“If your successful email marketing campaign suddenly goes silent, chances are, market trends shifted while you were high-fiving your team.” — Mediatool.Digital marketing is a numbers game and everyone needs email to win, particularly when email marketing has become one of the top marketing channels of the 21st century. But the prevailing trends continue to change as innovation and new techniques flood and transform the email marketing landscape. The changes have brought profits for brands that go with the flow. Many businesses that stay on top of the email marketing trends record up to $36 in revenue for every $1 spent. That said, let’s take a closer look at the email marketing trends of 2023.
1. Robust email security and privacy – campaigns must prioritize user consentGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has changed how email marketing is done today. In 2023, brands simply cannot send unsolicited, random emails without obtaining user consent. The increase in cyber-attacks and phishing emails has made spam filters even more sensitive to suspicious content in emails. Thus, we’re seeing tracking software go the extra mile to monitor emails based on criteria like click-through rate, time spent on email and overall engagement. The impact of this trend is why email marketing campaigns must prioritize user consent options like preferences and data privacy checkboxes in opt-in and signup forms.
2. Omnichannel communication – for higher engagementThe omnichannel strategy combines multiple communication channels like email, SMS, push notifications and webchats to reach customers. This strategy started gaining prominence after the pandemic, it’s now a full-blown trend in 2023. And it’s proving successful. Email marketers are now allocating a budget for campaigns that target customers through multiple channels to give them a seamless user experience. Some customers respond well when followed up with text messages after email. For that reason, digital marketers in 2023 are smart enough to ask customers to opt into their SMS lists, push notifications and so on. Stats show that this strategy is delivering serious results too. “Brands that use both email and SMS to reach customers record 19-25% more engagement compared to 5% or less for brands that stick to only email.” — Selzy.
3. User-generated content – customers trust customersUser-generated content is created by the customer for other customers, with the selling brand reaping all the juicy benefits. In 2023, your customers have become smarter and even harder to convince than ever. However, stats have shown that customers are more open to buying when it’s some other customer doing the marketing. “95% of customers read online reviews before buying a product and positive reviews can increase customer spending by 31%” — Luisa Zhou. User-generated content, particularly reviews, has become the rave of the moment for top brands and they never miss a chance to add it to every email campaign. But user-generated content is not limited to reviews. They could be case studies, blog posts/comments, surveys and social media posts. Value everything your customer has to say about your brand, anywhere they say it.
4. Metrics changes – open rates no longer tell the true storyA few years ago, email marketing campaigns were considered successful if metrics showed a high open rate. That’s no longer the case. The 2023 trend in email marketing shows that open rates have become a poor indicator of the success of email campaigns. And that’s because of two reasons:
- New privacy settings from companies like Apple make it impossible to track if a user opened an email blast or not.
- A user opening an email doesn’t mean they read through or engaged with the content.
5. Mobile-optimized emails – most people check emails on mobile phoneThe fastest and most convenient way to check an email for most people is via their mobile phone. That’s why email campaigns in 2023 must be optimized for mobile. Innovative mobile-friendly email design is the new trend in email marketing. Mobile-tailored emails feature a minimalist design, mobile-friendly font size, moderate animation and responsive images and GIFs. Such emails are also optimized for dark mode. Emails that are not mobile-friendly in 2023 will get fewer engagements and that could seriously harm ROI.
6. Super-personalized emailsToday’s email marketing campaigns have become super-personalized to improve user experience and engagement. Personalization of emails has proven to have a substantial impact on lead generation, customer retention and revenue. Highly personalised emails are tailor-made for the user. They are sent to segments or individuals based on their behaviour on your site, personal data, search intent and demographics. Here’s a quality example of a personalized email based on the user search intent for fintech loans: The engagement rate for such an email is above 90%. Before this trend took off, non-personalized email campaigns escaped with reasonable success. For example, in 1978, Gary Thuerk randomly sent the first email blast and recorded $13 million in sales. Fast forward to 2023, the random email strategy can be a recipe for failure.
7. AI impact – new technology doing the hard workArtificial intelligence is here to stay and it will affect nearly everything. It’s already having a massive impact on email marketing today. AI is helping email marketers write engaging subject lines, draft powerful emails and choose the best email templates. Most AI software for email will also gather data about your audience to ensure you only send super-personalized emails, as discussed earlier. AI even allows you to choose your tone of voice, word count, structure and language. Plus it makes sure your emails are free of grammatical errors. The AI trend for email will not slow down as digital marketers continue to understand how best to use it in their strategy. The time to get on board is now.
8. Interactive emails – responsive emails drive engagementOne of the strongest email marketing trends we’ve seen lately is the transformation of email from simple plain texts to interactive content that grab the attention of the customers for maximum engagement. In 2023, brands are creating email campaigns that interest the customers by showing, instead of telling. Such emails will allow the customer to gain a live experience of the content through interactive elements like polls, animated CTAs and responsive buttons or GIFs rather than a boring block of text. Here’s one example of what an interactive email looks like for a UK-based print and design agency that gets its customers to engage with their content using a GIF for a chance to get an offer. The text says ‘Chop that melon!’ with arms indicating a gesture the user has to perform. It’s just hard to ignore.
9. Email accessibility – content everyone can useEmail accessibility in 2023 is not just a trend but also an email marketing best practice. Brands think of all kinds of people when creating email campaigns, including the disabled – who make up 16% of the global population, according to the World Health Organization. Making emails accessible for all users ensures you don’t miss out on a large segment of your customer who may be physically impaired. Doing simple things like adding alternate text to images for screen readers, increasing font size slightly above 14px and ensuring that the flashing rate in animation is less than 55Hz can massively improve the accessibility of your emails.
10. Automated Email Campaigns – more results, less effortThe biggest brands in 2023 cannot manually reach out to all their prospects and customers through email. This fact is what started the automation trend in email marketing. Today there are hundreds of email automation tools built to help businesses automate their email marketing campaigns and reach a wider audience faster and more efficiently. Email automation works and brands have reported success in terms of conversion rate and customer retention after investing in it. Email automation software in 2023 are the complete package. They can segment audiences, send email triggers and workflow and conduct detailed analytics on campaigns. Combining this with AI can be explosive for business growth.
● BONUS: Predictive analytics – using historical data to drive successAs we said at the beginning, successful email marketing campaigns can grow cold depending on changes in email marketing trends and customer behaviour. That’s where predictive analytics come in. Even without understanding all the latest email marketing trends, predictive analytics help brands understand what customers are interested in. It shows you what content will generate the best sales based on past and present behaviour. The result is that brands can use this information to revamp their marketing strategy and ride trends for years while staying profitable. According to Infinite Flame CEO Cap Hernandez, there are five ways to deploy predictive analysis for email marketing success.
- Set clear goals. The target of your email marketing campaign must be identified with a clear objective set.
- Collect accurate data. The data being used for predictive analysis must be accurate, relevant and clean. Examples of the data you need are engagement frequency, subscribe/unsubscribe rate, feedback and purchase history.
- Use techniques to build predictive models. Using various machine learning techniques, you can create predictive models that show customer behaviour. An off-the-shelf software like Improvado or Siesense can work or you could hire a data scientist.
- A/B test your models. Every predictive model you create must be tested with feedback, validation techniques and other statistical tests before you can fully trust the result.
- Segmentation. Using the information gotten from your analysis, properly segment your subscribers and send them personalized messages based on their needs and preferences.