by Andrea Robbins from CampaignMonitor
Email marketing is the cornerstone of most marketing plans. It’s inexpensive, easy-to-use, and can reach your target audience exactly when you need it to.
It’s also great for your business’s bottom line, as people who buy through emails spend 138% more than people who don’t receive emails. Plus, the ROI for email marketing can’t be beat– for every $1 spent, email offers a return of $44.
It’s easy to see why email marketing has been so popular, but you may be thinking its days are numbered, especially as new social media platforms burst onto the scene. However, email marketing remains an essential cornerstone of digital marketing, and it’s not going anywhere.
With new technology and ideas coming out all the time, people continue to spend significant time engaging with their email inboxes.
With the help of talented email marketing pros, we’ll take you through 6 email marketing predictions to see where this amazing marketing channel is headed.
6 Predictions for the Future of Email Marketing
1. The marketing funnel will encompass the entire customer journey
The idea of a marketing funnel has been around for some time and most marketers subscribe to its power, at least to some extent. Most marketers see the traditional funnel with leads going in the top and customers coming out the bottom complete with steps in between.
But with multiple channels and touch points for customers or potential customers, the idea of a funnel will change. In the future, we’ll see a more comprehensive view of a customer life cycle, not just bringing someone to a purchase, but keeping them as a long-term customer and advocate.
Samantha Anderl of Campaign Monitor says that with this new funnel, leads or customers will be able to enter at any stage, keeping marketers busy and on their toes. According to Anderl, it will be even more important to understand how powerful email can be to getting and retaining customers. Using tools like email automation and personalization will be crucial to using this new funnel successfully.
2. Email automation will drive more relevant messages
Sending emails that are relevant to your subscribers is what drives the success of your email marketing. You need to have content each of your subscribers wants to see, and you need it to get to them when they want to read it.
The best way to send the right information at the right time? Email automation. According to Litmus’ State of Email Survey, marketers using automation successfully can see at least half of their email marketing revenue generated from automated and transactional emails.
And you’ll have new data generated from these automated emails, giving you even more insight into customers’ likes and interests, giving you the ability to send better and more targeted content.
Don’t view these emails as “set it and forget it” though, treat them as “review and improve” to ensure they’re making the most impact. In fact, successful programs are 70.2% more likely to A/B test their automated emails than unsuccessful ones and are 94.7% more likely to A/B test their transactional emails.
Chad S. White of Litmus predicts that only some businesses are going to implement this and achieve great success, but many will miss out. Which side will your email marketing program be on? If your email plan isn’t generating at least 25% of its revenue from automated emails, it’s time for some changes.
3. Personalization will be essential for gaining subscribers’ attention
Personalizing emails is a great way to get your subscribers attention. Emails with subject lines that are personalized are 26% more likely to be opened, and all you need is to know your subscriber’s first name.
But personalization can go beyond just a first name. You can include any information you have about your customers in the content of your email. Adding images that are specific to each person who gets your email, or each segment of your list can help keep that person opening your emails, and sticking around as a customer.
Sending emails for abandoned shopping carts or after someone has visited your web page are also ways personalization can help your business.
Niftyimages has tools that can help take personalization even further. You can add a name to an image or use a live countdown timer to encourage urgency in your emails.
Alex Williams of Trendline Interactive predicts the next step to personalization is to be more predictive – to understand what your subscribers will want, not what they’ve already had. Using data will be a big help in understanding your customers and how this will move forward.
4. Marketers will control the entire customer lifecycle
Most marketers focus on acquisition, conversion, and sometimes retaining loyalty. At least that’s how it’s been until 2018. With the tools available now, you can be in control of other parts of the customer journey, giving your customers an even better experience.
While acquisition is very important, you won’t want to focus solely on that. Marketers will be more involved with their customers at every step of the lifecycle. Starting from the first contact with your company, to purchases, loyalty, retention, and even advocacy, you’ll be there to bring value through every step of the customer journey.
Philip Storey of Enchant anticipates that this will bring a multi-channel experience for every part of the customer lifecycle that will charm and engage the customer. And in turn, this customer experience will lead to more loyal and responsive customers in 2018.
5. Predictive marketing will drive campaigns
The current model for most marketers is to focus on campaigns and finding the metrics on how they went. Tracking opens, click-through rate, click-to-open rate, and bounces are indicators of how one email send did, or taken collectively, how your email marketing is doing, but there’s more data out there.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric that’s really useful in understanding the importance of each customer relationship to your business. It’s basically the overall financial value of a customer relationship, based on the present and future net profit of that customer.
It’s something few people use or look at but according to Kath Pay of Holistic Email Marketing, that won’t be for long. These types of predictive marketing metrics that can tell what will happen, instead of what has already passed, will be improved and become more common. Using AI and machine learning you will be able to predict individual and group customer lifetime value, or predictive CLV. You won’t need to rely only on past data but also know the future too.
By using these types of insights, like predictive CLV, marketers will be able to make more informed, data-driven decisions that help the bottom line. You’ll be able to know things like which subscribers will bring in the most revenue over time or what characteristics of certain customers will help to increase their lifetime value.
6. Email marketing platforms will expand to include CRMS and marketing automation
Email automation has become more and more valuable to marketers as it’s become not only more accessible but easier to use. And because of that, it’s going to be a focus for email marketing programs, and others, in the next year.
Look for the line between automation, email marketing, and CRM to blur as email marketing companies continue to expand their features. You’ll likely see automation become available in more platforms this year, and because of this, it will be more affordable and user-friendly.
Some exciting ideas from Jordie van Rijn of Email Monday on what could be coming for automation:
• Visual automation workflow builders. Visual automation workflow builders will be everywhere. Providers will be able to help ambitious marketers do big email campaigns using drag-and-drop visual kind of event triggered email and automation.
• User-friendly marketing automation. Many of the original automation platforms still don’t offer decent email builders, or they can’t handle dynamic email content well. This is bound to change.
• Easier content automation. Automated content is a great time saver for all email marketers, no matter what size their business is. You’ll be able to pull content, products, and information from your site, e-commerce or database and inject them directly into your email. Creating targeted, personalized messages and product recommendations becomes way easier than before.
It’s an exciting time to be an email marketer. Most of the ideas put forth in these predictions are already available in some form, but they’ll continue to evolve to be even more useful to marketers.
There’s no need to wait for the future though, you can make an impact on your marketing goals today using these ideas. You can create automated, interactive, and personalized emails now that your customers will love and respond to. Collect some data, or use what you already have, and create emails with personalized images and content that you know your customers will respond to. The more you incorporate information that your readers want, the more impact your email will have, for your customers and your business.
The future is bright for email marketing and even more exciting things will be coming soon!