The Future of email marketing – 2018 edition

The Future of email marketing – 2018 edition

Come and step into the future of email marketing with our 7th annual review of email marketing trends and predictions.

How can you stay on top of the ever-changing environment that is the inbox? And what about that thing called the customers’ Mind-Box?!

To be honest, the future is already here, it’s just not distributed evenly.
Creating this email marketing trend overview has always been a good excuse for me to show what’s already happening right now. Take a peek at what is coming up in 2018 and beyond.
So let’s jump in and see what email industry today, has to say about the future of email marketing tomorrow…

– Jordie van Rijn

Email marketing 5 years ahead …

Econsultancy asked brand side marketers, how they thought email marketing will evolve: “Looking ahead five years, what do you think the single biggest change to email marketing will be?”

This resulted in the following word cloud. The top topics for the coming 5 years are Data, Personalisation, Content, AI and Automation. With Personalisation taking a big leap as the #1 focus area for the upcoming year.

This Is What the Future of Email Will Look Like in your Inbox

There is hope for a better email world and it’s coming fast. According to Erik Lukas, in the near future our email Inbox will be more visual, more interactive, give users more control, and be paid.

Our inbox will be more visual
In the future, all important links within an email will be surfaced and previewed, all attachments will be previewed and shown without having to download. Contact photos will be more prominent for people we’re close. We will be able to organize our inbox with gestures and pickup and reorganize mails according to priority.

Our inbox will be 3d and interactive
A smartphone already offers a lot more possibilities than email apps are letting us access. Users will be able to interact with their inbox is new ways that feel like superpowers in the near future. Imagine picking up, tossing, and grouping emails in whatever way you see fit in 3d space.

Our inbox will give users more control
The inboxes of the future will give users vastly more control in three ways:
a) control through interaction,
b) control through personalization and
c) control through programmability.

email-future-interaction

You can choose to see favourite contacts and most important labels being more prominent and customizable.
It will allow something like personal hashtag rules that give priority contacts permission to ‘top post’ on your inbox. The email hashtag #yourname could be a personal hashtag to create and give out to a few colleagues to use when there is something urgent to consider and a decision is needed asap. A focus mode is another way of control, removing distractions Only to look at only the emails from today or a certain person easily.

Email will be paid
A paid model or protocol layer will naturally sift and improve the quality of emails that make it through the ‘pay filter’ protocol to your inbox. That means…. less junk email! Bitcoin can, in theory, handle micro-payments by lowering transaction costs but they would need widespread adoption or a layer that makes mass usage easy and possibly invisible.
Read the whole article here

Hold onto your fidget spinners, because the future of email is going to be very bright. Six of the most epic white turtleneck wearing minds in email marketing and automation bring the 2018 Email Marketing Predictions courtesy of Campaign Monitor.

  • Samantha Anderl: The marketing funnel as we know it is dead.
    There is no one-size-fits-all funnel, journey or customer experience anymore. The funnel is changing, and new marketing tactics are on the rise. Leads can enter at any stage and email marketing is a leading channel at every stage of this new funnel. Marketers must own the complete customer journey, not just think about cherry-picking touchpoints along the way.

  • Chad White: Email targeting will become turbocharged.
    Relevance is paramount— In 2018, email marketers will increase their use of automated emails, which are central to creating better email experiences. Rather than viewing these emails unwisely as “set it and forget it” programs, we’ll treat them as “review and improve” programs, maximize their efficiency and supercharge our impact.
  • Alex Williams: The journey to 1:1 personalization is on.
    Expectations have changed. In 2018, I predict email personalization will start shifting heavily towards ‘what’s next’ instead of ‘what was.’ Consumers expect everything to work like Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist or Netflix’s Recommendation pages. Marketers struggle to deliver those specific kinds of recommendation-oriented experiences.
  • Philip Storey: Marketers will own the multi-channel experience like never before.
    Until now, marketers have been focused on acquisition and loyalty, but not the rest of the lifecycle. In 2018, tools and technologies make it possible for marketers to fully tackle the complete customer lifecycle, where customers need that little bit more from the brands they love.
  • Jordie van Rijn: A new type of combined email marketing automation is rising.
    The line between marketing automation, email marketing, and CRM is set to blur as email and automation companies continue to expand their features. That is great for marketers. A new midfield of marketing technology players will emerge. Expect high-value platforms and sophistication at a better price than we are used to.
  • Kath Pay: Predictive marketing metrics will become coveted by marketers.
    Machine learning and AI will predict individual and group customer lifetime value – this is called Predictive CLV. It helps to make better informed, data-driven decisions that contribute to increased revenue. Insights like: which subscribers and their attributes will be the most profitable over a specific time period, which acquisition type earns the highest ROI and which customer attributes help in driving increased lifetime value.

