Email Marketing Trends for 2018

If you did not invest much in email marketing in 2017, the new year ahead is the perfect time to integrate this channel into your overall digital marketing efforts. This channel is set to drive more engagement, acquisition and retention in 2018. That means that you can no longer afford to ignore the huge potential that email has to offer your marketing efforts. To give you an idea of how important email is right now, consider the following statistics from 2017:

  • The global number of email users is expected to rise to 2.9 billion users by 2019. (Statista)
  • Segmented email campaigns have a 14.32% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns. (Mailchimp)
  • In 2016, the average open rate for personalised emails was 18.8%, compared to 13.1% for emails with no personalisation. (Statista)
  • 49% of businesses do not use data to plan email marketing campaigns as they are unsure how to get started. (Constant Contact)
  • Customers who receive multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete their purchase than those who receive just one follow-up email. (Experian)
  • For every dollar spent on email marketing, an average ROI of $44 dollars is seen. (Campaign Monitor)

Which email marketing trends should you be watching for the new year? How should you be using email in 2018? What can email bring to the table? Keep reading to find out.

Email Marketing Trends to Watch

Email forms an integral channel within any well-crafted digital marketing strategy. As an excellent tool for driving engagement, retargeting customers, preventing lost sales and nurturing leads, email marketing is on the rise. If you have been treating this channel as something of an after-thought, now is the time to take a closer look at what this channel has to offer.

There are a few interesting email marketing trends to watch this year. From interactive, visual-rich emails all the way to personal interactions, and mobile-friendly design, these trends can be especially useful for those aiming to get the most from email campaigns in the months to come. These trends also illustrate how important email has become as part of an effective omnichannel strategy.

Interactive, rich email ‘microsites’ are going to be used as a way to increase customer experience, engagement, and retention.

Visual-rich, easily emailed microsites take the form of interactive emails that offer the ability for recipients to interact directly from within the email interface. This strategy is an excellent tool for customer retention, reducing churn by allowing customers to engage with content on a far deeper level. This approach also ensures that emails are interesting, adding genuine value.

This strategy makes it as easy as possible for your audience to convert. The barriers to conversion that typically arise from email are shrunk significantly. By giving them everything they need to view content, interact with content or perform a desired action, you should see an increase in conversion. The easier it is for actions to be taken, the more likely people are to take action. Static, limited emails are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. One challenge with this strategy is that a number of older email clients do not always support all of these types of emails. Some of the ways that interactive email may be used include:

  • Integrated surveys and forms that can be completed from the email, without the need to redirect customers to separate landing pages.
  • Social sharing features that allow content to be shared on various social channels without closing the email client.
  • GIFs, animation and videos that engage, entertain and inform. Take heed, however – these can lead to issues for some recipients with smaller mailboxes. Opt-in variations are one way to take advantage of this without risking slow speeds and other hiccups.
  • The ability to search within emails can help customers find important information more easily, while menus and navigation bars that are integrated into emails can boost clicks, which in turn boost conversion.
  • Rotating banners or carousels also drive interaction, driving engagement as a result.
  • Countdown timers are an excellent way to create a sense of urgency. This works especially well for seasonal promotions, sales, and events, working more effectively than basic ‘sale ends soon’ emails to remind and prompt customers to act.

Conversational tone encourages deeper personal interaction.

Tone has become just as important as images, content, email subject lines, and offers. While a conversational tone may not always be the best tone for every sector, the majority of industries will benefit when emails feel personal and approachable. Conversational tone offers a way to connect with your audience on a deeper, more personal level. This can be extremely useful when building a world-class customer experience, helping to drive genuine interaction more effectively.

This approach focuses on questions that help your audience think, before giving them answers through your calls to action or content that adds genuine value. Working especially well for B2C campaigns, this approach can be modified for B2B sectors by keeping language suited to your specific niche. To keep your emails conversational, consider the following tips:

  • Write as if you are speaking out loud to your audience.
  • Pose questions to your audience.
  • Avoid slang, jargon and ambiguous language.
  • Imagine that you are speaking directly to your customer.
  • Use personalisation to further create a deeper level of interaction.

Mobile-friendly design is on the rise.

As we get closer to Google’s Mobile First era, you can no longer afford the risk of outdated, non-responsive email. Living in a world that is driven largely by mobile, the number of people accessing email from a mobile device is going to keep growing, year on year. If you are not optimising your emails for mobile, you run a huge risk of having emails that cannot be easily read on mobile devices. The result is an increased bounce rate, unread email rate, and even unsubscribe rate.

Optimised emails load faster and can be easily read on smartphones, tablets and computers. Slow loading emails can have a direct effect on engagement rates and click through rates. If your CTAs are not showing, links cannot be easily clicked, images cannot be viewed, splash pages cannot load quickly or content is otherwise non-responsive, you will pay the price.

Before you get too stressed, make sure you are very clear on how your target audience reads their emails. If you ask customers how they prefer their emails, you can quickly determine whether more people are viewing emails online from a computer or viewing them on the go from a mobile device.

Keep your focus on track, consider the impact that these trends have on email marketing for the year ahead, and don’t forget to keep testing and keep growing to get the most from email marketing in 2018.

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