There’s no doubt that email is a key part of every business marketing strategy, and, as such, email marketing trends are worth studying. In a survey conducted by emarsys and WBR Digital, retailers overwhelmingly agreed that email marketing is responsible for a good portion of their lead-generation efforts. Specifically, 81 percent said email was a major force in customer acquisition, while 80 percent said it was a key driver in retaining customers.
All of this wouldn’t be possible, of course, without consumers’ willingness to so regularly stay connected to email. A Fluent survey found that 89 percent of U.S. adults check their email at least once a day. Regardless of how frequently consumers check their email, it appears those email marketing efforts aren’t going to waste either as:
- 53 percent went to a store and bought a product that was mentioned in an email
- 26.2 percent visited a business’s website as a result of seeing an email
- 27.1 percent made a purchase online upon receiving an email that featured the product they were interested in
However, like any other type of marketing, it’s important to stay ahead of always-evolving trends. As we move closer to the end of the year, let’s take a look at the 5 email marketing trends you’ll need to know about for 2018.
5 email marketing trends you need to know for 2018
Without further ado, here are five email marketing trends to prep for in the new year:
The thing with trends, obviously, is that it’s crucial to plan ahead. It’s not much use making yourself aware of a trend after it’s manifested, and then jumping in midstream to make adjustments.
1. Interactive content
Interactive, or dynamic, content is really about removing friction from the user experience while creating an extra layer of intrigue that inspires engagement. This is something that web developers have a lot of fun with on websites right now, but it isn’t really something that’s emerged among email marketing trends until very recently.
When you think about it, email subscribers don’t enjoy the same luxuries as your website visitors. In order to read content, watch videos, or purchase products, they have to click a link embedded in your email so they can visit a live web page and complete the action there. In 2018, that extra step will go away as developers and marketers will be able to add interactive content directly to their emails. For example:
- Image hover and rollover functionality
- HTML5 video players
- Quizzes and surveys
- Product review submissions
- Countdown timers
- Hamburger menus
- Search bars
- Add-to-cart or click-to-purchase functionality
The only thing to keep in mind with dynamic content is that not all email providers will support this sort of built-in interactivity, which means it’s important to provide alternative options for subscribers who won’t have access.
2. Casual copy
As Twitter and text messaging quickly become more standard ways of communicating professionally, it’s no surprise that other forms of communication would take on the brief and more conversational tones used of those platforms, too.
Email, in particular, lends itself well to this casual revolution as this type of content should be viewed as a conversation between you and your audience — not just another opportunity for you to sell, sell, sell.
Take this another step further.
A more conversational approach also means we’re going to see more use of emojis in email marketing trends. Appboy recently reported that emojis already make quite a splash in email marketing, noting a 775-percent increase between 2015 and 2016. They also pointed out that triggered emails (like abandoned cart reminders, welcome messages, etc.) use emojis even more with a 7,000-percent increase year-over-year. This is likely due to marketers wanting to soften up what might otherwise be interpreted as a cold, automated message.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s GoCentral Online Store makes sending abandoned cart emails a snap. After two-click setup, an email will be automatically sent to shoppers who leave before completing their purchases.
Speaking of action-triggered emails, there will be a rise in email marketing automation in 2018. While there may be certain occasions where you want to compose an email message from scratch or compile a custom list of content to share with followers, automation will come in handy outside of those times.
Also, by using a third-party software or plugins to manage this process on your behalf, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about those trigger events as well as what type of message deserves to be sent directly in response to them.
4. Artificial intelligence
Big data used to be one of those things that only the enterprise could reap the benefits from. Thanks to easier and cheaper access to cloud computing resources, businesses of all sizes can now work with large data sets in order to better understand what’s happening within their operations and to make smarter business decisions that contribute to an improved user experience.
In 2018, though, it won’t just be about what we can learn from big data. It will be about what we allow machines to do with that data.
Automation is the first step. After that, though, we’ll see even more strategic and real-time decisions being made by technology. Krzysztof Jarecki of ExpertSender gave a great example of this: “Most companies have a large content library, so we’ll see greater automation of segmentation and matching of customers with the most appropriate content for their business goals.”
Essentially, AI will crack open big data and give email marketers even greater insights into how each message should be crafted and for whom.
Previously, marketing was viewed as a multi-pronged strategy (i.e. email vs. content vs. social media, and so on). Then, we saw the rise of multi-channel marketing in which all platforms and contact points (virtual or out in the real world) had to work seamlessly together.
In 2018, however, it’s going to be about the omnichannel experience — and this will significantly impact email marketing trends.
Pawel Sala of FreshMail told Email Vendor Selection, “Being able to use and process both the data from email marketing platforms and the data outsourced from integrated apps and services, email communication will be[come] highly personalized and relevant.”
Personalization and relevancy enhancements aren’t the only benefits of integrating all marketing platforms together. Email will serve as the glue that holds all experiences with your brand together.
- Someone purchases something in store? They receive a follow-up email with their receipt.
- Someone calls customer service to inquire about an order? They receive a survey to ensure that the experience was a positive one.
- Someone retweets one of your articles? They receive an email with a link to a downloadable white paper on a related topic.
The goal in omnichannel marketing is to create a more fluid experience. No matter where your customers go, you’ll consistently have a way to engage with them and maintain a reliable presence.
The future of email marketing
Although the email marketing trends of 2018 won’t stray too far from what things look like today, you’ll notice there’s a growing reliance on automation, integration and AI. In order to better serve your audience, you’ll need to provide them with content that’s valuable, relevant, and personalized — and these five email marketing trends will enable you to do that.