Email has become a mainstay in the world of online marketing, used by SaaS and eCommerce businesses alike as a strategy for converting customers and gaining traction.
While 2020 may have been a tumultuous year for business, it has pushed email back to the forefront of digital marketing campaigns and made it one of the most important tools for engagement.
As more and more consumers shop online, there’s an even greater need to engage and connect digitally, and email marketing is a great way of doing this. You can combine personalization and automation to create a strategy that really speaks to your customers while increasing your return on investment (ROI).
Especially effective in a remote work environment, email marketing can be used to promote your products, vocalize your brand ethics, and send out newsletters. Emails can reach thousands of people, all at a click of a button, which is why it’s so important to prioritize building your email list.
Your mailing list subscribers will increase organic traffic to your site, as well as provide you with an easy way of tracking analytics on customer engagement.
As we move even further into 2021, it’s clear that email marketing will become a big focus for many businesses, and it should become yours too! Craft a strategy that incorporates email marketing, and you’ll start to see increased levels of engagement and conversion rates.
Doing so is a team effort, so be sure to get all your staff briefed on your new strategy so that departments can work together easily. Consider using a phone through internet service to help streamline communications across departments.
Be on top of your game, and come prepared with a 2021 strategy that keeps on top of the latest trends and innovations. Here are eight email marketing trends that can supercharge your 2021 strategy.
1. Personalization in Email Marketing
Customers don’t just want to feel like another cog in the works; they want to feel valued by the companies they invest in. One problem that can occur in email marketing is the lack of personalization that comes with automation. A key trend to follow is instead leveraging robotic process automation and AI to create personalized emails that speak to your consumers.
This means using automation and AI to send targeted emails that appeal to your specific audience segment. Analyze your customer’s shopping habits, opening rates, and favorite products or services to then create an email that speaks to those behaviors.
Perhaps some customers have a habit of abandoning their cart before a purchase? In this case, your targeted email would focus on bringing this to the forefront, leaving a helpful reminder with CTA’s alongside your message.
The basics are really important in personalization, too, so always remember to include the customer’s name and consider adding a personalized message.
It seems like a lengthy process, but personalization can be automated; you just have to lay out the foundations. Analyze customer habits and preferences for each audience segment and draw up a set of template emails based on this research (remember to include each customer’s name in this process). Once you’ve done this, you can sit back and let automation handle the rest!
2. Implementing AI to Optimize Email Strategy
We touched on it briefly before, but implementing AI into your strategy can really help streamline your email marketing efforts. When analyzing customer habits and open rates, AI can be used to perform a number of tasks, including:
- Optimizing surveys
- Using analytics to predict outcomes
- Processing large amounts of customer data at a time
AI can also be used to make email marketing run more smoothly. Consider implementing it to increase the speed of your campaign and do the tasks that take up most of your time, such as:
- Writing subject lines in emails
- Optimizing send times
- Cleaning up mailing lists (scour your lists for customers that aren’t engaging with your copy)
- Restructuring email campaigns
3. Incorporating User-Generated Content Into Emails
One of the simplest ways to get more organic traffic and convert more customers is by implementing user-generated content into your emails. Users are more likely to trust a service or a product if they can see positive customer feedback from a wide range of people – increasing their chance of becoming a converting, paying consumer!
The great thing about user-generated content is that it’s free and is something that can be presented and used in your emails. Consider incorporating customer reviews, poll results, or photos of your customers using your products/services in your emails with a handy CTA button to increase trust.
You can even generate more user-content via your emails – simply include a CTA to complete a survey or poll so that you can collect the data easily next time. If you have a large following on social media, encourage your followers to post photos of themselves enjoying your product or service and tagging you. This kind of content is fresh and cost-efficient, so be sure to make the most of it!
4. Making It More Interactive
Interactive marketing greatly increases engagement and is becoming even more popular as tech progresses. Incorporating interactive marketing into your email campaigns doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a number of simple ways you can use it within your strategy, including:
- Gifs and hover-over imagery
- Clear CTAs
- Design mode options (choice of dark mode or light mode)
- Polls and surveys
- Interactive carousels to showcase products or services
- Gamification elements
Though still a recently emerging technique, gamification is the process of implementing gaming-style elements into non-gaming content. It may sound complicated and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be!
If you have the resources and relevant niche, you could go further and incorporate a mini-game into your email campaigns. This could be related to your target market or your services, but the key is to keep it relevant to your industry and what you’re selling.
A simple way of doing this could be linking your rewards system to a gaming experience via email. Perhaps customers could win free tickets or extra coupons if they win your game – this is a perfect way to drive engagement and interaction.
However, if you want to make gamification simpler, there are a number of alternative options you can incorporate, including:
- Interactive tests and quizzes
- Interactive holiday cards (this could be as simple as sending out a personalized email to customers at Christmas with an interactive user-face that recipients can engage with)
- Prize draws
Interactive marketing will go a long way in creating a positive UX that entertains and engages your customers. It can also act as a method of personalization, providing users with trivia and holiday cards that are exclusive to them.
5. Creating Privacy-Friendly Emails
Customers are more aware than ever before about their privacy and have become more conscious of how their data is being used. You have to go beyond maintaining PCI and being GDPR compliant to win their trust and loyalty. Make privacy the center of all your email campaigns to ensure you’re meeting their expectations.
This means constantly reviewing legislation surrounding data privacy and remaining transparent with customers. Use your emails to inform customers of any upcoming changes to data privacy and highlight how you are protecting their information. This will also help showcase your company ethics in a good light.
Be careful not to fall into the trap that Amazon set up for itself with its recent ‘dark pattern’ scandal. The company recently faced legal challenges over incorporating a design that made canceling a subscription difficult for users. The findings revealed that canceling required flipping through too many pages and constantly being faced with warning signs.
Avoid this mishap by making canceling an easy process for customers – this is particularly important to subscribers of your mailing list. It will also allow for a refresh of your subscribers and ensure you’re only retaining ones that are the most engaged.
6. Optimizing Email Across All Platforms
It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s integral that you optimize email across all platforms. As mobile usage increases amongst customers, you need to make sure they’re getting the same level of experience that a desktop user might be getting.
It could be worth looking to outsource help from a tech company to ensure your emails provide a good mobile experience. You may find you need to audit large parts of your system to do this properly.
7. Customer Appreciation Emails
A form of personalization, customer appreciation is a trend that’s here to stay! Providing a sense of value to users, customer appreciation emails could include sending out:
- Personalized birthday messages with discounts
- Early access invites
- Thank you emails
Consider adapting these emails to the current climate, too, just as some companies are already doing. Perhaps you could send discounts out to frontline staff and healthcare workers – what’s key is that you show customers you are standing by their side.
8. Making it a Team Effort
Since email marketing is a continually evolving process (trends come and go), it would be wise to invest in the help of your team. Different departments can cross-collaborate on your 2021 strategy to ensure a variety of inputs and ideas are gathered.
Remote work can often be draining, so consider implementing productivity-boosting tools to bolster performance. Effective email marketing will optimize your conversions and ROI, and combining your efforts with strong workforce optimization will ensure you hit targets faster.
Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.
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