As we look to transition into the New Year, it’s time to reevaluate our programs and our priorities. With that in mind, I recently spoke with Natasha Smith of DM News about what’s in and what’s out in email marketing for 2015. Here is some of what we spoke about, plus some of our conversation that didn’t make it into the article.

What’s Out

For most brands, broadcast emails will probably always represent the majority of the emails they send. However, they're contributing a gradually shrinking portion of overall email marketing revenue. On the other hand, triggered emails are capturing an increasing share of program revenue, with some leading brands generating the majority of their email marketing revenue from these emails.

“One size fits all” emails.
Because subscribers are constantly raising the bar on relevance, there's an increasing need to infuse every kind of email with one-to-one content using personalization, dynamic content, live content, and predictive intelligence. We're transitioning from the era of mass email to the era of mass personalized email.

“One size fits all” email frequencies.
The value of sending one more email to the right subscriber can be high. But the risk of sending one more email to the wrong subscriber can be equally high. Different subscribers have different email frequency tolerances and marketers need to be gravitating toward a segmented or even personalized email frequency optimization.

A few important ways to do that include setting up an array of triggered email programs, sending your inactive subscribers fewer emails, and allowing subscribers to select a preferred email frequency in your preference center.

What’s In

Predictive analytics.
Using predictive intelligence to deliver personalized recommendations can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to make use of the Big Data in your organization. Adding this functionality to your emails—in particular, your transactional, cart abandonment, and browse abandonment emails—can have a dramatic effect on email revenue.

Responsive design.
A small majority of B2C brands are now using mobile-friendly email design. While a significant percentage are using simple mobile-aware design techniques—such as using a single-column design, large text and images, and spacing out links and buttons—more sophisticated responsive design is favored by more than 2-to-1 by mobile-friendly marketers.

Thanks to help from email service providers and growing industry knowledge, responsive design is getting easier to implement and use effectively. At the same time, consumers are responding increasingly negatively to desktop-centric emails that they receive on their mobile devices, so the urgency is growing for brands to switch over.

Another sign that responsive design will be very important in 2015 is that Google is finally saying that they are looking at supporting media queries in their Gmail products. There are substantial risks for marketers—as well as ISPs—that don’t get on board with responsive design.

Subject lines with #hashtags.
Even if an email is unopened, the subject line can still deliver a call-to-action, if well-written. Using hashtags in subject lines is one of those ways to drive action without an open, in addition to signaling that the content is inside the email has a social component. In many cases, using a hashtag in the subject line suppresses opens in exchange for spurring engagement with the hashtag on social networks, so make sure you're at peace with that tradeoff.

For the full discussion, read the entire article on