How to bring your email marketing to speed in 2015

Email may seem practically stone-age in the ever-changing realm of growing social channels, apps with push notifications, and other trends. However, even in 2015, it’s clear: email is still king.

Email proved to be the channel that generated the highest ROI for B2C companies in 2014. And the rising wave of Millennial consumers prefers to communicate with retail brands via email over any other communication channel. This should be a clear sign that email is not going away anytime soon.

Good email campaigns are difficult to execute, which is probably why marketers might be tempted to look the other way and chase flashier, trendier tools. However, it’s never too late to invest in email, and discover how effective email communication can enhance your other marketing efforts.

That said, the successful emails of yesteryear won’t make an impact on audiences today. It’s important to update your email marketing game to reflect new changes in customer priority, behavior, and preferences.

Here are three tips to help bring your email marketing to speed in 2015:

1. Focus on responsive design

Mobile conversion rates are increasing as marketers adjust their emails to fit smaller screens. In fact, Yesmail reported that mobile conversion rates are increasing and desktop conversion rates are decreasing. This might seem like a no-brainer, but with all the focus on mobile-friendliness this year, it’s important to remember that email needs to be mobile-friendly too. Don’t think of email as something your customers check while only in the office on a computer screen. Your customers, particularly millennials, are checking email all the time. Make sure your email translates well across multiple devices the same way your website does.

2. Use email to communicate with Millennials

With spending power of $200 billion annually, millennials are the target of most digital marketing campaigns. Even though millennials are digital natives and lead the way in social media use, email is still their preferred way to communicate with retailers.

One thing to watch out for is the use of slang and Netspeak in email messages. Email is not the best place to use the latest lingo. Shorthand like ttyl, btw, thx isn’t appreciated by those in the 18-24 crowd even if they might use it among friends and on social media. According to a recent study on email marketing by Fractl and Buzzstream, about 40% of respondents aged 18-24 found slang to be “totally unacceptable.” Male respondents preferred more professional-sounding emails and female respondents gravitated toward a lighter, more humorous tone. Even though younger respondents felt more strongly about slang, respondents of all ages preferred the slang be left out of their inboxes.

3. Avoid clickbait headlines

This one weird trick about email marketing will shock you: a recent study by Return Path showed that customers don’t like seeing “secret of” or “shocking” in their email subject lines.

What’s more, in the study that consisted of 9 million emails, subject lines referencing “sale”, “clearance” and specified pricing also received lower open rates. Anything that sounds like spam will be treated as such, and marketers need to watch out about not crossing the line. Avoid the superlatives, focus more on transparency, and be rewarded with more trust from your customer.

Stumped on how to write captivating subject lines? From our research, emails with 6-10 word longsubject lines that reference music or movie lines have higher open rates.

During the year of mobile, email continues to be stronger than ever. Whether it’s because email generates the most ROI or because you want to establish better communication with Millennials, it’s wise to continue to invest in email. That said, don’t fall into the trap of a tired or outdated emailing habits. Make sure your email strategy is up to date — it is 2015, after all.