Seven Email Marketing Trends for 2018

By Wired Messenger Email Marketing

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1. Engaging Readers with Interactive Emails

The number one reason for sending an email is to engage your readers. Unfortunately, you’re not the only business reaching out. According to a report by The Radicati Group, 269 billion emails are sent per day worldwide. That’s a lot of clicking through for your readers.

To level up your email campaign, incorporate interactive elements that allow you to share your story in a fresh and exciting way. Interactive elements, like countdown timers and animated menus, boost email engagement and leave a lasting impression with the readers. Now, they’re not just reading content – they’re having fun with it!

These interactive emails act like mini-websites that present all the information that your reader needs in a fun and engaging way, without them having to click to another website or window.

And, we’re kind of experts at creating them. We can add these innovative features to your next email marketing campaign and even take things up a notch with an interactive game that your readers can play within the email.

2. AI-Powered Email Marketing

Many people think of creepy cyborgs when they hear the term AI. But, it’s much less scary than that, in fact it’s not scary at all – it’s awesome. High powered AI is actually revolutionizing marketing because it can test and gather information at a much faster rate than any human ever could.

We talked about Artificial Intelligence (AI) before and how it’s changing the face of marketing. And email marketing is one of the many fields where AI can have a positive impact. Machine-learning technology can be used to create influential emails that your subscribers will want to read.

With emails catering directly to their needs, your engagement rates will soar. Here are some ways that you can use AI to power up your email marketing strategy:

  • Subject Lines: Now, with a few clicks of a button, AI can test language used in email subject lines at lightning speed. It gathers data from the click rates and the engagement levels, and uses language identification to craft the most powerful subject lines that will attract the most readers. There are even companies, like Persado software, trying to develop AI that can recognize and gauge emotional reactions to language in order to create copy with higher impact.
  • Send Times: With the right AI technology, you can also determine the best time to send out your email campaigns. In the past, marketing firms had to run A/B testing to predict when readers are likely to open emails. Now, AI software has evolved to the point of sending emails based on each recipient’s individual peak time. Customers have their own preferences for when they want to read email, which AI can track. Then, the software can send emails at times that each person is most likely to check their inbox.
  • Dynamic content and offers: Catering emails directly to readers is a surefire way to get them to click through your content. And while AI can help with personalization and list segmentation (more on that next), it can also come up with content and offers that are most likely to convert your subscribers. Pulling data like search history and past purchases, AI software can predict what product or services your customers may be interested in next or what topics will resonate with them the most.

3. Personalizing Emails with List Segmentation

Personalizing emails has always been a popular marketing tactic for engaging readers. However, most campaign personalization efforts were limited to just greeting readers by name. While that’s still a nice touch, it’s come to be expected and subscribers want more from the companies that they follow.

Fortunately, with emerging software, we are better equipped to create email marketing content specific to readers. One way to help streamline the process is with list segmentation – essentially, splitting your readership into groups for a more personalized experience.

Using list segmentation, you can deliver content specific to current customers or potential clients. For example, think about an email campaign for shoes.

Segmenting your email list by gender allows you to send women and men shoe options specified to them. This prevents your customers from sorting through two extensive lists when they only need one. Very few women want to click through pages of loafers when they’re on the hunt for heels.

You can also track customers who have children and send them shoe options for appropriate ages, like toddlers versus school-aged children. With list segmentation, you can even customize emails to each subscriber’s personal taste, limiting the options to solely the sizes and colors that your customer prefers.

In the days of old, this type of highly targeted email campaign would have been tedious to implement and difficult to track. But now, with the help of the right software, the process has become seamless and effective. And everyone wins!

Your target audience receives information relevant and valuable to them, which results in higher engagement and conversion for you. According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39 percent of marketers who used list segmentation saw a rise in their email open rates.

4. Driving More Engagement with Unique Content

As we stated above, your readers get a lot of email daily. To compete with other emails vying for attention in their inbox, companies are standing out by providing even more valuable content to their readers. Expanding from basic product information, businesses are delving into their customers’ interests to provide content that their readers can appreciate.

For example, REI (a company that sells high-quality camping gear), knows that its readers will likely be interested in hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. Instead of limiting themselves to updates about their latest gear, they’ve started sending lists of suggested hiking trails near their readers based on the location data they’ve gathered from the mobile device’s geo capabilities. This sort of geo-dynamic content attracts their readers, provides valuable content and boosts engagement.

