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This Holiday Season Play The Long Game With Email Marketing

As we predicted, promotional email volume has skyrocketed this year as brands worked to retain and reengage customers because of pandemic-related shutdowns. And marketers facing the decline of third-party cookies are now chasing first-party data through — you guessed it — email relationships. Inbox placement and reputation management vendor Validity finds that global inbox volume has increased 94% since Q3 2020. Competition for email attention and email data is tougher than ever.

The stakes around your email program are higher. Because of data deprecation, first-party data is gold. And email addresses unlock user identity and permission — keys to this treasure. So responsibly collecting email registrations, preserving relationships with good sending behavior, and enhancing user profiles through regular email interactions isn’t just about getting more opens and clicks. Improving deliverability now makes or breaks your entire customer data strategy. Here is how to do right with email marketing this holiday season:

  • Don’t get lured into the temptation of over-messaging. We get the appeal of sending just one more message when you are facing looming Q4 transaction goals. But wearing out your list now sacrifices longer-term revenue, compromises your sender reputation, and potentially deletes forever the identifier you need to stay in touch with a customer. GDPR allows that users can request that their data be permanently erased from a marketing database if requested.
  • Keep registration customer led. Boxed and Rue La La now require registration just to browse their sites. But we advise not forcing a customer’s hand. Let customers control their opt-in. Rent the Runway’s omnichannel preference center collects explicit proclivities and zero-party data such as user size and style searches for use in product recommendations. And Dollar Tree gives subscribers a chance to change contact information, desired message type, and frequency.
  • Deliver value to customers. We bet your email strategy over-indexes on accomplishing your Q4 goals — sales volume, revenues, inventory liquidation. This is the case for most emailers. But the best way to win this holiday and still have a database and solid sending reputation is to give customers what they want, rather than forcing them into your path to purchase. As Validity found, Red Letter Days increased inbox placement when it targeted emails to user behavior and preference. And improved inbox placement boosted opens and clicks, which generated more data for better targeting. This virtuous cycle increased revenue attributed to email by 10%. Email marketing vendors like Bluecore and Cordial collect and make usable non-email data (like point-of-service data, supply chain updates, or SKU-level metadata) to improve message relevance.

Read more: This Holiday Season Play The Long Game With Email Marketing

Email marketing is bigger than ever, so here’s how your small business should do it

Email is a critical marketing tool. Research firm Statistica reports that, in 2020, about 306 billion emails were sent and received every day worldwide, and this figure is projected to increase to more than 376 billion daily emails within the next few years.

That should not surprise anyone running a small business. According to recent research from Campaign Monitor, an email marketing platform, 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers.

Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of confusion among small-businesses owners about how to best deploy email marketing.

For starters, you don’t want to send hundreds or thousands of emails from your company’s mail server unless you enjoy getting into a fight with your internet service provider. That’s why it’s always best to subscribe to a bulk email service such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, AWeber, or Emma. Besides providing templates and assistance for sending out email campaigns, the primary job of these services is to make sure that your email gets delivered.

The good ones will have best practices and actively enforce opt-in and data rules to ensure that you are not sending spam or messages to people who don’t want to hear from you. Because of these controls, the major mail providers such as Gmail, which recognizes that delivery is coming from a vetted source, are less inclined to block your messages or send them to spam.

What about content? The rule of thumb is that it should be short and mostly non-promotional. That’s because no one wants to receive advertisements. Your community will want information that will help. This information can be about your products but also include thought leadership, insights, and advice.

“If your email marketing is all about ‘buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,’ then you’re not providing any kind of value,” says Bonny Clayton, a Media-based web design and marketing specialist. “Keep doing that and your email list is going to die.”

Clayton also recommends that if you’re sharing a blog or information about a new product, “don’t give them the whole kit and caboodle in the email. Whet their appetite, pique their interest in the email, and then say, learn more by having a big juicy button for clicking.”

Read more: Email marketing is bigger than ever, so here’s how your small business should do it

How, why every artist should use email marketing in 2021

The current musical landscape consists of a melting pot of artists, all bidding for the attention of audiences with 12-second attention spans.  While social media is great when it comes to building an engaging brand story and identity, artists like you need to take their marketing efforts one step further.

