The changing landscape is the MarTech that enables strategies that were previously impossible or too expensive. Email automation, which doesn’t replace broadcast email due to its limitations, and behaviourally driven email content, are the current state of the art.
So what next? How should technology and processes be re-imagined for the next evolution? This is each part of the process in the blueprint for future of email marketing.
Take the current technologies for predictive and AI driven content. Highly targeted content based on the individuals’ behavior, inserting products or content into the email based on what the contact has browsed or purchased.
The current technical solution is using linked images to show pictures and text. Sounds smart? Well, it is. The only practical way to achieve relevance at scale given the huge diversity is to have computers that build emails for each person individually.
But there is a problem. The subject lines are not keeping pace with the cleverness of the email body contents.
Here’s a sample of subject lines used by eBay on their automatically created and personalized emails.
Selections for you!
Tim, we’ve gathered some of your favourites together.
Your own private shopping store.
All the deals you want Tim!
Tim, fancy finding something new?
Shhh, don’t tell: We’re completely serious, enjoy ALL these…
😉 To: you, from: eBay – We picked you for something brilliant
Tim, got deals on your mind?
To: Tim, From: Us—still haven’t found what you’re looking for?
Fancy finding yourself a gift, Tim?
To: Tim, a little something from us! Guess what’s flying off our shelves….
Notice anything? The subject lines are all very generic. There is no alternative, as they must fit with unknown body contents. The subject line is generated totally independently of what is put into the email body.
Current solutions have placed a big Trump-size wall between email subject lines and body.
Having copy in the subject line that gives clarity about body contents is not possible with dynamically linked images technology.
The deal teasing subject lines above used by eBay are very inspired and varied. It’s quite amazing how many ways the same generic subject line message is written! But they could be used in any deal email. In fact, you can go ahead and steal them.
What we need are great email body personalization and great subject lines. That will yield higher performance than current tech.
This needs new approaches in email technology. Who is going to be the first technology vendor to create a solution?
Tim Watson is Email Marketing Consultant and founder of Zettasphere.