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BizReport : Email Marketing : February 08, 2013

4 Questions with CQuotient's Rama Ramakrishnan

Email may be the grandfather of online advertising, but it can still create challenges for advertisers. Personalization, getting too personal, scrubbing lists, white hat strategies. All of this can create a non-innovative email space. Here's how you can create a better 2013 email strategy.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Email has shown strong growth throughout 2012. In the case of retail email, companies sent about 10% more messages per month. With so much more 'action' in the email space, what can brands do to stand out?

Rama Ramakrishnan, CEO and Founder, CQuotient: 2012 has seen an influx in email marketing and marketers need to become ever more creative to make their promotions stand out. The key is to present personalized information in your emails to earn the faith of the customers. When an email clearly conveys that the brand has taken the trouble to understand the customer's interests and needs, it builds brand equity even if it doesn't result in an immediate purchase by the customer. Over time, a stream of such relevant emails will lead to sales for the brand as well as a satisfied, engaged customer.

Kristina: Do 'traditional' white-hat email strategies still work? And, if not, how should these strategies be updated for 2013?

Rama: While white hat strategies are dated, it is clear that ethically flawed black hat email strategies do not work. Black hat approaches destroy the trust of consumers through secret strategies used to gain search information.

This being said, there are definitely ways to improve traditional white hat strategies. In 2013, all emails strategies should be focused on hyper-personalized communications and targeted offers. Brands should remember that this is not a choice between batch-and-blast and personalized messages; they can and should infuse hyper-personalized content into every email program they have.

Kristina: I've seen two different reports that have shown a dramatic increase in emails opened via mobile devices, specifically tablets. What should brands do to ensure emails are optimized for mobile?

Rama: The amount of email marketing has been rising in recent years and not planning for mobile optimization in 2013 is simply not an option. At this point, the terms "mobile" and "email" are synonymous, with more than 40% of emails being opened on mobile platforms.

With mobile phones, the importance of being relevant is even more pronounced. Marketers need to create concise messages and limited images because consumers will not wait long periods of time to either read or download the email. Additionally, as screen sizes are smaller on mobile devices, consumers are quick to scan emails and delete those they don't want to engage with right away, meaning that marketers can't afford to waste time on even one irrelevant email.

Read part two of my chat with Rama, including thoughts on email personalization, on Monday.

Tags: CQuotient, email marketing, email marketing tips, email tips

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