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In 2021, email took great leaps with AI-powered intelligent emails, several high-profile ESP acquisitions, Gmail’s support of BIMI, and brands adopting AMP for emails. It was also the year when disruptive events like Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) sent shockwaves across the industry.
Meanwhile, the majority of the predictions we had made for 2021 about email marketing trends turned out to be spot-on:
– Businesses enhanced customer experience with contextual content and intelligent segments
– Brands focused on convenience, safety, and excellent customer service as differentiators
– Marketers continued to build brand loyalty with empathy and care for the customers
– Pandemic-led, unpredictable shopping behavior made traditional email practices ineffective
– Conversations took precedence over conversions for brands to retain customer loyalty
Now, we are taking on 2022: we will decode the email marketing patterns developing for the next year to help you stay ahead of the curve.
1. Interactive storytelling and gamification will matter more than the tech
Apple devices with iOS15 have started prefetching images, due to which open rates will soon become obsolete.
In the absence of open rates, you will need other performance metrics such as clicks, conversions, and replies for gauging customer engagement. Having interactive elements in your emails will encourage customers to perform such actions.
Surprisingly, only 23% of email marketers say they have used interactive elements (according to Litmus research). You should move in while it’s not crowded yet; start sending interactive emails to gauge your customer responses better.
“Marketers will have to adopt interactive emails to encourage customer actions. But they need to go beyond the technology and focus on good storytelling in the email to drive extraordinary results. “
Consider your emails and newsletters as reflections of your brand; the stories in them should resonate with customers and offer solutions to their problems. Make your communication enjoyable with interactive technologies like AMP for email.
2. User privacy will be the new normal for mailbox providers and marketers
In recent years, data privacy has been a hot topic among users and mailbox providers. Email recipients are increasingly worried about how their information is getting shared and used.
Providing a physical mailing address with a contact number for your business and offering clear options to unsubscribe will reassure your customers.
“In 2022, marketers would have to go above and beyond GDPR, CASL, CCPA, and CAN-SPAM to gain the trust of their subscribers. They will have to follow regional data privacy guidelines to avoid penalties.“
Communicate how well you follow all privacy guidelines and protect consumers’ data. Demonstrating such business ethics will ensure loyalty and trust from your customers.
3. Following best practices will be de rigueur for stable deliverability
No matter what trends change in the email landscape, customer engagement will still hold the key to better deliverability from the Mailbox Service Provider (MSP) perspective.
Marketers will need to follow best practices to maintain their inboxing, such as:
- Strict email authentication by using tools such as https://grademyemail.co/
- Deep level segmentation based on clicks and other performance indicators
- Maintaining excellent list hygiene by removing invalid and temporary email ids
- Sunsetting inactive users to reduce distorted results arising from false opens.
“As long as marketers follow best practices and send relevant content to their audience, maintaining good deliverability should not be a problem in the coming year.”
For instance, you can avoid sending emails to inactive subscribers who haven’t clicked on any emails for the last six months. Keep your list quality high by sending emails only to engaged users; it will also keep your inbox placement stable.
4. Long-term customer loyalty will matter more than quick, short-term gains
The pandemic had a disruptive effect on customer retention and loyalty. Customer lifetime value (CLV) has become a north star metric for marketers, especially in the eCommerce sector.
Research by Gartner says that 39% of global CMOs plan to increase the sales of current products to existing customers. Retaining high-value customers for the longer term will be essential for 2022.
“If an existing customer spends $500 per month, what’s their potential to spend $20,000 in the next two years? This is the kind of question marketers will look to solve with the help of big data and machine learning.”
Providing a better brand experience, customer service, and tailored emails will be important for retention. Creating loyalty programs and communicating about them through emails to high-value customers will drive revenue.
In 2022, marketers will have to gain a 360-degree understanding of what drives customer retention and accurately estimate their value.
