If you’re a marketer today, you know that everything digital is in a constant state of flux—always updating and changing. As we gather more data, technology, and insights into how different nuances impact our strategies concerning everything from the tools we use to conduct business to the ways we communicate information to our target audiences, our plan evolves.
One such communications platform that has been growing in popularity over the decades is email. Approximately 2.8 billion people worldwide use email as a digital communications tool.
Since everything is always changing and moving forward, it’s important to stay on top of the latest marketing trends. With the popularity of email, it’s no surprise to see that it’s the highest ROI earning marketing tools for small to large businesses today.
Email marketing typically has an ROI potential of 4400 percent, with each dollar invested bringing in an average return of $44.
With such potential for using email to increase profits, it’s imperative to ensure you’re maximizing the best email marketing practices available. Such activities include following trends based on empirical research. Since email marketing is the most preferred channel for marketers looking to increase ROI, here are seven of the most prominent email marketing trends for marketers and customer engagement specialists to look out for, and maximize on in 2019.
More Segmenting and Targeting in Automation
As email marketing becomes a growing force used by marketers and business owners to increase ROI, the process of targeting and segmenting contacts is becoming more intricate, with more data, and smarter strategies being used to maximize profits.
According to HubSpot, emails that are segmented and targeted account for 58 percent of all earnings. Furthermore, when segmenting and targeting relevantly, these emails increase profits up to 18 times more. Such stats mean that as marketers and entrepreneurs, we are likely going to be relying more heavily on these practices when creating our email marketing strategies.
Email marketing is becoming smarter, and the trends are shifting more toward delivering content to the audiences who engage with and find value in it. For example, if a contact hasn’t opened an email for an extended period, they should no longer receive correspondence. On the other hand, if a lead has visited a web page on several occasions, or opened an email more than once, smart targeting and segmenting will follow up with this person, and nurture further engagement through relevant automated emails prompting him/her to take action.
More Text-Only And Interactive Emails
Segmenting and targeting email contacts is only one significant trend that will be impacting email marketing ROI this year. The way marketers format and design emails will experience a general shift regarding strategy this year as well. Where trends of the past included sending promotions and sales-oriented messaging filled with graphics, this year marketers will be opting for plain-text and interactive emails instead. The popularity of email marketing and inboxes filling with a plethora of advertisements are likely the cause of such a shift.
Gone are the days of audiences wanting to open emails containing detailed graphics. While this may seem entertaining, a majority of email users shy from reading or interacting with such emails, as advertisements feel bombarding, and this can create undue pressure, or come across as spam.
Since spam is the last thing marketers want their audiences to think upon reading their emails, text-only messaging is becoming more popular. Experts have found that email users prefer plain text over HTML style emails that are heavy in graphics because plain text emails resemble a personal message that would be more likely to be sent by a family member or friend. When companies send plain-text emails, they feel more personable, sincere, and less sales-oriented.
When marketers are not composing emails in plain-text style, another trend is sending emails that are interactive. To promote engagement, and keep audiences entertained and anticipating more content, many marketers are opting for interactive emails that entice viewers and encourage involvement through quizzes, surveys, games, contests, GIFs, etc. Call-to-action messaging is also an essential part of interactive messaging, as viewers can engage with the email to shop, edit an order, update a wish list, send a shipping confirmation, etc.
More Storytelling in Content
While interactive and plain-text content have been found to provide value and increase engagement for audiences, the use of storytelling has also been found to be effective in grabbing viewers’ attention and influencing their behaviors.
Email marketing messages that include a story at the beginning of the email then loop in the agenda of the business and point of the news, and the value and services/products they provide can prove highly influential when delivered appropriately to the right audience. Finding the right audience is where targeting and segmenting come in handy. Storytelling can be unique in reaching each marketing segment or buyer persona. Stories can maximize a marketer’s email marketing ROI potential significantly. Marketers have known about the power of a good story for years now, and this trend is only increasing as the best email marketing strategies develop over time.
More Mobile Please
One aspect of a best email marketing strategy includes the optimization of email for mobile devices. The stats surrounding email over mobile devices suggest that an email is usually first viewed on a mobile device over a computer, with 53 percent of emails opened via mobile devices. Of these emails, 23 percent will be opened again later. What’s more is that of the 900 million Gmail users, 75% of them use their accounts on mobile devices. The stats make mobile optimization for emails essential, as more email views happen over mobile than on computer screens.
More Respect for Personal Privacy
While personal privacy may seem like a hypothetical construct for many, there are regulations in places outside of the United States that are changing in favor of more strict privacy policies of personal information. This policy change is something that will have an effect on the gathering and sharing of third-party info for anyone whose email content reaches a member of the European Union (EU). General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has taken official effect from May of 2018.
While this may not have an impact on everyone’s marketing strategy, it’s a significant development to consider if there’s any chance of communicating with someone in the EU.
While data protection is becoming more strict for the EU, personalizing email content is becoming popular everywhere. As strategies become more intelligent, marketers are finding value in automated emails. Such emails include the reader’s first name in the second or third paragraph of an email, or information unique to the reader’s account or segmented buyer persona. Some companies group contacts by personality, while others group contacts by behavior. Personalized content sent to each group that is relevant to their actions, or persona. It’s strategies such as these that make the material feel more personal, and tailored more toward each experience.
More Artificial Intelligence
Companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) for making their email marketing strategies a bit stronger, and more personalized. AI is now being used for helping email marketers from anything from coming up with the most effective subject lines and images to predicting how a potential lead will interact with an email, how to make it more personal, and estimate when a viewer may unsubscribe from an email list. AI for marketing automation is growing demand, to the point that global automated email marketing alone is expected to account for USD 2.7 billion by 2025. That is just seven years away.
Adobe recently developed an AI technology with a series of sophisticated algorithms based upon data and research from email campaigns, and audience behaviors that they would like to introduce to email marketers. Studies conducted by Adobe found that email users opened nearly 80% of all work and 60% of all personal emails, and consumers prefer to be contacted by brands this way. As time continues on, AI is only going to grow in intelligence, and make email marketing more effective, and easier to execute for all businesses.
From utilizing smarter tools and strategies to reaching audiences through personalized, sincere messaging and storytelling, email marketers improving their efforts, and email marketing efforts are becoming more powerful and effective.
Now that you’re caught up to speed on the seven most prominent trends hitting email marketing strategies this year, it’s time to apply these trends to your strategies.
How does your email marketing strategy measure up in comparison to this year’s emerging trends? Are there ways that you can use this information to improve upon your current email marketing campaigns?
In developing a more effective strategy for your email marketing efforts, I recommend taking an in-depth look at what is working, and what isn’t working for your campaigns regarding ROI, click-through rates, open rates, and engagement—finding opportunities to maximize on what is working, and modifying what isn’t. You may also reach out with comments or questions below.