New paradigm shifts. New digital capabilities. New best practices. These are the three things that will shape email trends in 2023.
With the global economy in flux, pole-vaulting technological innovations (think generative AI), and ever-changing customer preferences, marketers will surely have a challenging 2023.
Increased pressure to drive up ROI means email marketing will assume more importance than ever. As the most effective yet low-cost channel to drive customer engagement and revenue, emails will remain at the forefront of every marketing strategy.
However, as with all things that must grow or perish, email marketing best practices will also change, and your broader strategy must change with them.
This article discusses the eleven major email marketing trends that will dominate 2023.
Open rates are no longer the holy grail of KPIs
Ever since Apple released iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey, you can no longer use email open rates as a reliable indicator of the success or failure of an email campaign. Apple’s MAIL PRIVACY PROTECTION (MPP), which restricts email senders from collecting user data via pixels, made open rates an unreliable metric.
Apple preloads emails so they’ll always appear “opened” to marketing teams. MPP also shields users’ IP addresses, so you can’t use that information to track other browsing activity or location. You also won’t get accurate data on open rates, when users open the email, and what device they use.
As of 2022, there are more than 1.2 billion iPhone users in the world. If you have a sizeable chunk of iOS users among your customers, you can no longer depend on open rates to gauge their response.
Focus on zero-party and first-party data
While you can’t rely on open rates as much anymore, you can still get a robust idea of your users’ pain points and preferences by tracking zero-party and first-party data.
Zero party data is information that a customer intentionally and proactively shares. Whether it’s predictive engagement, personalization algorithms, or product recommendation; there is no room for ambiguity about zero-party data. In line with increased privacy protection mechanisms, a brand will lower its risk of regulatory exposure and become capable of providing a fully personalized user experience.
Zero-party data comprises the answers to questions you’ve directly asked your customers. For example,
“What are your favorite winter colors for party wear?”
“What’s your go-to breakfast cereal for kids?”
“What are the five items you would first buy in a new house?”
Questions like these help you understand your customers beyond the usual “age, gender, location” demographic. However, these questions (or maybe different ones with the same intent) need to be asked again after a certain time, since personal preferences keep changing.
First-party data refers to data you observe in your users’ online activity. This includes email content clicks i.e., which part of your email content is getting clicked on by most people. To make it more valuable, filter the click data by average customer spending, persona, preferential patterns, etc.
Pair this with website content preferences. For example, if someone is looking at winter season cookbooks, baking ovens, and mittens on your website, you should send them an email with more information about the same product categories.
Send AMP emails for interactive and dynamic engagement
In the age of GIFs and AI art, static emails will not attract any attention from your audience. Besides, 95% of users do not click on website redirect links placed inside emails. So, getting users to engage with your emails requires you to make emails interactive. They must stand out, entice and encourage positive user action. They cannot, above all else, be boring.
AMP emails are an exceptionally useful future-proof way of bringing such interactivity to your campaign emails. Add images, GIFs, forms to collect information, enter payment details, complete purchases and do much more. You can also show off testimonials, incorporate fun games with rewards (spin-the-wheel, pick-a-door, etc.) and use a plethora of strategies to catch the eyes of your customers every single time.
By offering app-like frameworks and functions, AMP emails cut down on friction by allowing users to accomplish several things right inside the inbox. They are also more versatile in terms of design and layouts with several components like carousels, accordion dropdowns, lightboxes, and more.
AMP emails can also connect to servers in real-time and display updated information every time the user opens the email – think of travel updates, delivery updates, appointment changes, and more, all happening within the same email. In short, AMP emails can act as good as a website or an app to attract, engage, and convert users right inside the inbox.
Naturally, AMP emails are set to make a big splash in 2023.
Adopt BIMI for increasing brand credibility and reputation
Thanks to the ever-increasing cases of spoofing and phishing attacks, users have become more meticulous about data privacy within their emails. The slightest suspicion of inauthenticity will get your email in the trash or spam folder; the latter label means users will never see your emails again.
However, BIMI—Brand Indicators for Message Identification—helps assuage this issue. BIMI displays certified logos of brands, meant to assure recipients that the email has come from a verified source. Naturally, users will be more likely to click on emails with known logos on display. This also contributes to better inbox placement and sender reputation.
The logos will also help your emails gain attention in crowded user inboxes, establish brand credibility and recall. Needless to say, with increasing competition to capture user attention, BIMI will become more emphatically used in 2023.
Attract, engage, and convert with gamification
Anything that’s boring is already dead in the digital realm. If your marketing email just contains text, images, and videos, users will get bored of this passive, one-way communication sooner than you think.
Enter gamification. Why not give users a digital wheel to spin and win a prize when it stops?
Or how about a quick quiz related to your industry-specific events? You can even send across small puzzles, word games, multiple-choice trivia questions, and the like. The point is to use gamification to keep your customers entertained; they are more likely to love a brand that regularly gives them a few minutes of fun. They might even start looking forward to receiving such emails as welcome breaks.
