When it comes to engaging customers, marketers should never underestimate the power of email marketing.
While it may not make headlines like social media, email marketing is a tried-and-true approach that delivers impressive results every year.
Email offers marketers an effective, easy-to-use platform for sharing relevant information with customers. The rewards are extensive: email has a median ROI of 122 percent—four times higher than any other digital channel. It’s also 40 times more effective than social media channels when it comes to acquiring new customers.
Marketers have found success with email for so long that many overlook the fact that it’s still evolving. People consume messages differently now, viewing email on mobile devices instead of traditional desktops. Plus, the platforms that power email campaigns are much more robust than in years past.
So, what innovations in email marketing are relevant to today’s marketers? Which behavior changes and approaches will impact your marketing plan over the next year?
Here are nine important marketing trends that the email specialists at MDG Advertising believe should be followed closely in 2019:
1) Design Matters More Than Ever
Email was introduced as a text-based channel, and it still focuses on text today. In the past, marketers would add attention-getting headers and images, but most of the efforts went into developing exciting copy.
That’s finally beginning to change, as brands realize that eye-catching design is just as important when drafting a high-quality message. Icons, illustrations, and colorful buttons are often necessary elements of an email’s layout. This year, thoughtfully designed emails will be a leading trend as marketers see boosted engagement from visually appealing designs.
2) Mobile-Ready Is a Must-Have
Why are email marketers turning their attention to design? The answer lies in the user experience—consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices for information instead of a desktop computer. About 55 percent of emails are already opened on mobile devices, which is up from just 29 percent in 2012.
Mobile device usage is expected to grow even more as the year progresses, making it important for marketers to examine how their messages translate to mobile screens. Consider the length and organization of your message and ensure that it’s mobile friendly.
3) The Rise of Video
Creating a mobile-friendly email experience is important, but there’s another digital trend to consider: adding video content to messages. More than half of consumers want to receive more video content from marketers, and by the end of this year, video is predicted to make up 80 per cent of all Internet traffic.
Email platforms are accommodating this shift, making it easier to include visual pieces in campaigns. Plus, audiences are more likely to retain your message if it contains video—a great reason to incorporate this tactic in 2019.
4) Rich Email Personalization
In the past, email personalization was very basic, with marketers customizing messages by merely including the recipient’s name. Now, powerful marketing platforms and robust data have started to provide truly personalized messages.
With so much information available, brands can target customers with specific content and offers that are relevant to their interests. The results are impressive: 82 per cent of brands report increased open rates among these customized emails. This year, truly personalized emails are expected to become even more effective as tools become more advanced.
5) Artificial Intelligence Will Improve the Effectiveness of Email
It’s not just for science fiction: the rise of artificial intelligence is bringing more sophistication to email platforms. These technologies can help marketers create more effective content, optimize email send times and frequencies, and even predict audience responses.
AI is quickly evolving, so the possibilities are endless as 2019 continues. Marketers should expect many more real-world tools over the coming months.
6) The Power of Triggered Emails
When an individual has taken a specific action—such as subscribing to a newsletter or abandoning a shopping cart—marketers often send triggered emails to re-engage the customer. When compared to non-personalized messages, these emails have a higher average open rate of 71 percent, and a significantly higher average click-through rate of 102 percent.
The success of these emails is due to marketers’ increased insight when it comes to the consumer’s wants and actions. This allows brands to deliver relevant, effective messaging. Plus, consumers report feeling less annoyed by triggered emails, which is a strong case for their increased use.
7) Getting Interactive in Email Campaigns
Marketers often overlook the fact that emails can be interactive, creating campaigns that lack dynamic elements. However, today’s platforms make it possible to add interactive features to emails, including hamburger menus, anchor tags, image sliders, and clickable hotspots. For a simpler approach, marketers can add a “reply to us” button within the body of an email.
Since these elements are effective in engaging consumers, marketers should consider giving them a try in 2019.
8) Protecting Privacy and Data is Essential
The biggest story surrounding email privacy over the past year was the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), a series of protections adopted by the European Union. This regulation places controls on how marketers can gather and use data and gives consumers more control over their private information. Certain tactics typically used by marketers—including purchasing email lists—are now questionable.
Data privacy issues aren’t exclusive to the EU—consumers across the globe are concerned about how companies use their data. In the U.S., the California Consumer Privacy Act was introduced, which will go into effect in 2020. This legislation will impact U.S. email marketers much like the GDPR.
9) Breaking through the Noise
Consumers’ inboxes are flooded with messages—each day, businesses and individuals send more than 293 billion messages. By 2022, this number is expected to rise to more than 333 billion.
This volume of emails makes it difficult for marketers to grab consumers’ attention, but there are strategies that work. Using personalization, sending triggered messages, and optimizing subject lines using artificial intelligence all are effective techniques.
Having a unique voice also will help your messages stand out from the crowd. It may sound simple enough, but it’s incredibly important—a distinctive tone gives your brand the advantage of “sounding” different and being instantly recognizable among a sea of messages.
Creating unique messaging has been important since marketing began and should always be a top priority. With today’s advances in email, marketers have an ideal platform for experimentation and to showcase their best content.
In many ways, email is a blend of the new and the old—it’s a channel that audiences know and that’s also receptive to the latest technologies. Brands should take advantage of email’s vast capabilities to see results in 2019.