Monday Catch-up: Focus on Mobile Email, Clean Your Lists Carefully and Copywriting Tips

Happy Monday morning, marketers! Are you ready for the busy workweek ahead? Not quite? Ok, then. Before diving in, how about checking out some the latest news and information from wide world of email marketing? Here you go:

A focus on mobile can overcome the challenge of ‘content saturation’

To help reinforce the importance of a “mobile-first” approach to email marketing, Bob Hutchins, writing at Business 2 Community, invites his readers to participate in something of a thought experiment:

“Not only do smartphones function as many people’s primary computing device; their phones, along with their data plans, are the only way they get online. How does your perspective of reaching people change when you force yourself to believe that your customer will only see your email on their phone, and that anything you ask them to do based on that email (shop, watch a video, complete a survey) will be done on their mobile device?” he asks.

The answer to that question, and the strategic shift in thinking it could prompt, can help guide email marketers to success in 2017, according to Hutchins.

“We are far beyond the first iPhone era,” he writes. “So, why are so many email marketers still treating the iPhone as the “secondary” experience? It’s time we acknowledge that many emails will only be opened on a mobile device.”

With that in mind, Hutchins goes on to discuss how a mobile-first focus can help email marketers overcome the challenge of “content saturation.” He argues that one reason “branded emails are perceived as having less value today than they might have years ago – back when email was fresh and exciting – is that our daily life has become saturated with emails. All of us have opened countless emails that brought no value, and these experiences have re-shaped how we see email marketing on the whole. We automatically believe that a branded email is going to be boring, irrelevant, or valueless… spam.”

However: “The successful companies are changing this perception,” he writes. “They’re creating mobile-first emails that deliver on value and excitement. As a result, they’re building trust with their audience. They’re growing their lists. And they’re getting sales that can be directly attributed to email.”

Be careful when you clean those lists, and other pre-Christmas tips

Sean Hargrave, writing at Media Post’s EU Email Marketing Daily, reports on a “surprising” conversation he had with some Mail Chimp folks on the topic of cleaning email lists. He learned from them that, while clean lists are very important, how you get to that pristine state is just as important.

“I caught up with the guys at MailChimp to get their position on what they are finding is working best in email as we transition from Christmas into the New Year,” he writes. “The cleaner the list, the better the deliverability, right? Well, yes — that is still the case, but the warning from MailChimp is cautioning not to throw out the baby with the proverbial bath water.”

The advice from the MailChimp pros Hargraves spoke with “is to be very careful about removing people who have gone quiet on you, particularly in the short term, because they are still much more valuable to you than a non-subscriber.” To back that up, he cites statistics indicating that while inactive subscribers are only 32% as likely to convert as active subscribers, “they are still 26% more likely to make a purchase than non-subscribers.”

Hargrave’s sources also briefed him on a few other topics, including email timing. According to them, “there really is not a golden time to send an email outside the 9-5 working day,” he reports. “However, their top advice is that the one piece of timing that brands need to get right are automated messages – particularly onboarding new customers. Get a welcome message to people soon after they sign up and open rates shoot up 13%, their figures suggest.”

Hargraves also learned that “emojis appear to be working, short punchy engaging subject lines are more vital than the time of day you send email and getting something for nothing always gets the most traction, as does putting someone’s full name in the subject line.” He also advises email marketers to try resending unopened messages with a different subject line, which he says can boost open rates up from that initial zero to 10%.

“These are some top tips to take into the final week before Christmas that just might make that little bit of difference for email marketers as people potentially make a last-minute attempt to make sure those empty spots under the tree are filled with special gifts for loved ones,” he concludes.

Every writer gets stuck at times; here’s how to get the words flowing again

Josh O’Dell, who works an associate creative director for a North Carolina digital agency, admits that he is a frustrated writer. Sometimes an extremely frustrated writer. He shares his frustrations, and several tips that he uses for breaking out of his writing funks, at Marketing Profs.

“As a writer I am a mess,” he states. “I’m the sad, shriveled man pulling his hair out to find the right word. I’m the brow-furrower staring down the blinking cursor and the blank page. And that internal voice that whispers incantations like ‘failure’ and ‘doofus!’ Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.”

Fortunately, O’Dell’s tribulations have taught him a few things, which he is glad to share with anyone struggling to come up with exactly the right word – whether for email marketing copy or the next great novel.

His number-one suggestion is to keep in mind that “It’s OK to be terrible” (at least in your first draft).

“Whether you’re beginning a single project or want to be a career writer: you have to give yourself permission to write some truly embarrassing, utterly despicable garbage. You have to suffer through the bad knowing that behind it there’s some good stuff waiting to save the day. And it will. Have faith. The good stuff will follow. You have to crunch through all that boring ice before you reach the fruit-flavored bottom of the snow cone.”

When he’s stuck, he finds that picking up and perusing his favorite book can get him back on track. That book just happens to be a thesaurus. “Weird? Yes. But it works. Besides finding synonyms, the thesaurus is great for helping you consider more deeply. It helps you dive into the minutiae of a word or concept. It gives you new words that spawn new ideas.”

If he’s completely stymied, he might change the location where he’s writing or switch from writing on a computer to handwriting or typing into his phone, or even going old-school and using a typewriter. And he’s learned to save his celebrating for when it really counts – when his project is complete:

“Save your back pats for when you’re done,” he writes. “Like, done-done. Draft-finished done. Not because you don’t deserve them, but because moments of self-awareness drain the energy out of the act of writing.”

And his final writing tip is a simple one: Just do it.

“Writer’s block exists only when you stop writing,” he writes. “When you’re staring at the ceiling for long periods of time, when you can’t even begin putting words down because you’re second-guessing everything you think, when you spend more time talking about having writers block instead of trying to write — that’s writer’s block. Now, you may be in your bad-writing stage. That’s fine. But do not stop writing. Put the pen on the paper, put your hands on the keys, and go.”