According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing campaigns yield, on average, a $40 ROI. But recent changes in email platforms and evolving user behaviors are presenting challenges for companies looking to generate more leads and revenue through this tried-and-true medium. If you're considering investing time and money into an email marketing campaign, or feel like you need more insight to better understand the value your email marketing is providing to your business, make sure to watch our sixth episode of 2013 in Review.

Video Transcription

Dan: Alright, today we're here with Matt Mesenger, Director of Web Marketing and Dave Skorepa, Chief Creative Officer of Aztek, We're talking about, with the web and web marketing and sites and mobile apps and different platforms, how things have evolved over the years. We used to, you know, email was pretty standard and we think we've mastered that and websites, what to do and all, but there's actually been a lot of changes. Matt, what's the latest in email marketing? Is email still effective? Is it a tool? Tell us. 

Matt: Yes. It is effective. Now, in full disclosure, Aztek's core competencies do not include email marketing, but just from what we’ve seen with industry research and from personal experience, we can say that probably the biggest change in recent history is Gmail's move to the tabbed inbox. For people who are not familiar with that or who have a different email service, instead of having one centralized location where everything gets lumped into, you have a personal, a social, and a promotions tab. 

So, understandably, from a marketers perspective there is a lot of concern like “what about my open rates and my click through rates” and “how's this going to impact conversions?” I think it's still a little bit too early to fully judge the impact of that change, but there are companies out there like, Silver POP and Mail Chimp - both very well known for their email marketing expertise - who are saying that, while maybe open rates might go down a little bit because those promotional messages aren't front and center, when people ARE in that [the Promotions] tab, they're in more of a buying mode, which could improve your conversion rates. So, a lot of industry experts are kind of taking that optimistic approach to these changes, but again, I think it’s just a little too early to tell what the full impact of that change will be.

Dan: A big evolution has been in the past we were writing emails for someone to open on a PC and a desktop with a big screen and keyboard and all that and now, I don't know a percentage, but a large percentage of email has got to be read on tablets or smaller devices, on smartphones. 

Dave: It's 40. 

Dan: What's that, Dave?

Dave: It's 40. 40 is the percentage. 

Dan: 40%, all right. See, that's why you ask the pro. 

Dave: I just read that this morning.

Dan: So, is that something where, should someone sending out emails have different email formats for different devices or make all their formats short and sweet or for the preview pane or what advice do you give them there?

Dave: You got to just like your website, you got to have responsive HTML email.

Dan: Define responsive for us. 

Dave: Meaning the content and the page and the LAN are able to adapt to the size of the view port. So, if you're on Outlook on a full-screen laptop, you know, it looks one way and if you're opening it up on your phone, the email's able to reconfigure itself and fit effectively into the smaller screen space, but it's the same email that you send me, so no matter where they’re viewing it. But actually, Foundation, who is a company... or sorry, Foundation's the name of the framework. Zerv is the company.

…has responsive framework for websites. They've just announced an update to response framework for email specifically because it is a bit of a different animal. So, somebody's interested in getting into [email marketing], that'd be a great place for them to start. 

Dan: Beyond that, even in the content aspect, you know, you see people just scrolling through with their thumb on their device and all. You have to grab these people to open the mail. Is there, there's something that's evolved making them shorter, making them punchier? Any suggestions you have to get people to open your email?

Dave: Good content is still good content, so you've got to tell them why they should open it. It's got to be interesting. It's got to be compelling and that's not, hopefully, ever going to change. I can't see that being different from today than it was 50 years ago or 50 years in the future.