Top 6 Email Marketing Trends for 2018

Curious about what experts are saying will be the top email marketing trends of 2018?

There’s a lot of talk circulating now, with AI powered solutions expected to creep into the landscape in the coming years, along with big data continuing to push innovation and make it easier to give recipients exactly what they want while eliminating that which they don’t.

Email marketing trends for 2018

Here’s 6 trends all email marketers need to spend time reading up on before the end of the year.

1. Use of HTML emails will decrease dramatically with small businesses

But not entirely — some brands will continue to rely on (and profit from) image carousels, videos, sliders, and built in add-to-cart functionality. This trend is still up in the air, and fuelled by arguments on both sides. Some say that HTML performs best for their business model. However, most of the experts out there agree that while it’s tougher to track open rates with text-based emails, the consensus appears to be that text outperforms across the board on factors like deliverability, open rates, and interaction from subscribers.

Online marketing experts like Neil Patel universally agree that HTML just adds too much clutter to most marketing messages aside from ecommerce-driven emails, and can detract big time from your CTA. The biggest reason to adopt this “old” strategy is because of the speed mobile is becoming the go-to device for reading emails. Plain text renders exactly the same from one device to another, and doesn’t require a browser window to read.

2. Increasingly more comprehensive data will lead to better list segmentation

The usefulness of big data will only continue to reveal more and more ways to better service your lists as this year turns into the next. List segmentation is nothing more than treating each member of your list like an individual and fine-tailoring emails to them, rather than lumping everyone into the same category and sending them stuff they don’t want. The big problem is, while big business has been doing this for a few years, small businesses are behind the curve and will need to adopt list segmentation quickly to reduce the risk of losing valuable subscribers.

Using the segmentation tools offered by your email service provider (or other) leads to over 14% more opened emails, 3.9% less people hitting the spam button, and 9% less unsubs. Asking for details about user preferences when people subscribe, then sending well-timed interactive emails asking them what you can do to serve them better will become a universally-accepted practice rather than something only the “smart” marketers are doing.

3. Responsive will cease to be a buzzword and become just plain essential

Over half of all emails are now opened by subscribers who exclusively use a mobile device. Of course, if you follow a more text-based emailing approach, the responsiveness of your messages won’t matter nearly as much. For those who still want to send HTML messages, complete with images and embedded videos, responsiveness will be key to getting subscribers into your sales funnel.

It appears that everyone is now migrating to Gmail, as iOS 10 and up have made it easy for Gmail to display on their devices. Gmail itself added support for responsive design over a year ago, meaning that while you and your developers will still have to be mindful of best practices, much of the heavy lifting will be done for you when it comes to members of your list who view emails through Google’s mail client.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

4. List signups will become easier with carefully-worded CTAs

As a marketer myself, I need more emails like I need a colonoscopy! On my best day, I still can’t seem to clear my inbox — and the next day it grows back to the same size it was yesterday, and so on it goes. Still, like most of my list subscribers, I can’t resist clicking on the signup button with relevant and enticing CTAs like “Looking for more content like this?” or “Want to save 15% on your next purchase of XYZ?” — etc.

Catchy CTAs are far more effective than “Sign up to get updates” and all the other old methods out there. Just like any good landing page asking for a sale, your list signup CTAs need to tickle a users fancy. CANSPAM has cleaned up the reputation of emails in general over the years, and most users actually do want to receive emails from their favorite blogs, vlogs, and ecommerce vendors — you just have to ask them the right way!

5. Triggered emails to be adopted by the majority of marketers

Triggered emails are important parts in your marketing automation endeavor. They are so important to emailers looking to get maximum lifetime value out of their subscribers. Triggered emails come in many forms, from automated “Welcome” emails, to retention emails when you haven’t seen them in a while, to those very profitable cart abandonment emails virtually every ecommerce retailer has adopted at this point.

Triggered emails are rarely reported as spam, enhance engagement rates (especially well crafted welcome messages) and help drive prospects who’re on the fence with a purchase into completing that purchase. Best, triggered emails can be 100% automated, so if you fail to employ them it means you simply don’t really care about making money!

6. Interactive emails will continue to be adopted by brands who have interactivity front and center in their marketing plan

Online marketers have long known the power of making a purchase decision as easy as possible for customers. The “hard to get” approach we use to attract members of the opposite sex in real life just won’t cut it online! Interactive emails help to make purchase decisions stupid simple, putting things like surveys, pizza menus, clothing catalogues and more front and center in the email — in the form of carousels, offer reveals, and easy add-to-cart options.

Interactivity is still hard to track with these and other email marketing options, but if we’ve learned one thing about technology over the last 13 years, it adapts really quickly to user’s needs and market changes!

Know something we don’t?

If you have a burning email marketing trend for the upcoming year to share, don’t hesitate to share.

Here’s to your brands email marketing success in 2018!