This year it’s not about sending more emails. It’s about sending better ones. Jenna Tiffany, Digital Marketing Strategist at Communicator, explains how to stand out in the inbox
Email has already proved itself to be a vital channel, at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. A cost-effective and powerful messaging platform, we know email is here to stay. But with the growing number of brands using email marketing to drive digital ROI, it’s now more important than ever to stay ahead of the trends and stand out in the ever-crowded inbox. This is the year of smarter marketing. But what exactly does this mean? My collation of the top five email marketing trends for 2015 gives you the information you need to make sure you’re not late for the party.
Trend 1: Customer-centric digital strategy
This is the year your customers’ expectations step up a gear. Your recipients now want, or have come to expect, a truly seamless experience which connects the dots (Econsultancy 2015).
There isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to digital because no two customers are the same. Organisations that continue to put the customer at the heart of their strategies will be the most likely to succeed in 2015 and beyond.
2015 is where augmented reality and wearable technology come together and the gap between online and offline experience will continue to close.
There is also a constant requirement to stay ahead of the game, with the internet of things continuing to develop a new kind of environment that reflects the ever-changing needs of your customers.
Trend 2: Seamless through data
Data is the key driver to provide relevancy and personalisation.
Consumers will generate an even more vast amount of detailed information in 2015 than ever before. With that comes the increasing expectation that companies will utilise this data intelligently to inform the customer experience, driving relevancy and personalisation.
As well as having a customer-centric strategy, businesses with a data-centric culture will thrive, whereas companies that ignore their customers’ information will lose out to the competition.
Remembering that a value exchange is key, consumers are now more willing than ever to allow brands to use their personal data. But like anything in life, they won’t give it up for free – your recipients want great communication in exchange. So it’s key to make sure you use the data you have in the best way possible.
Trend 3: Mobile-first
A mobile-first approach will become reality for digital marketers in 2015.
In the past few years there’s been a lot of discussion around responsive email design, which has established itself as the norm for design after the continued rise of email opens on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).
Mobile devices have now overtaken desktops for email opens, holding steady at 53 per cent and introducing the new concept of a mobile-first approach.
Your email marketing strategy should focus on optimising your content for recipients on the go and analysing recipient behaviour on those campaigns. This analysis will identify what provokes the most reaction amongst your recipients when using their mobile device, i.e. is there a higher level of engagement when more imagery is used for mobile users?
It’s not just mobile-first email strategies that are gaining momentum; consumers are seeking more convenience when using their smartphones and tablets on the go. New mobile technologies like mobile payment platforms are not only on the rise but are starting to form part of day-to-day life, with Starbucks now processing seven million mobile payments a week in the US, according to trendwatching.com.
Now is the time to consider how a mobile-first approach to your digital strategy can drive ROI.
Trend 4: Achieving true personalisation
You already know that personalising your emails goes beyond just the first name, but in 2015 email personalisation goes much further.
We’ve now reached a point where content based upon preference data and previous purchases just isn’t enough – your recipients are crying out for truly dynamic, personalised, one-to-one conversations, which is demonstrated by the fact that 36 per cent of global consumers are willing to share their current location with retailers via GPS. This is more than double what it was just one year ago (Marketing Magazine, Jan 2015), providing a huge opportunity for highly targeted, dynamically personalised email campaigns. 2014 was the beginning of real-time personalisation, which will become the norm in 2015.
Agile email content, rendering at the time of open and not at the time of send, is the latest trend you can’t afford to miss.
This new technology allows you to master your campaigns by personalising content depending upon factors like location, date, the weather in the recipient’s local area or the time of day they engage with your email. Content which adjusts each and every time that same recipient opens that same email is the definition of true personalisation.
Maintaining relevancy is key to retaining engagement with email and agile email content is the holy grail to creating truly dynamic messaging experiences.
5. Visual storytelling
Video usage will continue to increase in 2015 as more and more brands have more and more messages to send.
Videos enable a brand to tell a story and bring their message to life in a very engaging and compelling way. As the inbox becomes increasingly crowded, video provides the opportunity for you to really stand out in the fight for recipient engagement.
The Communicator Benchmark Report (Half 2, 2014) shows that brands who continue to keep engagement via email content at the forefront of their email strategies are thriving with high click-rates. However, those brands who fail to focus on creating relevant and engaging content are losing out to the competition.
Visual storytelling via video is the next step in creating truly engaging content, adding value to the recipient journey and driving your digital ROI.
What to takeaway
This year it’s not about sending more emails; it’s about sending better ones.
2015 is the year when one-to-one, personalised communications will flourish – something you can’t afford to ignore if you want to stand out against your competition.