Read the complete article here at Campaignmonitor

6 emerging email and marketing automation trends to guide your 2018 email marketing strategy

SmartInsights reviewed the success factors to improving email ROI, combined with views and email marketing predictions of email marketing specialists making a good mix of trends which will be important in 2018.

To start, the lifecycle marketing model shows how email marketing helps to increase relevance and response to communications across potential customer touchpoints. Marketing activities such as personalization, loyalty programs, and re-engagement email programs are vital to your email marketing strategy.

Customer-Lifecycle-touchpoints

  1. Respecting personal data will change your email marketing strategy
    General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) changes will be enforced in May 2018. This is one of the biggest changes happening that affects email marketing strategies in 2018 and is going to be very disruptive if not terminal for email 3rd party data.
  2. Mailable ‘Microsites’ are set to continue it’s winning spree.
    Also known as Interactive email, it allows the user to interact with the email interface within the inbox. Interactivity in email is all set to continue its winning spree in 2018. Helping to retain customers and give a more engaging approach to content. Interactive emails keep the inbox interesting and unique.
  3. Conversational tone is adopted for more personal interaction with audience
    The tone you chose to use in your emails affects the way your customers will respond. A conversational can give more personal and genuine interaction. Ask questions, get them thinking and then give them the answer they need – through your CTA directing them to your content that helps/educates them.
  4. More businesses push for mobile-friendly design
    We now live in a mobile-first society. It is now more important than ever to make your emails mobile-friendly. 73% of email marketers were prioritizing optimizing email for mobile devices according to econsultancy.
  5. Testing and deliverability need addressing further
    For a long time, deliverability of emails has been important – make sure the emails are opened with the correct design and delivered to the correct email folder. Adoption of authentication will surge in 2018 because of the emerging Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard.
  6. Personalization and segmentation remain a high priority, sharing dynamic and engaging content
    Achieving personalization using machine learning/AI will achieve an uptake in 2018. Marketers continue to focus on getting personalization and relevance right. Even the customer journey will begin to develop a dynamic path based on an individual consumer’s needs.

Read the complete article here on SmartInsights

To set the foundation for your email marketing in 2018, Freshmail has gathered the email marketing trends and predictions from 12 leaders of email marketing space.

  • Laura Atkins: Email filtering changes at ISPs are going to rewrite the deliverability rules as we know them. ISPs will drive senders away from email blasts and towards more segmented and personalized emails to reach the inbox better.
  • Kath Pay: Email marketers are competing not only on price and service but also on customer experience. 1:1 personalisation using AI/machine learning will become commonplace and necessary for a brand and email plays a crucial role in customer experience as it often kick starts their journey. Customer-centricity as the basis of our strategy is an essential ingredient to success.
  • Jordie van Rijn: Expect marketers to become fans of the combination of email and on-site interactions. With guided tours, (chat)bots and slide-ins marketers can promote the next best action to and from email and continue the customer interaction flow.
  • Gerald Marshall: Last year list bombing was a new way for bad actors to influence email delivery. What will the hackers and pranksters be up to this year? I am not sure what the next tactic will be, but you can bet deliverability threats will continue in 2018.
  • Adam Q. Holden-Bache: With interactive email coming to the inbox, more use of artificial intelligence and predictive marketing, email’s value will only continue to increase.
  • Rene Kulka: Campaign orchestration, automation, and subscriber insight remain major MarTech drivers and expectations for AI are high. But with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I am excited to see how the tension between collecting and protecting data will be resolved in the next years.
  • Chad White: Creating and optimizing automated emails will be a major trend in 2018. Already, nearly 13% of brands already generate the majority of their email marketing revenue from automated emails, according to our 2017 State of Email Survey.
  • Roland Pokornyik: there is a rapid rise in advanced triggered emails and (in-app, on-site or FB) messages. Retargeting and event/time triggered campaigns are becoming a more integrated part of every marketing strategy, so I expect to be buzzed with 2-5x more emails that aim to re-engage.
  • Jaymin Bhuptani: with email marketing pushing towards machine learning and automated tools, we will be witness to a phenomenal change in improved personalization, better list segmentation, and better email designs based on previous emails results.
  • Pawel Sala: Upcoming GDPR regulations will push towards better segmentation. Due to lower costs of big data, we will continue to see more complete ecosystems with data flow between marketing tools.
  • Jenna Tiffany: Let the machine do the talking! AI and machine learning tools will analyse and interpret consumers behaviour and then provide recommendations with brand values in the back of their… mind?
  • Samantha Iodice : The evolution of email Email will come from interactive elements, like Live Content, AI, HTML5, and great coding hacks. This will be the catalyst for more personal email and a more holistic email approach.

