Marketing best practices are always changing. The influx of new trends every year is an opportunity to improve and refine your marketing strategy. Email marketing is consistently one of the most cost-effective and preferred ways to promote a business. Its superpower lies in its ability to constantly adapt to fit the market. This year, we expect to see these five trends:
An email is mobile-responsive when the layout and content changes to fit the size of the user’s screen. And because over 75% of people check email most often on their phones and 50% use their mobile device to make a purchase after receiving a promotional email, it’s vital to have emails that fit the reader’s screen.
Here are some ways to make your messages mobile-friendly:
- Write short subject lines so they don’t get cut off on phones’ and tablets’ narrower screens.
- Check that your text and call to action buttons are visible, readable and clickable by the touch of a thumb.
- Think about how the different aspects of an email will layer on a small screen, and how long it will take users to scroll through the message for information. For example, break up big chunks of text that will be overwhelming on mobile.
- Design your emails to be one column wide to make your text or images stack easily.
- Remember to test your email before you send. Make sure everything looks and performs as it should on your own computer, tablet and/or smartphone.
2. Emails with video
Sometimes, a lot of imagery in an email can make your message look like spam. However, a well-deployed video can increase your clickthrough rate by 300%. Since videos are easy to share and don’t take much effort from the recipient, they make a powerful email ally.
No video? No problem! First, make sure you want to share valuable information, and not just create a video in the hopes of going viral (which is difficult to do). Then, consider talking to a product owner or pulling content from your blog to provide the substance of the video. Many smartphones shoot professional-quality video, and there are many movie-making platforms, like iMovie or Adobe Spark, that have a range of capabilities and templates if you’re not a video whiz.
Remember to keep your video as consistent, conversational and to the point as you would the words in your email. In addition, consider capturing an image from your video and linking to the page where the video lives. This allows you to communicate right away, but also encourages clicks to your website.
Similar to video, GIF animations are an effective and fun way to get attention. GIFs, short for Graphic Interchange Format, are a series of images or soundless videos that play on a loop. Their small size and usually humorous content makes them popular for sharing via text message, email and social media.
Another option for animation, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) animation is built using code to manipulate the HTML of the campaign and create a sense of motion. CSS animations load faster than GIFs because the file sizes are smaller. Because they are text-based, they can play swiftly and simply on multiple devices. CSS animations are a great option for showing a product clip, as you can include a brief movement of someone using it.
Animation catches the eyes of the reader: 68% of millennials use and like seeing GIFs, emojis and stickers in their emails. Animations allow for interactive email experiences and provide unique visuals for your campaign. On top of this, GIFs lighten the mood and bring laughter while making your message or promotion stick out.
Whether it’s a clip from a hit TV show that will endear you to customers or a Thanksgiving Day turkey dancing, animations are worth your consideration. Like images, though, limit animation to only one or two per email.
4. User-generated content
Utilize the power of social proof by letting your customers’ opinions shine through in your emails. Include reviews of a new product you want customers to try, or ask customers to post a photo with your hashtag and share it.
User-generated content (UGC) engages customers and is a more authentic, memorable way of explaining why people should try your product or service. According to Stackla, consumers find UGC nearly 10 times more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision. And millennials think UGC is 35% more memorable than other media.
If you’re still unconvinced, Salesforce found a 73% increase in email clickthrough rates with UGC. To get started, after customers have purchased and used your product or service, ask them a question to prompt their feedback — and always make sure to get permission before you use their words and images.
5. Artificial intelligence
To connect with customers, companies are going to have to go the extra mile to stand out and communicate effectively. Personalization will have extra importance this year, as will having the resources to create smart emails and filter contacts based on behavior. According to Socialnomics, 95% of marketers say personalized email have improved their email open rates.
Ever-better artificial intelligence technology will help make this possible by analyzing what works and continually tailoring emails to fit each consumer individually.
Artificial intelligence makes it easy to target and gain information about your emails. It can use data to predict what language and offers will lead to the best outcome, smartly segment your audience, optimize subject lines and more. Find tools that can get your business started using AI for email marketing, and join the 49% that use it already.
With all the potential 2020 holds, it’s going to be a big year for email marketing. Are you taking advantage of all it has to offer?