Bring Your Email Campaigns Into 2013 With These 5 Cross-Channel Tips

Marketing ROI depends on delivering more effective campaigns that properly reflect the relationships brands have with customers, and how they spend their time online. So, in today’s multichannel world, email needs to break out of its silo and become integrated with other relevant channels. From mobile and social media to the rise of Big Data, it’s important to learn how to take advantage of trends.

Here are five cross-channel tips to help marketers generate better results from their programs and get a leg up on their competition.

1. Mobile-friendly email extends past the click

According to Nielsen, nearly half of all Americans own smartphones and mobile open rates are exploding. These days, subscribers have the opportunity to open an email on one of almost 100 different screen sizes, which is why it’s more important than ever to optimize your templates. While marketers can’t design independently for every device, new approaches like responsive design can help create templates that work with the dominant mobile platforms used by consumers.  

One way to customize the experience for on-the-go consumers is to bring the most relevant information to their fingertips, making it easy to provoke action. Mobile optimization can do this by hiding the secondary information and displaying what’s most relevant, as well as by making the content finger friendly. For the best user experience, it’s important to mobile optimize landing pages, too. Consumers value consistent experiences and optimizing both the email and the subsequent landing page drives better results from your campaigns.

2. Data is king, content is queen

Data is all too easy for marketers to come by these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. The challenge now is that marketers have so much information at their fingertips that it’s easy to be completely consumed by analyzing it. Data is the key to relevance, but leveraging data alone doesn’t automatically guarantee relevant communications. If data is king, content is queen, and that means marketers need to pair data with context and content that is really going to resonate with their audience.

Be sure not to exclusively focus on data analysis. Don’t short change your content, as it’s critical for building relevant communications. To truly achieve the relevance that marketers strive for, The Data King and the Content Queen must get along harmoniously.

3. Leverage mobile to acquire permission to engage

Integrating mobile into your permission acquisition programs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A simple campaign where subscribers can text a short code with “Subscribe” and their email address is a great means to connect with your customers in the world at large and gain permission to open up a dialogue. Through SMS-based opt-in, mobile customers have an easy way to opt in for further engagement with your business both in email and via SMS.

Consumers don’t think of SMS, email, and social as different silos; for them, it’s all just communication with your brand. Each channel has its pros and cons as a means of creating a deep customer connection, and it’s our jobs as marketers to reach out with the channel that is most appropriate for the content, and the unique needs of the each particular customer.

4. Serve up an experience relevant at the open

Reaching the inbox gets harder each day. Because of the growth of tools such as auto-foldering, identifying opportunities to optimize email communications for relevancy at the moment of the “open” are increasingly important. There are numerous options to create timely relevancy.  Device detection, countdown clocks, weather-driven offers, and offer optimization all help present the most relevant content to recipients at the time of open. Having the right tools to allow messaging to be tailored specifically to actions that are initiated by the recipient not only shows awareness of what they’re doing, it also confirms that your brand is paying attention to how they’re doing it.

5. Think program, not individual message

Consumers love a good story and great experiences. Thinking about the overall consumer communication experience as a whole and building campaigns that tie together across individual messages, brings more depth to each individual message, and a more engaging customer experience overall. The introduction is the marketer’s opportunity to set the stage, give a glimpse into what the brand has to offer, and set expectations on what’s to come. Follow that with the early engagement communications that are more nurturing in nature. The goal is to continuously nurture your customer relationships, helping them to deepen, persist, and build towards the eventual goals: conversions and lifetime brand loyalty. Rewarding engaged customers with incentives and offers is just as important as winning back customers who are lapsing. Each type of engagement should be thought of within the greater context of the lifecycle stage for that consumer.

Marketing is not a static discipline

The rapid consumer adoption of emerging channels like mobile and social, as well as the explosion of available data on consumer behavior, has led to a revolution in digital marketing. Marketers must continually evolve and advance their strategies to stay on top of these trends and improve their marketing results.

Taking some simple steps as outlined above can help evolve your marketing campaigns, but it’s also important to consider the technology, resources, and ongoing strategies required to keep pace with the continual changes in digital marketing. Marketers must work with the right technologies and partners to drive cutting-edge marketing programs and the most relevant communications for your customers.

Shawn Myers is VP of Marketing at StrongMail.

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