The Covid-19 pandemic has made an enormous impact on every industry across the world. The ways consumers and businesses purchase products and services have changed. So have buyer expectations and preferences. If you want to succeed with your email marketing campaigns, you need to adjust your strategy.
In this post, we’re going to explore the trends that have shaped email marketing in 2021. We’ll also reveal how you can adapt your strategy to offer more value to customers and get better results from your campaigns.
Let’s dive in.
What Is an Email Marketing Strategy? (And Why Should You Invest in One?)
An email marketing strategy is a set of actions and tactics to help marketers achieve their strategic business goals through email marketing. Like any other marketing initiative, email marketing should have a defined strategy and measurable KPIs. An email marketing strategy provides a plan of action to nurture new email subscribers through the stages of the buyer’s journey with direct email communication and promotional messaging.
Marketers consistently rank email marketing as the channel that generates the best ROI:
However, it’s important to note that email marketing with no strategy is highly unlikely to achieve positive ROI. A detailed strategy provides the roadmap for email marketing success. Other stakeholders (sales, customer support, etc.) know what is expected at each stage, ensuring synchronicity for each campaign.
2021 Is No Ordinary Year… Don’t Sleep on These Email Marketing Trends!
We’re living in an age like no other, with years of change taking place in a matter of months. As a result, consumer behaviors and expectations have rapidly evolved, and the trends expected to shape email marketing have accelerated.
If you want to succeed at email marketing in 2021, you need to keep on top of the following trends:
This is the year where personalization comes of age. Personalization is much more than just switching out the name in your email template. It’s about leveraging customer data to craft highly personalized messaging tailored to the recipient’s needs. Your emails need to be super-relevant to cut through the noise and generate clicks and conversions.
Personalization should be an integral part of your email marketing strategy and integrated throughout your communications – not just during your welcome email sequence. You need to think about the audience’s needs and offer more valuable and relevant messaging.
Getting personal can also impact your bottom line and campaign ROI. According to Experian, personalized emails generate 6x higher transaction rates.
Micro-segmentation goes hand-in-hand with email personalization. The more sophisticated your segmentation, the more you can personalize your messaging.
It’s time to go beyond basic demographic and geographic segmentation. You need to think about the different data points you can use to improve your market segmentation. This can include past purchases, lead magnet downloads, search history, page visits, and more.
When you have detailed audience segments, you can effectively leverage your content marketing assets and craft highly relevant promotional messages. It enables you to nurture leads into first-time buyers and repeat customers into brand advocates.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is making a significant impact on almost every aspect of marketing, and email marketing is one of the areas where the technology is delivering the best results. According to a 2018 survey, 41.29% of email marketers have reported an increase in revenue after implementing AI:
The challenge for marketers is to use AI to craft automated emails with a personal touch. With the right tools, this is certainly possible. For example, both Marketo and Salesforce come equipped with predictive analytics and lead scoring tools that help you to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
Amazon has used these tools to great effect with personalized product recommendation emails sent to customers based on their past and predicted behaviors.
Empathy and Brand Values Are Still Key
Marketing campaigns don’t exist in a black hole – events in the broader world influence how businesses market their products and services. Many companies and consumers are facing challenges, and it’s vital that your email marketing and digital branding reflect that. Empathy is one of the biggest trends in marketing.
You should be considerate with your approach and adjust your strategy and the tone of your email marketing copy accordingly. This is especially true for automated email campaigns that you set up pre-pandemic. With the rise of email automation, it’s all too easy to neglect the human touch. Make sure your email marketing campaigns demonstrate your brand values and show compassion for your audience.
Adoption of BIMI
BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification, is an email authentication standard that makes it easier to get your logo displayed next to your email when it lands in a recipient’s inbox.
Why does BIMI matter?
Getting your logo displayed next to your email is an effective way to increase open rates. According to a 2021 report by the UK’s Data & Marketing Association, 68% of people cite brand recognition as the most critical factor when deciding whether to open an email.
BIMI helps boost brand recognition and increase the open rates of your emails, which can result in more people reading your message and more conversions.
One of the biggest benefits of email marketing is the ability to track and measure results in granular detail so that you can optimize campaigns. That’s why A/B testing is an email marketing trend that will always be important.
With lockdowns, restrictions, and a large percentage of consumers working from home, A/B testing is vital for determining consumers’ preferences. You can test variations of your CTA and visuals and aspects like sending times that changes in consumer behavior may have impacted. A/B testing can provide insights into the changing interests and needs of your audience.
Around 15% of people live with some form of disability. So if you have an email list of 10,000 subscribers, around 1,500 could have a disability that requires them to use assistive technology to access the internet and read emails. That’s a huge number of potential customers that could be excluded if you don’t follow email accessibility guidelines.
Email accessibility best practices include:
- Add screen reader-friendly Alt-text to your images and visuals
- Use a suitable contrast between text and background colors
- Choose an appropriate font size
- Include plenty of white space around email design elements
- Implement a semantic markup (H1, H2, H3)
You can find out more about email accessibility and best practices for different operating systems on Microsoft’s Support website.
One of the biggest lessons from the pandemic is that things can change quickly. We need to be flexible and adapt to change.
The above email marketing trends should help you to adapt your strategy, add more value to your messaging, and generate better results while being compassionate to your audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for email marketing, but there are always opportunities to learn and create a unique winning strategy that’s right for your audience and your business.
If you need help turning your customer data into a dynamic email marketing strategy, get in touch with our team here at Ogno. We’re a friendly team of marketing fanatics with a passion for data-driven campaigns.