Email is a major part of any business’ marketing platform, and rightly so. According to the Radicati Group, there are 6.32 billion email accounts worldwide with 3.7 billion unique users. The number of accounts is expected to grow to over 7.71 billion by 2021. The same report has tracked that there are 269 billion emails sent every day, which breaks down to just a little over 3.1 million emails per hour.
With this much growth and activity, email users represent a prime business opportunity, no matter what a business’ target audience is. Email consistently provides a healthy ROI for your marketing dollar, and is one of the fastest growing lead generators, driving nearly 25% of all orders on Black Friday.
Of course, you probably knew this, and you’re busy preparing your email campaigns for 2018, and wondering what the biggest new email marketing trends for 2018 are. In a word, it comes down to one significant factor: personalization. Here are three ways you can drive customers to your door by focusing on their individual needs.
Interactive E-mail Pops
Customers have short attention spans when it comes to email; if something doesn’t grab their attention or interest right away, most will click the delete button. That makes it imperative that the email you send to them is engaging or fun in some way. One key way of doing this in 2018 will be the ability to embed HTML5 videos inside your email.
Imagine that instead of a wall of text and images, you’re able to introduce a new item with a short and snazzy video. With the information that you’ve gleaned from your customers’ shopping habits, you can make sure that they get something that will grab their interest and keep it as they read the rest of your message. Add a direct link to the video’s subject, and you’ll see an uptick in click-throughs to your site.
It’s not just videos that can increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Email carousels with a selection of images built for your targeted audience can increase click-through rates. This interactive content will keep your customers engaged with you before they visit your site.
When you create your interactive email campaign, make sure that your content is able to be viewed on the platform you’re sending it to. For example, HTML5 videos will currently only display in a few clients, such as Apple Mail, iOS10, and Samsung Galaxy’s native email client. Other clients will currently only display a fallback image, but expect them to integrate HTML5 support into their clients quickly.
And when you’re creating your 2018 email campaign, don’t neglect your social media pages. Integrating a set of social media share buttons for your videos and photos encourages your customers to share your content on their own social media. That integration allows your email campaign to connect more deeply with your targeted market.
Automation Isn’t Just for Bots
Email automation has gotten a bad reputation, primarily because most people think of them as a way to automatically deliver batch and bulk emails. Bulk emails that are spammed out are a bad move because they miss the one thing that you will need in your email campaign for 2018: personalization.
However, email automation isn’t just sending out the same newsletter or email to a hundred or a thousand customers. Instead automation lets you set up specific triggers for your emails. Does a customer purchase product X? That signals your automation to fire off an email to them in 48 hours that recommends specific accessories that they may need, which helps improve your response rates.
After all, your email campaigns aren’t designed purely for the amusement of your customers. The end goal is to foster a sense of loyalty to improve your bottom line. The use of automation makes use of the wealth of data that you’ve collected from your customers. This allows your emails to become more personalized and relevant, encouraging a better clickthrough rate, leading to a higher overall conversion rate.
Providing this sort of personalization in your 2018 email campaigns will have very real benefits for your company. According to a report by the DMA, these triggered campaigns generate 21 percent of all email marketing revenue.
Maintaining that efficiency means that your marketing department can’t be content to rest on their laurels and consider email automation to be the end of it all. Instead, the email campaigns will need to be reviewed and the triggers that create email responses tweaked according to feedback and response rates.
Segmentation is Personalization
Using the data you’ve collected also means that you can start to segment your target audience, increasing the personalization of your messages. Segmentation groups your customers according to common demographics. It could be that a group tends to purchase clothing in a certain color, or another group lives in a certain area of the country.
For example, if you sell sporting goods, you can use a trigger to let customers in certain snowy areas know about the great deals you have on ski and snowboarding gear. You can set a trigger for two weeks before Snoqualmie Pass opens in Washington State for customers who live in the northwest, or set a trigger for weather conditions in Wyoming for customers who live in the Rocky Mountains. By segmenting your customers, you’re creating an email that directly targets them for their likely interests.
This creates relevant content that not only improves your email conversion rates but also reduces the number of people who unsubscribe. And the more people who you maintain in your email mailing lists, the more people you are reaching for each campaign.
Everything Under One Roof
As you create your personalized and targeted email campaign for 2018, start shifting the focus of your email from “what’s now” to “what’s next.” Think about how Netflix makes recommendations for what you should watch next based on what you’ve watched in the past. It’s this sort of all-in technique that will change how your company tackles its email campaigns in 2018.
In the past, companies tended to focus on the acquisition and retention of customers, neglecting the other parts of the customer life cycle. However, as customer relationship management (CRM) blends in more with marketing, the other parts of the cycle increase in importance.
Your email campaigns for 2018 and beyond should start to focus on things like conversion, loyalty, and reach. With the creation of engaging and relevant content, you can leverage your customers into spreading your content far beyond your own reach, drawing in additional customers and creating customers who are loyal to your brand.
Additionally, using email to create a unified experience for your customer will become more important. Embedding a 30-second video that teaches a customer a new use for your product encourages them to use it. And as they use it, their desire to learn more about what your particular widget can do will drive conversions to both your brick-and-mortar locations and your e-Commerce site.
With the right content tailored to your customers, your emails begin to act as a cohesive all-in-one interaction for your customers. This ensures that your message can grow and adapt as your customers change, making sure that your customer engagement and loyalty is continually improving.