Read the whole email trends article from Freshmail here.

The smart folks from Emma share what they think is the One thing (or actually six) that marketers should prepare for in email marketing in the new year.

  1. Get that engagement focus – Colby Cavanaugh, Senior VP of Marketing
    Resist the temptation to be in acquire, acquire, acquire mode all the time. Take a moment to focus, provide value, and be generous to your most engaged audience, and they’ll return the favor.
  2. Optimize for accessibility – Logan Baird, Design Services Lead
    Be prepared to focus on accessibility. Make email marketing inclusive and accessible to everyone in your respective audience. Turn on your phone’s accessibility options and explore your own content like that is a great start.
  3. Send fewer promos – Elizabeth Duffey, Senior Email Specialist
    Discounts encourage one time purchases, but brands that stick to only sending promotional messages will fall behind. The only way to stand out is to connect and leave a lasting impression with fabulous content that they look forward to (even better if it’s personalized).
  4. Simply, email – Lee Floyd, Creative Director
    Thinking about email design, less is more will be the trend. Simplify your design, template, and messaging to help your team move faster and create a scannable email that looks great on all devices. Clarity and simplicity will be the ultimate differentiators when competing in the inbox.
  5. Explicit permission – Art Quanstrom, Deliverability & Compliance Lead
    The importance of getting subscribers’ explicit permission will continue to increase. Marketers who provide clarity, respect their subscribers’ time and attention, and provide relevant, engaging content will succeed in 2018.
  6. Cool, contextual email – Jamie Bradley, Customer Marketing Manager
    Contextual email is one (really cool) tactic to be more relevant and useful in the inbox than your competitors. For instance include a progress bar to show shipping status of your purchase, or add real-time poll or survey results inside your email. The cool, contextual way to stand out in the inbox.

Read the full article here, at the Emma house.

What do marketers think the future of email marketing looks like?

ClickZ asked marketers about email, the role it plays in the modern marketing strategy and whether email is at risk of being disrupted by instant messaging. The conclusions:

future-of-emailmarketing-clickz

Email very to extremely important.
Two-thirds of marketers in the study said that email is “Extremely important” or “Very important” in the context of their broader strategy. A further 20% reported that email is “Important, but not central”,

Personalisation and Segmentation are the Trends most likely to impact email marketing strategy.
30% of marketers responded with Personalization as the development most likely to impact their email marketing. Segmentation was a fairly close second, with 21% choosing this trend.

In five years’ time, email will be the same, but different.
What will email marketing look like in five years’ time? Will it be unchanged, broadly the same, significantly changed but still fundamentally email, completely transformed, or non-existent?
The vast majority of marketers think that email will still be recognizable as email. 38% said that they think email will be “Broadly the same with some innovations”, 39% said email will undergo “Major changes but with the same fundamentals”.

Pure360 asked experts’ unique takes on customer experience trends in 2018, as smart brand marketers evolve the ways they make each brand touchpoint work to an easier customer’s purchase decision.

