5 Priorities For Email Marketing In 2015

While you’ve been focusing on segmentation, have other parts of your email program been on auto-pilot? Columnist Cara Olson has suggestions to get you moving.


We are already well into 2015, but many marketers are still refining their plans for the year. I’m beginning to hear several common themes emerge among email experts as they evaluate the year’s priorities.

Looking back, for many, 2014 was the year of creating more triggers (and optimizing existing triggers) to increase the share of volume and revenue that triggered campaigns represent.

While that should be a continued focus, especially if any of those 2014 projects have lingered into 2015, here are some additional priorities to consider as part of your plan.

1. More Real-Time Content

An average email’s life is very short. Within 48 hours most subscribers that are going to open and click already have. There are a few stragglers that will trickle in over the next few days, and the occasional person will open and click on an email sent weeks or months ago, but for the most part the biggest impact of an email is seen immediately after it has been delivered.

For this reason, the more timely the content, the better. This could mean utilizing technology like LiveClicker, MovableInk, or Content Syndication in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to serve up unique content each time the email is opened. This allows subscribers that open the email multiple times to see new content each time the email is opened.

This is perfect for an email promoting limited inventory that might sell out quickly, allowing the user to see an alternate product if the original sold out. It also works for serving a new offer if the original was a flash sale lasting less than 24 hours and the user opens the email after the sale has ended.

It could also mean anticipating real-time content. For example, this email from Rally House (disclosure, Rally House is a client where I work, DEG) regarding the winners of the American League Championship Series was delivered within minutes of the Kansas City Royals winning the pennant.

Rally House

2. Transactional Emails

Integrating all of your sources of data with an Email Service Provider (ESP) is a long-term initiative. It seems there is always another data source to integrate, or more fields to obtain for existing integrations. With an ESP the marketer’s goal should be to have all of the company’s email communications delivered from a single platform.

There is one set of emails, however, that still seems to be sent disparately: transactional emails. One 2015 goal for many marketers is to finally migrate transactional emails to be sent from the same ESP as the marketing emails, for numerous reasons.

They should be delivered from a separate IP address than the marketing emails; however, sending all emails from one platform creates a more seamless experience for the customer and streamlines data integrations for the brand. It also allows for more relevant content to be delivered faster.

3. Vendor Selection

Email is an attractive marketing channel to executives now more than ever before. As a result, hundreds of vendors have emerged with technology that supplements email. It’s daunting. Which ones are good? Which ones are fragile start-ups? Most offer a niche product or service and it can be difficult to know if the pricing is expensive or affordable.

But utilizing newer emerging technology could offer something fresh to your email program that increases engagement and conversions. It could give you an edge over your competition and deliver additional value to your subscribers.

In 2015, evaluate supplemental email marketing vendors and determine if any are right for your business. Since there are so many, start by asking your ESP or agency partner who they recommend.

4. List Growth

While the past few years have been focused on establishing triggers, moving to responsive design, optimizing creative, and creating segments, list growth seems to have been running on auto-pilot. Marketers are realizing that list growth tactics have been stagnant.

In 2015, set new list-growth-rate goals and identify new tactics to implement. Many include social media and paid media, but don’t overlook site optimizations and additions as well. Be sure to tag each source uniquely so you can evaluate the success and ROI.

5. Personalization At Scale

Marketers have been focusing on sending more relevant content to subscribers, which includes creating segments. These targeted campaigns have a higher revenue per email (RPE), but often lower revenue in total, due to the smaller size of the segment.

In 2015, marketers will be forced to take the learnings from segmented campaigns and develop strategies to accomplish this at scale to keep both subscribers and management happy. This will require development time, as developers must write code to accommodate larger volumes of dynamic content in a single send.

2015 Email Priorities

Do you already have these priorities in your 2015 plan? Are there others you are focusing on that are more important for you? I’m interested to hear where you are placing the emphasis for your email marketing program this year!

About The Author

Cara Olson is Director of Digital Direct/eCRM at DEG, a full-service digital consultancy based in Kansas City. Leveraging her 14 years of experience and thought leadership in digital direct marketing, she and her team lead email and SMS strategy, integrations, and campaign execution for flagship brands like Crocs, Helzberg Diamonds, MathWorks, Cabela’s, Life is Good, and TITLE Boxing. In her spare time she runs half marathons, cheers on her beloved Royals, and drinks copious amounts of coffee while trying to exhaust her eight year-old daughter, five year-old boy, and one year-old golden retriever.


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