Today's marketers work in an environment in which they have access to thousands of tools and techniques for delivering their messages. But truly effective marketing campaigns come from first looking holistically and strategically at communication goals, then crafting narratives that best fit various delivery channels, including email.
When email marketing expert Tim Watson visited our offices to provide some expert insight into effective email design and copy, he sparked an interesting conversation about how to build a better email. And that got us thinking: What's next in email?
Our conclusion: creative custom content on the go!
- Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media, so it makes sense that the creative content of an email marketing effort would be important to subscribers—possibly as important as the offer being presented.
- Moreover, creative email content likely motivates the consumer to take up the customized action you have defined: 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and 78% say organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
- Marketers are forecast to spend $2.3 billion on email marketing this year. To ensure the highest possible ROI, email needs captivating, creative techniques to ensure delivery, grab subscribers' attention, and drive them to take action.
With all that in mind, we at Mailigen believe the following six email trends will define email marketing in the years to come.
1. Wearable technology will change communication with email subscribers
Wearable technology may be a game-changer for creatively engaging with email subscribers.
Google, for one, has already taken steps toward a wearable-ready Gmail design in preparation of an eventual move toward wearable Android devices.
Subscribers will triage email across multiple devices, and so the creative approach used to capture consumer attention will become more important than ever. Triage will mean that...
- A smartwatch can be used to filter nonessential emails from important messages.
- A smartphone can be used for interactions and to reply to short messages, while your laptop or desktop machine will be used for the rest.
All that renders the creativity of subject lines, header text, and visuals more important than ever.
2. Mobile marketing will continue to develop
As one of the most time-sensitive and personal means of communication, email continues to make the transition from desktop to mobile devices. As with wearables, mobile access changes the ways subscribers click and triage email.
Triage on a mobile device will become much more prevalent, making it even harder for marketers to deliver messages that are opened and converted. Accordingly, email creative will become more important than ever, and content will need to be good enough to...
- Hold the attention of consumers on a mobile device
- And to inspire a second look on the laptop/desktop
3. Proximity and geolocation will change the email marketing game
Proximity and geolocation can also drive new creative approaches for email marketing. Current capabilities include the ability to track the location details in terms of where a subscriber opens an email. So what can you do?
- You can automatically segment your email list and send campaign information to specifically designated areas.
- You can push SMS or email marketing offers to your subscribers based on their current or previous location points.
Email marketers will be able to deliver hyper-targeted information and use smart automation for driving more brand loyalty and introducing new customers to products or services.
There are obvious privacy issues concerning the use of proximity and geolocation services; however, geolocation applications provide the ability to opt in or opt out.
4. Video will continue to make email more interactive
Video is one of the fastest growing trends in email marketing. One limiting factor is that video doesn't really stream and playback within an email.
Some software clients support video playback in emails; however, Outlook and Gmail, two of the largest, do not support playback. Accordingly, marketers will have to become more creative in the short term for delivering subscribers an interactive video message.
Email marketing that uses video will continue to become more of a standard technique for reaching subscribers. Web-based distributor Shoeline.com, for example, increased its Web sales conversions 44% when it began using videos for showcasing its products.
Clearly, video can have a significant influence on your marketing and growth. So include engaging videos in your emails and add social network sharing buttons to help make your email content more easily shareable.
5. More transactions drive more revenue
In 2014, email marketing simply became better, driving more engagement and increasing revenues for savvy marketers who understand the benefits of detailed list segmentation and the delivery of truly optimized, timely content.
Transactional emails are potentially powerful email marketing tools and a fairly recent phenomenon that has begun to catch on with marketers.
Transactional email marketing may not seem like a likely optimal avenue for creative marketing; however, it is deeply rooted in permission-based marketing. So what's the best about them?
- Transactional email open rates are typically much higher than promotional emails.
- Incorporating better creative quality in transactional messages boosts email conversion rates even further.
Transactional emails deliver four times more revenue than promotional mailings. There is tremendous opportunity for delivering more creative transactional emails and for boosting conversions.
6. Predictive analytics will continue to drive behavioral email marketing
Analytics will drive behavioral email marketing by using customer behaviors for predicting and converting subscribers. A previous customer or subscriber behavior will trigger targeted and relevant email campaigns, resulting in exactly what the marketer predicted.
Although this approach is already being used by knowledgeable marketers, the process will become easier and more automated over time.
Because converting abandoned shopping baskets and moving prospects through the funnel is a top priority for marketers, behavioral emails will emerge as a top priority.
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Almost every brand has some form of email marketing capability as part of its integrated marketing strategy. These six trends assure us that email will continue to thrive as a marketing platform.
Some of these larger technology trends are an ideal fit for email marketing because they require a channel for private communication and the ability to opt out. And email marketing allows you to earn permission to deliver a message directly to subscribers.
By creating great email content with demonstrated value that you can deliver on the go, you will earn the attention of prospective clients.
Let us know what trends you think we missed!