Email is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers, and this isn’t going to change in 2018. 91% of all U.S. consumers use email and 66% have purchased something online as the result of receiving an email or an email marketing campaign. Statistics show that email is still a major player when it comes to content marketing. Email is even more important if your business operates strictly online because, unlike social media platforms that can disappear or change their algorithms at any time, email has proven it’s here to stay.
Email marketing trends in 2018 will continue along the same path that 2017 email marketing did. Emails will become more automated, include more videos, be more personalized, and more interactive.
Continuing with some of the trends established in 2017, email trends for 2018 fall into seven broad categories.
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Small businesses, in particular, will need to take advantage of automation if they want to stay competitive. The key behind automation is that it’s designed to save businesses time and money. It’s also linked to consumer behavior such as filling out a form or adding something to their cart on your website. This means that an automated email is 70.5% more likely to be opened. It provides information to your customers exactly when they need it.
There’s a good chance that your audience is accessing their email on their smartphone. This means it’s important that the emails you send can be easily read on a mobile device. By the year 2018, as many as 80% of consumers will be accessing their email via their mobile device. When thinking about mobile viewing, keep your subject lines short, your content concise, and use clear calls to action and engaging preheader text.
Video requires little effort to understand and is quickly and easily consumed, especially on mobile devices. Until recently, many email management systems (EMS) were unable to display embedded video but this is quickly changing. If your EMS doesn’t allow embedded video watch for this to change very soon. In the meantime, animated GIF’s can be used in place of video or you can even use an image with a play button as a way to link to a site where your customers can play your video. Nowadays, it’s pretty cost-effective to hire a freelance animator to create a short set of branded animated gifs for your business, which will inevitably provide a solid ROI.
Mass impersonal email blasts just don’t work. Personalize emails by using your customers’ names when you have them. Emails that use people’s first names get higher open rates than those that simply say “Dear Customer”. It’s also a good idea to personalize the “from” portion of your email. It’s important to make sure it’s clear who the email is coming from. Emails sent from a personalized account are more likely to be opened than those that are sent from a “no reply” address.
Create thoughtful and personalized email subject lines that are relevant to your subscribers. It’s important that the subject line gives your readers an idea of what your email will be about and isn’t just something catchy to try and trick them into opening your email. Nobody likes to be tricked.
Interactivity will increase in 2018. Increase engagement by including GIF’s, quizzes, countdown timers, and add-to-cart functionality in your emails.
Another way to increase interactivity and engagement is to send to lists that actually want to hear from you. Stop sending to lists with low open rates. Low open and engagement rates hurt your domain reputation and your chances of engaging with other customers who are interested in hearing from you. Don’t be afraid to remove subscribers who aren’t opening your emails.
Have a goal for your email before you hit send. Think about what you want your subscribers to do, if anything, before drafting your email. Identify the purpose of your email, then write the entire email with that in mind. Make it easy for your subscribers to do what you want them to do. If you want them to read your blog post, then provide a link to the post. Provide more than one way for your subscribers to achieve your goal by using links in the text of your email, and buttons or calls to action at the end of your email.
Use the built-in analytics that comes with your email management system to improve your open rates. Think of the analytics as feedback and make note of how the numbers move (up or down) when you change something. This often requires a lot of testing.
Play around with the day you send your emails and see what works the best for your subscribers. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the most popular days to send emails so an email sent on one of those days are not as likely to be opened because your subscribers will be inundated with emails from other lists they’ve joined. Focus on subscribers who have submitted a form on your website. Don’t buy email lists.
Keep an eye on your analytics. If unsubscribing seems to be a trend, then you’ll want to find out what’s going on. This is also true if people aren’t opening your emails. Respect your subscribers’ wishes. If you are marked as spam then immediately stop sending emails and see if you can find out what may have caused your subscribers to think of your emails as spammy.
The definition of spam has changed. It’s no longer just emails to people who haven’t given you permission to email them – it’s also email that gets sent to subscribers who never open your emails. This is called graymail. Unsubscribes can actually be a good thing because it reduces your chances of sending graymail and increases the chances that your subscribers are actually reading your emails.
Another way to increase your open rates and reduce the amount of graymail you send is to make sure you’re sending great emails that customers want to read. Think about your ideal customer and what they want to know. Do they want tips and tricks, personal stories, or the latest deals? Maybe they want all of those things. Knowing and understanding your customers is key. A good rule of thumb is to send emails that provide value to your customers 80% of the time and promotional emails the other 20%.
Almost 70% of consumers have purchased online as a result of an email or an email marketing campaign, so it’s definitely worth putting some thought into your email marketing strategy. If you’d like help making your emails stand out, contact our team of experts at Zen Media today.