That’s where email marketing comes in. Email is the tried-and-tested medium that can turn someone who stumbled upon your music into a long-term fan.

Why is email marketing beneficial to musicians?

Email is the internet’s currency. Anyone who’s online has an email address.

90% of emails get delivered straight to your intended recipient’s inbox. Conversely, only 2% of your Facebook audience see your posts. If you’ve got 1000 followers on Facebook, only 20 of them will see your post. If you have 1000 people on your mailing list, 900 individuals will receive your email in their inbox. That’s quite a difference!

Email is also one of the most powerful conversion channels out there. The average click-through rate of any given email is approximately 3%, compared to Instagram’s 0.22%. This makes a big difference when talking about overall revenue, merch sold and gig tickets purchased.

It’s also important to consider the fact that many people use social media to communicate with loved ones and to pass the time. On the other hand, email is a more professional communication medium. In fact, 49% of consumers prefer receiving marketing messages via email.

Then there’s also the indisputable fact that email is one of the most stable communication channels on the net. The first email campaign was sent in 1978 to 400 people. Marketers haven’t looked back ever since. By 2013, 53% of marketers agreed that email is the most effective communication channel. In 2020, around 306 billion e-mails were sent and received every day globally. This figure is set to increase to over 376 billion daily e-mails in 2025. Social media platforms come and go – but email has stayed and conquered.

Read more: How, why every artist should use email marketing in 2021

Email Marketing Automation Guide

Email marketing automation can help you save time, increase your ROI, and deliver a better experience to your subscribers.

Email marketing automation sends targeted emails to subscribers automatically.

Email marketing automation allows you to continue building a relationship with your subscribers over time.

In addition to saving time, email marketing automation provides a better customer experience and boosts revenue.

This article is for business owners aiming to streamline their email marketing campaigns.

If you’re looking for a way to bring in and convert new leads, email marketing is still one of the best strategies out there. Email marketing allows you to connect with your customers and send them automated, personalized content.

Not only is this marketing strategy an efficient way to connect with your customers, it’s the most cost effective. One study found that every $1 spent on email marketing generated an average ROI of $38. And 78% of marketers have seen an increase in their email engagement over the past year.

Fortunately, email marketing automation is a lot easier to set up than you may think, even if you’re new to email marketing. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be well on your way to providing this benefit to your customers.

What is email marketing automation?

Email marketing involves sending targeted emails to groups of your subscribers. This could be a weekly newsletter, information about your products or services, or just general information about your company.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right email marketing solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

With email marketing automation, these emails are sent without your constant involvement. You set up automatic workflows, and when a customer signs up for a free lead magnet or makes a purchase, they will receive an email or a series of emails.

Email marketing automation allows you to continue building a relationship with your subscribers over time. When you plan your campaign, you’ll decide who it targets and your campaign’s purpose.

From there, you’ll decide how many emails to include and how frequently your customers will receive these emails. Once you schedule your campaign, the emails will be delivered automatically.

Read more: Email Marketing Automation Guide

Marketers search for new email marketing technology to meet pandemic challenges

During the pandemic, email marketing budgets remained steady while marketers considered new technology to get the most out of the channel, according to a new report from email optimization company Litmus that surveyed 400 marketers.

Marketers this year are most interested in automation. Of those surveyed, 59% said expanding automation was a priority for 2021. Also, 55% are looking to boost personalization, while 35% are considering enriching customer profiles.

Privacy. This year’s iOS changes, including Apple Mail Privacy Protection, have 43% of marketers saying they will look for new ways to measure their email campaigns. Conversely, 24% say that don’t plan to make any changes.

Also, nearly 20% of marketers will run more A/B testing as a result of the new measurement challenges, while 16% will change automation flows and 10% will message their audience about the Apple updates or privacy issues in general.

Budgets. Just because email marketing budgets didn’t increase notably thus far in the pandemic doesn’t mean there aren’t plans for them to grow in the next year. More than 40% of companies intend to up their spend in the channel in 2022.

There is also a shift within email marketing to move the efforts in-house, the study indicates. For instance, 41% of companies plan to hire more email marketers, and 52% expect to decrease the use of agencies, consultants and freelancers.

Relevance. Close to two-thirds of marketers say that they change the tone of their email messages in response to world events.

