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The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Marketing Guide


The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

The way we communicate is constantly changing. Evolutions in mobile devices, social networking, gaming and generational shifts, among other factors, are driving how we connect with each other and the brands we support. What’s more, these innovations are changing the power of email, increasing the impact email marketers can make in the inbox.

In this guide, we’ll cover eight trends that determine the future of email practices. We will provide examples of how brands are leveraging advances in communication to generate communities, brand advocacy and ROI. Specifically this guide will address: • Mobile communications, especially smartphones • Social media • The social inbox • Social currency • Shopper marketing • Location-based marketing • Millennials • Social gaming

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Trend #1: Mobile Communications The buzz around mobile marketing is rising for good reason. How many times have you been waiting in line at the grocery store, riding the subway or sitting in a doctor’s office and conducted “mobile email triage” on your smartphone? Chances are it’s quite a bit. A study conducted by Nielsen reported that 45 percent of Web mobile use is spent checking email. Combine that with the fact that there are 5 billion mobile devices worldwide, and you’re looking at an enormous audience and a wide platform for your campaigns.

Rising Fast Faster networks and richer capabilities have catapulted the number of mobile subscriptions throughout the world to over the 5 billion mark. Mobile is today and tomorrow. In fact according to eMarketer, 73 percent of mobile users are interested in shopping from their phone. Brands that want to stay relevant need a mobile strategy and content to engage with their customers. The unique characteristics of mobile marketing makes it a notable channel where marketers are able to know just where their customers are and engage with them at any given point in time. Mobile allows marketers to stay relevant by showing up in the right place, on the right platform, at the right time, with an immediate, relevant offer.

US Mobile Social New Users, 2009-2015

Designing for Smartphones Given the deep and growing penetration of smartphones in the market place, designing campaigns for mobile users is becoming essential. Plus, there’s more to smartphones than just email. They’re now one of the key ways we connect socially. There are an estimated 50 million mobile social network users in the U.S., and that number is forecasted to increase 60 percent by 2015. In short, mobile marketing is social media marketing.

Carter’s Integrates Social and Mobile Integrating mobile with social doesn’t have to be complicated. Carter’s, a Lyris customer, shows great mobile sensitivity by offering coupons on Facebook that can be presented in stores from your phone – no need to print them before heading to the store.

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This is a very compelling offer for the Carter’s customers, yet costs the company no more than accepting a printed coupon. It’s a great way to reach your subscribers where they are – on the go.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Trend #2: Social Media

It actually appears that social media use makes people consume more email, not less, as we had originally assumed – particularly for the highest social media users.

There are 750 million active users on Facebook, and the average user has 130 friends. When email is combined with social media, there’s significant potential for a “word of mouth” multiplier effect. This word of mouth multiplier can grow your list, increase your brand awareness and drive your promotions.

Social media can also provide marketers with deeper customer John Gibs, VP Media Analytics, Nielsen insights, allowing for better engagement and improved messaging. According to John Gibs, vice president of Media Analytics at Nielsen, “It actually appears that social media use makes people consume more email, not less, as we originally assumed – particularly for the highest social media users.” The key is creating engaging content that users want to share with their networks.

Developing Shareable Content What makes content shareable? Certain types of content are innately “viral.” These types include: • Incentives and discounts such as sample products, discounts or free shipping • Events including grand openings, movie premieres and sweepstakes • Product reviews from other customers or industry experts • Insider information like a new product launch, expert interviews and tips and tricks • Good deeds such as fundraisers and donations to worthy causes There are some other important elements you should consider when developing your shareable content. First, take the time to learn which social networks your customers frequent and whether your company or brand is being discussed. If there are discussions taking place, what are the topics? And what content, if any, is being shared? This information will help you tap into the motivating factors that are driving your customers to share content, which will help you shape future content for your user base.

