ICE Totally Gaming has well and truly kicked-off at the ExCeL in London, with the opening day's seminars geared very much towards digital marketing. As well as exhibiting at the event, we're also attending a number of these seminars and thought we'd share some of the tips and stats we're picking up to help with your own digital marketing strategies.

Getting proceedings underway was Elen Valentine from Silverpop, who shared some particularly interesting insights into growing email marketing databases.

Don't hide your opt-in button

We were hit with the big stat straight from the off - 56% of mail marketers are hiding their opt-in button right at the bottom of the page. With inconspicuous sign-up buttons, tucked away with the 'about us' and 'privacy policy' buttons that users never read, brands are missing out on key opportunities to grow their database.

And the opportunities are vast. Moving the opt-in button from the bottom of your home page to the top of your home page increases email opt-ins by, on average, 50%. Moving the same opt-in to the top of every page increases opt-ins by more than 100%.

It goes further. Having the opt-in at both the top and the bottom can increase your response rate more than three-fold whilst having a pop-up, whilst it might break plenty of user experience rules, can lead to an increase of close to 500%.

Ask the right questions at the right time

Of course, building a database is one thing. Knowing exactly what to do with it is something else entirely.

Elen spoke about perhaps the biggest challenge for email marketers, which is about taking nothing more than a name and email address and turning that into real, meaningful data that really allows you to segment your database and ensure that subscribers only get the messages that appeal to them.

It was a lengthy process, but by asking the right questions at the right time, we were given an example of one brand that had completely automated its email marketing strategy. Every single message was automatically generated, targeted to each recipients interests and ran at an extremely low cost. It's an extreme example, but it proves just how asking the right questions can turn email marketing into an effective, low cost marketing challenge.

The seminar ended with a question from the crowd about creative, and just what should influence the creative design and, of course, the content in any email campaign.

The answer lies in your mobile response rate. Mobile users want more information in much less content, meaning that those brands with high mobile rates really need to look at optimising their email content for the small screen. Put simply, mailshots that aren't responsive, or aren't tailored for mobile, simply won't work.

We'll continue to share some of the great insights coming out of ICE this week so keep an eye on our blog. If you're visiting the event, why not drop by our stand, N7-200, and meet the team.