With every new year comes new technologies, marketing ideas and marketing strategies, but there is one technology that’s probably never going out of style: email. Email remains one of the most resilient and reliable tools in a marketer’s arsenal.
Even if email is here to stay, however, that doesn’t mean it is static.
Email marketing, like everything else, is evolving.
Here are five trends you should know.
1. Mobile Keeps Growing
It is critical that your email marketing strategy prioritize mobile. Mobile internet traffic exceeded its desktop counterpart for the first time in 2015, and it isn’t slowing down. E-commerce sales similarly exploded during the 2015 holiday season, making up $13 billion of all online sales, which is a massive 59 percent jump from 2014.
There is nothing negative about this. Personal computers have simply moved from a person’s office to their pockets. It is, however, a game changer for marketers. They need to focus on creating content for mobile users and on developing designs that make emails as attractive and engaging on a smartphone screen as they are on computer monitor. Research has shown that more than 71 percent of subscribers will immediately delete an email if it doesn’t display correctly.
The email templates from Agile CRM can take the pain out of adapting to mobile screens. Or, if you prefer, simple in-house modifications can make emails more attractive. Focus on single-column presentation, plenty of space, calls to action in the form of buttons and shorter subject lines.
2. Deliver Value to a User’s Inbox
Custom, relevant content is the foundation of any effective email campaign. As more subscribers adopt email aggregation services and new interface features that trap generic marketing email, personalization will have even greater importance. The more power subscribers have over their email, the more marketers need to make sure they engage them in meaningful ways.
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Marketers must develop strategies beyond discount coupons and “one time only” promotions. Instead, create an experience customers look forward to getting in their email. It can come in many forms—beautiful design, custom content, photography, fun social posts, customer content or perhaps inspiring stories about how the business was started or causes they support. Be fun, be engaging and be different. To just send email is not enough.
3. Subscribers Enjoy Interactive Content
Email today looks nothing like email from five or 10 years ago. Messaging, like everything else in technology, evolves with the times. So too must marketing efforts.
Research has found that adding video to an email can improve click-through rates by 300 percent. Emails that include dynamic content can see a click-to-open rate of 73 percent.
You can expect major email marketing endeavors to take dynamic images and visual interaction even further. We’re already seeing brands experiment with content that requires the user to do some kind action to get a special offer or promotion. It’s easy enough to create a mobile email that asks the user to do something physical with their phone to reveal a coupon code.
4. Take Advantage of User-generated Content
According to Nielson, 84 percent of consumers trust recommendations from their peers, but only 15 percent trust brand recommendations. The solution, for marketers, is to lean more heavily on user-generated content: provide subscribers with things from their peers.
Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, marketers have unprecedented access to consumers’ real-life experiences with their products. That means brands can include photos of customers wearing and enjoying their products in email campaigns.
There are massive benefits to engagement on social media as well. Keep an eye out for positive mentions of your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and include those interactions in your email marketing. It helps in organically building a loyal following of brand advocates.
5. Automation is Set to Take Off
Marketers are done talking about automation and they’re ready to use it. Automation allows marketers to send timely, relevant messages to their target audience in bulk as well as cut down on time-consuming manual work.
Automation through Agile CRM can also deliver better results to marketers. An Epsilon study found that automated email messages had 70.5 percent higher open rates and 152 percent higher clickthrough rates.
Some automated email ideas you might want to keep in mind: Welcome emails have 50 percent better open rates. Birthday emails lift conversion rates by 60 percent. Thank-you emails with an offer drive 13 times more revenue. You can get even better results when utilizing a CRM like Agile to create an automated nurturing series. Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Email is still the go-to tool for modern marketers, and there are more and more ways to make the most of it. From conquering mobile to perfecting interactive content and automation, however, there’s still work to be done. Email may be a relatively old marketing tool, but that doesn’t mean it is standing still.