Scale up email marketing with smart automation
Automated emails sent on the basis of segmentation get up to 10X higher click rates than broadcast emails. A simple Google search will reveal many findings about how smart email automation generates more leads, engagement, and revenue than its non-automated counterparts.
However, accomplishing a targeted, success-ready automatic campaign requires forethought, adequate segmentation, and cohesive messaging. When you combine email personalization with automation, you create highly effective messaging that aligns with what customers want from brands in their interactions.
AI will empower email marketing more than ever
AI won’t take away email marketing jobs in 2023. Instead, it will make people more efficient. AI can help create clever and intriguing subject lines and content that lead to better engagement and improved validation. It can also assist with smart segmentation and reactivation of inactive users.
To keep up with an almost entirely digital world, you’ll have to adopt and adapt to AI. Use it to expand the capabilities of your marketing emails. If you learn how to train AI models to align with your team’s goals, you’ll find exceptionally positive results becoming quite commonplace for you.
Go for hyper-segmentation and hyper-personalization
In 2023, personalization will go way beyond addressing users by their first name. Your customers are savvy enough to detect a form email from one created explicitly for them. Studies show that 66% of customers expect brands to align with their unique expectations.
Hyper-personalization will require hyper-segmentation, so you get to know your customers really well. However, you’ll have to balance meeting these objectives with respecting your customers’ privacy. Concerns for protecting personal data will become more serious as people learn more about how their information can be misused.
In 2023, marketers will have to find the sweet spot between understanding customers and respecting their boundaries. Easier said than done, but definitely not impossible.
Leverage user-generated content for resonance
In line with the previous point about balancing personalization with privacy, increased use of user-generated content will become an important email marketing trend in 2023.
Users are more likely to believe and resonate with content generated by other customers as compared to brand messaging. A brand has a business interest in showcasing itself in a positive light; other customers do not.
Your email marketing strategies in 2023 should target and leverage user-generated content. Why not share images of other customers using products, images they have consensually posted as part of their reviews on your site or social media?
A common tactic is to use reviews or testimonials as part of your email content. Once again, people will be more likely to listen to what your customers say and make purchasing decisions influenced by their opinions.
Don’t forget that curating such content is easier and costs infinitely less than the ad spend with digital giants. You aren’t even creating new content – just sift through, curate information that already exists, and take permissions if necessary.
Ensure privacy compliance while monitoring
As we mentioned, you won’t be able to track information such as user IP addresses, locations, and open rates, especially for iOS users. So, you’ll have to work with data you’re allowed to track legally.
The most compelling data among everything you can monitor without violating privacy is: what your most popular content is, which offers or deals generate the most interest, and what products your customers buy. Look at the clicks instead of opens, as they indicate engagement and interest. Specify your own UTI parameters for clicks to place such emails in the larger context of your organic traffic numbers.
You can add a feedback rating form at the end of each email – just a set of numbers from 1 to 5, asking something like, “Was this email helpful for you?”. Not only does this give people a reason to click, but it also helps you collect information on whether they like your emails.
Create user affinity for your brand personality
If you keep interacting with someone, you subconsciously form an impression of them primarily based on what they say. Believe it or not, this is also true for email interactions, including the ones your brand has with users.
Let’s say you only bombard your customers with product recommendations and offers, week after week. Even if you send discounts and offers, the customers will likely feel they are just an entry in your marketing list.
Of course, the relationship is transactional; customers know your primary goal is to get them to click the Buy button. But you don’t need to state this fact upfront. Send some emails that just give users helpful information without trying to make a sale. Add a personal touch to the sender’s name, like “Richard from Netcore,” so that recipients feel a real person is reaching out. In other words, be approachable and human.
Ride the email wave in 2023 with Netcore
If you want to keep pace with fast-changing trends in email marketing, you’ll need expert guidance. At Netcore Cloud, our whole world revolves around getting your email engagement numbers and revenue margins up to previously unseen levels. Be it AMP emails, subject line optimization, send time optimization, segmentation (all powered by in-house AI and machine learning), or anything about email campaigns, we’ve got you covered.
Our cutting-edge algorithms and expertise work hard to keep you on top of trends, so you don’t have to. Our tech and marketing experts ensure that your emails get the best possible chance of being opened, read, and engaged with. Consequently, what you get are more conversions and increased ROI.
Headquartered in Mumbai, India, with offices throughout Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, Netcore Cloud serves over 6,500 clients across 18 countries, delivers over 20 billion emails a month, and tracks upwards of 120 trillion marketing events every year.
Connect with us to understand how you can benefit from our expertise and experience.
While you are here, you might want to check out a few success stories we have created with our clients:
94% inbox deliverability for Walmart-owned Myntra
27% increase in open rate for Axis Securities
30% uplift in monthly active users for airasia
450% increase in click rate for ShippingCart
83% increase in customer engagement for Thomas Cook