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Email Marketing is without a doubt one of the most popular and effective marketing strategies for businesses looking to engage with customers and generate leads. In the 40 years that it has been around, email marketing has seen many ups and downs; just a couple of years ago there was a rumour going around that ‘email is dead’ and with the upcoming changes in the law, people are becoming more and more concerned about the credibility of this marketing tactic.

We’re here to let you know that email marketing is alive and kicking, in fact, some of the trends for 2018 suggest that it is taking a plunge into the future, with evolving AI functionalities and increased use of dynamic and interactive content.

Whether you’re new to this area or an email marketing veteran, one thing is for sure – you will want to outsmart the competition and stay ahead of the game. We’ve put together a list of the latest trends in email marketing, sure to help you and your entire marketing team leverage the power of this increasingly popular marketing strategy.

1. Make Way For Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the most popular buzzword in the last couple of years and now it has found its way into email marketing as well. Specifically, Machine Learning (ML) has been integrated into a number of email softwares, providing marketers the opportunity to improve their email experience like never before. Platforms powered by AI and ML allow marketers to identify trends and make predictions more easily and conduct A/B testing at a whole new level.

Perhaps the most appealing aspects of AI integration is subject line and email copy optimisation. One of the areas that marketers struggle with is producing effective content that will generate the best results. With the introduction of AI and ML, email marketers can breathe a sigh of relief and stop playing Russian roulette with their subject lines and CTAs.

The new technology allows platforms to pick up on what a specific audience will respond to best. It uses natural language technology to create body copy, call to actions and subject lines that not only resonate with a brand’s tone of voice, but sound entirely human.

For Marketers who are not yet convinced that AI can replace human capability, there are platforms that allow you to create virtual simulations of email lists and predict impression, click and conversion rates for contrasting subject lines. This offers a whole new way to ensure the highest conversions through email marketing.

2.  Interactive Email Marketing –  Keeping users interested

Since the dawn of the internet and its application for customer engagement and lead generation, one of the most attractive elements has always been its interactive features. Unlike print media, digital marketing offers customers an engaging experience that eliminates the passivity of traditional marketing tactics. Email Marketing is a good example of this as it offers a platform to immerse customers in an interactive experience.

If you want customers to remain interested in an email and not hit the delete button the instant they open a message, then you have to offer an experience worth sticking around for.

Here are the most popular ways to make emails more dynamic and interactive:

  • Carousels – Image carousels allow you to display several products or services at once, increasing the chances of conversions. But, it is important to balance out the images with text to avoid issues with performance.
  • Integrated forms – Forms that are integrated into an email are a great way to keep customers engaged. Integrated forms ensure that customers can take action within the email itself, without navigating to another webpage. These can be used to ask customers for a review or simply fill a form to purchase or receive more information about a product or service.
  • GIFs, Videos & Animations – These are highly engaging for users, but largely depend on the capability of the mail client since not all mail clients support GIFs and videos

3. Taking personalisation to the next level

Most email marketing campaigns follow a similar pattern i.e. providing audiences with product information or promotional offers. However, audiences today value content that provides useful information, addresses paint points and ultimately helps them make a decision to buy.

Keeping this in mind, marketers are turning to a more conversational tone in emails and this has led to the evolution of Text-Only Emails. The idea is to approach audiences in a more personalised manner and open up the opportunity for a two way conversation, rather than bombarding audience inboxes with generic information.

There is no denying that most people will delete an email from an unknown address or even from a well-known brand if they feel it is just another promo or product highlight. This information overload has given email marketing a bad name and it is high time that marketers address the need for change. Text- Only Emails are the ideal solution as they are tailored to a particular segment and address the receiver on an individual level.

4.  Mobile Marketing is here to stay

2018 is the year that email marketers can no longer ignore the importance of mobile optimisation. Consider these Mobile Marketing Stats:

  • Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years.
  • 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important.
  • Average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates.

There is no doubt that mobile devices have become more popular over desktop devices in the last few years. Responsive emails are a necessity and not an option if you are serious about lead conversion via email marketing.

In conclusion, the important thing to remember is that even if you send less emails than before, make sure you’re providing audiences an experience they won’t forget. In 2018, the focus is clearly improved customer experience, with an emphasis on providing a quality experience and minimising information overload.