Email marketing is going nowhere. In fact, if anything it’s becoming more critical year on year as brands look to keep a stable mix of digital touch points with their customers, and the trusty email being one of the most reliable and resource-efficient.
Done well, email marketing can lead to significant conversions and ongoing retention of customers; the marketing truism that it is far easier to retain customers than acquire new ones is certainly proven by the success of email marketing campaigns, as a form of marketing principally designed around retention. But it must be done well, and so much of what will define email marketing in 2018 will be with regards to brands fine tuning their email strategies in order to maximise their effectiveness.
1. Automation will be king
A successful automation project is almost 20% more likely to generate at least half of a brand’s email marketing revenue. This is a major revelation for brands, because automation is so much less resource intensive to the production of mass emails, so if brands are able to fine tune their automated email system so that it is successful, there’s a lot of revenue on the table as a reward.
Automation doesn’t mean ‘set and forget’, though. Customers will expect better than that. A successful automated email strategy will be under constant review; for example, to create a successful automated email strategy, a brand is 70.2% more likely to A/B test their automated emails at least once per year.
Automation naturally requires robust data gathering strategies, so that the system can “get to know” customers and provide them with compelling content, so as part of the ‘automation is king’ trend in 2018, expect to see more brands invest more heavily in providing customers with compelling reasons to pass over their data.
2. Personalisation will be the other king
That data being gathered by brands will be used to highly personalise the experience that a customer has with the brand, and personalisation will be the result of that. Brands will know what their customers like and dislike, what they buy, and what promotions they’re likely to respond to. All of that data is critical, because the trend will be towards providing customers with information on a proactive basis; what is coming up next, and what is new, rather than more of what they’re already aware of.
The ultimate goal is to provide customers with a genuine 1:1 experience with the brand, and while there’s a lot of effort going into achieving this on social media already, 2018 will see brands look to email marketing as another opportunity for this.
3. Predictive marketing metrics will become highly valued by marketers
Actually understanding the success of a campaign before it’s sent out is a holy grail for marketers; rather than measure the success of previous campaigns and then try and adjust strategy so that the next one will be more successful, predictive marketing metrics, particularly the customer lifetime value (CLV) will let a marketer know the success of the campaign before it has even been undertaken.
CLV will become a more useful metric in 2018 than it has ever been, as machine learning and AI will enhance it well beyond the values that previous systems have been able to create. It will become predictive, rather than historical, and predictive CLV measures insights such as what acquisition budget earns the highest ROI, and what customer attributes assist in creating the maximum lifetime value.
4. Emails will become interactive
We’re not just talking about “click on a link” interactivity here, but rather, email campaigns will take full advantage of the rich interactivity that modern email enables to include animated GIFs, quizzes, dynamic reviews, search bars, countdown timers, video and image galleries to make those emails as engaging and interesting for the consumer as possible.
Engaging emails from a brand make for emails that the consumer actually looks forward to receiving in their inbox. Competition for the consumer’s time with email is fierce, and conversions for emails that aren’t engaging will be very low, so 2018 will see the old adage “content is king” become a critical cornerstone in any email marketing strategy.
Finally, a critical trend in email marketing is how integral and linked it will become to the overall marketing strategy. We call it “omni-channel” marketing, but that simply refers to email being part of the same television, print, social and online set of marketing strategies that means a customer might see something on TV, research it on a website, sign up to an email list to be kept informed, and then make the final purchase in-store. 70% of brands believe omni-channel marketing to be important, and here the key is to make sure that there’s a consistency across all platforms so that the customer has a consistent experience.
For more information on email marketing, and how to make the most of this critical platform in 2018, contact the experts at Blue Star DIRECT here.