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One of the top Google searches you’ll find right now is “Email Marketing Trends 2021.” It’s something that marketers, like yourself, are extremely interested in getting some insight into.
I decided to take a look at the various articles related to these email marketing trends and I noticed that many of the articles shared a similar thread: technology. Yes, technology is important, but there’s more to it than just getting your email into an inbox. Here at Netcore, we believe that email marketing relies on more than technology, it functions the best when it combines technology with art, compelling storytelling and drives conversation.
“We believe email marketing can do a lot of good in 2021, for any brand. More so than most other marketing channels.”
We want to share the trends and direction we observe brands and marketers are moving towards globally.
2020 has been a year of reinvention
It took a global pandemic to change entire industries and cause a paradigm shift in our collective thinking. Last year was a challenging battleground for marketers, however, as German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche’s said, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
Last year many marketers started introspecting on what should be done differently. Email is no longer just about new customer acquisition and transactions; it is about conversations and retention.
We’ve experienced a shift in thinking “What do I want to send?” to “What do they need right now?”
The old marketing playbook was thrown out of the window in 2020, and forced us to reinvent how we communicate to our subscribers. We have to be more customer-centric, empathetic, and overall more sensitive to their feelings, needs, and wants.
2021 will be about futuristic tech, better email marketing skills, and being more genuine. .
Let’s talk about trends that nobody is talking about, but will re-define your email experience
- Old school email marketing will get beaten by new competition:
If you’re still using basic personalization, demographic segmentation, and high-tech email tools to get your email marketing right, hang on, you might just be scratching the surface.
Segmentation has moved beyond simple demographics. Today, it’s all about leveraging smart segments. Smart segments are an AI-enabled feature that identifies hidden patterns from demographics and behavioral customer data that is tough to locate manually.
For example, My friend in Canada received a Thanksgiving email on Nov 26, 2020, while Thanksgiving in Canada was Oct 12, 2020. Not the ideal experience for your Canadian subscribers.
Personalization has moved beyond just personalizing names and images.
Do you still like receiving emails with your name in the subject line wishing you a ‘happy birthday?’
Well, picture this scenario. Imagine you’ve been browsing around for a car loan. It’s your birthday, and you’re checking your mail, and right at the top of your inbox, you see that you’ve received a message from your bank. Inside the message, you see a car-shaped birthday cake accompanied by a special offer for your car loan, available to you on your birthday.
As we’ve stated before, personalization has moved beyond demographics. Using technology to understand its multiple advantages helps you to create deeper experiences for your customer. That’s what brands are inclined to do—stitching data from numerous properties and sources.
“Personalization is about understanding the dreams, hopes, and motivation of your customers.”
2. Know your customers using technology & strategy for a better email experience:
Did you realize the following during the pandemic:
- My offers are not working
- I don’t know what motivates my users?
- I wish I knew my customers better
When a user signs up with your website, typically, you would have a limited amount of information about them. Double opt-in registration allows you to learn more about your subscribers.
Use a combination of strategy and tech to start building more insights about your subscribers.
During the sign-up process, you can ask your prospective customers to provide more information to create a more tailored website experience. This strategy will help you be more conscious of knowing your subscribers. You can ask them questions and take feedback at micro levels rather than once a year.
Imagine if every CTA is an opportunity.
For example, The registration email has two confirmation links; one CTA has a male, and the other female.
Another example: As a clothing retailer, try examining the most often clicked department by an individual. This can provide insights into your subscriber’s interests and what types of content and imagery you should send them in the future.
With the click of a button, you can gather one new insight into your user.
You take this to the next level by making every CTA a forward-looking insight to start building a better relationship with them.
With good email marketing technology, you can start tagging your campaigns and their performance.
Then you can build insights that are more behavioral-based and can be used to customize the user experience.
You will be able to decide when subscribers are more likely to open your emails.
Or which CTA has more potential for being clicked.
This trend will elevate itself in 2021, and more new tools will emerge in the market to enable marketers intelligent data about their customers with less difficulty.
- Email for Brand Equity and Experience:
My mailbox is full of emails that are incredibly creative and genuine. There is a slight reduction in sales tone—a mass of senders focusing on building an experience and brand equity.
One of the significant trends in 2021 is about a mindset of conversations and not conversions. This will build brand equity, and the increased ROI will be an outcome of that.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” – Simon Sinek.
There is no moat that protects your brand against the competition. 2021 is about what you believe in as a brand. What is now your why?
Understanding tonally what your customers want to read and giving more care in identifying what your customers really want will improve trust amongst your subscribers. Focus on enhanced storytelling, creativity, and innovation in your emails. Subscribers are more likely to entertain the next few emails if they found your previous story (email) worthy.
- Improved Deliverability and Customer experience with AI:
The use of AI isn’t to replace humans but to enhance our decision-making and help us create better experiences for our customers at scale..
AI will impact three significant areas:
- Content optimization,
- Delivery optimization
- Data segmentation.
As a result, you will see better behavioral targeting, inbox delivery, and hyper-personalized emails.
If your email marketing tool is not ready to do this for you, it’s time you look to more forward-looking email platforms like Netcore. (At first, I decided not to be salesy, consider this as an exception ?)
You can see below how predictive engagement (An AI-enabled feature that improves deliverability) improved open rates by 30% across many industries.
Source: Netcore Email Benchmark Report 2020, A study of 50Bn Emails.
- AMP implementation will increase:
Google launched AMP in 2020, and it is like a silver bullet for email marketers. Once your user experiences AMP in your emails, they get addicted to it.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it enables your email communication to be more interactive by allowing elements like carousels, accordions, and purchase buttons.
Imagine the possibility when your email can behave more like a web page, and the user doesn’t have to visit anywhere else to complete a purchase.
AMP’s implementation has been slow this year due to the complexity of creating AMP emails(HTML). With the advent of new tools that help create AMP emails easily, higher adoption is expected in 2021.
One thing for sure is your email performance can scale to 2X with AMP-enabled emails.
Let us share 2 bonus trends only #fortheloveofemails:?
- Simple emails will fly:
We have seen simple emails coming back in 2020, and this trend will accelerate in 2021. These are not your regular catalog mailers, not the ones with too many CTAs. An email with one message at a time, doesn’t distract you with too many CTAs etc.
No complexity and minimal approach ensures a user can skim through the email fast, act fast.
These are a must-try for all marketers in 2021. I feel simple emails can be a lot more creative too.
- BIMI will become the default:
BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification, is a new standard that allows you to display your brands logo in supported mailbox providers. Currently, Yahoo mail supports it, and Gmail is pilot testing the solutions. Other Mailbox providers have also expressed interest in using BIMI for their customers. BIMI gives more authenticity to brands by building trust in email with strong authentication. With a high focus on authentication, brand equity, and creating a great experience in 2021, BIMI becomes an essential element in emails. If BIMI goes into production for Gmail, many brands will adopt this quickly and it will become a default standard like SPF, DKIM, DMARC. Get started on your authentication configuration now so you’ll be ready in 2021.
You can check your SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI record on our free tool Grade My Email
We hope that some of these trends become an essential part of your email program in 2021. If you think there are more trends that nobody is talking about we would love to know them in the comments below.
PS: An important mention and big thanks to Chaitanya Chinta, Global Head – Email Business, Netcore Solutions, for giving his insightful and enriching perspective to this blog. If you want to get more learning and have a knowledgeable conversation with him, then you can connect on Linkedin and Twitter.