5. Innovative strategies for the collection of zero-party data will emerge
With data privacy policies getting stricter, the focus will shift to collecting more zero-party data. Brand marketers will have to get innovative in acquiring more customer details to create personalized shopping experiences.
With zero-party data, marketers can access valuable customer data that they might lose with MPP. Zero-party data sources (like website and newsletter preference centers, email surveys, quizzes, social media polls) can help engage customers meaningfully and build deeper bonds.
“Marketers will rely more on customer preferences to design relevant content. An important reason to access zero-party data is to avoid wrongly targeted content that can put off people.”
When you have the right zero-party data collection approach, your customers will share their personal information with which they are comfortable. It will enable you to send offers and benefits that are relevant and customized.
6. Marketers will embrace AI tools to create experience-driven email programs
The use of AI in email marketing reduces the workload and offers insights to boost revenue, optimize content, reduce costs, and enhance deliverability. Our study of 50bn emails showed that AI tools led to a 50% jump in deliverability for our global clients.
For instance, an AI tool like Raman can look at historical campaigns to:
- Craft engaging subject lines based on recipients’ high response rates
- Personalize content for each individual based on past interaction data
- Manage list segmentation to target users with high-impact content
- Reduce churn by identifying at-risk customers and ways to retain them
- Optimize delivery times to get higher engagement and conversions
- Structure data according to propensity models and browsing activity
“In 2022, AI will be a differentiator between satisfactory and extraordinary email marketing results. AI-based insights will also contribute to retention of customers for a longer period.”
You would do well to adopt AI technologies in your email marketing to anticipate, plan, and satisfy 1:1 customer needs. As a marketer, your need for intelligent, experience-driven emails is set to become more critical next year.
7. Short and precise emails will have the edge in sparking new conversations
Customers are more than just email addresses, and they want to feel like they count. Marketers need to create a feel-good factor in their emails so that customers perceive value and engage with them every time.
Inspirational content will get subscribers excited. Marketers can nurture their audience over a series of short emails (microns) and develop a relationship with them. They can ask for opinions and start a conversation on their audiences’ likes and dislikes.
“Include a response question in the newsletter like “What statistic in our article surprised you the most? I would love to hear your feedback” or “What gifting ideas do you have for kids this holiday season? Let us know by replying to this email!”
Not every email sent to a customer should make them purchase something. Some emails can just nurture relationships. Humanize your emails – your customers will always remember how they were made to feel.
8. Brands will lean more towards social media to encourage product discovery and UGC
Social media platforms will become hot favorites for brands to connect with their users and promote their products. We will see email and social media teams working a lot more in tandem in 2022.
Displaying positive customer reviews and delight in using the products will become purchase magnets. Asking customers to tweet or post about their review or favorite product will create user-generated content (UGC) that will influence buying decisions.
“Nearly eight in 10 consumers Facebook surveyed said they used at least one Facebook app or service for discovery last holiday season. Social commerce represented 11% of global retail eCommerce revenue in 2020, generating $474 billion.”
UGC comes at no extra cost to you and builds positivity and publicity for your products. However, remember that social media is a double-edged sword: your failure to live up to high standards will result in getting a lot of online flak.
Global Product marketing head
“2021 for marketers was about being genuine, empathetic, and knowing your users better. 2022 will focus on creating a user experience that will involve tech, gamification, AI, and storytelling to elevate customer lifetime value.”
Looking ahead to 2022
Managing email delivery and deliverability should be the first thing marketers should consider when capitalizing on email trends. Email marketing in the coming year will have to be simple, direct, and interactive to become click-worthy. And it must achieve all of these objectives while respecting the user’s privacy.
We are sure that this forecast of 2022 trends will help improve your email programs and increase ROI. We suggest you test different strategies to know what works best for you –
our AI assistant Raman can help with its intelligent insights.
Netcore’s AI-powered email delivery has emerged as a proven competitive advantage for several leading brands. If you would like to join them, do book a demo. Learn more about our Netcore Cloud platforms and what they can do to skyrocket your email marketing ROI.