Email remains the highest performing marketing channel year over year, returning over $44 for every dollar spent. While there’s plenty of buzz around social and mobile innovation, email remains the profit generating powerhouse that delivers results that no other channel can even come close to matching. How are successful email marketers mapping to this level of success? They’re focused on these 4 conversion drivers:

Mobile Optimization

Over half of all email opens occur on a mobile device. While the percentage of mobile opens on specific campaigns will vary depending on the target audience, product, and offer, it’s prudent to assume that design for mobility is the new default. Subscribers are using mobile devices to not only check email but also research products and make purchases. Conventional fixed width email layouts don’t work on mobile devices – this is why responsive design that extends through the entire path to conversion is critically important. If there are rendering hiccups or layout issues with the landing page, subscribers will bounce and sales will fall through the cracks.

Real-Time Personalization

Researchers generally agree that real-time personalized emails can increase transaction rates 6X.  However, 70% of email marketers shy away from this technique because they believe it’s too complicated. To execute real-time personalization you need to know where your customers are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going and then hypothesize what offers will most likely resonate. This is where it gets tricky. While marketers are cobbling together solutions to bridge gaps between data sets, it’s a clunky and cumbersome process. To succeed with real-time personalization, marketers need a tool that incorporates streaming analytics and dynamic adaptation capabilities to seamlessly adjust with a customer’s context within the critical conversion window to escalate transaction rates.

A/B Testing

Email marketers can A/B test anything and everything – subject line, design, copy, offers, images and more. While it’s tempting to test all of these factors, the most successful A/B testing programs are painstakingly methodical and iterative. It involves taking a successful email offer and pitting it against a “challenger” to see which performs better. The key is to test only one variable at a time to isolate the driver of offer performance metrics. Over time, the key factors driving conversion become clear.

Automated Triggers

Automated triggers essentially systemize critical touch points that drive conversion. Email marketers can set up automated triggers based both on milestones and subscriber behavior. For instance, if a membership is about to expire, an email trigger sent to the subscriber offering a discount on renewal 30 days prior to expiration can be a highly effective conversion driver. Or, if a subscriber has abandoned items in the shopping cart, an email reminder triggered by this action can be the lynchpin that spurs transaction completion. Roughly 67% of carts are abandoned before the subscriber makes a purchase.  That’s a lot of dollars left on the table that with an automated nudge could become revenue.

While open and click-through rates are important email campaign metrics, they’re a means to an end. Conversion is king, and email marketers succeed when they focus on these 4 drivers.