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RESTOF2015

The first three months of 2015 have been a whirlwind of excitement and change for the email marketing world. From the impact of the #Blizzardof2015 on the inbox, to Compu-Finder receiving the first CASL fine, there’s no denying that connecting with the people that matter most in this way is anything but static. With this in mind, as well as the first quarter of the year wrapping up, there’s no better time than now to take a moment and engage in a little forecasting regarding what’s up next for email marketing over the rest of the year.

Email Marketing Growth Continues

As hard as it may be to believe, Jayson DeMers of Forbes magazine points out that the current growth trend surrounding email marketing is alive and well. Despite the fact that this form of outreach has stood atop the marketing world for quite some time now, 59 percent of marketers and brands have plans to increase spending over the duration of the year. Additionally, 73 percent point to this process as a core portion of their marketing strategy moving forward. The moral of the story is a simple one – email marketing is the biggest name around in terms of consumer outreach, and the rest of 2015 should go a long way toward further cementing this claim.

Demand Will Only Go Higher

DeMers goes on to explain that the other side of this brand-viewer equation, consumer demand for value-driven email content, should also keep trending upward. However, with this continually rising demand comes higher expectations as well. The brands that do the best with the rest of 2015 will be the ones that go above and beyond the expected in the inbox. This means giveaways, extended content, and other offerings that focus more on value and less on a thinly veiled sales pitch all play perfectly into the current positioning of the email marketing world.

Coordinating Across Channels Still Needs Some Polishing

Even though the digital world has never been more connected, iMedia Connection’s Chris Marriott notes that email marketing hasn’t come quite so far as to make cross-channel marketing a walk in the park. This means that if you want to maximize the potential of your marketed messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms and digital gathering spots, you’ll need to dig deep into the assets standing before your brand.

To overcome the “Big Three” multichannel roadblocks – inadequate campaign coordination, not having the right support people and team members, and limited marketing budgets – during the remainder of 2015, Marriott points to attacking the problem from a variety of angles. For instance, utilizing “Big Data” and first-party insight alike, as well as aligning your brand with a team of dedicated industry experts, can help alleviate this surprising, yet manageable, hindrance to the email marketing process.

Deploying Your Own Homegrown Solution Remains a Risky Business

Much like the issues facing cross channel promotions, Marriott points to the stubbornness of certain factions within the community in regard to homegrown email marketing operations as a point of contention moving forward. While there’s nothing wrong with doing things your own way, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that most brands simply aren’t capable of conducting a successful campaign when left to their own devices.

Even for those that can generate some value, there’s still plenty of potential left on the table thanks to inefficient or ineffective email marketing operations. For the 47 percent of organizations still following this path to the inbox, according to Marriott, it’s time to shift the discussion toward how a proper email marketing platform can increase productivity and minimize the wasted potential garnered via substandard email operations.

Obviously there’s a variety of options standing before you if you fall into the category, but the big key here is connecting with a team of experts that both understands your marketing needs and has the tools to get you on the right track in terms of consumer outreach and impact. Templates, management tools, storage options, and anything that helps you win the social media battle should all fit into the image of what makes an ideal email marketing partnership.

Perhaps the biggest asset you can gain from this approach is acquiring the insight of experts who understand what it takes to map out the landscape of all of the years to come. After all, there’s no doubt that once 2015 is in the books and gone for good, you’ll want to stay up to date with whatever the next big thing is that’s altering the email marketing landscape.

 

For Canadian email marketers, 2014 will go down in history as one of the most interesting years ever. The launch of CASL in July rocked the digital landscape and changed the game forever. This, of course, was preceded by an absolute flurry of confirmation requests being sent to Canadians en masse, as organizations scrambled to salvage as many mailing list subscribers as possible. Let’s put aside the obvious irony: an anti-spam law causing a massive influx in the amount of email people received, with little value other than “click here to confirm”. In fact, it did result in organizations trimming the excess fat on their databases. This means that as organizations close out 2014, they have a much leaner and cleaner database comprising an audience that actually wants to be engaged. With a new rulebook and a refined (albeit smaller) database, how will email marketing change in 2015? In this article we’ll take a look at the trends to watch in 2015 as email celebrates it’s 43rd birthday (…for those scoring at home, the first email was sent in 1971).

