All right Thinkers, we have a fun blog topic to discuss this month. We chose to focus on a specific tactic of digital marketing that has the ability to directly reach repeat buyers, educate your following and drive sales for your brands. When used correctly, this tool has given brands a leg up again and again against their competitors, and also provides measurable conversion results. Yes, measurable! Are you ready to find out what that miraculous tool is?
It’s… Email Marketing!
Now, I can’t say I’m surprised by the less than enthusiastic look on your face. Email marketing isn’t exactly the most “sexy” digital marketing tool. It’s like the ballerina flats of your shoe closet. They’re not as show stopping as your stilettos but they sure are practical! And the proven results of wearing said ballerina flats? No blisters. Happy feet. Smooth strides. The list goes on. Men, the same could be said about the tape measure in your toolbox. Not as invigorating as the hammer, but purposeful nonetheless. A good ol’ standby.
Email marketing is the practical and proven tactic in our digital marketing toolbox, and with new advances in our industry it has the ability to be more exciting than ever.
Now, let’s dig into the top 5 trends of email marketing for 2019.
Segmentation isn’t new in the world of email marketing, but a new wave of “hyper segmentation” will be more personalized than ever before. Consumers will be segmented based on interests, buying habits, and personality more specifically than was possible in the past.
One effective way to do this is through allowing newsletter recipients to opt in, or self select, the content they wish to receive. Brand’s wanting to try out this approach of self-selected content are able to due so in the initial newsletter sign up, or by sending out a quiz to their current subscribers. This ability to personalize their own content will allow viewers to feel more understood as you will be providing them with the most valuable content possible.
Another easy form of personalization that businesses are utilizing is including the viewer’s first name in the 2ndor 3rdparagraph of the email, in addition to the initial “Hello, Jane.” Addressing the viewer later in the email allows the messaging to feel more personal and direct.
2. Interactive Content
2019 is the year of authentic engagement. Can you feel it? So often marketers think of engagement as being strictly a term for social media performance, but it is so much bigger than Instagram and Facebook comments. All marketers must ask themselves, “How am I allowing my customers to engage with my brand, and in what other ways could they be interacting with it if we gave them the opportunity?”
Email marketing is no longer just about delivering a message, but giving the viewer the chance to interactwith the message. The new vehicles of this engagement include quizzes, games, and surveys. These activities are fun, but value driven. And don’t forget your call to action messaging, as this compelling copy is imperative to drive engagement with your interactive tools.
Some examples of these tools in action include sending out personalized quizzes helping a customer determine their best products from your line, follow ups from their recent purchases and surveys relevant to your brand. A great organization will give viewers the opportunity to engage with their brand without being boring or forceful. Through skillfully curating interactive content for your consumers, they will engage with your emails and hopefully develop into brand loyalists.
3. Text Only Emails
I dare you to go through the emails from your favorite brands, and tell me what you find. Historically, branded emails have been filled with images of new products and graphically designed sale announcements. In the beginning of email marketing, these image centric formats were a creative way to spice up email communication. However, we are now at the point where consumers are being inundated with product imagery in their inbox, and it is no longer as compelling as it once was.
Behold, the new approach of text only emails!
This new trend is expected to gain traction quickly as it allows brands to approach customers in a very human way. New generations of consumers value meaningful interactions more than any generation before, making personal connection a top priority in all forms of marketing. Incorporating less imagery and sales focused content in an email allows the interaction to take center stage, and the viewer to feel personally addressed. Some businesses are incorporating this trend into their strategy by sending out quarterly or monthly updates from their founders to bring transparency to their loyal followers. Others are sending out direct text only emails from customer service team members to offer a helping hand to indecisive shoppers. The opportunities are endless.
People don’t want to be sold to, but they definitely want to buy great products and it’s the cherry on top when they are able to engage with a real person who is able to address their needs. The approach of sending a text only note to consumers has the ability to feel authentic and most importantly, personal.
4. Storytelling and the Return to Longer Form Content
Marketers know the power of a good story. They help develop connections, educate, and create authentic brand personalities. Yet, somehow, the potential power of utilizing stories in email marketing campaigns has remained untapped.
2018 spearheaded the return of longer form content, and the associated higher value with this content will only become more appreciated as 2019 progresses. With an overabundance of information and click bait on the Internet, the new generation of consumers holds a deep appreciation for the value that is found in longer form content, especially when stories help make the in depth content digestible.
Utilizing a story at the beginning of your email newsletters is a new approach to intrigue your readers, and simultaneously make the main purpose of the email more relatable. We encourage you to try it, especially if you plan to test out the text-only email trend.
5. AI Technology
Finally, the trend you’ve all been waiting for! AI Technology in Email Marketing! As this tool’s capabilities progress, it has the ability to help every marketer with all 4 trends we discussed above.
First, AI technology is able to create customized content to improve the personalized experience of every email. Second, it can increase engagement by finding preference trends and predicting the performance of your future emails. AI is able to do this by determining the most effective subject lines, images, and words based on all of the engagement data your team has yet to dig into.
Recently I received an email alerting me about events occurring nearby every weekend. I was immediately intrigued and followed the link to the event calendar only to find no events were scheduled for over two weeks away! With the assistance of AI, this email could have eliminated the unfortunate use of click bait by scheduling to alert me about upcoming events that were also personally relevant to my interests.
With so many amazing inventions and evolutions in our digital marketing industry, email marketing might not seem like the most exciting topic. But, it works. Research shows that 91% of all consumers in the US check their inbox every single day! With its visibility and proven past, our Think team is ecstatic to see how these new trends revamp the way everyone views email marketing in 2019.