2014 is rapidly approaching and, as is customary during the festive period, I thought it prevalent to consider what’s in store for email marketing next year.
The changes aren’t seismic, more an evolution of this fantastic form of marketing – we’ve got a lot to look forward to. So, take a break from the Christmas shopping, grab your favourite hot drink and read on!
According to recent studies, mobile devices now account for over half of all email opens. Not only that, but they are gradually taking the coveted spot of the primary home computing device for many people. Desktop PC sales are falling, and mobile is reaping the rewards. Thinking ‘mobile first’ for your email marketing campaigns in 2014 is therefore going to be more important than ever, if you are to capture the interest of your wider audience. They’re on the move, they’re busy, but they are also likely to have a device in their pocket or bag which is more than capable of receiving and displaying your email newsletter. Email design therefore needs to be responsive and thoroughly tested across multiple clients. Sending times are also likely to be reviewed by many next year, too, with subscribers no longer tied to email rituals; the ease with which mobile devices allow inbox checking means it will happen more often and throughout the course of a day.
It’ll continue to rise in popularity
Email is now forty years old. No, really! You’d therefore be forgiven for thinking that the above heading is a little optimistic. However, statistics show that 71% of B2B brands rely on email marketing, as do 65% of B2C firms. That figure is likely to keep rising too, along with the budgets set aside for the practice. In 2013, businesses spent up to 20% of their marketing budget on email marketing. That figure is expected to grow by 10% in 2014.
Designs will simplify
Apple can’t claim to be the king of everything tech, but they do have an undeniably good habit of bringing technology trends to the masses. The release of their mobile operating system, iOS 7, in September, ushered in a new form of design; a ‘flatter’ approach, which focussed on simplified use of colour, white space and stark imagery. As a result, such design cues are making their way into email. In 2014, that is likely to continue. Reducing clutter and limiting the amount of images within emails will also ensure they are easily readable on the move (which, as we’ve already established, is going to be key to success next year).
Time to get personal
Subscribers will expect more relevant content in 2014 – that’s a given. However, there are three themes which will drive the personalisation of email marketing in 2014:
- Automation: By automating emails, companies can nurture their relationships with subscribers with relevant, quality content
- More data: ‘Big data’ is a phrase we’re likely to hear more of next year, and for good reason; more data on subscribers is now available and knowing more about them will help drive email personalisation
- Personalised messaging: User interests and behaviours will be closely monitored in 2014 and will aid in sending relevant emails their way
You’ll Like this one
Email and social media are great bed fellows. Throughout 2013, we’ve seen a convergence of the two, but this will only strengthen in 2014. Up until now, it has been customary to simply add a few social sharing buttons in the header or footer of an email. That won’t be enough next year. It’s time to bring those buttons to the forefront of the email and encourage subscribers to click them. Sharing your email can give it greater reach than you’d ever be able to achieve with a simple subscriber list.
Sales will be mixed with advice
Some marketers see email as purely a way to gain quick sales. This has never been the greatest of tactics, and often falls flat on its face, but as we enter a new year, marketers will do well to review their strategy. Subscribers want help. They want questions answering. They need advice. Mixing informative emails with sales emails will therefore be a tactic worth investing in during 2014.
Sign-ups will simplify
There’s nothing worse than an over-complicated email newsletter sign-up process. When first starting email marketing, this is one of the initial tasks which is often completed and then entirely forgotten about. A sign-up form is added to the website and left. When was the last time you checked yours? The explosion of social media has also ushered in a fantastic way of signing up to services on the web. Rather than filling in lengthy forms (more than three fields can be too many), you can simply use Facebook to automatically collect data about subscribers. It’s great for them, too – they just have to click a couple of buttons. 2014 will be time to review your sign-up form.
Have you got permission?
2013 has been a year full of stories about the mis-use of data by large corporations. This has made people very wary about giving out their details online and it is likely to affect email sign-ups, unless marketers pay attention to the fears of consumers. Practicing nothing but excellent email etiquette in 2014 will be an absolute must. You’ll need to build a strong opt-in facility, maintain a high domain score (which you will when using mailingmanager) and pay attention to CAN-SPAM laws if your deliverability is going to improve and people are going to feel confident enough to sign up.
Here’s to a fantastic year of email marketing!
Images courtesy of luigi diamanti, adamr, Stuart Miles, Idea go, ponsuwan, jscreationzs, twobee / freedigitalphotos.net