When appropriate, you want to adopt a conversational tone and provide content that reflects your audience’s interest. You should have that information already from your marketing strategy, as the demographic and details of your ideal customer. Now put that data to work by constructing content that piques their interest and speaks to their desires outside of your services and products.

5. Marketing Automation

Email automation may sound like simply sending out emails automatically, but there’s more to it than that. When planned correctly, you can send emails that will enhance your customer’s journey and increase engagement. Now, companies are saving time and increasing interest by crafting automated email workflows during different stages of their subscriber relationships.

Instead of receiving generic content, your readers can receive emails specific to an action they’ve just completed, like placing an order. And if yielded correctly, you can even get your readers to complete certain actions within these timed emails.

For example, we’ve created an email marketing strategy workflow that fires an email with a welcome message and coupon depending on how the user signed in (via WiFi sign up, website, mobile app, etc.). After 24 hours, we send a follow-up email asking them to complete a targeted action, like downloading the app or filling out a survey. In the next 24 hours, another email is sent with content dependent on if the previous email was opened or if the requested action was completed.

And that’s just the beginning! We continue building multiple triggers for every phase of the customer’s journey. You can remind customers to take action on an outstanding item, like booking an appointment or ordering more products. Celebrate milestones with anniversary or birthday offers. Or, if you haven’t heard from your customer in a while, re-engage them with a “We miss you” email to prolong their journey with your company.

As we continue working with email automation, we can develop more complex workflows that bring more results from users during every step of their customer relationship.

6. Reviewing Canada Anti-Spam Laws (CASL)

As of July 1st, 2017, the probation period for the Canada Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) regulations ended, which has been a confusing adjustment for most companies. According to the CASL, organizations must have consent from recipients before sending them commercial emails.

Consent can be obtained two ways:

  • Express Consent: The recipient actively opts in to receive messages from your organization
  • Implied Consent: The organization obtains the recipient’s contact information from an “existing business relationship” or published information.

While express consent never expires, implied consent needs to be updated every two years. Some businesses decided to err on the side of caution by exclusively sending emails with express consent. At this point, those companies should have purged all their records of subscribers who have not replied, in order to stay compliant with the CASL regulations.

Companies can still send implied consent emails. However, they should purge their records on a two year basis if their subscriber doesn’t provide express consent by then.

In the coming months, we expect to see more companies implementing the rolling purges for their implied consent emails. If your company is still struggling with the changes, then you should consult with an experienced email marketing agency to ensure that your record purges are completed properly to prevent exposure.

On the upside, Canadian legislature decided to postpone the provision allowing individuals to file class action lawsuits to people and organizations in violation of the CASL. While this delay eases the pressure a little bit, it still pays to be in compliance with current email marketing laws. Not only does it protect your business, but most experienced marketers recommend these practices to build trust and transparency with your audience.

7. Prioritizing Mobile Design for Email Marketing

Mobile viewership has been on a steady increase since the introduction of the smartphone and it’s affecting how users are viewing their emails. According to Litmus Email Analytics, 54 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices.

For years, marketing gurus have been prioritizing mobile design for emails and we don’t see this trend stopping any time in 2018. And as new and improved smartphones continue rolling out, there’s even more opportunity to make your emails shine on mobile devices.

Here are some features you should focus on for your email marketing campaigns in 2018:

  • Longer Screens: In late 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone 8 plus, which features a longer screen than the previous model. Fortunately, the width remains the same, so you won’t have to focus on completely redesigning your email layout. However, with the longer screen, you have more room to list valuable content while still keeping your call to action “above the fold”.
  • Better Screen Resolutions: New smartphones, including the iPhone 8 Plus, roll out with improved display resolutions which should tickle your creative bone. Better screens mean sharper images and colours, so you have more options for mobile email designs that don’t compromise quality.
  • Coding Fallback Options for All Users: New smartphones are rolling out for iPhone and Android users yearly, and the market is split when it comes to brand preference. Don’t risk alienating readers by only focusing on features supported by one manufacturer over the other. Add coding for fallback options so that every reader can view your content, regardless of which mobile device they’re using.

At Wired Messenger, we focus on constructing strategies featuring the hottest email marketing trends. To stay ahead of the curve with your email marketing strategy, contact us today to learn more about what we can do to level up your email game.

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