What Does the Future of Email Marketing Look Like?

Email marketing has evolved over the years from a simple content promotion channel to a full-scale relationship nurturing tool, but where are things headed from here? What does the future look like for email marketing?

Our opinion? Bright, very bright.

Usage may change, and the role of email in marketing funnels will change, but by understanding where email marketing is headed we can adapt our approach and make the best use of email for our content marketing long term!

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Email Marketing in the Past

Email marketing originally began as a way to promote original content, like blogs, and keep an interested audience informed and updated. Now, email marketing functions as a lead generation machine, with more automation capacity and audience-tailored nurture functionality than ever.

In 2017, there were 3.7 billion global email users, and it’s predicted that there will be 4.1 billion users by 2021 (Statista). Email is now an integral part of everyday life and is a ubiquitous communication tool by users everywhere - from companies and large organizations to single users.

According to DMA Insight, 99% of email users check email every single day. For many, they check 20 times a day or more!

With over 85% of adults and over 78% of teenagers using email, we know email marketing isn’t going anywhere. It will change, however, and marketers everywhere need to be prepared for the evolution.

How Will Email Marketing Evolve?

Think about all the emails you receive on a daily basis. Dozens? Hundreds, even? Now, how many of those do you actually open? And, how many of those do you actually read?

Because we’re sending and receiving so many emails on a daily basis, we’re being inundated by content. Email marketing is here for the long run, but for our content to stand out in inboxes and get read, a few things need to change.

  • More segmenting and automation: List-wide broadcasts will be used less often as segmentation and categorization rises. The beauty of automation and segmentation is to customize hyper-targeted emails to specific audience members as they take specific actions, like clicking on a “buy now” CTA but not purchasing the item. With automation and segmented lists, we can now send a very specific email to that one person, tailored to the very step they’re taking in their customer journey!

  • More of interactive content: Interactive content, like videos and GIFs showcase the personality of your brand and add flavor to your emails. Want your emails to get read? Make them a part of your brand experience, not promotion. According to Martech Advisor’s 2017 data, adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%!

  • Human-driven communication: Automation will support the “when and where” of our email communications with our audience members, but humans still crave human connection and content. Even if your automation game is complex and comprehensive, if your content isn’t personable or on-brand, it won’t be effective. Maintain your brand voice and provide content that connects from one human heart to another! Remember, strong relationships equal loyal, long term customers.

So, How Do We Adapt?

How can we adapt our approach to make the best use of email marketing for our content? Don’t just make noise in your audience’s inboxes, here are a few tips on how to stay relevant, seen and heard!

  • Don’t go overboard: Refrain from sending too many emails. While email is typically a pleasant, professional and relatable form of communication, 49% of consumers prefer to receive promotional emails on a weekly basis only. Be mindful of your automation setup to make sure no single audience member is receiving more than 2-3 emails from you a week.

  • Test, test, test!: Just like any other platform, email should be closely monitored and used to conduct experiment to determine which content resonates the most with your audience. Check in weekly with your analytics reporting and take note of what is being received well, and what isn’t, and make continual adjustments from there.

  • Be open to new tech and advancement: As tech evolves, its complexity to adopt will grow, but don’t let that prevent you from adopting new processes and systems that will benefit and grow your business. Keep an open mind, do your research, and consult experts in the field to assess whether or not a new practice will benefit your marketing in the long run. If it’s worth the investment, outsource the setup, implementation and integration process.

As technology evolves and the email marketing landscape adapts, we understand that it can begin to be too much for in-house teams to handle - that’s where boutique marketing firms come in! Want to know what it would look like to have us on your marketing team? Send us a quick email, and we’ll chat!