Year in Review: Most Important Email Marketing Developments in 2016

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This year has been a major year for email marketers. It’s been a year that’s seen email marketing platforms both grow and simply at the same time. On the one hand, we have more dynamic ways to be marketers, and at the same time, we don’t need as many cooks in the kitchen to create something that will be impactful and impressive. We’ve already told you about the Gmail CSS update that will make your email campaigns more interactive. Here are two more changes that have changed the email marketing landscape. It’s also the two things you can work on this month to kick off 2017 in full force.

Development #1: Forget “Dear Everyone”

Why It’s Important: Several times through the years we’ve suggested ditching the mass emails once in a while and favor personalization. In fact, last year I talked about the benefit of targeted email lists, offering four key steps to get through this process. And years prior, I recommended creating a customer profile to help with what later lead to segmentation. Yet some marketers are now suggesting to completely ditch the mass email campaigns for no other reason than that it does not capture the heart-led business focused on the individual. There’s now a new term for this: hyper-personalization.

On the need for personalization, Business 2 Community’s Keval Padia writes, “Email recipients are now interested in messages that are addressed to personal taste, preference and focus areas rather than just their first name.”

The reason being for this is greater interaction. When you’re able to customize, you’re able to better connect with a recipient. Padia adds, “Emails that drive user interaction already garner higher engagement from the user. By ensuring user interactivity within the email marketers can ensure much higher click through rate, traffic for the corresponding website and business conversion.”

How It’s Applied: So how do you do this? You start by looking at both ends of the telescope so to speak. Take advantage of the fact that it’s the end of the year. Look at all the past campaigns you’ve had this year and start charting them – their audience, their themes, etc. Here you get an idea of where you fall heavier in types of campaigns and themes. Next look at your subscriber list and run that subscriber profile if you haven’t already done so. I guarantee you this is what your competitors are doing. Ask yourself where your subscribers are based; what’s their gender, their lifestyle, work sectors, their interests? If you have time, run a deeper analysis if possible on where they engaged. You’ll start seeing intersection points that might not have been visible to you before. And at the very least, you start seeing which email campaigns could have been personalized to whom. And even if you have mass emails you still need to send out, you can send these out based on nothing more than time zones, ensuring these campaigns arrive when at an opportune time for the reader.

Industry insiders are forecasting that within the next five years, personalization will be the industry standard. When asked, “What do you think the single biggest to change to email marketing will be, when looking ahead 5 years,” an Econsultancy survey showed that 76% of survey takers saw hyper-personalization as a key attribute moving forward through the next years, while 74% of them still saw email as relevant.

For marketers, this means strengthening your email game in 2017 and weaving personalization now to retain and grow a subscriber base.

Development #2: Email Marketers Also Want Hyper-Personalization

Why It’s Important: Hyper-personalization isn’t just limited to subscribers. Clients using email marketing software and platforms are expecting the same of the tools they use. Marketing automation has evolved from the drag-and-drop design that’s now a common feature of most platforms and is looking for something more advanced. 2016 is the year marketers started realizing this demand, which allowed them to be more personalized. But they also grew aware that this is an incredible chore to keep track of. They’re now turning their heads looking for something to help with that.

The marketing user who understands email is about more than just the one-off campaign, knows they’re going to need something that can be a guide in a cycle of communication. We talked about it before here with drip campaigns or automated campaigns triggered by new subscribers or a cart initiation that wasn’t completed with a checkout. In the past, these automations have required human intel to track and follow. It hasn’t been automated until now.

How It’s Applied: Few email marketing platforms have stepped up their game. Benchmark is one of them, developing an automation system in 2016. Called Automation Pro, it’s currently in it’s Beta period. Think of Automation Pro as turning your clunky email marketing platform into a Transformer that can automate and change shape without you manually needing to dig in and re-align parts to turn your email platform into a new form temporarily capable of something else.

For example, if you had to send out a welcome campaign to a new subscriber, send out a campaign for a special date or reminder, you would need to dig into the back end and manually create and send those campaigns out. Automation Pro – a responsive plan that understands the biggest industry changes of 2016 – does that for you.

Most significantly, Automation Pro also anticipates where marketers are heading in 2017. The plan features a responsive “Engagement Automation” that automatically sends an email when a subscriber opens an email, clicks on any (or specific) link.
Learn all about Automation Pro.

Are you ready for a smarter way to engage with your customers?

Benchmark helps you do email marketing the practical way. Create an ongoing relationship with your subscribers that leads to increased sales and happier customers.