As the digital era continues to evolve and surprise us, we are seeing more rapid rates of change than ever before. This very much applies to the realm of email marketing as well. Understanding emerging trends is critically important if you want to remain competitive in a constantly changing technological landscape.
Including interactive elements in your email design can increase engagement and lead conversion. We are seeing more and more marketers turn to interactive emails to spice up their email marketing strategy. Simply put, an interactive email is one that lets readers interact with it without leaving their inbox. Examples of interactive elements in emails include image gallery carousels, HTML5, social share buttons, GIFs surveys and add-to-cart functionality—to name a few.
By bringing interactive elements into your emails, you remove an important barrier to customer and lead engagement: having to click through to a landing page in order to interact with your content. This one variable can greatly affect your click-through rates, as it means navigating away from one’s inbox in order to engage with your content. Without email interactivity, you need a much stronger incentive—or call to action (CTA)—to engage customers and prospects.
Email Drip Campaigns
This is one of the best email marketing tactics out there, and one that should be used as much as possible. A drip campaign consists of pre-drafted emails that are sent based on triggers that you determine. They are a great way to send the right message at the right time. There is some set up involved, but once complete, these campaigns run on their own with the help of marketing automation. Indeed, drips are one of the best email marketing campaigns that you can run.
For example, you can create a “welcome series” that consists of three emails that have been pre-drafted and finalized in your marketing automation solution. You set a trigger so that anytime someone subscribes to your mailing list or blog, the first of those emails gets sent, followed by the other two at specified time intervals. You can use a welcome series to: 1) welcome new subscribers, 2) let them know how to reach you, and 3) invite them to tell you about themselves, letting you capture data that can be used later to personalize email messages to them. According to email marketing specialist, Jordie van Rijn, “2018 will be the year where every savvy email marketer will introduce welcome series into their marketing programs, improving conversions, customer and brand loyalty.”
Other types of email drip marketing campaign include:
- Onboarding drip to provide new customs with helpful information
- Renewal drip to remind subscribers that their renewal date is coming up
- Lead nurturing drip to deliver staggered content to new leads in an effort to qualify them over time
- Customer retention drip to engage customers when they display behaviours indicating a desire to leave
The Rise of Mobile
You don’t need us to tell you that more and more people are using mobile devices to view the emails you send them. In fact, the vast majority of email users are expected to be accessing email via mobile by the end of 2018. And as the tide turns, so must you adapt to it in order to continue being effective. Leveraging mobile-responsive email templates is a basic email marketing best practice, and can easily be done with email marketing software tools. If you are not yet taking efforts to ensure your emails can be easily read on mobile devices, consider these email marketing statistics:
- By the end of 2018, 80% of email users will likely access their email accounts exclusively from their mobile devices. (Source: The Radicati Group)
- Mobile email will account for 20 to 75% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type. (Source: eMailmonday)
- As of 2017, 51% of email was being opened on a mobile device. (Source: Litmus)
By now, you likely know what email personalization is, and are potentially using it yourself. If not, it’s time to jump on the personalization bandwagon. Personalized email marketing is easy with marketing automation and CRM, which let you access deep troves of contact details and automatically pull them into your marketing emails for a highly personalized experience. Virtually any information that you store about your contacts can be automatically pulled into each email that goes out—such as the contact’s name or industry. More and more, consumers want a personalized experience, having grown fond of Netflix’s recommendations section, and other offerings from companies that excel at personalization. Yesterday was the right time to start personalizing your emails, so make sure you look into it today.
Video emails are an example of interactive emails and perhaps the most engaging of them all. People increasingly prefer to consume information in video form. You can also convey more information in less time with a video than you can with a traditional text email. Campaign Monitor reports that including video in an email can lead to open rate increases of 19%, and click-through rate increases upwards of 50 percent. That’s certainly a powerful incentive to consider the use of video emails. The inclusion of videos in emails is still not widespread, but it is predicted that it will show a sharp rise in 2018.
Data Protection Regulations
You may have heard about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), particularly if you market inside the European Union. GDPR is a set of regulations that marketers will have to adhere to moving forward or face still penalties. For example, companies will no longer be able to buy email addresses for mass email marketing. Rather, they will be required to gather a lead’s explicit consent before sending an email, with the lead being able to withdraw consent at any time. GDPR is introducing a slew of new data protection regulations which will directly affect marketers whether they like it or not. Considering that, data regulations are not a trend that marketers can decide whether to adopt, but rather one that they will be forced to comply with.
Canada already has stronger data protection laws than the United States. And it’s possible that we’ll see stronger protections in the U.S. in the coming years. For now, the important thing is to read up on the topic and be fully informed about what is required of you if you market outside of the U.S. Check out this article to learn more about how the GDPR affects American businesses.
If you are familiar with Elon Musk, you are probably familiar with the rapid expansion of funding to develop artificial intelligence (AI) over the last few years. Well, AI is starting to make waves in the world of email marketing as well. Also known as machine learning, AI involves a system taking note of certain behaviours and using that data to “learn” about a particular topic or individual.
For example, voice recognition software needs to listen to your voice a number of times to learn nuances and idiosyncrasies associated with it. Over time, it trains itself with that information to develop an increasingly accurate perception of what your voice sounds like, in order to recognize more words. AI would work like this in the context of email marketing as well.
As it evolves, you might see AI being able to suggest segmentation lists, recommend products for individuals, and helping to make emails more personalized than is currently possible with system tags. The extent of AI’s future impact on email marketing is still a relative unknown at this point, but those marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve would do well to follow this trend closely.
It may feel challenging to keep up with trends influencing email marketing practices today. The rate of change is certainly increasing and shows no signs of subsiding. However, taking the time to read about trends and how to adapt to them is the best thing you can do to remain competitive in your respective space. If you are not already subscribing to this blog, feel free to do so on the right-hand side of the page. We consistently deliver industry insights and best practices that will help you stay keep one foot ahead of the pack.