List Segmentation 2.0

Gone are the days of treating everyone on a mailing list like they are the same. Organizations of all sizes are now realizing the amazing power a good mailing list can have when managed correctly. What previously seemed like one long, never-ending list of email addresses all lumped together in one glorious unsegmented and undivided group, is now a wealth of data ripe for the most meticulous of segmentation.

Every email address has a story, has buying habits, has interests, and has a certain way it reacts to different types of messages. In 2015 marketers are going to really focus on the persona of the email address (…well, really the person behind the address) to segment their data in new ways that allow for much better targeting.

Traditional marketing segments on the most obvious of categories such as age, gender, race, income, etc. But email marketers are going to dig way deeper in 2015 and build segments not only based on profile data, but on behavioral data too. Mailing list subscribers who click on links about “blue pants” will be added to behavioral segments for people who like the color blue and are interested in pants. At Elite Email we saw a rise in this type of segmentation across our Canadian clients in the back half of 2014 and the expectation is that this will continue to be a prominent trend throughout 2015.

Emails For Me, Not Emails For Everyone

As marketers build targeted segments, it will also pave the way for much more personalized emails in 2015. Organizations that currently send one main newsletter to their entire mailing list are going to shift to a model where multiple variations of that email are deployed. For some organizations, the differences may be rather small, while for others the email may be completely different. The underlying idea is that the email content needs to be specifically targeted to the segment that receives it to produce the greatest chance of engagement and conversion.

To email recipients this will be a welcome trend because emails that are received will be much more relevant to their unique interests. As an example, your local community center runs programs for everyone, from toddlers to senior citizens. They used to send out a newsletter to everyone covering “All Activities This Week”. Now, they’re going to send a specific email to each age bracket (after all, very few seniors are going to sign-up for a toddler music program… so it’s kind of a waste of email real estate to promote something like that!)

This does mean that email marketers are going to be investing more time throughout 2015 in terms of content creation and building out the emails. However, this is going to lead to a much greater ROI for organizations, because open rates and conversion rates will soar to new heights. This means that in 2015 organizations should be getting their email marketing staff to spend more time optimizing this critical communication channel.

Mobile First Mentality

The amount of organizations that still sent non-mobile friendly emails throughout 2014 is absolutely shocking. The statement “everyone checks email on their smartphone” would not surprise any marketer, and yet so many have not taken steps to provide a better mobile experience. This is a huge missed opportunity and something that will simply not be allowed in 2015. At Elite Email, every year the amount of emails opened on mobile devices has increased, then increased, and then increased some more. That trend is not likely to slow down. Currently every email sent from Elite Email is fully responsive, which means it looks perfect on desktops, mobiles, and everything in between. That will be the new defacto standard for 2015 and beyond.

Creating emails for mobile requires a different thought process. On a mobile device, marketers need to get used to their layout stacking to one column and familiarize themselves with how that impacts click-through rate and what displays ‘above the fold’. In addition to having a responsive mobile-friendly email, marketers will have to make sure that all the links in an email link to a responsive mobile-friendly landing page as well. 2015 will be the year when all points of engagement become as optimized for mobile as they are for desktops.

Tighter Messaging Between Email & Social for One Cohesive Messaging Strategy

In 2015, organizations are going to pay more attention to their cross-channel messaging to ensure greater integration with their communication strategy. Posts on social media will now be more in-sync and aligned with the messaging contained in their email. Organizations of all sizes will take a more holistic look at all their digital channels and craft content calendars that keep everything focused on shared common goals. The days of the social media person operating in a silo (separate from the email marketing person) are absolutely behind us.

