Email Marketing Best Practices: What We Learned in 2016

January 2, 2017

Emails are one of the greatest tools we have as marketers, but Email Marketing Best Practices are constantly evolving. To stay relevant to our subscribers, we must keep up with new trends and emerging technologies.

Recently we talked How to Get Your Emails Opened and today we’re digging deeper into email marketing best practices with highlights from the year’s biggest email marketing trends:

1. Mobile Matters

There was a huge shift in email marketing best practices in 2016 when it came to how subscribers read their emails.

To grab your subscribers attention, you must know where to reach them and recent research says that’s on their mobile devices. In fact, 66% of all U.S. emails were opened via mobile in the first quarter of 2016.

Here’s a few ways to make sure your email marketing campaigns are mobile-friendly:

  • Responsive email templates. Responsive templates respond to the device its read on by adjusting the layout and text size.

  • Keep it short for mobile email marketing- your subscribers usually have a few minutes to skim through their emails and rarely do they reach the end of an email.

  • Subject lines must also now be optimized for mobile-first design. Keep it short- 30 characters or less- to get higher open rates.

  • After the subject line, the email preview text is what your subscribers will see next, so make sure you have something compelling at the top of your email!

2. Contextual Emails

Contextual emails stood out in terms of email marketing best practices. There is growing proof that personalizing your email content increases engagement.

With more and more emails being sent to our subscribers’ inboxes, how can we make sure that our emails will get noticed? Create contextual emails!

Contextual emails are personalized to your subscribers and it makes them feel that your email was typed out and sent exclusively to them.

The specific content will resonate for specific subscribers so the easiest way to make this successful is to segment your email lists based on their different interests, pain points, or their current stage in your funnel.

3. Motion

By 2017, video will control nearly 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic. What does this mean for email marketers? If you video it, they will watch it.

With motion you can attract your email subscribers’ attention at a glance, and the use of moving elements, like a timer, can enhance the click-through-rate tremendously.

Watching videos in an email can present problems from video compatibility, but there are still creative ways to incorporate this new email marketing technique.

Besides video, you can easily add in GIFs to your email marketing campaigns. It’s a simple, fun way to add motion and standout in your subscribers’ inboxes.

4. Wearable Devices

2016 alone, is predicted to end with more than 28 million smartwatches sold worldwide. Marketers can’t ignore that wearable devices, like the Apple Watch, are transforming the landscape of email marketing’s best practices.

Experiment with plain text emails, brief content, and optimized subject lines to ensure that your emails are compatible with wearable devices!

Numbers don’t lie and we, as marketers, can’t ignore this tech trend that will surely have a bigger impact on our email campaigns in 2017.

5. Social Media and Emails

Email marketing began to work together with social media for larger campaigns.

Here’s a few of our favorite ways that we integrated social media into email marketing best practices:

  • Upload and connect your email subscriber list to social networks

  • Run retargeting ads on Twitter and Facebook for subscribers who clicked your emails

  • Create an exclusive social group for your email subscribers

  • Call-to-actions that drive more social shares

Clearly, social media and email marketing campaigns were a match made in heaven for 2016, and next year we’re predicting that bond will only deepen and grow richer.

Overall, 2016 greatly transformed email marketing and its best practices. Email marketing is one of the fastest changing and evolving tools that marketers have.

Once you’ve learned the current trends, choose what fits you and your business mission best. Following and applying one of the above trends well means you can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign.

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