Specifically with regards to diversity, 27% of companies have sent an email detailing their stance on DE&I. Most of those who haven’t don’t plan to. Only 7% say they haven’t yet, but expect to send out this kind of email.

Why we care. The MarTech Replacement Survey showed a similar interest in boosting email capabilities over the same period. The Litmus survey suggests that even though there was a great need to innovate, budgets were still lacking to make a serious investment in transformation. More optimism about 2022 will likely carry this momentum, as a good many marketers will have more options and funding to make serious changes to their email stack.

Read more: Marketers search for new email marketing technology to meet pandemic challenges

How Spotify almost had its email marketing shut down because of spam traps

Spotify is one of the world’s largest online music streaming services and sends billions of marketing emails to its users every year. However, in December 2020 the team responsible for email campaigns was contacted by Twilio SendGrid – the platform it uses to manage email marketing – and was told that it was close to being shut down.

Why? Because Spotify didn’t realize that it was sending millions of emails to what are known as ‘spam traps’: bad actors that are looking to harm Spotify’s systems. Matt Gioe, Engineering Manager at Spotify, and the person heading up the email campaign office, was speaking at Twilio’s Signal event this week, where he warned other organizations that they need to get to grips with both the art and science of email, in order to avoid a similar situation.

The problem was brought to Spotify’s attention in December 2020, during the company’s largest campaign of the year, Holiday 2020. During this time Spotify sends approximately 1 billion emails to 170 email subscribers across 92 countries over roughly a 30 day period. It was in the middle of this huge campaign that Twilio SendGrid got in touch. Gioe said:

I received a series of pretty frantic emails, messages and phone calls from three Twilio employees, two of them who I’ve worked with before, and one that I’d actually never heard of.

It turns out this third person was Len Shneyder, who is the VP of Industry Relations at Twilio. Len wanted me to know…that if I don’t do something, I’m going to get shut down…and by me, he really meant Spotify, and by Spotify he meant all of Spotify’s emails. So this is pretty terrifying.

This kind of came out of the blue. This was actually my first marketing campaign that I’d ever worked on. But you can imagine that I was not having a great day.

Read more: How Spotify almost had its email marketing shut down because of spam traps

5 Simple Strategies to Update & Automate Your Email Marketing

Utilizing the latest email marketing strategies is a great way to expand the reach of your business and help you connect with a wide range of customers. You also want to stay in touch with those prospects who didn’t purchase your offer…yet. They might need a little more convincing that you know your stuff and email marketing is an easy way to get inside their inbox and appeal to them. Looking at ways to improve your email marketing strategy is essential to your success.

Implement these simple strategies to improve your email marketing efforts.

#1 Tweak Your Messages

Many entrepreneurs use various types of email sequences to help them maximize sales during a live launch. However, you can reuse these messages by simply performing a few tweaks to the original email. Performing these tweaks is a great way for you to save time while also improving your marketing reach. Ultimately, tweaking your messages only requires a little bit of work to your existing emails.

#2 Check Out Your Email Marketing Metrics

Another way to improve your marketing strategy is to check your metrics consistently. This is also one area that many entrepreneurs overlook or just don’t take the time to do. This information can play a key role in helping you determine the highest performing emails. Metrics can include a variety of information, such as click-through rates, open rates, and purchases. You can use these metrics to learn effective marketing strategies to help you maximize your consumer base. If you never, or rarely, look at your numbers any tweaking you do could be the proverbial ‘shot in the dark.’

#3 Craft New Emails

Taking the additional time to craft new emails is well worth the effort in helping you to expand the reach of your business. Writing new emails is especially effective if you are running a special promotion or giving away a free item. You can also reuse older messages to help your business grow and reach many more customers with only a minimal amount of effort.

#4 Create a Sense of Urgency

One of the best ways to reach new customers is to create a sense of urgency within each email. For example, you can offer a limited special offer that is only available for a few days. You can also use various elements, like a countdown timer, or programs, like Deadline Funnel, to help you include urgency in your emails. This simple marketing technique is highly effective in improving your sales rate since subscribers won’t want to miss your deal.