As consumers access each of these digital channels on a daily basis, organizations will need to ensure not only that they have a presence on each network, but that it’s all part of the larger integrated strategy. The blog article, newsletter, tweet, Facebook post, and photos on Instagram and Pinterest must answer the question ‘how does this achieve our overall goal’. When all channels have a shared goal, the digital footprint of an organization will lead to greater conversions.

The future is bright for email marketers as that channel continues to drive the greatest ROI and highest level of engagement. The email marketer of 2015 is armed with a wealth of strategies that can drive goals and raise the bar of what is possible with this tried, tested, and true channel.

2015 Trends To Watch

 

The world of hip-hop is a polarizing industry, to put things mildly. While some love the genre and its varying styles and flavors, there’s plenty on the other side of the fence that have some not so kind things to say about this type of music as well. However, when it comes to SMS marketing, picking sides on this discussion matters little in the grand scheme of things. What’s more important is the potential lessons and strategies this segment of the music world holds for those willing to spend some time uncovering the clues. To find out if any of this insight fits in with your upcoming marketing plans, let’s delve into the finer points of some of the more engaging and innovative information employed by major names within the business.

Getting Creative Counts

To start off the discussion, there’s no better place to turn than Max Porter, of music industry news source Hypebot, and his look into the use of text message marketing by Keith Cozart. As one of the up and coming young artists in the urban Chicago area, Cozart employs a unique brand of SMS outreach that blends YouTube with the always available access to the text inbox found within his youthful audience.

While dealing with the constraints of house arrest during his rise to fame in 2012, Cozart commissioned a series of viral videos on YouTube that showcased his rap skills with friends and fellow artists. Aside from the good tunes, this burgeoning star also promoted his SMS contact list via the videos. As these offerings spread across the web, fans tuned in and signed up in order to receive alerts and notifications regarding concert dates, album releases, guest appearances, and much more.

Even if you’re aiming to promote more conventional products and services than those offered by Cozart, the message here is pretty clear. Combining other popular platforms, like YouTube or even email marketing, with savvy SMS practices is a quick and easy way to boost your contact list numbers.

There’s Power in Social Media

Porter goes on to note that letting social media followings go by the wayside, whether you’re in the hip-hop industry or working in another market, is a major marketing faux pas. In his illustration of this concept, Porter points to the nearly over 11 million followers of Kanye West. If even a small fraction of this base would opt-in to a marketing contact list, the return generated by this influx would be worthy of a spot in our case study series immediately.

Naturally, not every brand can boast follower numbers that rival a rap icon. However, the point still holds plenty of merit. If you have any sort of tangible presence on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Converting these individuals into a stable and engaged contact list is a quick and easy way to tap into a powerful SMS foundation that would otherwise go unused.

Every Demographic Loves Text Messaging

The final message you can take from the unexpected, but undeniable, connection between SMS marketing and the hip-hop industry is that both appeal and cater to demographics of all shapes and sizes. From the more youthful populations to the older generations, with over 5.1 billion people owning a smartphone around the world, as reported by Laura Varley of Digital Marketing Magazine, the odds of your target audience not responding well to SMS marketing is slim to none.

In fact, spend some time thinking long and hard about whether or not there’s a plausible scenario in which the individuals most closely related to your brand don’t respond well to access to deals and discounts via SMS messages. Having trouble? That’s because the reality of the situation is that modern culture revolves around smartphones and instant access, making it perfectly logical for the marketing moguls of the hip-hop world and other businesses to hone in on this platform during the planning of outreach with consumers and fans alike.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that following in the footsteps of this portion of the music industry is a surefire way to employ a successful mobile marketing program. While these tactics, concepts, and facts can serve as the basis of an SMS plan, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board if things don’t quite pan out. Even if it takes a little time, once you find the right way to deploy your deals and offers to the customers that matter most, the results and positive feedback will surely end up being music to your ears.

