If you’re trying to keep up with the latest email-related app or social platform, you probably find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed. And you may wonder how to make the best use of your time and energy
I know the feeling. As I try to stay on top of email trends, I find myself wondering, What’s next for email? And how can I keep up?
From email personalization and audience segmentation to cross-channel messaging and social marketing, there are lots of possibilities to pair with online media’s cash cow. (Email’s ROI hovers around $40 for every $1 spent, by the way.)
I challenged five Emma staffers to hop into a time machine (fashioned from a few cardboard boxes, lamp wiring and Hubba Bubba’s Bubble Tape) set to a year from now, and tell me what they believe the hot email trends will have been. Let’s see what they have to say …
Suzanna: I’m pinning my email predictions on Pinterest. With email’s mastery of social integration, this new craze is an asset worth welcoming into every email campaign. Be it a simple link, a call-to-action button or a custom Pinterest icon permanently embedded in your email design — the pinboard social network is a must in terms of connecting with your email audience.
There’s already a wealth of tech-savvy artists and craftsmen utilizing the down-the-rabbit-hole platform to generate interest in new products and projects. And with the launch of Pinerly, a comprehensive analytics tool, even the more traditional internet denizens will be jumping on the pin-wagon to strengthen their online presence. Email, pin and watch your efforts go viral.
Jimmy: I think the biggest trend that we need to pay attention to is actually less of a trend and more of a revolution on how we view content. There has been a huge surge in the mobile realm, and the idea of “mobile first” is really starting to sink in.
This applies specifically to us (and to Emma customers) because it’s easy to check email from your phone. If we don’t cater to the mobile market, we’re missing the opportunity to meet our clients and their constituencies where they are — and that’s really the most important thing in regards to sharing content.
Carolyn: Over the past few years, emails have gotten longer and more crowded — this sense of more and more content. However, we seem to be at a (welcome) tipping point, as content creators and curators realize that more isn’t necessarily better; it takes a lot more time and it makes readers’ eyes glaze over. Know the feeling?
This will be the year that content marketing reaches maturity. Developing blog posts, whitepapers and other thought leadership has become a huge focus of B2B and B2C companies, and for good reason. Handing out free knowledge builds a company’s credibility, reach and even search results. But, with the explosion of content, we have started to drown in it.
We’ll see the craze to create content become a lot more focused. Blog posts, email newsletters and (hopefully) even tweets will get less frequent, but more focused. As companies continue to demonstrate expertise, we’ll churn out fewer articles, but the ones that make it to the presses will be richer and more valuable.
Art: For email deliverability trends this year, I would say that people will look back and say, “I’m glad I started segmenting my audience by engagement: removing people that don’t respond, rewarding my most loyal readers and giving people options regarding how often I send to them.” I risk sounding like a broken record, but as far as improving and maintaining great email response, it’s the most important thing a sender can do with their opt-in, permission-based list.
Grey: The trend we will have likely seen is one where our friend email has found renewed energy by hanging out more with its younger cousins in social media.
Email realizes that it doesn’t have to carry the engagement load like it once did and, honestly, is a lot happier being the stable, reliable and trusted channel for delivering all kinds of messages, large and small. It feels more personal than ever because it stays connected to other sites and information sources automatically; email sometimes even creates and sends itself. How liberating!
Personification aside, the point I’m trying to make is that email is evolving alongside every other marketing and communications channel and will continue to have tremendous value because it does certain things better than any other medium. Consumers value the relevance of a message, not the delivery channel; the challenge for marketers will be first learning what their members value, and then leaning on technology like Emma to get it delivered down the right pipe.
There you have it, folks. If you’re looking to implement similar thoughts or tactics into your own email marketing plan, please give us a ring — we’d be more than happy to talk shop with you.
Do you have your own email predictions to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!