When was the last time you were excited to open up your email? If you’re a little bit like most people, you probably don’t look forward to opening your email inbox; it’s exploded with all the newsletters you at one point subscribed to, all the emails from the different social networks where you’re a part of, etc.
And let’s be honest with ourselves: most emails indeed are a bit annoying. According to research done by IDC in 2013 (full research available here), social media seems to evoke “excitement” as the prevailing sentiment.
80% of the 18-44-year-olds check their smartphone straight after waking up, and that is not to check on email. The word that comes to mind when talking about email? Productivity. Emails are a chore.
Of course, using great subject lines, you might make people interested in opening up your emails, but the excitement mostly quickly gets away as soon as the email is opened.
Still, email marketing is still one of the most efficient ways of communicating with your customer, but email marketing campaigns have stayed mostly the same over the last couple of years. Many brands are simply not trying anything new.
In here, lies a significant opportunity for you and your brand.
What if you could make your emails more interesting? And what if, by making them more attractive, you could increase opens, click-throughs, and conversions?
In this article, we’re going to look into different tactics that can make that happen for you and your brand.
#1 Use geo-targeting
Imagine the following scenario. You’re having lunch with some of your friends, and you quickly check your email. Your favourite shoe store has sent you an email with a one-day offer. Normally you weren’t planning on buying any shoes, so what do you do? Most people will probably delete the email straight away to keep their inbox at least a little bit under control.
But what if that email had a personalised map, that showed you one of the shops offering the discount right around the corner? Geo-targeting your email campaigns give you the option to personalise your customer’s experience and can make sure that your clients are not quickly deleting the email but are taking action straight away.
With almost 91% percent of emails being opened on mobile, the usage of location information (and geo-targeting your emails) is becoming more important than ever. Emails using personalised geo-location, like for example the one giving above can help drive in-store traffic and sales.
This, of course, is not only useful for direct in-store sales, but there are lots of other examples you can come up with, where a customer has to pick up something from a physical location.
With people already expecting their phones to know their location; nearly three-quarters say location information is helpful. Emails with personalised maps can help drive higher sales, simply by showing the stores around the corner.
#2 Leverage Weather targeting
Just like using geo-location data to make your emails more relevant and in the moment. Another great hack to use is weather-targeting to deliver relevant offers in real-time. Companies are already changing content in their ads, and on their websites based on the weather (for example EasyJet does a great job at this already).
You can do the same and send out emails about a sale on umbrella’s when it starts to rain, or winter coats when the first cold sets in. Even when it’s rainy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon, emails can be tweaked to ensure that the clients get the right email at the right time.
Weather-targeting offers great opportunities for your overall content marketing as well. Even if you’re not directly selling to consumers, you can still create specific content and use that at the appropriate times. Think of rainy-day driving tips when you’re a car company, the opportunities are limitless.
#3 Include dynamic web content
Using a technique called “dynamic web cropping”, you can add some content block from your website into the email you’re sending out. Think of it as a widget on your phone with constant up-to-date information.
If you use this idea in your emails, with a bit of rule and logic you can display different information at different times. This means that if someone comes back at a later date to the email, the content is different.
A simple example of using this technique is including a countdown in your emails. Counting down to the moment a sale starts or end. You can even combine the first two points with the geo-location and weather data for this idea. Having a constant up-to-date email encouraging your readers to take action.
#4 Deliver live social media content
Including dynamic web content should not only be limited to your web properties. You can easily integrate real-time social content in your emails as well. This way you can bridge the gap between your email marketing and your social media channels.
You can start using this option for example when you create a contest on Twitter or Instagram, and you can show your readers the latest participant in that game by including the most recent tweets, in real-time, in the body of your email.
By including the most recent tweets about an individual event or news story, or a post on any topic of interest to your readers, you can help make the emails more interesting and hold the attention of your readers.
#5 Real-Time Inventory
In 2015, Sears started using Google’s Local Inventory Ads to promote its stores to local customers. That led to a 122% increase in in-store visitors for Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores.
Next to targeting their ads using geo-location, Sears offered real-time information about the items still in stock at their local stores. That is a tactic which could be used in emails as well. Information like this can work in two ways:
- scarcity, giving the urgency for people to go to your stores to buy the items before the stock runs out
- always up-to-date content, if an article is not available anymore in your store you could replace with the visual and the copy of another item
Real-time inventory information can be used by lots of business, ranging from event management (the amount of tickets for sale), airlines, travel agencies, and others too. If you include real-time inventory in your emails, you as a company can guarantee the stock, is always up-to-date.
How are you leveraging new possibilities?
People are not longer reading their emails when they are just behind their desk so much is sure. People are checking their emails more and more on the go; this also means that people start interacting with their emails a lot different than how they were acting with them sitting behind their desks.
Many marketers still have not started leveraging all the additional possibilities that this new platform brings with it, though. Sure they started creating responsive emails, but there is so much more to do and to achieve when you just start thinking of the shift in how people are using emails.
And then we’re only talking about mobile phones yet, what about smartwatches like the Apple Watch?
New technologies give you the option to create emails that are contextually relevant to your readers at the moment they open their email. With content that changes in real-time, companies can create a new experience with email. Changing the static content of the past, to a dynamic more relevant email.
And maybe, you can make your subscribers excited again about opening your emails.
What things are you doing to give more relevant and engaging information to your customers via email? Leave a comment below to help inspire others!