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For some of the regular readers of this blog, it’s probably next to inconceivable that some brands still don’t understand the power of mobile marketing. However, with the emergence of new players in nearly every industry, as well as the constant development of small businesses, there’s plenty of room for unwitting organizations to slip through the cracks when it comes to SMS awareness. To help cut through this marketing inertia and show how vital connecting with shoppers on their phones is to a successful outreach initiative, here’s five stats brands simply can’t ignore that support the continued rise of text marketing.

Mobile Will Soon Pass Desktop in Terms of Searches

To start the discussion, Andrew Gazdecki of Business 2 Community offers up a true gem concerning the prevalence of smartphone usage in the modern world. In referencing a study from Google, Gazdecki notes that the search engine leader projects mobile search queries to surpass those made on traditional desktop platforms by nearly one billion requests in 2015.

At first glance, this looks like it has nothing to do with mobile marketing. However, this projection, which will put total mobile queries above 85 billion for the upcoming year, helps support an important notion for brands looking to connect with consumers via SMS promotions – the vast majority of virtually any target audience can’t get enough of their smartphones. Essentially, if your customers plan on spending so much time on these devices anyways, why not build a campaign that takes advantage of this predisposition with powerful targeting and easy access to the right demographics?

Conversions via Mobile Marketing Are Lightning Fast

While other forms of marketing play toward a longer form approach for sealing conversions, mobile and SMS offerings take a much different approach. Again, Andrew Gazdecki provides this insight, noting that conversions via this platform traditionally happen within five hours of the event. Basically, as soon as your marketed message arrives on the phones of your contact list members, the clock starts counting down toward an acceptance of your offer or promotion.

Naturally, this number can fluctuate between brands and marketplaces, but there’s no denying that organizations looking for fast conversions don’t have to go any farther than value-oriented SMS offerings. Adding in that a large portion of these consumers accept such offers on-the-go provides even more credence that a fast conversion on a “flash” deal can occur anytime, anywhere.

SMS Marketing Provides Constant Access

When it comes to a steady stream of access to consumers, brands can’t go wrong with SMS marketing. Sure, 57 percent of people log on to Facebook at least once a day, and 58 percent check their email at least three times every 24 hours, both according to Allegra Tepper of Mashable. However, while these stats are nice, Tepper goes on to point out that average person looks at his or her phone 150 times a day. Whether these individuals are checking social media, texting friends, or simply looking at missed calls, it all boils down to one undeniable fact – after sending off a marketed text message, the odds of your message going unnoticed is next to none.

Virtually Every Message You Send Is Opened

In fact, this kind of constant viewing of smartphones ensures that virtually every message you send is opened and read by the targeted viewer. As Laura Varley of the United Kingdom’s Digital Marketing Magazine points out, 98 percent of all messages fired off not only reach the target, but also end up opened. This eye-popping stat easily eclipses the visibility offered by sponsored ad spots on social media networks and even the biggest name in the business – email marketing. If consistency and a fair shot at promoting your brand is your primary goal, it’s easy to see that connecting with consumers via SMS marketing not only fulfills this desire, but goes above and beyond it with flying colors.

It Doesn’t Take a Lot to Run a Campaign

While these stats are definitely compelling, if you’re new to the mobile marketing world, chances are you probably think that to reach these levels of success, you’ll need to spend day and night creating promotional content. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Varley goes on to explain that 83 percent of readers only wish to receive two messages a month, at most.

To really connect with these consumers, you don’t have to go overboard. Instead, simply connecting with them on their preferred platform and incorporating value-driven content should be more than enough to help you turn these impressive statistics into a successful and fruitful branded campaign of your own.

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According to one marketing company, 2013 offered a few surprising social media trends that may have a strong impact on social media in the coming year.

