How can you connect with your audience of clients, customers, and fans in a way that creates a strong bond between them and your brand? That’s the question you should be asking yourself this year as you make email marketing decisions.
The following seven trends should guide you in the right direction. Any business, from a freelance operation to the largest corporations can use these techniques on some scale.
Video in Email
If you aren’t using video yet, 2018 is the year to start. You don’t just need to have video; you also need to know how to send video in email. That means making it, so the video or a visible thumbnail or link is displayed, not an attachment. No matter how much people like your brand, attachments from businesses typically have a spam-like feel to them.
Why video in email? Email that includes a video (in an obvious way) is as much as two to three times more likely to be opened. Further, a video is the best format to promote brand imagery recall. More than half of consumers report that they would like to see more video content and greater than 1 in 3 buyers indicate that they investigated a brand with the intent of purchasing after viewing a video.
To get the right video in front of the right audience members, however, you may need to narrow down your list. How great a need you have for segmentation also depends on how diverse the products and services your business offers are. If your business is hyper-focused on a single product that can only be used in a certain way, you may not need segmentation. But really, what company is like that?
Customer groups can be diverse, they come to your business for a myriad of reasons, fully realizing that your products or services can be used in more ways than what they need. Still, they only want content relevant to them, not just applicable to how your product “could” be used. If they get too much subjectively irrelevant content in a row, they’re likely to unsubscribe and miss out on something that would have been perfect for them down the line.
Segmentation solves this issue from the business side and the audience member side. With this technique, your list is broken up into segments based on specific criteria. You can do it manually, with the help of a form, or ask your audience to do it themselves with a straightforward, interactive approach. Emails may then be sent to all segments, several, or an individual group.
Building on segmentation, you can further personalize messages to your core customer groups. As outlined above, not all content is relevant to everyone, even if the common denominator is your business. Better personalization makes email more memorable.
In 2018, email personalization needs to go a little further than “Hello, [name]!” With as much AI as your customers are exposed to, they expect your marketing to be intelligent, too. In some way. For example, instead of sending a generic follow-up email for all of your products, key it into the exact product (or products) they purchased. Have a customer that’s made five orders in a year or stuck with you for five years? Recognize that.
Actionable Insights from Data
You should have the data collection systems in place already. If you don’t- go set that up. Really. Data collection is becoming more critical by the day. To compete and scale as your business grows, you need to have some data to work with. This information will also become essential as more AI tools are developed to help us sift through the data and make better decisions from it.
If the thought of implementing the trending segmentation and personalization techniques gives you pause, remind yourself that automation will take over once you have your systems in place. With automation, every effort you put into setting up a system is multiplied many times over, and nearly every available email management platform supports relatively deep levels of customization within the automation process.
No matter what country you’re in, the effects of mobile are unmistakable. Every market, even those just becoming viable, is affected by mobile technology and mobile-exclusive customers. Your emails must be able to be read on mobile devices.
This is why many single-voice businesses are switching to minimalist plain text emails. With just text (and maybe a video) your emails are easier to set up and display just about the same across all browsers, adapting to whatever device your audience members use. Simple can be better in some cases; it just depends on the messaging of your brand.
Feedback is essential for every business that wants to improve. Your clients and customers are your best source of that feedback. List segmentation and automation methods make interactive emails, even simple text-based ones, viable for any business even if your marketing budget and time allotment are small.
The email marketing trends of 2018 all center around one key theme: personal connections. You want your potential clients and returning customers to remember you. Keep these tips in mind when it comes to changing the way you email.