a significant (but diminishing) number of marketers are still doing "batch 'n blast" marketing ("It's the 15th of the month: time to send the newsletter") at the expense of good content ("I have something interesting to say"). It seems that the marketing rule of thumb that content is king is coming back to focus for the e-mail marketing
community.  And if content is king, then relevant content reigns supreme.

If you're more relevant, you get more engagement and better interaction which positively affects your sending reputation, which in turn allows more of your messaging to make it to the inbox.  Relevance also addresses the
erosion of trust because you're sending them information they want to know about, making you more trustworthy.  Relevance also increases your competitiveness so you can rise above the noise and clutter of the inbox. If you consistently demonstrate sending relevant content based on the demonstrated interests of your audience, your emails will rise above the noise and be opened and you'll earn a bigger share of mind, heart and wallet.

Every successful email marketing program is now built by testing, over time, the three main parts of e-mail ROI: opens (e.g., subject lines), clicks (e.g., messaging, layout, call-to-action, incentives) and conversion (e.g., landing page layout, call-to-action).

Of all the components to test, the most important (according to Marketing Sherpa's sister company Marketing Experiments) is the landing page. If you only have time or budget to focus on one aspect, the landing page is the one – it's where the selling happens. A more relevant landing page is one that is specific to the offer in the email and has the right incentives for the users to take the action you want.

You must have a well thought out testing plan if you wish to be successful. You need a good copywriter and e-mail designer, a project plan that accounts for the extra time it'll take to test and analyze the results, and an email platform that can handle your needs. While the process is a mix of art and science, there is a particular science to this: having specific tests will allow you to do things better the next time around.

Content is king.  Relevance enabling tools are king-makers.  And having the right tools and knowing how to use them will allow you to be more relevant, which in turn will allow you to gain trust, be delivered more often to the inbox, and even be sought after once you're there.

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