One Google+ study showed that 57% of people have more conversations online than in person. Twitter has more than 230 million active users who post an average of 500 million Tweets every day. Facebook broke the 1 billion accounts mark in May of 2013, and continues to grow in worldwide popularity. On Instagram, an average of 55 million photos are shared every day. This information can help effectively drive marketing strategies toward the best ways to connect with customers — and increasingly, the best ways to connect are online.

According to a study from ODM Group, 53% of users recommend products or companies on Twitter. Companies can use social media to build brand loyalty, and interacting with customers on platforms like Twitter is becoming increasing popular. According to Twitter, these users hope to find discounts, free stuff, updates, and access to exclusive content from companies they follow. A common explanation for the benefit of social media is that it can “build a loyal audience of brand advocates,” something every business wants.

Another Google+ study showed that one in five searches are local. This illustrates the importance of local data and providing relevant content based on that data. Applying the SoLoMo Principle (Social, Location, and Mobile) helps companies assess the local content needed in their marketing. More than 125 million U.S. consumers carry smartphones, and 18 percent have checked in at merchants using social apps like foursquare. With ‘check-ins’ and other location-driven features, it has never been easier for companies to identify the location of their customers and create content based on those locations.

Many industry analysts predict that social media budgets will increase for 2014, as the market continues to grow. Having a focused social media strategy is important for businesses of all kinds, as more and more people are connecting online. Taking advantage of that desire to connect is important to business growth.

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Many businesses rely on email marketing as a way to communicate with their customers. For them, it’s a matter of sending an effective message that they can be sure will be received, as well as saving money on other marketing methods, such as direct mail.

As we move into the new year, it’s important to take a look at the email marketing trends we can expect to see during 2014, so that businesses can get a jump on what their customers want to see in their inboxes. According to Forbes.com writer, Jayson DeMers, “With many consumers feeling burned out by a constant barrage of information and advertisements that scream ‘look at me’, some of the most innovative marketers are going the opposite direction. They’re now making efforts to tone-down their campaign messages and not overwhelm consumers with hype.” In other words, email marketing is making a shift, and it seems that it’s toward a “Less Is More” strategy.

Videos

It’s no secret that online videos have grown in popularity, even over the past few months. YouTube is still growing as a search engine, and more and more videos are being shared on social media every day. Videos, when they’re done right, can add a lot to your email content. Many email programs don’t support videos (yet), but you can add a link to a video that’s posted on YouTube or on your website. Videos help you get your message across much more quickly, while delivering the content you want in a way that customers can engage with. As you are able to track and see who’s clicking on your links, you’ll be able to see exactly who viewed your video and segment your list for a more focused future broadcast. Sending targeted emails to contacts you know are actively engaging in your emails is going to lead to a better ROI. It’s a great tool to help you plan your future marketing strategies. Whether you choose to create entertaining videos, or you go for informative pieces, your customers will appreciate them, and will probably go looking for more.

Images

Along the same lines as videos, images have also taken over social media sites as being a valuable form of advertising. Social media sites like Pinterest and Buzzfeed have grown in popularity tremendously this year, and it’s all due to their focus on quick images to grab people’s attention. The images you include in your emails can be anything from pictures of your products, to humorous cartoons that will make your customers laugh. The important thing is to use them as much as possible.

Mobile Technology

Most likely, your marketing emails will contain links to your website. That way your customers can go there to place an order or to get more information about your products or services. Mobile technology is increasing in importance, and according to a recent article on the Business Insider website, the number of people who own a smartphone is about to pass the number of people who have a PC. Make sure your website is up to date regarding mobile responsive web design to ensure that you don’t lose any customers who might get frustrated after viewing it on a mobile device.