  • Kath Pay: Customer-centricity will need to underpin every strategy.
    Smart marketers will focus on the customer and their journey (customer-centric approach) rather than trying to connect the channels (brand-centric approach).
  • Jenna Tiffany: Brands that apply personalisation technology will be at an advantage.
    2018 will be a year of even more heightened expectations for personalisation. Data is a challenge, but there are alternatives, such as geo-targeting, using weather, or time of day—all potential insights into a person’s mood or behaviour pattern.
  • Philip Storey: Customer first, marketing goals second.
    Brands face a huge challenge to keep people engaged with ther content. But they create it for themselves, by putting their own goals, needs and targets before the needs of the customer.
  • Dela Quist Attribution will be the biggest challenge in improving customer experience.
    Unless our attribution is on point, we are ill-equipped to decide which touchpoints we need to enhance. The email addresses plays an important role in the ability to join up the dots and understand the sequence of interactions that led to purchase
  • Becs Rivett-Kemm: Aligning experiences with how people actually shop.
    To align to shopping behavior eCommerce brands need to consider how their experience aligns with how consumers actually shop. For instance, maintaining a basket across multiple devices is quite important (to me).

Read the complete article here for and more insights like how we should shift the mindset from conversion to experience and those who get granular will get ahead from experts Lilach Bullock, Jordie van Rijn Chloe Thomas, Paul Airy.

Email marketing trendbook 2018

email-trendbook-2018

In their Email marketing trendbook 2018, Krzysztof Jarecki, Aleksander Heba and Adam Ambrożewicz from ExpertSender discuss what they believe are the most interesting trends for 2018. These are bound to play a bigger role in your marketing strategy this year.

  1. Welcome series email adoption to grow
    2018 will be the year where every savvy email marketer will introduce welcome series into their marketing programs, improving conversions, customer and brand loyalty.
  2. Behavioral triggers to beat like a drum
    Behavioral triggers give marketers the tools to track what users do on a website or in email and allows marketing communications to be sent to re-engage users, and hopefully helps you restore them back into your sales funnel.
  3. Chatbots to help marketers grow their email lists
    Customizable bots can be used to effectively engage website users and collect their email addresses. Integrating chatbots into your email marketing program is a must-have for eCommerce retailers in 2018.
  4. Recommendation engines enter emails
    This technology analyzes behavioral patterns of website visitors to predict the products or services they might be interested in. Email is one of the select push channels that’ll allow you to suggest similar or complementary products to your customer once they’ve already left your website.
  5. Predictive analytics will be more prevalent
    The next step in evolving your marketing game is to precisely predict when your customers will want to make their next purchase. Predictive analytics will help marketers earn more with what they’re spending already by allowing you to send communications that you know your customers want to receive.
  6. Email production automation will become the norm
    A lot of time spent in email creation can be automated using email templates and dynamic code. More and more marketers are making use of dynamic content as a time-saving email strategy.
  7. AI to write some of your content
    Will AI be writing all your long-form copy? Maybe not just yet, but it’ll help us match existing human written content with a customer’s interests.
  8. Web push technology to complement email
    Web push is complementary to email and opens the door to those that avoid email marketing. Web push allows marketers to engage with these customers through a different channel.
  9. Gamification becoming more prevalent in email
    Translate game mechanics to motivate customers; recognition, savings, or altruism and we can design email campaigns that employ gamification that benefits both our customers and bottom line.
  10. More automated personalized customer relationships
    Brands that keep a personal, 1-to-1 relationship, with a contextual experience, build customer loyalty and engagement. To get more personal, more companies will step into a fully automated customer lifecycle through the email marketing channel.

Envisioning the Top 7 Email Design Trends for 2018

The Monks, in their quest of email marketing enlightenment, uncovered the most Read the prominent trends in email designing to look forward to in 2018.

