This is part two of my Foresight 2020 series (looking back to forge ahead and make next year the best year ever). I want to explore how and why I think email marketing is going to be bigger and better than ever, next year.

Turning Controversy Into Social Capital

I don’t know if you watch TV or not, but there was a controversial commercial by Peloton where a guy buys his wife a $2,000 exercise bike and instead of focusing on the coolness of the bike, they focus on her desire to get fit. Guys, let me give you a little marriage advice, don’t buy your wife an exercise bike unless she comes to you and says, “I want you to buy me an exercise bike.”

Two things happened through this. The actress got another gig doing a gin commercial where she’s out with her girlfriends and they’re comforting her and she grabs this gin and she swigs the whole thing down and one girl says, “Ooh, this is going to be a fun night.” The other thing that happened is that Peloton emerged as the real winner of the controversy because everybody kept saying Peloton and people were sharing the commercial on social media. It just turned into this big hullabaloo. Just think of all the free advertising they got from people talking about the Peloton commercial.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to buy a Peloton, you’re going to buy a Peloton, right? If you’re not into exercise biking, you might choose something else or simply go to the gym. I don’t think the commercial itself was nearly as effective as the controversy. Looking ahead, if you want to create a buzz in 2020, maybe you should create some controversy. Nah, maybe not. But it certainly can’t hurt you to create some great content that’s worth talking about, and that’s what we’re here for.

My Crystal Ball

Let me look into my Zoltar crystal ball and see what’s happening. Speaking of commercials, Zoltar is featured in Liberty Mutual commercials. They have a whole bunch of different series going on, including LiMu, Emu, and Doug. And it took me the longest time to figure out that LiMu stands for Liberty Mutual, L-I-M-U, LiMu. That goes to show that sometimes the most obvious things don’t always work out. Looking in my crystal ball, one thing I can predict is that EMU, excuse me, email marketing, will be super hot in 2020. Why is that?

Well, everybody says that social media is the thing, right? A lot of people even say, “I don’t need a website. I’ve got social media.” Well, here’s the thing about social media – social media is advertising that is putting your media in front of people so that they can consume it. That’s what a lot of people want to do, they want to get their messages in front of people. But I’m here to tell you that social networking is much more important because that is how we build relationships.

But whether you do social media or social networking, there’s one thing you need to realize – you don’t own it and you can’t control it. As a matter of fact, the social media companies decide who sees your ads an how often they see your ads. Ultimately, when it comes to social media, you may be able to control the message, but you cannot control who sees it. And that’s the thing about email marketing, emails are pretty much the same except you control the content and the end user controls whether they see it or not, whether they unsubscribe or whether they open it in their inbox.

New Laws (GDPR & CCPA)

GDPR, stands for General Data Protection Act, and it’s happening over in Europe. In the United States we have the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is basically GDPR for the US, and I think this is going to be something that’s going to start popping up more and more. Basically, you have to let people know how you collect and use their data, so the bottom line is double opt in is going to be a lot more important. When you collect names, people have to actively subscribe to your list. What that means is that you can’t go out and just buy names and start shipping emails to them, otherwise you’re going to be breaking the law. You need to be a lot more thoughtful and a lot more systematic about how you approach gathering names and sending out information.

5 Things To Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

With that in mind, it’s time to freshen up your email game with these five tips.

Collect The RIGHT Names (and Emails)

The first thing is how you collect names and how people download things. It used to be that you could force somebody to double opt in to get something. You put a form on your website, I fill it out in order for me to get the freebie or the the Cracker Jack box prize, then, I had to actually opt into the email list, then you would send it. Now somebody can subscribe by going in and filling in their info, but they don’t have to opt into your list to get that prize.

One of the things that you should do when you’re adding people to your email lists is make sure you’re tagging them wherever you’re collecting their names so you know how you found them, and then give them the prize before they opt in. Then you want to track which content they engage with. If they click on a particular article or email, you want to be able to track that for future reference.

Segmenting Your Audiences

That brings me to the second piece – segmenting your audiences.

When somebody new comes in, you want to know what form they came from – what they downloaded – that’s important. If they choose to stay on your list, you want to be able to track which content they are engaging with. What they clicked on – What they opened. Once you do that, you can start to say, “Hey, they’re more interested in this kind of information,” and start feeding more of that and less of what they’re not opening. The other piece of this is that you want to ensure you don’t neglect your current clients. Add them into the mix because their needs may change over time. You might be able to tell what they’re interested in and you might be able to just pick up the phone and talk to them.

Fresh Content

The other thing you want to look at is fresh content. Now, fresh content means that you have to create new stuff. It doesn’t mean you can’t re-purpose old stuff, but you want to make sure that you add a good consistent design to it. You want to make sure that the topics are relevant to today’s business climate. And finally, you want to look at having multiple headlines. Say you write one article, but one group of people are interested in topic A, another person is interested in topic B. You may send the same email with a different headline to different groups, that way you can maximize the open rate based on the needs and the feedback that those people have given you.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple)

The next thing you want to think about is keeping it short and simple. That means one topic per email. The more things you give them to click on, the more confused they get so make sure you only have one call to action per email. In mine, I send out three different pieces of info, my blog and two podcasts, but it’s generally all the same type of content. They just get to choose how they want to consume it.


Finally, you have to be consistent with your email marketing. The bottom line here is – send out stuff on the same date and time. Try to use the same format and same graphics. Be sure to use social media with the same type of graphics to build awareness.

Final Thoughts

So with all that being said, instead of using Zoltar to try to predict the future, I suggest you use your client’s data, your fan club, to tell you what info they want and what they’re willing to interact with.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your ideas or questions about smart email marketing. Have you started using the double opt-in and tracking your subscribers interests? Do you have any ideas or insight you can share?