Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective channels to use to reach out to and stay connected with your customers. While many brands have seen their open rates decline over the past few years, those who have been able to keep up with how email has been changing have reaped the benefits of personalized, automated, hyper-relevant email marketing campaigns.
Thanks to automation, impressive CRM software, and more recently, the help of machine learning and AI, email has shed its reputation for being ‘spammy,’ unwanted junk mail. Smart, consumer-centric brands are being invited into consumers’ email inboxes. People are signing up and paying attention. Emails today are entertaining. They’re filled with stuff consumers want like deals, industry news, inspiration and helpful tips. And, they arrive in inboxes at the right time for the right recipients. In 2017, digital marketers have figured out how to make their email newsletters feel like a pleasant surprise, waiting to be opened, rather than one more email to stuff into the junk inbox.
How did we get here? Innovation. Technology. Putting ourselves in the shoes of our target audience. Here’s a look at what happened in email marketing in 2017 with a round-up of the year’s top articles.
1. EMAIL MARKETING BENCHMARKS
How does your email marketing compare with other brands in your industry? MailChimp, using their mega piles of data, routinely puts out an updated list of benchmarks that digital marketers can use to see how successful their email marketing efforts are. Want to know the open, click-through, unsubscribe metrics and more for your industry for 2017? You’ll find the current numbers in this post, as well as tips from the people who know email marketing better than anyone.
2. 3 TACTICS TO SOLVE YOUR EMAIL MARKETING WOES
There has been a lot of talk over the past couple years about whether email is dying. After all, consumers spend more time on social media than they do almost anything else outside of working or sleeping – it is estimated the average person will spend 5 years and 4 months of their life checking out social media. Who has time left over for checking email?
Even though email as a digital platform has a lot of competition, it still has a vital role in holding up the brand-consumer bridge. People do want to know when special deals come up, whether they take advantage or not. They do want to improve their own lives, careers, and health – if your email can help them do it in less than a minute, it’s of value. People do want to stay current in the areas they are interested in, which means B2B brands especially have a huge opportunity to gain interest with well-curated and thoughtfully created content.
This popular post offers simple, actionable tips for transforming your email messaging from ignored to awaited. And demonstrates, the marketers who believe email is dead are those that aren’t keeping up with email’s ongoing evolution. It’s not dead. It’s different.
3. ELEVATE YOUR MOBILE EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY
This past year, mobile usage has skyrocketed. In 2018, it’s not going to be just about mobile phones and tablets, but also smartwatches and wearables, which means email is going to have to keep evolving. This is one of 2017’s best email marketing posts on how to up your email strategy by marketing for mobile. A different device requires a unique approach. Refining your email messaging for mobile may be one of the easiest ways to improve your email metrics.
4. 15 EMAIL PERSONALIZATION STATS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU
Better personalization has been the bull’s eye for a couple of years now. Personalized emails aren’t a buzzword or a marketing trend. Using them is about the only way you can convince your contact list it’s worth their time to stay engaged. Personalization is known to improve click-through rates, conversions and transaction rates. This article has the stats to prove it.
5. HOW TO NURTURE LEADS WITH EMAIL MARKETING
Once you get subscribers on your list – how do you keep them interested? Email has been a powerful lead nurturing tool in 2017 for those marketers who have found their stride with their target groups. The secret is to have a genuine understanding of your audience, what type of email content they are interested in – and how much of it. This post is one of the year’s most in-depth looks at lead nurturing with email.
6. E-COMMERCE EMAIL MARKETING 101: 11 MUST-HAVE EMAILS
This email marketing article is a great go-to source for templates and template inspiration for every level of digital marketer. It goes in-depth into essential templates, like the Welcome, Engagement and Referral email, giving tips and insights into the thought process behind each one.
It also brings up the most important factors with emails – right timing, right recipient. If you can’t get the timing right, you’re not as likely to reach your engagement goals.
7. MAILCHIMP’S MARKETING AUTOMATION TOOLS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR FREE
This was a turning point for email in 2017. When MailChimp started offering their services for free back in May, they sent a clear message. Marketing automation works. They’re so confident in this belief, they are willing to bet their bottom line on it.
As of this year, customers with subscribers of less than 2,000 can access the platform for free. Why does this make sense? MailChimp knows most of those sub-2k subscribers will have way more than 2,000 subscribers in a year or two if they continue to use automation to create sophisticated campaigns. Which means, they’ll be paying MailChimp customers, who also possess sizable email subscriber lists to feed into their growing businesses.
8. 164 BEST EMAIL SUBJECT LINES TO BOOST YOUR EMAIL OPEN RATES
Ah, the email subject line. The most important five words you’ll ever write. You need solid subject lines to get people to open your emails. And, to prevent them from viewing your newsletters as spam. When consumers look through their inbox, 69 percent report email as spam, simply because of how the subject line was written.
From Manicube’s genius, “Don’t Open This Email” to Eater Boston’s “Where to Drink Beer Right Now,” here are dozens of irresistible subject lines that will show you how it’s done.
9. 4 WAYS AI CAN IMPROVE EMAIL MARKETING
Artificial intelligence is seeping into every area of digital marketing, from content production and social media management through to email marketing. When you break it down, a lot of the reason email messaging has continued to be such a worthwhile platform is because of what machine learning and predictive analytics have done to make email that much more sophisticated.
This article lays out the primary ways AI is being used in email marketing:
- Machine learning algorithms to figure out the best time to send emails, and thus increase open rates, based on customers’ previous behaviors.
- AI algorithms that use complex sets of data to determine personalized product recommendations.
- Machine learning is being used to identify the most promising segments, allowing for increasingly accurate segmentation to help boost conversion rates.
- Predictive analytics are now insightful enough to allow marketers to send contextual emails at different stages of the customer lifecycle – something that could have never been done in the pre-AI world.
10. 15 OF THE BEST EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN EXAMPLES YOU’VE EVER SEEN
Want to know what a great email looks like? Check out these thoughtfully curated examples by Hubspot. You’ll see that in 2017, marketers are using different styles and techniques to engage with their target market. Animated GIFs, down-to-earth, personalized newsletters, creative, engaging visuals. From dynamic to pure and simple, what works is what makes sense for your brand’s message. There’s no ‘one way’ to do things in this post, but there is plenty of email inspiration.
11. EMAIL MARKETING IN 2020
The convenience of accessing email on-the-go, the level of sophistication and personalization thanks to AI and automation, and the need to connect with customers on a more engaging channel than what social media and websites can provide – there’s a perfect storm for email to continue to be critical for brands over the next few years. It will be interesting to see where this area of digital marketing goes in 2018. But just as fascinating, is a look at what the industry’s leading minds believe email marketing will look like in 2020. Take a peek at what may be possible tomorrow.