Driving Social Media and Email Social media should be directly tied to your other outreach efforts and vice versa. A best practice is to use social media to drive your opt-in list. On Facebook, you can add a Join My Mailing List application to your page. On Twitter, promote your list by teasing your pending campaign and adding a link to your email signup form. You can also do the opposite: Use email to drive your social campaigns. Include social links and “share-to-social” links in your emails to drive content sharing.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Trend #3: The Social Inbox The most popular email providers recently launched new features, which integrated users’ social media feeds. In addition, the new features allow users to better manage and control their inbox by more prominently featuring the most relevant emails and filtering out those that are less desired. This creates a whole new set of challenges and opportunities for marketers. Below we cover the features of what is known as the “social inbox.”

Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail Go Social Yahoo has created a “social hub” for its new version of Yahoo!Mail. This includes an initial view of the inbox that only shows mail from people in an individual’s contact list. It also shows Facebook status updates and allows for posting directly to Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Rules for Marketers What can you do about the social inbox? Some of the same rules apply. • It’s now more critical to get your address added as contact. Ask your recipients to add you so that your messages are delivered with priority. • To get your messages to stand out, your “from” and subject lines should reflect your company name and brand. • As always, be interesting and engaging to your reader. If you consistently send messages that your reader wants to read and does read, Gmail will push them to the top. As always, relevance is key.

Trend #4: Social Currency

Gmail takes the Google search Social currency algorithm and now applies it to accounts for the inbox. Its algorithms filter 53 percent of content based on the user’s brand loyalty. interaction with a sender and also within keywords found in emails the user has opened. These filtered emails are given “priority” and will be featured in a priority inbox. The user also has the ability to mark messages as more or less important.

Social media marketing done right earns the brand social currency. The biggest banks delivering social currency are Facebook and Twitter, each with hundreds of millions of users. Facebook leads the pack with 750 million active users. Half of these are frequent visitors, returning to the site every day. Twitter is used by 200 million. A little more than half of them have one or more followers.

Microsoft’s new Hotmail service includes a “sweep” feature that allows users to automatically send emails from a specific sender to a folder other than the inbox or to be deleted automatically. This poses a great problem for email marketers if their email is chosen for deletion. Unlike an unsubscribe link, you will not receive feedback from a subscriber if they really do chose to end communication with you.

Social Currency Defined

Facebook’s Influence Facebook launched its own version of email called Facebook Messages. The message feature on Facebook has been in place for many years, but now users have the option of creating an “@facebook.com” domain email address. The same, very informal communication style is still in place.

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Both Facebook and Twitter present captive audiences for your messages and offer great potential for advocacy through sharing your content with their networks. Social currency is shareable information that encourages more social interaction. It is all about increasing your presence, offering information, developing an identity and providing status or recognition for your participants. Social currency is a powerful commodity in this age of mobile, social communication. It builds awareness and loyalty, which drives sales.

Earning Social Currency To market for social currency, start by listening. Chances are there are conversations happening about your brand right now. Get into the conversation and leverage your current advocates to gain more.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

• Check out current testimonials and reviews. Can you repurpose them as “tweets”? Facebook posts? • Gather positive feedback about your brand from Twitter. Share these “tweetimonials” with your network. Be sure to thank original reviewers to further solidify their loyalty. Also, by sharing their thoughts, it gives your advocates a bit of notoriety that may encourage others to offer their “tweetimonial” too. • Do a search for your brand and see where it pops up in Web forums and blogs. If you see good content, link to it from your Facebook page or “tweet it.” • Videos that promote your products are another easy way to create shareable content for social networks. And naturally, all these can be promoted over email too.

