How many emails do you receive every day from companies trying to sell you something? I receive at least 30 or more email marketing messages daily, and I’ll bet many of you experience the same. Most of them go into the trash because it’s glaringly obvious to me that they are random sales pitches that I never signed up to receive.
Sloppy or lazy email marketing strategies and practices are the cause of this excess of marketing emails. Too many businesses think that quantity is more important than quality, and blast emails to everyone on their email marketing list. Big mistake!
That approach may have worked in 2010, but times have changed and so have consumers’ preferences.
To remain competitive in today’s business landscape, you must adapt your email marketing strategy to align with evolving trends and shifting demographics.
Regardless, email marketing is not dead as some pundits claim. Rather, email marketing is evolving. Social media will not overtake email marketing any time soon. Email remains the most effective method for acquiring new customers.
In fact, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter at acquiring new customers. Yes, you read that correctly—40 times more effective. The fact that emails are 4000% more effective than social media is a surprising statistic. It actually blows my mind, but it’s true!
The importance of email marketing couldn’t be clearer when you consider the statistic above. But, with all the clutter landing in consumers’ inboxes, how do you set yourself apart from the competition?
Email marketers need to stay up to date on emerging trends and apply them to stay one step ahead of their competitors. Below we’ll discuss emerging trends in email marketing that you can anticipate seeing in 2019. Embrace them, and you’ll stay one step ahead.
1. Consumers gain more control of the emails they receive
Most consumers hate spam emails littering their inbox. I’ve had to change email addresses multiple times because the previous ones became so inundated with spam that it was a chore to weed through the garbage and find emails that mattered to me. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Fortunately, that has started to change and will continue to do so. Marketers are realizing that there is little value in blasting emails to people who don’t want to receive them. Doing so increases unsubscribe rates and spam reports.
In the future, we will see more companies providing mechanisms for customers and prospects to select the types of emails they want to receive. Instead of a blanket “unsubscribe” button, marketers will start to offer the choice to opt into certain types of emails and opt out of others. And this can be easily accomplished with simple web forms.
Giving consumers this option will ensure that the emails your audience receives focus on topics that they are interested in. Essentially, your audience will tell you what they want and what they don’t. As consumers gain more control over what arrives in their inbox, customer engagement levels will rise, unsubscribes will drop, and spam complaints will dramatically decrease.
2. Personalization becomes more personal
It’s easy enough to automatically insert an email recipient’s first name in an email greeting. That’s basic personalization, which is nothing new. However, personalization in marketing has come a long way over the last few years and will continue evolving.
With so much data stored in your marketing automation (MA) solution, you can personalize messages using much more than the recipient’s first name.
Let’s use an example to clarify this point.
Imagine that you sell a variety of products from your eCommerce store and you’re currently offering a discount on one of those products: an insulated construction hard hat for cold weather work. You could take two approaches to communicate this to your audience:
1. You could blast an email announcing the discount to everyone in your email list. However, it would only be relevant to those in the construction industry. Everyone else will see the email as irrelevant, and some may unsubscribe.
2. You could segment your contacts based on their attributes, which are stored in your MA solution, to produce a targeted list of recipients. With the right MA solution, it is easy to create a list of contacts that work in the construction industry and live in Canada or the coldest northern states of the US (North Dakota, Montana, Maine, etc.). Then you send that email to only those contacts because you know the offer will be relevant to them.
Which approach will produce better results? That’s a rhetorical question—it’s clear that the second approach will be more successful. That kind of targeted personalization will increase customer engagement and boost customer satisfaction because people that don’t work in construction won’t have to toss that email into the trash bin.
3. Account-based email marketing starts to overtake blanket email blasts
Account-based marketing (ABM) is quickly gaining traction in the B2B marketing space. What is the difference between account-based marketing and traditional marketing?
ABM focuses on identifying companies (leads) that are a good fit for your product or service. You stop focusing on high-volume email blasts to leads in purchased email lists because the majority of leads in a purchased list don’t want to hear from you and are potentially not a good fit for your product.
Instead, you identify companies that look like a good fit, then conduct extensive research into who they are, their pain points, their goals, how they differ from their competition, etc. You get to know them in and out before you ever make initial contact.
Then, once you’ve done your research, you tailor your marketing emails to each company’s needs and pain points. They will feel like you read their minds because you’ll be able to touch on all their challenges and business needs.
This increases your chances of engaging them and setting up a sales meeting. It’s much more effective than blanket email blasts to purchased lists.
Plus, focusing on fewer leads reduces data administration and allows you to focus more on each prospect account. ABM lets your sales reps focus on only the most relevant leads. You can personalize your email marketing to each account’s needs, reducing spam emails and increasing your chances of closing more deals through your email marketing efforts.
