A report from Epsilon found that email marketing is becoming more popular, but businesses must rethink their strategies.

A report from Epsilon suggests that email marketing remains an increasingly common channel for businesses to reach prospects, with email volumes increasing more than 41 percent in the last quarter of 2011. While the company said that an increase is expected due to the holiday shopping season, the growth was far greater than most expected. This shows that businesses need to work harder to stand out in cluttered inboxes.

According to Epsilon, open rates also increased 4.2 percent in 2011. However, click rates dropped in the year when compared to 2010. This presents an interesting scenario for email marketing campaigns. Essentially, consumers and B2B buyers are subscribing to more emails, and they’re opening them. But they are also being more selective with the content they click on.

This suggests that consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about shopping on the web and converting only with the most compelling content or best offers. As such, marketers must focus on setting their email campaigns apart from the competition.

One such method that Epsilon pointed to as successful is the use of trigger language, which personalizes messages and provides a greater impetus for a recipient to open. Subject lines that include “Thank You,” “Welcome,” and “Happy Birthday,” among other terms, can help businesses appeal to the prospect on a more personal level.

More strategic subject lines are especially important for attracting recipients who check their emails on a smartphone. Brafton recently reported that 27 percent of email messages are viewed on mobile devices, and this figure will likely increase as the smartphone market grows.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.