It’s November already, which means all of the shops you visit and emails you receive will start to feel rather festive – whether you want them to or not.

This also means 2018 isn’t very far away at all, and it’s at times like this that we enjoy looking forward and thinking about what the not-too-distant future might hold for email marketing.

We think there are five things to watch:

1. Responsive mobile design

We, along with countless other email marketing experts, talk a lot about the importance of mobile responsive design in email, but for good reason – it’s something you simply cannot skip in this day and age.

For many people, their smartphone is the primary computing device to which they turn, which is why 2018 will continue the trend of the mobile-first email design mindset.

That means focusing on the following practices when creating email marketing campaigns:

  • brief subject lines;
  • clear calls to action;
  • clever use of pre-header text; and
  • a reliance on engaging imagery rather than reams of text.

2. A focus on encryption

Yahoo’s revelation that 1 billion of their user accounts were hacked in 2013 only added to rising public fear over online safety, and that’s in part why the word ‘encryption’ has broken into the mainstream.

Gmail already highlights when an email is encrypted, but you should expect more email clients to follow suit.

3. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)

These two phrases are now used copiously by the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft.

They refer principally to software that is designed to act in an almost human-like fashion by predicting user behaviour and delivering functionality at the exact moment it’s required.

Far from a Terminator-style future, the continued development of AI and machine learning is incredibly exciting for both businesses and consumers.

In particular, we can expect email clients to get far smarter in the way they deliver email and rank it based on importance to the user. That means email marketers will need to focus intently on creating and sending content that is entirely user-focused.

4. Interactivity

Over the last few years, email messages have gradually been mimicking websites in their ability to display content (be it text, video, imagery or audio) in a way that encourages the user to interact.

Expect this trend to continue in 2018, with canny email marketers increasingly incorporating animated GIFs, reviews and ecommerce functionality into their messages.

5. More automation

Automation in email marketing isn’t new, but as time progresses, it’s only going to get more smart and beneficial for both the sender and recipient.

If you’re yet to invest time in automation and triggered emails, you need to start doing so now, because the people residing on your email marketing lists will be used to things happening automatically.

If they sign up for a new service, they expect a confirmation response immediately; if they order a product, full details of its delivery process should follow; if they haven’t engaged with a brand for a while, a reminder to return and see what the latest news is will be genuinely appreciated.

Automation joins personalisation when it comes to the most powerful techniques available to the modern marketer.

Wrapping up

We’re very excited about the future of email marketing. It’s what drives us to continually innovate mailingmanager.

We’ll of course keep our eyes trained on future trends, but it certainly looks like there’s no stopping email marketing!

About 

Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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