When it comes to marketing channels, email still rules in terms of performance and results. Here are a few recent studies that not only demonstrate email’s prowess, but also give a good indication of emerging industry trends.
Email marketing will drive insane revenue in 2018. Forget the 124 percent median average ROI reported in 2017 by the DMA. That’s a fraction of what you can earn from email this year.
The following 5 email marketing trends will help my first prediction come true. You can use them to stand out in inboxes flooded with bland, boring and downright spammy emails.
Predictive marketing is one of the biggest buzzwords and hottest topics in email marketing today. That’s because it’s one of the most powerful techniques for building profitable, long-term relationships with customers. By leveraging predictive marketing, you can analyze customer data (e.g., website browsing behavior and purchase history) to better understand your customers’ interests, habits, and needs, as well as their likely response to your email content and messages. In this way, you’ll make smarter, more data-driven decisions that will ultimately give a big boost to your email performance and ROI.
Hyper – Segmented Email Automation
In 2018, a single automation series won’t be enough. As inboxes flood with more and more emails, you must be different to stand out. Hyper-segmented automation, when you create custom automation series for subscribers with different needs, interests, or characteristics, will play a big part in this.
The more segmented and targeted your automation, the more it’ll resonate with subscribers. This leads to higher open and click-through rates. In fact, targeted emails can drive up to 77 percent of your overall email ROI, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI and machine learning go hand-in-hand with predictive marketing in gaining insight to your customers’ interests and needs to deliver a customized email experience. Although you already may be using multivariate testing, AI- and machine learning–powered testing platforms can help you perform more robust testing. And with more detailed analyses, you can identify customer trends faster and be able to react in real time. In this way, AI can help you determine the subject lines, email content, and calls to action that will get the best open, click, and conversion rates. The AI marketing solution Phrasee, for example, claims that its AI-generated subject lines outperform handwritten ones 95% of the time.
This is just one example of how AI can optimize email-marketing campaigns. Another is machine learning, which can be harnessed to determine the best send times, frequency, and cadence to maximize conversions. And yet another is driving more revenue from campaigns by predicting which promotional offers work best for individual customers.
Text Only Emails
While beautiful, image-heavy emails (like the Godiva email below) remain popular with huge retail brands, small businesses will continue to adopt simple, text-only emails in 2018.
Text-only emails, although they may be less eye catching for subscribers, are popular among entrepreneurs and small businesses and will continue to be. For two reasons:
- They feel more like a personal message and less like an advertisement. People tend to put up their guard when they think marketers are selling them something. Text-only emails, since they look like the messages you receive from friends, family, and coworkers, seem less like marketing and more like a conversation.
- They’re easy to create. For text-only emails, all you need is written content. No more scouring the internet for free stock images or fidgeting with a clunky email template. Simply type your content and send. For time-strapped businesses, this simplicity is attractive.
Ben Settle, email marketing expert, copywriter, and entrepreneur, sends text-only emails without exception. As a result, his messages feel personal and raw, like an email from a friend.
Adding dynamic content and kinetic design elements to your email campaigns can boost engagement and increase conversions by reducing the friction in the buyer journey. For example, interactive emails include such features as hover-over animations, carousels and rotating banners, games, quizzes and surveys, and HTML5 video players, as well as click-to-purchase and add-to-cart functionalities.
Thanks to these interactive design features, your email subscribers won’t have to click a link embedded in your email to see more relevant content and product choices, watch a video, or make a purchase. Instead, you can provide more of a website experience for your subscribers within the email itself. And the good news is that kinetic design and interactive functionality are now supported by the email clients that most of your audiences use.
Thanks to advances in predictive marketing, AI, and automation, it will be easier and more cost-efficient than ever to personalize your email campaigns. A Yes Lifecycle Marketing 2017 study showed that personalized subject lines had 50% higher open rates and 58% higher click-to-open rates compared to subject lines that were not personalized. However, only 2% of the 7 billion emails studied had personalized subject lines.
Personalization in email marketing goes beyond simply using a subscriber’s name to deliver more relevant, 1-to-1 email messages. And email list segmentation has been proven to be among the most effective ways to create more targeted emails. For example, research by Campaign Monitor showed that segmenting email campaigns to deliver more personalized content increased revenue by an impressive 760%!