“Is email dead” I hear you ask? Certainly not! Statistics say, email is here to stay, and as we marked 40 years of email marketing in 2018, the future still looks bright. Below, we discuss some of the up and coming trends that will keep email in the running for the most widely used form of marketing communication among most companies. Highly anticipated trends for the future include interactivity, personalization, and content. The hottest topic of all though, Artificial Intelligence.
One trend that has remained, is that of ‘Interactivity’. One way to be truly engaged with your customers is to have an interactive element to your marketing emails that allows a two-way street of communication. For example, the opportunity for customers to leave feedback within the email page, or customer forms that operate with full functionality without having to be opened in a browser. Eventually, email will become a web-like experience without the need to launch into a browser, e-commerce transactions within email shall be the norm and voice-based interactions will be a highly anticipated implementation into email.
Video content and GIFs are becoming a more popular way of being interactive in emails as a way of captivating audiences. Gone are the days of heavy text-based emails. Fifty-four percent of consumers want to see more video content from marketers, and audiences say they are more likely to retain marketing messages delivered via video, according to HubSpot, 2018. The aim of your emails should be to stand out in a sea (inbox) of emails, innovative video content in email will certainly differentiate your brand from competitors.
If you need more convincing to be interactive with your email, check out our blog ‘Five reasons to try interactive email’.
This year has been less about subscriber-centricity and more about sending relevant content and keeping the customer journey as the focus of email marketing strategy. It is forecasted that email content will become more like storytelling to the customer rather than just a sales pitch, depending on your brand and what message you want to spread. Storytelling allows for more of a connection between company and customer, therefore, building on that relationship, boosting engagement and increasing personalization.
Using conversational tones throughout your emails will become more popular as you resonate with customers and ditch the corporate robotic repetitive sound. Customers want to connect to the company instead of being just another faceless, nameless buyer so will appreciate the friendlier approach made and having value-added to what they read. Storytelling also allows for your company to create an identity of its own by using engaging and familiar wording that the customer can relate to. Companies that are already following this trend include Lush, Kate Spade, and Dr, Martens.
Source: ‘Brand Storytelling in Email Marketing: Tell Today and Sell Tomorrow’. SendPulse Blog, 2019.
Automation and Personalisation
Automation and personalization, a duo that go hand-in-hand, are also a reoccurring trend that is set to shape the future of email marketing. (Look at our blog ‘Expanding our development horizons’). By automation allowing a more personalized experience for the customer, engagement, satisfaction and retention are all increased, so it’s a no brainer that companies would opt for email personalization. Email personalization is the forefront of companies beginning and developing their relationships with customers, and with an increasing number of customers eager to know more about the company they buy from, the importance of email personalization is greater than ever.
In the future, the personalized email will become the norm. Email personalization today is ‘Hi Sarah, check out our offers’ in the subject line or the customer’s name put in mid-paragraph, however, this will most likely become the standard while email personalization progresses and focuses more on tailoring to each individual through segmentation and dynamic content. Engagement based follow-ups by automation will be led by visual workflow builders which simplify the process and are becoming increasingly more available by email service providers. I will also aid the development of personalization and automation as it will be able to automatically customize content from diverse first and second-hand databases.
Set to be a real game-changer, AI is evolving rapidly. The use of it is on the rise so it only makes sense that it is implemented into digital marketing strategy.
To cope with the sheer amount of data that is expected to be collected within the next indefinite amount of years, AI looks to be the only way to be able to unite and monitor multiple data sources and provide additional insights of subscriber behavior. It will be used in the future as a means of predicting what the customer wants to see from their communication emails and with a high level of personalization available through AI, it will allow for email marketing to remain one of the channels with the highest and fastest-growing ROI.
The adoption of AI for email marketing is said to remain low for the near future as implementing and managing it may seem relatively complex and is considered to be a considerable investment.
Source: ‘Three ways AI will revolutionize email marketing’ Martech, 2018.
A lot of these trends are still in line with the predictions made in 2017 by Mike Parry. In his blog ‘Predictions for email marketing’, he discussed the rise of video in email and the increased use of automation. Whilst the trends Mike discusses have been adopted by some, recent technology advancements in email infrastructure software have allowed for easier implementation of these trends hence why they shall become increasingly popular in the future of email marketing.
It is expected that the number of emails sent every day by businesses and individuals will rise from 293 billion to +333 billion by 2020. So, get ahead of the trends and make sure your emails stand out, don’t get left behind in the dark ages of email.