Email marketing is a crucial component of any marketer’s strategy for maintaining communication with customers and converting prospects. According to dotmailer, 88% of marketers worldwide use email marketing-focused software as it is one of the most fundamental means of strengthening relationships with your target audience.
The main goals of an email marketing strategy are to engage your audience with direct communication, create a more personal connection with customers, and persuade consumers to fulfill your call to action. Compared to social media, where you can also engage and interact with customers and prospects, email marketing wins out in regard to the personalization of the content. Emails allow you to reach consumers on a one-on-one basis and customize your messaging depending on how you segment your audience.
In addition to seeming more personal, consistent emails to targeted groups can build brand loyalty or at least increase brand awareness. Newsletters highlighting new developments in your company, time-sensitive sales, and other updates keep your email subscribers in the loop. Setting this foundation with your audience means they’re more likely to remember you when seeking out goods and services – especially when your emails cater to their interests or needs.
When executing any marketing campaign, your cost per lead needs to be taken into consideration. While email marketing is effective in personalizing communication, it is also extremely cost-efficient. Other marketing channels such as social media advertisements, paid search ads, or commercials on TV or radio can eat up a marketing budget and the consequences of an ineffective campaign can be detrimental.
Email marketing, however, costs virtually nothing per lead with no associated costs beyond the email software you are using and possibly an email list you purchased. With that being said, using emails as a part of your marketing plan is a low-risk method for testing the waters with your target audience. You can experiment with different email formats through A/B testing and other methods simply to perfect your strategy for creating emails that resonate with consumers.
Another aspect of email marketing that stands out is its ability to drive action. Organic and paid advertisements can also feature an impactful call to action; however, emails are easier for segmenting a specific group and creating urgency with individualized messaging. For example, if you want to build brand loyalty with customers in California who have recently purchased from your e-commerce website, you can segment that audience and send out a custom discount code.
The beauty of email marketing is that in addition to being cost-effective and customizable, it’s also easy to quantify. You can easily measure the success of your email campaigns based on concrete data such as click-through-rates and ROI. Using these measurements, you can pinpoint what did and didn’t work and adjust your strategy accordingly.
A Recap of Email Marketing in 2018
Trends in 2018 surrounded the idea of creating more meaningful emails that deliver a real message to consumers — versus just adding to spam in their inboxes. Overall, trends in email marketing have indicated more respect and understanding for the consumer to increase engagement and develop a more organic, closer relationship.
One key trend seen in email marketing in 2018 was greater transparency about personal data and reassuring the consumer that sensitive information will be kept confidential. In light of mishandled user information for social media marketing and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) for businesses in Europe, trustworthiness has become more of a priority. Due to increased conversations around this topic, the protection of personal data is a theme that will likely continue to develop in 2019.
According to the Huffington Post, interactive emails were also gaining popularity in 2018 as they grab your audience’s attention and reduce the chances that your email will be unopened and deleted. Engaging email strategies in 2018 included moving or responsive images, surveys, social media links, and more.
Employing a Mobile-First Strategy
In 2018, there was a shift in email marketing to prioritize a mobile-first strategy. Having an email or email sign up form that is not mobile responsive is the easiest way to deter potential customers. As more and more consumers check their emails primarily through their built-in mailbox on their smartphones, marketing emails must be accessible on mobile devices. Factors such as slow loading times, unformatted images, and text that runs off the screen can all negatively affect your reach.
Conversational Email Copy
Since mobile responsive emails are important, many businesses are opting out of complex HTML emails and using plain text as they are easier to format. A greater push for simplicity in 2018 can also be seen in email copy. Smart Insights indicated that while a conversational tone might not work for all businesses, general trends have leaned towards a more approachable delivery. This includes asking questions, less formal language, and overall, creating a conversation.
Experimenting with Strategies
The growth of email marketing has also led to an increase in more sophisticated testing and list segmentation. Marketers are investing more time in developing strategies for testing email marketing success, such as A/B testing, and using this information to improve their approaches. The popularity of list segmentation has also helped marketers better tailor emails to the interests of specific target audiences. As previously mentioned, this is essential for coming across more authentic and personable to consumers.
Top Email Marketing Trends for 2019
After looking back at prominent patterns for email marketing in 2018, it’s time to project our own strategies for this new year. Taking the direction of past trends and new technology into account, these are the main trends to look for in 2019.
Emails with a Simpler Design
Although flashy graphics seem like they would be more engaging to audiences, consumer behavior has shown that they can harm your email marketing efforts and even affect the perception of your brand. Trends for 2019 predict emails with simple copy and an interactive component will be key for marketers.
According to Business2Community, this style is gaining traction in email marketing because it more closely resembles an email that audiences could receive from a friend. More sophisticated designs are also more associated with sales-driven emails from companies and can alert audiences that the email is just spam.
For marketing, measuring the ROI on email marketing efforts is essential to determining the effectiveness of email campaigns. As marketers increased their testing of different emails and email lists in 2018, this trend will only continue to grow in 2019.
Segmenting audiences helps marketers zero in on relevant groups for their customized messaging. The more specific and authentic an email feels to target audiences, the more likely they are to respond to your call-to-action (CTA).
Related: How to Perfect Your Email CTAs
One example of segmenting can be seen in how marketers develop a nurture campaign for prospects. When individuals first sign up to be on your email list, they receive a “welcome” email that gives a high-level description of your brand and offerings. Then, you can set up auto-targeting rules that, after a few follow-up emails that do not lead to any purchases, segment the group and entice them to act through discount codes or go over the benefits of doing business with your brand.
Compelling, Humanizing Content
As more conversational messaging was a major trend last year, creating a compelling story in your emails is a must. Storytelling in your email messaging grabs your reader’s attention and can help build rapport as they get to know your brand more.
Building a positive relationship based on trust means it will be easier to influence your audience’s behaviors. The more you can engage your audience with content that humanizes your brand, the more comfortable they are following through with your CTA.
Optimization for Mobile Devices
Consumers use their mobile devices for everything. They use them to go on social media, online shop – even access sensitive information such as their bank accounts. As marketers, mobile responsiveness is necessary to avoid email campaigns being moved straight to the trash or junk bin.
Optimizing your emails for smartphones requires you to use mobile-responsive templates, be mindful of the sizing of images and break up of text in a way that fits smaller screens. Additionally, beware of having a CTA button or link that is too small. Audiences shouldn’t need to zoom in their screen to access your website or form…otherwise they probably won’t bother.
When you think of AI, you might be wondering what technology from sci-fi movies has to do with your email marketing strategy. However, artificial intelligence is booming for the industry with giants such as Adobe pushing for more innovative, predictive technology to craft effective emails.
According to Digital Doughnut, predictive analytics will help marketers deliver the right emails to the appropriate audiences before they even realize they needed the information. Using your historical data, you can automate processes that customize subscribers’ experiences and cater messages to their interests.