Read more: 5 Simple Strategies to Update & Automate Your Email Marketing

Three Digital Marketing Industry Challenges That May Positively Impact Email Marketing

Email and digital marketers can be excused if they have been feeling a bit stressed over the past year. Beyond the immense challenges presented by the pandemic, there have been ongoing developments in the data privacy landscape and changing technologies to deal with. But it’s good to remember that challenges also often provide opportunities. Let’s take a look at a few big changes that could impact email marketing in 2021 and in the future — and how marketers can adapt and identify new opportunities.

Evolving Consumer Engagement

Consumer behavior evolves constantly. Some changes can occur suddenly and require quick decisions, while others allow marketers the time to adapt more gradually. Over the past year, email marketers have been dealing with largely unprecedented and sudden changes in consumer behavior.

Just one example was the shift to working from home that impacted workers around the U.S. and the entire world. People who had previously never had the option of working remotely were now scrambling to set up home offices with no certainty about when or if they would return to a traditional office setting. While marketers had already seen a shift toward more remote work in years past, according to Global Workplace Analytics data (via Business 2 Community), the massive acceleration of the change was a game changer for many companies. Consumer needs for some products and services skyrocketed while the need for others plummeted, and many marketers found that all of their existing campaign performance forecasts and benchmarks needed to be reevaluated and potentially tossed aside as organizations pivoted on long-standing strategies.

More people working from home means more people spending more hours in front of their desktop or laptop in a home office setting. Marketers may be seeing this shift in the form of increased desktop email activity and decreased mobile email activity.

Read more: Three Digital Marketing Industry Challenges That May Positively Impact Email Marketing

Optimizing Your Email Marketing In 2021

Digital marketing has more than shown its worth for businesses of all industries over the past year, and one strategy that’s been particularly valuable has been email marketing.

Email marketing is arguably more important now than it ever was before. However, while email marketing is extremely important right now, it can also be difficult to do well. If you want to get all of the benefits of email marketing, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the best practices and stay current with the latest trends.

Don’t miss the impact that good email marketing can have on your business going forward. Use these tips to optimize your email marketing in 2021 and start appealing more to your audience.

Give emails a personal touch.

You’re probably already aware of the overwhelming amount of emails that people get each day, as you likely deal with this yourself. We all get tons of emails from businesses, and many of them don’t even look like they were meant for us specifically.

Generic emails sent out to all your contacts that don’t apply to a particular group of people or an individual won’t have much of an impact and could end up just getting deleted.

In 2021, personalization is one of the most important things you can do for your marketing efforts, especially email marketing. The more relevant you can make something, the more potential it has to be effective.

No one wants to spend their time reading emails that weren’t intended for them, and they definitely won’t feel compelled to do whatever the email is asking of them.

Ensure that you’re creating emails with relevant information for certain groups so that it appeals to their needs and interests. To personalize even further, include the recipient’s name, so they know they’re getting an email meant for them, not just anyone.

Boost engagement with interactive features.

Personalization isn’t the only way for getting users to be more engaged when reading your emails. While you may be able to write engaging content to keep your audience interested, adding interactive features to some of your emails is a great way of boosting agreement. This gives them more than just text to read when they open your emails.

Read more: Optimizing Your Email Marketing In 2021

Can BIMI Help Marketers Build Customer Trust?

BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) enables marketers to add a logo to their emails in the inbox so subscribers can quickly identify their messages and trust that they’re from the right sender. It can do for email marketing what https in front of a web address did for websites.

It provides a shortcut for consumers to decide whether or not to trust an email and gives them the confidence they need before opening an email as to whether it’s what it says it is or if it’s some sort of scam. The visual cue that BIMI provides may create trust and lead to fewer unsubscribes and spam complaints, and boost the deliverability of your email marketing messages.

At the beginning of the year, we wrote an article on building customer trust with BIMI. Now that Google has general support for BIMI in its inboxes, we asked marketers about their thoughts on how BIMI will change email marketing.

How Will BIMI Change Email Marketing? 

Like other email authentication standards, BIMI is essentially a text file in a specific format. BIMI helps organizations enhance their return on a channel that they already control and delivers a strong payoff for minimal investment.

BIMI files live on your sending servers and give the receiving inbox information about the sender. BIMI uses the DKIM, SPF, and DMARC protocols, which makes protecting a brand from fraud easier for email marketers, but that’s just one side of the benefits of BIMI. Let’s take a closer look.

Read more: Can BIMI Help Marketers Build Customer Trust?