Email marketing has long been a mainstay of the digital marketing landscape – but new developments are changing what we can expect to see fill up our inboxes. Multi-channel, multi-touch, multi-path customer journeys are transforming the traditional marketing funnel, and email marketing is finding new roles to play in the overall customer experience and lifecycle. It’s not about simply converting leads into customers – it’s about maximizing value to expand customer engagement, purchasing, and advocacy.
Four trends on the rise in email marketing are: mobilization, personalization, AI predictions, and interactivity. While some of these are not necessarily “new” techniques, they are increasing in adoption and transforming as customers’ expectations increase and technology makes it possible to meet these new demands. Here’s a look at how these trends are developing, and how you may be able to incorporate them effectively into your own overall marketing strategies today…and in the future.
We are increasingly living in a mobile-first culture, in which more and more people are spending time online on their mobile devices as opposed to on PC’s, laptops, and tablets combined. A recent research study shows 16-24-year-olds spending just as much time online on their mobile devices as on all other devices combined. And this trend is growing as smartphone ownership has become essentially universal, with U.S. consumers spending an average of five hours every day on their phones.
What this means for email marketing is that more and more marketers are making sure their emails are optimized for mobile, with mobile responsive designs and messaging that is easy to scan for readers on-the-go. A seamless digital experience has become more important than ever, as customers now simply take it for granted.
As more customers come to expect everything to work like Netflix’s “Recommendations” and Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlists, personalization is becoming increasingly more important in email marketing. It is no longer enough to simply insert the name of a customer into an email.
Instead, savvy marketers are creating customized experiences that make users feel valued and appreciated. Dynamic content will change based on the recipient and let each customer know why they should keep interacting with your brand across multiple channels.
Can you recommend products based on past purchase history? Use relevant social proof to back up recommendations? Send triggered emails with the right message at the right time based on customer data?
Email marketers who can move from 1: Many messaging to 1:1 experiences set themselves apart from the competition.
As machine learning and artificial intelligence technology develops and becomes increasingly available, email marketers will be able to make better informed, data-driven decisions, with predictive marketing metrics able to predict individual and group customer lifetime value. New methodologies will integrate complex data to model customers’ purchasing activities and infer what their future actions are likely to be.
In terms of messaging, AI is already capable of generating subject lines, copy, and calls-to-action, that generate more customer responses than human writing. AI is also optimizing send times and image content.
In short, AI will be able to make it possible for a greater number of companies to achieve greater levels of personalization to drive customer engagement.
Today’s successful email marketing messages incorporate interactive possibilities across channels, with embedded videos, memes, GIFs, and click-throughs to social media platforms and websites. It’s now possible for email recipients to be able to add items to shopping carts or customize orders without even having to leave the original email. A combination of email and on-site interactions with chatbots and guided tours help customers flow between email and further brand interactions.
The future of email marketing promises to enhance interactivity, as technological developments will enable users to interact with their inboxes in ways that will feel like superpowers, with augmented reality making possible 3D experiences. Imagine manipulating emails in 3D space for an immersive experience.
So, while email marketing may be an old digital marketing standby, it is poised to only grow in step with advancing technology. Check your inbox to see this future arriving soon!