Business email traffic is expected to grow at average annual rate of 13% over the next four years, according to the Radicati Group. With so much competition for peoples’ attention, marketers need to make sure that their email marketing is optimized for today’s standards.

1. Design for mobile

Mobile will be, and in many ways has already become the email access point of choice.

Marketing Sherpa recently released a report that showed 64% of b-to-b decision-makers view email primarily on their mobile devices. Return Path uncovered that between April and September of 2011 email opens on mobile devices grew by 34%. And with email open rates declining 19.9% since 2011 according to Silverpop, it’s more important than ever before to make sure every open counts. Long story short, mobile is here—marketers must focus on their mobile marketing strategy.

Gorilla Banana 300x168 3 Ways to Ensure Your Email Marketing is Built for TodayCount the actions. For mobile email marketing, it’s like counting the number of clicks on your website, except this time you’re trying to reduce the number of swipes and pinches needed to properly view your email. In general, every time you require someone to perform a task, you reduce the likielyihood that they’ll continue to do what you want. Think about it like this, the consumer is a gorilla and you have a banana in your hand. Give the banana to the gorilla as fast as possible or you’ll be sorry.

Limit the width. Mobile optimized email should not be more than 500 to 600 pixels in width. Remember, if your audience has to work too hard to read your message by pinching and swiping, they won’t bother.

Stick to a one column format. Yep, it’s not the most attractive look on a computer, but there’s nothing better when viewing text on a mobile device.

2. Use Video

Video in email is proven to get significant results, but here are a few guidelines for using it:

Don’t embed video directly into your email. Sure, it’s cool that you can now play video right in somebody’s inbox, but usually you’d rather have them interacting with your website. If the video is embedded, you’ve just added an extra step by requiring the person to click to play the video and then click a link to visit your site. Remember the gorilla? Instead, use a single frame image from your video and slap a big play button in the middle. Have the image direct to a landing page on your site and watch the click through rates and ancillary page views sore.

Make the email all about the video. Don’t go through the trouble of producing a video only to bury it as thumbnail in a block of copy. The most effective way to use a valuable video asset is to have it prominently showcased in the email with minimal text that merely explains why people should watch it. If it makes sense for you, create a link to a transcript that will help your site’s SEO while allowing people to quickly forward a text version to a friend. Make sure to link back to the video landing page in the transcript.

Limit the length. Make your video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. By limiting it, you’ll force yourself to cram in only the most valuable content which will increase the chances that people will stick around to watch the whole thing.

3. Test before the big launch

As most marketers know, email marketing makes it so easy to test different variables. Split A/B tests with email are not a significant amount work compared to the insight they provide. But there is technique that a lot of marketers often overlook and that’s pre-launch testing. Take a small sample of your total audience and do a couple tests with them before you blast to your total universe. The fact is you want results when they matter. Don’t have your total email blast be your test. By definition, a test should be a small trial before the real thing. This pre-lauch testing technique is particularly great for eliminating doubt in your subject line choice.

The Bottom Line: Every business is different. It’s tough to have rules that are one size fits all. Use common sense. Honestly put yourself in your customers shoes. Keep asking, “Would I find this email valuable, convenient and relevant?” If the answer is “no,” go back to the drawing board. Marketing is not a form of promotion; it’s an opportunity to bring your customers value. Don’t mess that up.

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