OskKosh B’gosh “Spy Kids” Sweepstakes OshKosh, a Lyris customer, leveraged its email list, Web site and social media presence to build excitement around a sweepstakes. Five lucky winners would receive a movie screening “Spy Kids” party and a $200 OshKosh B’gosh gift card for back-to-school shopping. OshKosh promoted the sweepstakes via email, which featured imagery from the movie as well as an eye-catching and clear headline, “Win Your Own Spy Kids Screening Party.” The link in

the email took readers to its Facebook page, where visitors are asked to “Like” OshKosh’s page to enter to win. OshKosh continued to promote the sweepstakes on its Facebook page with “time is running out” posts. “Spy Kids” promoted the contest on its page as well. And, to round out the campaign, OshKosh’s Web page featured “Spy Kids”-inspired outfits to further build excitement.

Trend #5: Location-based Marketing Location-based marketing is when smartphones and location-based social networks connect, allowing users to interact at specific physical locations. For instance, if your friend has been named “mayor” at your local Chili’s restaurant, you’ve witnessed location-based marketing first-hand. When marketers know where subscribers are at any given point in time, many opportunities arise to market goods and services based on that location. It’s all happening in real-time and requires that users are really engaged. When they arrive at a location, customers check in and earn rewards. Then, the applications alert friends that they have checked in at that location, say Chili’s restaurant. This shows the subscriber’s friends that she has an affinity for Chili’s. It essentially becomes an endorsement.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

And it also presents the opportunity to cross-promote other goods and services based on where that subscriber is located. It allows marketers to microtarget. It seems unusual that people are willing to share where they are at any given point in time across social networks, but the data indicates that they’re doing it in droves. Facebook Places leads the charge with roughly 27 million subscribers, but smaller networks like Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla are emerging and growing. Why would subscribers be willing to give up this information? Because they are incentivized.

Incentives at the Right Place and Time There are many ways to create location-based promotions. • Check-in programs: If a customer checks in with a brand, he or she gets some percentage off a purchase.

Location-Based Social Networks

• Repeat check-in programs: Your most loyal customers receive a free item, for example, after a certain number of check-ins. • Becoming the Mayor: For Foursquare users, the individual who checks in to an establishment the most in a month becomes the “mayor.” Many brands offer gifts and promotions to their “mayors.” Location-based marketing is powerful because you are engaging customers in real time and delivering real value when they’re most receptive.

Opportunities with Email You can promote these programs via email, however email presents additional opportunities to leverage your recipients’ location. • If you have a physical location to your business and want to invite your subscribers to an event, workshop or into your store to try products, you can segment your list to ensure that only those subscribers who can easily come to your store receive the email. If you don’t segment, you risk frustrating the subscribers who are out of your physical area. • If you have an online store and a physical store, promote both in your email campaigns. This gives your local subscribers a choice of where to shop. • All businesses, whether they are online or not, should personalize their emails. For example, mentioning the weather or seasonal products is a great idea, but make sure that you have segmented your list so that your message is appropriate. • Similarly, be cognizant that not all your subscribers celebrate national holidays. If you send an email that mentions a holiday, be careful not to offend your recipients with messages that don’t pertain to them. • On the flip side, it’s a good idea to celebrate local culture, whether it’s a sports team, band, a food the area is known for, etc. That kind of familiarity can quickly engage your subscribers and send them the message that you’re in tune with who they are and what is important to them.

Trend #6: Shopper Marketing Shopper marketing is defined as really getting a sense of how your customers shop, across all channels and formats, and using that information to create mutually beneficial programs and incentives. You want to think of shopper marketing as completely integrated. Your message must be the same every time your customer is exposed to your brand.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Online Still Rising Shopping in the online space has been booming since the first e-commerce site. For example, the number of consumers who have bought packaged goods online has doubled since 2009, according to Neilson Co. Many of us aren’t just choosing to shop online, we’re bulk shopping online. Instead of returning to traditional stores for our goods, 30 percent of shoppers are using auto-replenish or saved lists. This means that a good percentage are planning purchases in anticipation of desire, which is winning merchandisers huge and long-lasting rewards.

