We’re still at the start of January, which means that it’s a perfect time to get ready for the year ahead. As always, that means anticipating developments in online marketing and communication.
We have already discussed our digital marketing forecast for the next year, so it’s worth delving into more detail on email marketing trends for 2018. Here are 5 developments in email marketing that any B2B or B2C firm should prepare for in the coming year.
Emails Will Have to be Earned
In a previous post, we discussed the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a measure due to be implemented in May 2018. The GDPR is meant to strengthen data protection for individuals in the EU and regulate the export of personal data outside the Union.
Though the remit is nominally EU-wide, it will affect marketers everywhere. One of the big changes is going to be a prohibition of purchased email lists. This is ultimately not bad news; since email lists will have to be earned, you’re likely to get higher engagement and a more receptive audience to your email traffic. Initially, the beginning of 2018 should focus on building a strong email list of engaged users organically, to minimize the effects of GDPR. This is a constraint that can be used to a firm’s advantage.
More Segmentation and Personalisation
It’s not enough to just have the lead’s name at the top of the email anymore. In order to be the most competitive for customer attention, emails will get increasingly personalised. The content of emails, the timing, and the products called out within will be tailored to what leads have shown interest in before.
Some of the biggest companies, like Amazon and LinkedIn, already use email personalisation techniques. Fortunately, new marketing automation platforms and software enable smaller companies to implement these tactics. Make 2018 the year that your firm does, too.
Emails Will Be More Interactive
Expect to see new levels of interactivity within the body of an email itself—this kind of interface is sometimes called a “microsite”, to conjure up the image of a distinct website appearing in a customer’s inbox.
To capture more engagement with less buy-in from your leads, make your emails interactive, with forms and other items they can engage with within the email. This has several advantages over the old email paradigm: customers don’t have to click over to your site, for instance, and a stimulating interactive interface is more likely to interest them and keep them reading. The big guys like Amazon and Sephora have been doing this for a while, so smaller firms should be learning from that success and implementing those tactics.
The Rise of Design Thinking
User experience and user interface matter, especially in mobile. More traffic has moved to mobile, and users expect even their marketing emails to be not just functional but sleek and attractive. According to one study, 62% of users in the US purchased something from their mobile device in 2017—and an alarming 84% experienced difficulty and were unable to complete their transaction. A large percentage of those users then went to a competitor’s site to purchase from them instead.
Make 2018 the year that your firm ensures you won’t be one of those unfortunate companies. Make design thinking a priority, because as with the point above, customers will expect it. Particularly in mobile, emails will increasingly resemble websites, and marketers will have to test how their emails look, not just how they work, across all platforms.
SMBs Will Move Faster
Due to innovations in communications technology, small- and mid-sized businesses are going to be capable of more in 2018 and beyond.
For instance, marketing automation has become accessible to small businesses at every price point (and any firm should consult our marketing automation series to familiarize themselves with the different platforms). As we detail in our series, marketing automation is going to give smaller firms capabilities that they may have once thought out of their range.
In 2016 and 2017, we saw big businesses constantly innovating their email marketing, while SMBs were slow to catch up. That gap is narrowing every day, as marketing automation means that businesses of every size can implement new strategies faster, and segment their audiences more precisely.
These are 5 email marketing techniques that your firm should consider mandatory for the coming year. Not every firm will be implementing the most innovative email marketing trends, and when you do, you will have a distinct advantage in getting your prospective customers to open, read, and click what you send them.
Have you implemented these techniques? Are there any major email marketing tactics that should be included? Let us know!