More companies are investing in email marketing – you might want to do the same after taking a look at the numbers. Over 59% of marketers say email is their most lucrative marketing channel with the largest ROI.
Along with a wide scope for innovation, the emergence of diverse trends, such as interactivity, CSS animation, AI, and automation, continues to help email sustain its popularity over other marketing channels.
Businesses are also increasingly aware of the potential to build loyalty and boost sales through fostering the connections which are already accessible through subscriber lists. In 2019, marketers will keep expanding upon the big theme of delivering quality over quantity into inboxes.
Besides heavy emphasis on quality and personalization, what else can we expect? Here are 6 trends that suggest email marketing is still one of the top marketing techniques!
1. Creative design trends
Innovative design trends in web and email design have reshaped a user’s entire experience with email, especially how they engage with a brand and their content.
Marketers are implementing creative design trends into their email templates to give subscribers a new and exciting way to interact with their brand – without clicking out of an email.
Brands are embracing top trends in creative email design to deliver dynamic content to subscribers through image galleries, carousels, offer reveals, and add-to-cart functionality. AI-powered systems have also made it easier for marketers to make sense of more customer data and to identify the trends that are necessary for personalizing emails.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but innovations in email design have taken it up a notch through CSS animations, GIFs, keyframe animations, cinemagraphs, and live backgrounds. With the rise of interactive content, written content has become less of a priority for marketers as they continue to focus on creating dynamic content and reducing the barriers to engagement.
Businesses like Home Depot are embracing interactivity in their email campaigns to facilitate a frictionless email experience. For instance, instead of opening a new browser, customers can leave a rating or type a review all within an email.
Tips for creating dynamic visual content:
- Use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG format) to ensure images retain their quality when resized or rendered
- Compress the file size of animated GIFs to ensure faster loading time
2. Optimizing email for smartphones
It goes without saying that a lot of people are attached to their phones.
About 46% of email opens were done through mobile email in 2018. With more people accessing email on their smartphones, optimizing email campaigns for the mobile world is something all businesses should look into.
Mastering the art of visual-storytelling is the secret to creating an effective email design. With short attention spans and hectic schedules, no one has the time or patience to go through a messy email – keep things simple with a minimalistic design.
Using a well-balanced design with plenty of white space to organize your images and text makes it easier for people to scan through your email – consuming more information faster.
Sites like Pinterest have made good use of the card layout. More businesses and eCommerce sites are using this type of layout to appeal to prospects and increase CTR. CTR (click-through rate) is a metric used to measure the percentage of people that are actually clicking on your links or ads.
Tips for optimizing content for smartphones:
- Focus on your goal when designing your email – reduce barriers in responding to a CTA
- Use a design that makes it easy to tap on links or a CTA
- Display your CTA above the fold
- Use a larger font size for better readability
- Resize images to fit a mobile screen
3. Artificial Intelligence and automation
In 2019, marketers continue to focus on building connections with subscribers through a customer-centric model to create a frictionless experience in their email campaigns.
With the help of AI and automation, the possibilities in email marketing continue to reach new heights in the level of personalization that can be offered to each and every subscriber. With automated emails, you can expect higher open rates of about 70.5%.
AI augments automation to do most of the grunt work for marketers. AI-powered systems can sift through large amounts of information and draw important correlations to be integrated into master templates. Besides saving marketers a ton of time, this also provides the necessary insights to ensure the right emails are being sent to the right people – and at the right time.
Conversion rate optimization or CRO is a big theme in 2019, where marketers are prioritizing customer retention just as much as acquisition. CRO focuses on converting the people who are most likely to buy. In conjunction with master templates, AI automation can effectively close a sale by sending out customer-centric emails based on their pain points and preferences.
AI-powered systems can join customers on their buyer journey. An example would be when a prospect abandons their shopping cart without checking out, triggering an automated email encouraging them to complete their purchase.
AI trends are streamlining business processes
Brands are also embracing AI in their business processes with innovative tools to streamline all facets of creating an effective email campaign.
These tools have made it easier for more people to collaborate on a campaign – either those within the same company or even from external agencies.
Top trends in 2019, such as visual automation workflow builders will continue to make it easier for businesses to manage email campaigns and enhance their workflow – integrating insights and relevant data. To facilitate targeted emailing, marketers are also using automated email list segmentation to organize their emailing lists into relevant segments.
AI-powered systems are paving the way for new business growth strategies in the world of email marketing. ‘The marketing flywheel’ combines the core principles of effective email marketing with a customer-centric model to build momentum in email campaigns.
4. Email marketing vs. other marketing channels
Search Engine Optimization
Businesses use SEO to drive traffic to their site and to build long-term prospects organically. The main drawback with SEO? Besides general insights, businesses are in the dark when it comes to who their content reaches. With email marketing, you can track the reach of your email campaign because you know who you’re emailing.
Social Media Marketing
Embracing social media is the best way for brands to remain relevant in the information age. Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness and extend your reach to larger audiences, all of which can have a positive impact on conversion rates.
The advantage with email marketing is that you can deliver a personalized approach to those who are already interested in your brand.
Paid Campaign Marketing
How does email marketing compare to paid campaigns?
It’s pretty clear who the winner is.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to extend your reach to a new audience by partnering with a third-party advocate to advertise for you.
The main drawback with affiliate marketing is that your prospects are limited to the audience of your advocate. When you take into consideration the fact that not everyone’s going to be interested (converted), your pool of prospects gets much smaller.
With email marketing, you have higher chances of converting because the people you reach out to are already interested in your brand.
In 2018, big changes were made to EU’s data privacy regulation laws – also known as GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. In light of these changes, marketers must pay special attention to creating GDPR compliant email campaigns.
With GDPR, marketers are prohibited from sending emails to those who haven’t given them explicit permission to do so. For example, email designs should facilitate the act of opting in to receive newsletters, as well as making opt-out or unsubscribe links somewhere easily accessible.
6. Chatbots and trustworthiness
Trust is a huge concern for businesses when it comes to chatbot technology. There’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether businesses can fully trust bots to deliver the quality or consistency of a unique customer service experience – one they wish to uphold across all channels.
At its best, chatbots can benefit both parties (brand and consumer) by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining the customer service experience. However, there’s always the possibility that it can lead to a very unpleasant customer service experience for users who are unfamiliar with bots. Or even worse, there could be a major disconnect in the quality of service a business hopes to keep consistent, and the actual capabilities of their bot.
Nonetheless, the advancement of technology has truly left its mark on the world of email marketing – helping to sustain the popularity of emails and to streamline the various business processes in creating an email campaign.