Design Back to the Future

Published on February 27th, 2012 | by Colleen Corkery

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Great Scott! 5 Email & Social Marketing Tips from the Future

VerticalResponse marketing team members, Colleen and Savannah, recently attended the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit in Las Vegas. This is the second in a series of posts on their learnings from the conference.

Back to the Future

Image property of Universal Studios

It’s the year 2013: I, the female version of Marty McFly, am hoverboarding (one can dream, right?) my way into present day 2012 to share insider knowledge with you about email and social marketing campaigns from the future. I know you may want lotto numbers, but these tips are pretty good too… All right, I may not be from the future, but I do have tangible tactics that’ll bring you into the forefront of future email & social marketing. Where did I gather this futuristic information? Marketing Sherpa! At this year’s Marketing Sherpa Email Summit, a panelist of email & social marketing experts presented In the Year 2013: Email Marketing Technologies & Tactics of the Near Future. Now, I know 2013 isn’t that far into the future, however, technology & online habits change within a flash. The panelists discussed the ‘future buyer’ and how his or her buying habits will affect your future email & social marketing campaigns. Here are the top 5 takeaways you can start implementing now to bring your own email & social marketing campaigns back to the future:

1. Put Your Finger to the Test – Mouse (Will) Be Gone! 

As mentioned in a previous post, according to Morgan Stanley, by 2014, mobile Internet usage will soon surpass that from a desktop. And, according to the Marketing Sherpa panelists, an A/B split test sent to frequent mobile openers revealed that a mobile specific version of the email received a 64% higher clickthrough rate! With 1.08 billion smartphones currently in the world, optimizing emails to be finger-friendly (sounds bad, but means well) on a touchscreen will be vital. Give your current emails the touchscreen test and see how easy they are to navigate with just your fingertips. Is the text within your email an easy read from a miniature screen? Are your links big enough to endure man-hands? Also, are your emails rendering/downloading correctly on a smart phone? If not, find out how to properly render emails on an iPhone here.

Foursquare Check in

2. Did You Check Us in? – Get Local

The use of geo-location apps such as Foursquare and check-in integrations like Facebook Places is on the rise and will continue to emerge. Using geo-location tools to reach out to customers via smartphones while they’re in the ‘hood’ will help build social buzz and drive foot traffic. Geo-location users are also twice as likely as an average online adult to share product information, coupons and discounts with their friends. How do you incorporate location-based marketing for your business? We have a webinar for that!

3. This is Real Life – Show ‘em Some Action

I don’t know about you, but the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ just doesn’t seem to resonate when I’m looking at images of say, office supplies. However, putting your products to play has been proven to show much more substantial results. According to the panelists at Marketing Sherpa, images demonstrating products in use/action (lifestyle vs. product) have received a 63% higher clickthrough rate. Bring visions of the future to your customers – Give them a glimpse of what it might be like to have your products or service in their life – it’ll motivate them to take more action.

product vs. lifestyle

Image from Marketing Sherpa Email Summit

4. Tick Tock – Give Real-Time Cues

With the emergence of daily deals and flash sales, time is of the essence. According to the Sherpa panelists, 95% of emails are opened 2 days after they’re actually received! Including visual time cues, like a countdown timer within the body of your email will provide customers with a realistic sense of urgency. How do you implement something like this? Check out companies like Movable Ink. They offer free and paid apps ranging from countdown timers, to local maps and more. All you need to do is copy and paste their provided HTML into your email and voila, you’re a visual cue aficionado. Fancy!

Movable Ink Countdown Timers

Countdown timers from Movable Ink

5. Not the Spam Box! – Unsubscribing Made Easy Email service providers, particularly Google, provide users with more power than ever in regards to how and what email they see or retrieve. It may sound crazy, but with the continuously growing control over finely filtered inboxes, making the unsubscribe process easier is far better than being dropped into the forever-feared spam box. Don’t let your delivery rates and reputation go down in the spam can – Take a look at your current unsubscribe process and see if you can simplify. Is the process lengthy or tedious? If so, limit it to one step. Is your unsubscribe link clearly visible in your emails and on your site? Allowing your customers to easily opt-out of your emails, will also grant them the opportunity to opt back in at any time. In case you missed it, we also have a 2012 Delivery Changes webinar that’ll keep you in-the-know for at least this year! To quote Marty McFly in Back to the Future: “What happens to us in the future? Do we become a$%holes or something?” The answer (especially when implementing these five things) is no, just great email marketers!Do you have any email & social marketing predictions for the future? Lay it on us!

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About the Author

is a Content Marketing Manager and Managing Editor at VerticalResponse.



3 Responses to Great Scott! 5 Email & Social Marketing Tips from the Future

  1. For those that don’t know it, Marketing Sherpa is an absolutely phenomenal resource.

  2. Hi Jessica! Certainly, however, just to clarify, lifestyle images are those that do feature your very own products but in use vs. a stagnant image of said products.
    In the example image used above, the water sports products are still the same in each image, but the picture that received a higher click through rate, is one featuring the same products being sold, but in action.

  3. Jessica says:

    re: 3. This is Real Life – Show ‘em Some Action – so the lifestyle pictures got 63% higher CTR, but what about actual conversions? In my experience, a picture that has nothing/little to do with the product or that is there for shock value will get you click, but not prospect…

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