Email marketing is still an incredibly valuable and powerful communication and marketing channel. Despite all of the changes to the digital landscape, email remains a platform unlike any other. However, there have been changes to the trends of how email marketing is being used and how it’s changing to adapt to what’s working, what’s popular and what’s possible.
The biggest contributors to changes in email marketing are, not surprisingly, related to other digital technologies, such as social media, mobile and video. This is not to take away from email, but rather to improve how email is used and what can be done with email.
As we move towards the fourth quarter of 2013, here are 5 email marketing trends on the rise.
Email Going Mobile
As the world shifts to be more mobile, email has to adapt, as well. Smartphone users are relying on their mobile device for consuming much, if not most, of their email. With the explosive growth of iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry devices over the past 5 years, mobile creates a new world and ecosystem for email.
As such, email marketers need to recognize that the way that emails display on mobile devices is really important for successful email marketing. If you’re using HTML email templates, consider responsive design to ensure that your subscribers can easily view, respond to and follow through on your calls to action.
Personalization Still Works
10 years ago, people were pretty wowed by getting a personalized email that included their first name in the message and many assumed it was a personal email. Fast forward to well into 2013 and personalization still captures attention. While most people now realize that each email wasn’t personally delivered to them, personalization that includes the email recipient’s name has proven to more than double open rates in many industries.
If you’re using email marketing, personalize your messages, as your customers and prospects want to feel like the message was intended for them. And, they are certainly more likely to notice, read and respond to your emails.
While not used by many marketers (which is pretty surprising,) email automation has been shown to improve engagement, especially with new customers. A confirmation, “thank you” or intro email messages have proven to do just this very effectively. Automated email follow up can be used for campaign that are spaced out over a timed sequence, or by dates, which could touch on milestones, anniversaries, etc.
Email and Social Media Working Together
Email and social media have proven to be good partners for marketing. Email broadcasts to announce updates that are posted in detail on a social site, or a message to encourage a social action such as a comment, like or tweet, has become very popular.
On the flipside, many email marketing platforms now offer social options, such as auto-publishing an email newsletter to Facebook and/or Twitter, as well as including social sharing buttons inside of email messages to spread or forward a message to friends.
Many people have seen and responded to email messages that include an image with a video player button, which link to the actual video message. While this has been wildly effective in getting more clicks, an exciting development is the advance of HTML5 which allows for true video integration into email, which has solved the technical issues with codex and email client capabilities. This is still very new, so be on the lookout for more to come along the lines of video email.