Email marketing is one of the oldest online tools and a most efficient and cost-effective means of advertising. According to a study by U.S. software manufacturer, LITMUS, 46% of businesses worldwide plan to increase their email marketing budget in 2019, helping to ensure that email marketing will continue playing a significant role into the future. The most important benefits of these current trends are as follows:
- Simplicity and Efficiency
Email marketing is easy to use. Dedicated software allows the quick and easy creation of newsletter campaigns. Bulk emails can usually be sent without problems, and messages reach the target recipients as intended. Informative content and special offers can reach target groups without hardly any effort.
- High ROI (Return on Investment)
Newsletters are among the most effective form of advertising media and can be drafted quickly, with little cost and effort, thus delivering a high ROI. According to ABSOLIT Consulting, the current ROI of email marketing averages at 4,200%. This means that for every Euro invested, an average of € 42 is generated. In the tourism industry, the ROI rises to 5,300%.
In the business world, email marketing is the most widely-used means of communication, and is also frequently used for communicating with friends and family. A survey by STATISTA, specialists in market and consumer data, showed that around 84% of Germans and 72% of Europeans make regular use of this communication channel. The survey also indicates that in 2019 email traffic worldwide will total 293.6 billion emails per day, rising to 347.3 billion per day in 2022. Given this impressive data, emails would seem particularly effective in reaching out to large swathes of the target market.
- Analysis and Optimization
The efficacy of a newsletter campaign can be evaluated by examining the number of openings, clicks, conversions, unsubscribe rates and other parameters. Collated data is used for optimizing future campaigns to render them more effective. Potential improvements could include modifying the content or adjusting the dispatch time (day/night). More can be found in ADDITIVE's technical article "Newsletter Marketing: The most Significant Comparative Values: Key Figures for Successful Analysis".
Emails can be used to communicate with customers in a variety of ways, such as advertising products, services and perhaps also using vouchers, as well as news bulletins, special offers and informative content. Email marketing leads to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Newsletters are generally viewed as a secure and trustworthy medium of communication. Security is assured by means of certified mailings and double opt-in procedures. An ABSOLIT survey shows that 64% of companies send their newsletters via CSA-certified email servers. The CSA (Certified Senders Alliance) adheres to strict security criteria ensuring that the sent emails are free of spam.
Besides the proven advantages of email marketing, new trends and technical developments enable marketing techniques to adapt to user behaviour. Company strategies can thus be designed to better respond to the needs of their customers. Some of the most recent trends in email marketing are described below.
Automation, AI and Predictive Analytics
Algorithms and the analysis of large volumes of data make it possible to adapt email campaigns to user behaviour, targeting clients with the appropriate content at the right time. AI systems collect and evaluate mass data and automated content based on the results of the analysis can be generated. Even the optimal timing for sending to a target group or individual recipients is predetermined to better target user needs, thus improving the chances of a successful marketing campaign.
Due to the large amount of data collected, artificial intelligence is also able to predict user behaviour allowing, for example, the effectiveness of images in newsletters to be assessed. While some of these technologies are still in early development, it is assumed that they will be more frequently used in the future.
Personalisation and Segmentation
Personalisation is an ongoing and increasingly important trend, going well beyond the personal greeting in an email. Individual user data is also utilised, together with the interests and relevant information about the target groups for improved adaptation of the contents of the newsletter.
Such data permits the segmentation of the recipient list into different target groups, that is populated with personalised content. In future, this might go beyond group campaigns, targeting individual users with content that meets their personal needs.
Dynamic and Interactive Content
GIFs and videos in email marketing are gaining increasing popularity. Visual elements help to attract attention, setting a particular product apart from the competition. However, GIFs and videos should be used sparingly and excessively saturated layouts are to be avoided. Not all portable devices enable viewing all kinds of media.
Interactive content inserted into emails is also becoming increasingly popular, giving rise to the phenomenon of “Gamification”. These elements contain games, such as quizzes, to challenge the user. Gaming creates a sense of achievement that can be supplemented by added incentives, such as winning vouchers. However, this is not always effective and content that directly interacts with the user can be used instead, such as clicking through a succession of tabs or filling out a survey via email.
Simplicity of Design and Optimization for Mobile Devices
Despite technical progress in the field of design, there’s also a trend in the opposite direction. More simple forms of presentation are now being used, some even containing just plain text. Examples are text-only newsletters without images, videos or GIFs.
This development is influenced, among other things, by the ever-increasing trend towards mobile optimization, with mobile devices being used to access emails. Thus, fewer images and videos might be preferable and text should be divided into smaller clusters with more prominent positioning of CTA buttons.
As in many other marketing areas, email marketing is also moving towards storytelling. High-quality, emotive content and narratives are used to solicit a higher level of engagement from users, inspiring readers and heightening customer loyalty.
As ever, data protection remains relevant. Current laws and regulations need to be observed and maintained, as do clear communications informing recipients that progressive data protection methods are used to guarantee their privacy.
Email marketing remains one of the most successful and popular channels of communication. The high ROI and ease of use has reaffirmed the use of this advertising medium time and again without being replaced by other channels. Email marketing is thus set to continue into the future with numerous innovations and technical developments helping to create ever more efficient campaigns that are constantly adapted to the needs of users.