If you’re anything like us, one of your daily rituals would have to be checking your email or voicemail before your feet hit the ground. Of course, it may sometimes be your Facebook newsfeed that takes priority, but everyone, be it a stay-at-home parent or a Fortune 500 executive, is sure to stay updated on their emails.
Not surprisingly, the statistics tell the same story. A study by Radicati shows that in 2017, we had 2.7 billion email users worldwide, with that number set to grow to a sizeable 3.1 billion in 2020. The same study shows that in 2016, the number of emails sent and received per day was 215.3 billion, with this figure expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.6%, reaching over 257.7 billion by the end of 2020. Interestingly, according to this article by Optinmonster, even social media giants like Facebook and Twitter pale in comparison with a mere 1.7 billion and 313 million users respectively which, even when combined, is less than the 2.6 billion users for email. Moreover, over 58% of users say their first online “check” is their email. And that’s not all; research by MailMunch finds that email has a higher click-through rate (CTR) of 3.57%, as compared to a meagre 0.07% and 0.03% of Facebook and Twitter respectively.
If there’s anything we should take away from this, it’s the fact that with such a large user base and high user engagement, email marketing, if done right, holds the potential to amplify your marketing reach by leagues.
This is why we’ve decided to talk about three crucial trends in email marketing that we believe could help you raise your game to the next level.
1. Interactive emails
Instead of a standard email that is just meant to be read, an interactive email prompts the reader to engage with the content. This, in turn, helps boost engagement and better the conversion rate.
One of our favourite examples of an interactive email would have to be Tom’s “Flip The Switch” to promote their new glow-in-the-dark shoe collection. A well-crafted interactive “switch” that allows you to “switch off the lights”, revealing a glowing pair of shoes helps get the selling proposition across and adds a dose of fun to an otherwise monotonous inbox. Another great example would have to be the Black Friday promotional email by Nest, which is an excellent example of bringing the landing page to the email itself, giving the reader the ability to add Nest products to their cart and head straight to the checkout page.
As a marketer, you have a score of options you can try in your next email campaign, from GIFs, customer reviews/feedback, add-to-cart functionality, image sliders or carousels etc. Indeed, the possibilities are endless.
2. Automated/Triggered emails
Though not a new concept, ‘triggered emails’ are prompted by user activity, be it a ‘Welcome’ email when you sign up, a ‘purchase-reminder’ email when you remove a product or have a product in your cart but haven’t made the decision to buy yet etc. Such emails are automated and, as we have mentioned above, triggered by user activity. In an article by Liana Technologies, there is a rising trend among brands, big and small, adopting marketing automation, with over 40% of the 421 respondents (from Europe, Asia & Middle East) claiming they will be implementing marketing automation technology (including automated email marketing) by the end of 2018. So, let’s explore some of the many must-have ‘trigger emails’ that a brand, especially an e-commerce store, should have:
● Welcome email
When someone signs up on your website or newsletter, sending them a ‘Welcome’ email is a great gesture of appreciation, as well as to inform and/or tease what they can expect in return for their support. We love how Sidecar has set a great example for a ‘Welcome’ email.
● Discount email
An excellent method for attracting leads in any stage of the sales funnel. An example to follow would be that by TunnelBear, a VPN service provider promoting their discount offer.
● Purchase-reminder email
Also known as an ‘Abandoned cart’ email, this is a scenario every e-commerce store owner dreads. A ‘Purchase-reminder’ email can be used as a friendly reminder to the shopper that they are missing out on your products. In our opinion, Adidas has to be the winner with their “Is your WiFi okay?” email.
● Birthday/Anniversary email
What better time to buy something new than a special birthday or an anniversary? As per this blog article by Campaign Monitor, birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue (per email) than regular promotional emails and a 481% higher transaction rate.
You can set up an automated email to send our congratulatory messages or better yet, promo codes for your products. This ‘Birthday’ email by Nike is a great example of a ‘Birthday/Anniversary’ email done right.
3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Ah yes, the two wonders of technology that have captured the interest of almost every industry. If you have been following our blog, you will recall reading an article about the rise of virtual influencers which discusses CGI-rendered “influencers” and how AI is seeping into influencer marketing. It shows how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are no longer just figments of our imagination but are instead being adopted by more and more industries – be it retail, automotive, cyber security, etc.
In the context of email marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, while currently still in their nascent stage, will play a significant role in bringing about change in the way we use email. Some of the critical aspects in which we’re already seeing changes are:
● A/B testing: AI & Machine Learning technology enables you, the marketer, to learn what combination(s) of content perform the best in which segments, therefore helping you maximise revenues much faster as well. This also implies that you’ll spend less time on testing and instead, will be able to find the perfect combination sooner.
● Automating target list segmentation: No matter how much you rely on statistics and how much content your audience is consuming, a subscriber is still a human being, each with his or her own preferences, lifestyles and habits for engaging with content. With AI and Machine Learning, you can automate your emails to reach your subscriber at the ideal time and day for maximum performance.
● Better content: While it is important to take advantage of new tools and technologies to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts, you cannot afford to forget the basics: content is still king. However, today AI technology can help with almost every aspect from suggesting and creating the body copy, the subject of the email to even the images within the layout.
While technology has continued to evolve and introduce us to new ways of communicating, such as tweets, status updates and picture-blogs with small to no captions, our affinity to email has not declined as much as was predicted. This is why whether you are a marketer or a business owner, building successful email marketing campaigns has become a very crucial cog in a well-oiled marketing machine.
Now that we have shared our top tips for email marketing, it’s time for you to chime in. Do you think email marketing is here to stay? Have you tried any of these strategies? Do you have a great email marketing campaign you would like to tell us about? Let us know in the comments below.