From humble beginnings as text-only messages, email has come a long way since the 1990s. Today, email is an interactive, engaging and powerful medium in and of itself.
What will email marketing look like in years to come? How can you get ahead of the curve? Every small business can get a jump-start with cutting edge email strategies that will transform your email marketing.
Email marketing trends
Here’s an inside look at three effective email marketing trends and strategies you can incorporate into your email campaigns.
1. Deep personalization
According to Epsilon research, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. Potential customers respond better when marketing messages are aligned with their tastes and habits. This is common sense.
Consider how flat a wheat bread email campaign would fall if it was sent to an email list of people who are on a gluten-free diet. Email segmentation and targeting is essential to get the best return on your email investment.
Deep personalization goes beyond segmenting potential customers into demographic groups. Using marketing automation tools, emails can be sent based off of certain triggers. You can use customer milestones to trigger emails. For example, an online apparel brand can use transaction history data to determine how much each customer has spent over the last 90 days and offer VIP customers access to special programs and discounts. This information can automatically trigger an email to thank those customers for their loyalty and offer exclusive access.
An Evergage study confirms the importance of personalization. “Marketers overwhelmingly agree (98%) that personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 74% claiming it has a “strong” or “extreme” impact. Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) state that their customers and prospects expect a personalized experience.” Take advantage of personalization opportunities to engage customers and build brand loyalty.
2. Interactive email
For many years, the default interaction of an email was simply the links embedded within it. Now, with advances in email capabilities (e.g., Gmail now allows CSS!), companies can create a truly interactive email experience.
One promising application is a virtual shopping cart within the email. A user can select an item, along with features (e.g., color, size, and style) and place an order without opening a new browser tab.
The challenge of interactive emails is deliverability – the technical feasibility of designing feature-rich HTML emails that work across different platforms. With personalization and real-time email marketing, interactive emails can be tested on a particular list segment.
While complex interactive emails will take some coding skills, simple interactive emails will become more and more commonplace. For example, a basic interactive email campaign might include an animation that changes as the user engages with it.
3. Real-time email
Real-time emails use information from the recipient’s device to deliver targeted content. Customized content such as local weather and news can be based on the user’s IP address. The time of day a potential customer reads an email can also be used to adjust the email content in real time.
For example, companies often send coupon offers via email. Often, these time-sensitive emails include a static coupon date, which might be opened too late. A real-time email can automatically generate a coupon to last a specific period of time from the opening of the email.
Real-time email marketing has many creative applications, including countdowns, live surveys, and social media buzz.
Email as a destination
While websites aren’t going anywhere soon, emails are such an effective way to reach an audience. So much so that they are becoming mini-websites of their own. Websites must be visited, but emails come to you.
When given a choice between take-out and delivery, many customers will choose the convenience of delivery. Make email work for you by using deep personalization, interactive elements, and real-time content to get your readers hooked.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamberofcommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of small business marketing, and has spent several years exploring topics like copywriting, content marketing and social media.