4. Tone and voice of emails becomes more casual
Millennials are set to overtake baby boomers as the largest consumer demographic in the US in the next few years. Consumers and decision makers from the millennial generation are more laid back and less formal than their predecessors.
In the past, marketers placed a strong focus on using a more formal, rigid tone and voice in their email copy. That is changing and will continue to do so.
As millennials become the CEOs of businesses and the largest pool of consumers in the market, marketers will need to adapt how they “speak” to their audience via marketing emails.
Humor will become more commonplace. Marketers will become more playful with their emails. You’ll see more curse words used in email marketing. And in general, the tone and voice of marketing emails will become more casual and informal.
If you have doubts about this, try A/B testing a few emails to see which ones produce better results. Learn more about A/B testing.
5. Inbound email marketing continues to gain traction
Inbound marketing involves producing and distributing content that educates your audience while avoiding an overt sales pitch. The goal is to generate trust in your brand because inbound marketing establishes you as an authority in your space. You’re sharing content that solves common problems and educates your audience rather than pushing out an intrusive sales pitch.
People will start looking to you when they need advice on a certain topic or tactic. Outbound marketing aims to boast about the benefits of your product in an attempt to hook leads and reel them in. Inbound marketing aims to create trust in your brand, so that leads come to you of their own accord.
We will see a continued increase in the usage of inbound marketing emails to engage leads. The result is that inbound marketing attracts interested leads who have a much higher probability of becoming customers. Outbound marketing is like blindly tossing a net into the sea and optimistically hoping to catch a big fish. Inbound marketing involves presenting yourself as an authority, so that leads come to you.
As consumers grow increasingly weary of unsolicited sales emails, they will engage more with emails that provide educational insights. Incorporating inbound content in your email marketing strategy is the way of the future, so start embracing it today.
6. Purchasing email lists starts to become obsolete
Purchasing lists of emails to market to is becoming obsolete. It’s costly, and you never know what you’re going to get for your money. You may receive a list full of old or inactive email addresses. Or, the list you purchase may be full of contacts that would never buy your product. Again, it’s like tossing a large net into the sea and crossing your fingers in hopes that a few of those purchased leads will engage with you.
What’s the alternative? Marketers will increasingly focus on creating mechanisms for leads to opt into your email list. When someone opts in, you know they are interested and want to learn more. This lets you market to leads that have indicated interest as opposed to leads who know nothing about your brand and are likely to mark your email as spam.
To put this into context, 53% of consumers claim they receive too many irrelevant emails that they don’t need or want to see. Creating an opt-in process ensures that your audience only receives emails that are relevant to them. This will increase open and click-through rates, and will dramatically reduce unsubscribe rates and spam reports.
Plus, with the arrival of the GDPR and other data protection regulations, you will eventually be forced to move away from purchased lists or face steep fines. Learn more about the GDPR.
7. Trigger-based emails see increased usage
Trigger-based emails are email messages that are sent automatically when a customer or prospect takes a specific action. Perhaps a lead downloads a valuable piece of content. Your MA system tracks that and if you set up an automated workflow, your system can automatically send an email to that lead moments later that contains more content about the topic they’re interested in.
This lets you engage contacts right when they are engaging with you.
One great example of a trigger-based email is a welcome email sent to new customers. You can set up an automated workflow that automatically sends a welcome email to a new customer when they make a purchase. Your MA system knows when this happens and marks them as a new customer. Plus, InboxArmy reports that welcome emails produce open rates four times higher than standard emails, as well as click-through rates five times higher than regular marketing emails.
Trigger-based emails are on the rise due to advances in marketing automation. Learn more about behavioral, trigger-based emails.
8. Mobile responsiveness becomes mandatory
According to Emailmonday, depending on your customer base’s needs and your product, mobile email accounts for 22% to 77% of email opens.
Statista reports that the number of smartphone users worldwide will exceed 2.8 billion by 2020.
With so many consumers reading emails on smartphones, it’s essential that your emails are mobile responsive, and recipients can easily view them on a smartphone with minimal scrolling and zooming. But mobile responsiveness doesn’t stop with smartphones.
More consumers are using tablets to view emails. And the screens of smartphones and tablets come in an array of different sizes. It’s important that your emails respond to screens of all sizes and render correctly on all devices. If not, you can kiss engagement goodbye and see your unsubscribe rate go through the roof.
There are many takeaways in this article. Consumers will gain more control over the emails they receive, you’ll have to adapt to the needs of shifting consumer generations, and you’ll have to leverage marketing automation to generate the maximum return on investment from your email marketing efforts.
It’s critically important that you stay up to date with emerging trends. Otherwise, you’ll lag behind your competitors that do embrace these trends.
Prepare yourself to leverage the trends listed above and you’ll remain on the cutting edge of email marketing. Ignore them, and you’ll become obsolete, quickly falling behind your competitors.
Is there an email marketing trend that you see coming in the near future? Let us know in the comments section below!