  1. Driving ahead with Dynamic Data
    Dynamic data that changes on email open is picking up pace. The challenge for designers is displaying it correctly in a particular content blocks without breaking the layout or big whitespaces.
  2. Tapping into the Typography Trend
    Use of artistic fonts in email is a good way to grab subscribers’ attention as they make the emails more visually appealing and can highlight the important offers. 2018 is sure to witness a spike in emails with unique typography. Look at how Aéropostale uses decorative typeface and highlights the important offers.aeropostale-email-typography
  3. Instagram in your inbox
    Email marketers can include their Instagram stories in their promotional emails and create a sense of consistency, emulating the familiar feel of Instagram. While offering an omnichannel experience to their subscribers.
  4. Live Polling in Emails
    Let your subscribers tell you what they want by implementing live polling in your emails. Customer-centric marketing like that can be far more effective than the usual sales mails.
  5. Leveling Up Interactivity with Gamification
    Early adopters can let their emails leap out from the inbox and go a level up with gamification in your emails. Offer your subscribers some reward at the other end of the entertaining and eye-catching experience.
  6. An impulse to highlight Important Elements
    Add a small pulse to emphasize important phrase in your email to get them noticed. That will increase the chance of conversions and convey your email purpose much better.
    Here is a part of an email from Hollister that highlights urgency “Last day!”.monks-animated-highlight
  7. Creating some drama with an HTML5 Video
    HTML5 video can work wonders to promote your services in email. Use video in your HTML email template to showcase the success stories of the past and offer a dramatic experience (in a good way).

3 Trends Driving the Future of Email Marketing

The best way to determine the future is to look at the momentum of what’s happening now, and where it is headed. Will Devlin listed the three master-trends that will likely define the future of email marketing at Customer Think:

Think mobile first
Mobile devices are becoming our preferred personal computer and are outpacing desktops and other devices for email opens and clicks. Customers don’t differentiate touchpoints. They’re just interacting with your brand.

Time for Real Time
the time where marketers can respond and capture sales has never been shorter. Enterprise marketers have to start thinking about their email program the same way they think about their websites. Automated campaigns need real-time data in order to be effective. Triggered emails (like abandoned cart or product view promotions) need to be plugged into the global ecosystem.

Personalisation
Personalization is critical for success. For custom experiences, marketers need to find technology that allows them to access all of their data in real-time so they can have a complete view of what their customers are doing.. Examples are demographic data, customer satisfaction, lifestyle, spending habits, purchase behaviors, brand interactions, etc.

Top Email Marketing Trends to Know in 2018

Email marketing is just as relevant as ever. Dane Cobain list a few of the trends that are shaping email marketing for 2018 on DisruptorDaily.

  1. Cross-Channel Tracking and Targeting
    Today’s consumers are using all sorts of different devices. Tracking tools are getting better and able to bring data together from all those sources. But tracking is only useful if you act on it. That’s why more and more email marketing vendors will allow users to set up advanced targeting and automation rules based on tracking email subscribers across any touchpoint and device.
  2. Increased Regulation
    Regulation has always been a big issue for email marketers. But in 2017, thanks to the unstable state of global politics and the ever-increasing focus on online privacy, we’ll continue to see attempts to launch new regulations.
  3. Shrinking Emails
    The explosive growth in mobile and tablet usage has pushed to reduce the sizes of emails. In 2018 and beyond, email lengths and file sizes are likely to decrease in line with a greater focus on super relevant bite-sized content. It’s up to marketers to change their approach to meet consumer demands.email-trends-shrinking-size
  4. Better Sign-Up Calls-To-Action
    Nobody really cares about your generic newsletter. Many marketers have already shifted towards using segmentation, automation, and personalization. Your calls-to-action should move from ‘sign up to our newsletter’ to be more tailored, promising value in exchange for an opt-in. This shift will continue, and the calls-to-action will change as a result of it.
  5. The Rise of Dialogues
    Email is an excellent tool for building relationships with customers. Marketers will set up structured campaigns that link people to live chat widgets, surveys and other tools. Engage with their customers over time, and pushing people further down the sales funnel.

Looking back at the Future of email marketing

Do you have the 1.21 Jiggawats it takes? Technical development in email and marketing automation has been spectacular in the previous years. I have the feeling that in this quickly-evolving world we are nowhere close to seeing the end of technical possibilities and creativity.

If you could go back to the future, what would you say to yourself? These are the previous “future of email marketing” predictions. 2017 edition, 2016 edition, 2015 edition, 2014 edition, 2013, 2012, and 2011

PS: As more and more future of email marketing articles are published, I’ll be updating this list. If you have any additions, comments, questions or just like to say HI, do post it below.

About the Author: Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.

Top
Hi there,
Want to get more out of email marketing? Subscribe, because the really good email marketing tips are in the newsletter.
You can unsubscribe anytime, but you won't even want to.