4 easy steps to addressing top email marketing challenges

The Chart of the Week today on MarketingSherpa reveals some interesting information about some of the challenges facing email marketers in the year to come.  Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that relevance remains at the top of the list.

Thankfully, many emarketers are on board with the idea of relevance, and recognize its importance, but many recognize that it’s an on going battle to stay relevant with their subscribers.  In fact, a recent eMarketer report showed that about 2/3 of all unsubscribers do so because they viewed the content they were receiving to be irrelevant. 

Second on the list of challenges was the fear that email is competing with social media for recipient time and attention.  However, a recent Nielsen study published in late September actually found that increased social networking activity actually increases email usage…how’s that for synergy!?  

So how do you stay relevant and address some of the other challenges noted by MarketingSherpa?  A few basic tips include:

1) Manage your opt-ins/opt-outs.  The best way to stay relevant is to make sure your recipients actually WANT to receive your emails in the first place.  

2) Keep it personal.  If you know you have students that are interested in engineering, why not send them information about your engineering programs instead of sending them the same generic email you send everyone else?  Leverage the information you’ve captured through inquiries and conversations to segment your database and deliver dynamic content to recipients based on their likes and dislikes.

3) Make it readable.  Even if you think your message is relevant to recipients they’ll tune out if they can’t even read it.  Sometimes following a few basic design guidelines can help readers spot the content they’re most interested in.

4) Capture interactions.  Ideally, you’ll want recipients to take action on the emails they receive.  Having a strong call to action in your content is key, but then what?  Where you direct your readers must also be compelling and relevant, and prompt them to take action.  If you’re directing readers to learn more about your programs, are you providing them with an easy way to submit their inquiries?  Are you then following up on those interactions in a timely manner with a prompt/relevant response? Are you leveraging your interactions across other channels to inform your email outreach to constituents? 

This is where having an integrated database can help boost your email marketing activity and make it easier for you to track interactions throughout the funnel and get a true ROI of your email marketing initiatives.

The above tips are relatively simple once you have the right processes and technology in place, but should go a long way in helping you address some of the major challenges associated with building a quality email marketing initiative.