There was a time when email was enough. Remember the Sony Walkman and how you felt complete with it? Email was like that: it was all we needed for our professional and personal relationships online. But unlike the Walkman that was doomed by technology, email kept its mojo. And in the world of marketing strategies, email refuses to be ignored.

Marketers should keep sending consumers emails. A survey by Acxiom revealed that 73% of respondents still prefer receiving emails from companies and businesses rather than private messages, direct mail, text message or a combination of channels. This is why even as Facebook predicted an end to the email era, email marketing strategies still work. In fact, a 2013 McKinsey iConsumer survey shows the inbox is 40 times more effective in acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

It is clear that email still has it with 61% of businesses who plan to invest more on email marketing this 2015. But no marketer should make the investment blindsided. The medium has evolved and so have the consumers and their preferences. Keeping in tune with the essential changes in email marketing is necessary to fully maximize the power of the inbox. Below are trends you should not ignore.

Mind where you land

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The first decision that your target market has to make is whether to click on your email or not. It is normal then that marketers obsess about everything — from the subject line to the message. Why invest so much if you were just going to let it slip away? Let this be among the top rules in email marketing: never drop a user to a generic landing page that doesn’t say anything. If you emailed about a discount promo on a new product, send users directly to that page. A study shows that customized landing pages increase conversion rates by more than 25%. So don’t waste the one precious click to a landing page that doesn’t deliver. And be careful with bombarding users with too many links. Be direct.

Optimize for mobile

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In case you have been living under a rock or just refuse to notice, people use their mobile devices for everything — from keeping in touch to waking them up. A 2013 research from Harland Clarke Digital reveals that nearly 45% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. Make sure visuals in your email and the landing page are optimized for the mobile platform. According to a blog of Proplerr, a Digital Marketing Agency, you should be aware of your email marketing manifesto and your audience — what they like and what they don’t.

Mobile users are usually multitasking and it is harder to have their full attention. Much more if your page takes forever to load. If your mobile site is difficult to access, 61% of users are unlikely to visit you again while 40% decide to go to a competitor’s site instead, according to Google. Ouch!

Forget email blasts and get personal

Email is arguably the next best thing to a postcard or a letter. It is designed to be personal. Take note that the volume of messages continues to rise so for your email to stand out, it must feel personal. A study by Experian Market Services shows that personalized emails boost transaction rates six times than generic email blasts.

Each email should be custom-made for every user and must be based on click-throughs, browsing history, purchasing history, and overall online behavior. This 2015, no marketer should send newsletters to their entire mailing list without segmenting. Of course, email marketing agencies must invest on customization and a targeting engine so the specific email gets to the right person. And by the way, start this getting personal task by crafting subject headlines that feel personal.

Go easy on text

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Users become more impatient everyday. Expect the trend on simpler and more direct email designs to continue for years to come. Go easy on text, long-forms, and cut down on complex design elements.

Use techniques that work for both desktop and mobile to capture the user’s attention. Among the things to consider in email marketing is using more animation, images, and videos. An example is Dell and its use of animated gifs to present its convertible ultrabook that flips. This resulted in 109% increase in revenue compared to previous mails. It is also easier to embed videos in emails now with HTML5 so make sure you take advantage of this.

Measure and adjust

Open-rate metrics are usually used to monitor the success rate of email marketing. But with the essential changes in email marketing, statistics offered by other email automation platforms must not be ignored. Monitor your bounce rate more effectively. Adjust to current trends like Google Mail’s Grid View that allows users to turn all promotional emails in a decorative Pinterest-style. So in your next promotional email, make sure you use quality pictures and get help from several email automation software.

Grow your email list creatively

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The trend in using pop-up boxes to grow a company’s email list will continue and become more aggressive this year. Today, signing pop-ups do not only mean free newsletters and updates but also promo and discount codes. This call-to-action offers exclusivity to users.

You can also use promotional coupons across social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. It is important, though, that you read promotional guidelines before integrating this in your campaign. A double opt-in method is also becoming more popular as it eliminates malicious sign-ups. This requires a recipient to send a blank email to trigger an opt-in confirmation request followed by clicking on a link to activate a subscription.

Right time, right place

To add more value to your content, you must always be relevant. Real-time marketing means knowing what your audience needs at a particular time. For example, you are a clothing retail company and want to score big this summer, use live images for your summer catalogue and set aside products that are literally out of season.

Another email marketing tip is segmenting your audience based on location demographics. This means you refer to events, landmarks, and stores that are relevant to your target market. This will help drive foot traffic in your actual store.

The inbox is increasingly becoming an online battlefield. Bounce rates and rejections go through the roof as users are bombarded with more and more promotional emails everyday. Getting users to even just click on your email is a great challenge. Be creative, be relevant, be personal, and be always on time. Be ready to fine-tune your content and your strategy to what your audience needs and get your message across.

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