Charles Kettering, the former head of research for General Motors, once said, “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” If you share his sentiment, you will want to hear what the future of email marketing holds for us.

This is the topic Karen Rubin , HubSpot’s Product Manager and HubSpot TV Co-Host , tackled in her presentation at MarketingSherpa’s recent Email Marketing Summit . Here are some of Karen's insights that will prepare you for the future of email marketing:

1. Cultivate Your House List

When you ask people to sign up for your newsletter, you are cultivating your house email list. When someone opts in to receive updates about your offers and special promos, you are cultivating your house list. “It is a list you work to build over a long period of time,” said Karen. And you know what? Your house list performs better than the vast majority of your other email marketing tools. It enjoys a high adoption rate and provides high ROI, so make sure you leverage that channel and expand it further.

2. Forget About List Rental

Renting lists is not only expensive, but also ineffective. The return on investment from rented lists is much lower than that of house lists, about 10-15%. It is a marketing approach that is less inbound and more interruptive. That is why if you engage in renting lists, you risk losing your reputation as a trust agent and becoming notorious for spamming people who didn’t formally opt in.

3. Focus on Lead Nurturing Instead

Instead of purchasing lists, consider focusing more on lead nurturing campaigns. Lead nurturing is the practice of sending event-triggered emails to a specific segment. You launch these by targeting email subscribers based on their recent conversion events. For instance, if someone visits your luggage eCommerce site and downloads a report about flying in times of tight security control, you can follow up with a luggage checklist for secure travel.

4. Optimize for Mobile

The consumption of email on mobile devices is only going to increase. Get ready for this by optimizing your messages for mobile viewing. Avoid tables and large images in your email templates. Accoridng to MarketingSherpa's 2010 report , 67% of people do not display images by default in their email system. Also, try to build shorter copy where the call to action is at the very top.

5. Build Social Authority

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Do you think another major innovation will define the future of email marketing? If so, which one?


Originally published Feb 4, 2011 9:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Email Marketing