Integrate for Increased Engagement Too many brands think of their “multi-channel strategy” as a portfolio of individual strategies, one for each of the channels they choose to participate in, each with different tactics. Shoppers don’t care if your online marketing strategy and in-store marketing strategy are managed by two different teams; they expect a seamless brand experience from channel to channel. Seventy percent of those surveyed by Hub Magazine are delivering consistent messages across all their marketing channels.

JOY Keeps It Consistent JOY the store, a Lyris customer, also created consistency across its communications channels. The company featured a 20 percent off sale and promoted it via email, on its Facebook page and website home page. On the Facebook site, visitors are reminded of the big savings via Facebook posts and direct links to the page on its site with the sale items.

Trend #7: Millennials Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 2000. Characterized as diverse, sceptical, altruistic, frugal, green, candid and adept at multitasking, Millennials are at the cutting edge of technology use. Why should you care about Millenials? Because they look at us marketers with raised eyebrows. Millennials often confound marketers; they do not trust traditional marketing tactics, preferring to rely instead on friends, family or even strangers in the form of online reviews. What appeals to them is authenticity. They are not opposed to connecting with brands, but do so only when there is an exchange of value and, of course, when it is on their terms. Pew suggests that 93 percent of this cohort spends regular and extended periods of time online. The Web has become their primary source of information, news, entertainment and a significant source of social interaction. Seventy-five percent of this group has a social media profile. In fact, they spend at least 50 percent more time social networking than any other major age group. Eighty-eight percent text regularly. Well over half, 55 percent, visited a social network at least once a day in 2010. More than 60 percent have a smartphone and only 41 percent have a landline telephone.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

The Right Medium, the Right Message Marketers are leveraging the behaviour of Millennials in a number of ways. One is by ensuring their brand message is nuanced so that it fits a variety of communication platforms. If you have the right 28 % of Millennials message but it’s in the found email received wrong medium, you from companies to may be in trouble. This be relevant. generation has rules about Source: B2B Online its communication. Each device or platform is used in ever-more specialized ways. For example, the phone is only for emergencies and IM for working together on homework, according to a recent survey. Communicating via email for a Millennial is just like going to dinner, a fairly connected experience, while chatting over Facebook is just having coffee.

• Do as They Do: When speaking to Millenials, mirror them. Reputation is vital to this group, so they’re constantly tweaking their online persona to develop a presentation that best reflects who they are. Consider tweaking your brand in ways that reinforce what you represent.

Give Feedback For Millennials, a delay in communication can be detrimental. The majority of the Millennials demand same-day feedback for all digital communication platforms. Sixty-three percent feel more connected when they get feedback, and 58 percent report a boost in confidence. A quarter feel alone when they don’t receive feedback, underlining the importance of keeping Millennials in the loop. That’s key behaviour information for marketers who want to deliver relevant, timely messages, generate advocacy and create chatter about their brand among this group.

Also, offer value. Millennials are frugal. They’re entering the workforce in a tough economy and are especially receptive to special offers. In fact, a third surveyed want to receive deals from marketers, more than any other group. A recent study showed that 28 percent of Millennials found email received from companies to be relevant. Respondents also said they would potentially welcome direct brand interactions via email, so long as they can control what and how much they receive.

Trend #8: Social Gaming

Marketing to Millennials is complex, but not impossible. Follow this guide:

So, why should marketers care about social gaming? eMarketer reports that nearly 62 million US internet users, or 27 percent of the online audience, will play at least one game on a social network per month this year. That’s up from 53 million in 2010. The group of daily players includes over 50 percent of smartphone users and two-thirds of tablet owners. Finally, the industry overall is exceedingly profitable, likely to surpass $1 billion in revenue this year.

• Act Fast: If you have a Millennial’s attention, act on it quickly. This group tunes out traditional advertising and marketing. If they want something, they have instant ability through smartphones and the Web to get it. • Ask the Right Questions: Millennials are less likely to answer personal questions about what they buy and why. Instead of asking which products are important to them, find out what is critical during the buying cycle. • Build relationships: Millennials crave connection. It’s a good idea to avoid sending a promotion. Instead, send advice and relevant information.