By including videos and images within your emails, and by making sure your website is responsive to mobile technology, you can be well on your way to a very successful email marketing campaign this year. You may even find that your innovative thinking regarding the coming trends puts you well ahead of your competition, resulting in more profits for your business, and a growing customer base.

trends

 

As of June 2013, 56% of US adults are smart phone users. And worldwide, there are 6.8 billion mobile users, up from 6 billion in 2011. As you can see from these statistics, mobile marketing is an important area of focus! The mobile marketing trends illustrate how to take advantage of this growing sphere of influence.

Email Will Become a Mobile-First Channel

Even now, over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. That number can be expected to continue increasing, and as it does, email will switch from being computer-based to being mobile-based. Adapting email for mobile devices includes changes to the viewing screen and the ease of opening marketing links via email.

New Mobile Ad Formats Will Be Developed

One such format that may develop is 5-second video ads, rather than the 30-second varieties seen on YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms. Promoted Tweets on Twitter are easily adapted for mobile devices. And Pinterest will be launching advertising in 2014 and advertisers are keen to take advantage of its huge popularity.

Twitter Ads Will Expand to Twitter Clients

Nearly 90% of time spent on Twitter was done so on mobile devices. And already, Twitter client apps like Hootsuite include advertising that can be opted out of for a fee.

As you can see, the use of mobile devices is growing rapidly, and there are already great opportunities to connect with customers through mobile marketing. Making your content ‘mobile-ready’ is an important part of any marketing strategy, particularly as more and more consumers access their email accounts on their smartphone or tablet.

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It is always interesting to get a pulse on what people are talking about.

Twitter has their trending topic (or you can check out Trendsmap), Google has Google Hot Trends, Yahoo has their Top Trends…. but what about the world of email marketing?

What is trendy enough to warrant  the coveted space in an organizations newsletter or email campaign?

All email marketers know that a more relevant email will produce greater engagement, and being plugged-in to trending topics is a great way to be right on point.

To answer that question, we did another monthly installment of our “Email Marketing Trends” report where we analyze millions of emails to see what topics bubble to the top.

For the purposes of this analysis we only focused on organizations based out of the USA and Canada. So, these are really North American email marketing trends.

The top 3 trends for the first 3 weeks of January 2013 were:

  1. Super Bowl & NFL Playoffs
  2. New Year’s Resolutions
  3. Golden Globes

This year we saw some really interesting football related promotions where the special or discount that went live was based on the outcome of an upcoming game. These campaigns produced excellent engagement because for people who wanted a certain “deal” it was almost as if they had bet on the game.

Also worth mentioning, although it’s not all that surprising, is that organizations in the health & wellness category (such as gyms, personal trainers, retailers of exercise equipment, etc) had a huge spike in sending volume in January. This definitely ties in with “New Year’s Resolution” trend. I know one of my resolutions was to go to the gym more……. let’s just say that hasn’t panned out!

Read our full press release online.

January 2013 Email Trends

 

I love the summer. I really do.
And, the biggest signal to me that summer is nearing an end is when I start to see ‘back to school’ emails.

You see, here at Elite Email we send so many millions of emails that we can usually use that information to get a pulse on what society is thinking. Whenever something major happens in the world, we can identify the trends in email content almost immediately. Since there can be as little as no lead time when it comes to email marketing, it allows people to react almost instantly to certain events. Sometimes the emails focus exclusively on these timely events and other times they are just mentioned in passing. But, the content is always there… fresh, updated, and current.

So, it saddens me to say, that today we saw our first instance of ‘back to school’.
… NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It’s still July. It’s way too early to be uttering the words ‘back to school’! Isn’t it?

It seems marketers are getting an early jump on things this year because last year it wasn’t until August 9 that we saw the first instance of ‘back to school’. This year we are 9 days ahead of last year!

I’m all for starting marketing initiatives early, but I’m not ready to be in the ‘back to school’ season. And, I’m sure all the students around the world would agree with me!

I guess there’s nothing we can do now… the flood gates are open… it’s not even August and it seems that the back to school season is officially upon us.

Back To School Emails

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin