Email marketing in 2015 set to grow, become more complicated

Posted Feb 25, 2015 by Jenna Cyprus
Sometimes seen as an antiquated digital marketing medium, email marketing spend will increase in 2015.Email marketing has been a debated marketing strategy for the last several years
As newer mediums of online communication (like social media platforms) have evolved to become more instant, more widely used, and more easily configured for advertising. Still, email marketing can be extremely effective if done correctly, and the format has a dedicated fan base of business owners who claim it to be one of their most effective strategies.
Email marketing popularity
While the rise of new social media platforms might suggest that marketers are moving away from older strategies like email marketing, the data suggests something different. According to a recent report by SalesForce, nearly 60 percent of marketers plan to actively increase their email marketing budgets for 2015. In the same report, 73 percent or marketers acknowledged that email marketing is “core” to their business, with 60 percent of marketers suggesting that email “critically enables” their products and services, compared with 42 percent of marketers making the same claim in 2014.
The data suggests that email marketing is, perhaps counterintuitively, actively growing in popularity. More companies are using email marketing, and companies already using email marketing are increasing their budgets.
The rise of mobile emails
When mobile devices first emerged in the marketplace, many experts believed that their use would spell the death of email marketing. After all, since smartphones tend to have smaller screens and are used by people on-the-go, it would stand to reason that they would rely less on bulky emails for their information. It would also stand to reason that they would be less willing to convert, since clicking on calls-to-action on mobile emails can be a pain.
However, emails have risen to the occasion. Thanks to responsive-designed email templates, it’s much easier for businesses to create email campaigns that can be viewed on any desktop or mobile device. According to Smart Insights, nearly half of all emails today are opened on a mobile device. That’s an increase of more than 500 percent over the course of the past four years. This data tells us that mobile users are more actively opening their emails, giving email marketers a greater opportunity to capitalize on that audience. The design requirements of emails are changing, but the audience is more receptive than ever.
The complication of email marketing
Brennan Carlson, SVP of business development at Lyris, a major email service provider, reiterated the idea that email marketing is alive and growing, saying “it’s a better contributor to website traffic than search and display.” Downplaying the results of SEO and PPC strategies, two of the most popular digital marketing channels around, is rare. However, Carlson went on to say that “email is deceptively complicated, whether it’s in-house or in the cloud,” implying that in order to get the true value of email marketing, you need to do more than just put a few words together on a page.
Carlson explained that “Using email as a bullhorn is not the way to go. Most customers are not on a ‘customer journey' or looking to engage with your brand. Marketers think in touchpoints; customers think, ‘Please don't touch me.' There's lot of talk about customer experience, but most of the action is still company focused.”
How to build an email marketing strategy that works
Email marketing is going to be big in 2015, and your company should probably get started with a campaign if you haven’t already incorporated one into your digital marketing strategy. In order to be successful, you’ll first need to get the fundamentals under your belt; make sure you aren’t neglecting any portion of your audience by ensuring all your email blasts are designed to be responsive. The three most important aspects of an email, as ranked by practicing email marketers, are email content and design, overall campaign management, and contact management—so closely monitor your email list growth, concept your emails, and get your messaging down with a consistent brand image and voice.
It’s also important to follow Brennan Carlson’s advice. Making your email blast about your company is usually a bad idea. Instead, it’s more valuable to make it about your customer. Provide absolute value to your customer; instead of trying to list all the ways your company can help them, focus on identifying with them. Give them something in exchange for even looking at your email, and your customers will reward you with more opens and visits.
Email marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, as new technologies and new mediums enter mainstream culture, email marketing will become even more important. Savvy businesses will begin increasing their email budgets in 2015 and making the adjustments necessary to perfect their campaigns.