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Social games are online games distributed primarily through social networks. They typically feature multiplayer and playany-time-you-want mechanics, meaning you can jump into the game and enjoy it without awaiting another player’s move. Social games are amongst the most popular in the world, with several products featuring millions of players.

Big Industry with Bigger Returns So, gaming is a booming industry, and a growing one for marketing messages. Virtual currency has turned gaming from simply a diversion to a way brands can build loyalty and advocacy while entertaining their key customers.

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The Lyris Email Report: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your 2012

The Future of Email: 8 Trends to Watch in 2012

Virtual Currency

Key Takeaways

Virtual currency (or in-game currency depending on environment) is used to purchase virtual goods within an online community; which include social networking websites, virtual worlds and online gaming sites. A key revenue driver within social media, virtual currencies are specific within each game and are used to purchase in-game goods. Experts predict revenue from virtual goods will reach $6 billion in two years.

The communication evolution is a fast-moving train. By keeping pace with the latest innovations, email marketers can stay on board with the most creative — and profitable — ways to leverage them. In this guide, we covered eight trends that will drive the future of email. Keep the following in mind as you launch your next email marketing programs:

Play to Win Customers Companies are tapping into social gaming to raise and extend awareness of their brands. Through branded virtual goods, offers, ads and campaigns, businesses are experimenting with the idea that if customers play, they will pay.

Getting Into the Action Brands are learning that games are effective tools for engaging an audience and encouraging them to interact. • Consider your image: To get started, first determine what type of games would best suit your brand image, mission and audience. While you obviously want something that engages, you don’t want to create something that conflicts with your identity. • Monetize: A best practice is to make sure your gaming strategy leads to experiences that enable you to monetize your efforts. What will drive the economy of your gaming platform? Consider discounts for some of your addon products or services or points toward your loyalty program. Or you can follow the lead of Facebook, which created its own currency called Facebook credits. • Research: Apps in the digital age have a viral quality by nature, and games are among the most spreadable. Take the time to learn what types of games other brands in the industry are leveraging to engage their audiences, and what actions they took during the discovery process. Partnering up with a third-party channel could possibly generate more hype than the company Web site or blog alone.

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• Mobile communications: The number of smartphones in the hands of consumers is only going to rise, so tap into that market with campaigns that incorporate mobility. • Social media: Smart engagement in social media can help grow your opt-in lists and targeted email campaigns can boost your social media networks. • The Social Inbox: Marketers now face new deliverability challenges. Be sure to stay tuned into this trend and create engaging, relevant emails so you don’t get shut out of your key audience’s inbox. • Social currency: Chatter about your brand carries a high value. Be open to the many ways to earn it. • Location-based marketing: Offer rewards and incentives that matter to your customers where they are in realtime, and they will buy. • Shopper-based marketing: Integrate your campaigns across channels to ensure your customers receive consistent messages. This will increase your returns. • Millennials: Get personal and build connections, but don’t cross the line. Messaging to this group must be tailored and specific to their needs to make an impact. • Social gaming: This booming industry offers up playful ways your customers can interact with your brand — and for you to cash in through virtual currency.

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Email + Twitter + Facebook: 22 Tips to Cross-Channel Success

About Lyris, Inc.

Resources

Lyris, Inc. is the global digital marketing expert, delivering the right blend of technology and industry knowledge to help businesses achieve value with their email marketing campaigns. Through its in-the-cloud integrated marketing suite, Lyris HQ, and reliable on-premises solutions, including Lyris ListManager (Lyris LM), Lyris provides customers the right tools to optimise their online and mobile marketing initiatives and deliver quantifiable ROI.

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Copyright Š 2011 Lyris, Inc. All rights reserved.

December/2011

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