Email marketing used to follow a one-size-fits-all model, but now new technology is giving businesses the chance to take their campaigns to the next level.
Vivek Sharma, co-founder and CEO of email marketing technology provider Movable Ink, said there are numerous new ways businesses can help ensure their emails are not only read, but revisited multiple times.
Originally, email marketing was similar to direct mail in that everyone got the same message, Sharma said. Eventually, email messages could be targeted to different customer segments — for instance, one email could be sent to men, and the other to women.
Sharma said "agile marketing" takes things several steps further. "Agile marketing is actuality-based marketing — meaning, rather than creating a prefabbed message, the message is adapting to you based on when you are [reading it], where you are, what device you are opening it on and even the weather outside," Sharma said.
To help businesses better understand the capabilities of email marketing, Sharma has compiled a list of 10 ways retailers can use email marketing to generate excitement and boost sales:
- Multimedia: Rather than a simple picture, use video and a countdown clock to unveil a new product and create a sense of urgency.
- Social media: Use social media to make emails interactive by incorporating real-time tweets and Instagram photos.
- Personalize: While some think slapping someone's name at the top of an email makes it personal, take it even further by personalizing an image with the recipient's name on it — for example, a piece of jewelry with the person's name engraved on it.
- New deals: To get consumers to revisit the email after they have opened it, use new technology that allows for the email to be updated with new deals every hour.
- Shipping: Include real-time shipping-status information in purchase confirmation emails.
- Updated locations: Use geo-targeting to show nearby store locations and the hours when each of those stores is open.
- New products: Change offers that are promoted based on each shopper's location. For example, a ticket broker could change the concerts or sporting events it promotes in an email based on each consumer's location.
- Bar codes: Use bar codes in mobile emails to drive sales by letting consumers have their email scanned straight from their mobile device for an in-store discount.
- Best sellers: For businesses with fast-moving products on their home page, use new tools that allow the emails to always show the most up-to-date best-selling products. It ensures the emails never go stale.
- Mobile friendly: Optimize emails for mobile devices — for instance, include a "click to call" button for customers who want to make a purchase or speak to a customer representative.
Sharma said email marketing makes the most sense for retailers because it has the largest return on their investment. He points to past research that shows that the return on investment for email marketing is $29 for every $1 spent.
"Dollar for dollar, out of all of the digital channels available to retailers, email simply performs the best," Sharma said. "It is incredibly effective."