This post originally appeared on Searchenginewatch.com
Sometime back the COO of Facebook had blurted out some unfortunate things about email marketing – that emails are going away and that marketers will have to focus on teenagers of today to finalize the marketing strategies of tomorrow, and so on and so forth.
Food for thought
Emails are timeless, dependable, unsung moneymakers that have invariably found continued success and more customers for almost 50 years now. And still, there’s no stopping it.
In fact, researches by Radicati Group found out that there were 3.9 million email users in 2019, and the market is expected to grow over to 4.3 million by the end of 2023.
This means, over half of the world population has been using emails in 2019 and the medium happens to generate more ROI than what meets the eye – $44 per dollar spent
Underlining the strength of emails, yet another research by Drift and Survey Monkey revealed that 65% of respondents in the past 12 months have communicated with organizations via emails, ranking it way above the rest.
Being around for so long, this phenomenon in economics is known as the Lindy effect.
The Lindy effect
Author Nassim Taleb in his popular book ‘Antifragile’ speaks about the Lindy Effect. According to him, the life expectancy of a business or an idea is in proportion to its current age.
Taleb states, “If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. And, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years. Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.”
Now, emails have already been around for 50 years, and so we could expect to see it around in 2070 as well. But then no, you can’t just get out there and shoot emails.
As email marketers, first and foremost, you will have to think about re-inventing the existing email marketing strategies in a big bang way if you wish to sustain your business’ email ROI in 2020 and beyond.
Simply put, email marketing will have to embrace videos, personalization, data, mobile, among many other strategies to retain their respective audience base.
This post is an attempt to highlight the key strategies that businesses need to adopt in 2020 to grease their email campaigns in 2020.
1. Mobile-centric emails
If anything, the mobile-mindset is sweeping across the digital marketing spectrum. According to email usage stats by emailmonday, email opens are happening more on mobile than desktop.
This means, if you still haven’t got your emails mobile-responsive, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Now, the question is how to optimize your emails for mobile?
Simple, you need to cut down the size of your copy, images and the overall design to suit the mobile format. A concise copy gives a clear view of the CTA button, which, in turn, leads to more visitors to your landing pages, blogs or product pages. More importantly, shorter copies make the emails much more scannable.
Here’s an example by campaignmonitor on how short copies offer clean, easy-on-your-eyes email experience to subscribers while checking their messages on mobile.
Unlike the first image, the second image is perfectly tailor-made for mobile screening.
The benefits of such copies can be seen clearly when you open such an email on mobile:
- Sufficient white space in the copy offers an easy reading experience
- The image on the first fold inspires further scrolling
- A short copy means the CTA appears clearly. This saves the recipient from scrolling further down to reach a CTA button.
In case any additional copy or data needs to be added, you could accommodate that on the landing page to which your email CTA directs.
Further, make sure to test your emails from a user perspective. You cannot leave this to chance because users might spare only some time to check your emails on their phones. If they don’t like what they see, they are sure to delete your emails at once, let alone read the message.
2. Voice-friendly emails
Being mobile-centric is just one thing. By and by, you will have to make it voice-technology-friendly as well as the use of voice technology is growing worldwide.
In 2019, almost 112 million people, in the US alone, used a voice assistant, at least monthly, on different devices.
If you look at it, that’s quite a huge pool of users who’d love using voice-enabled emails as the technology progresses in the future. Some of the popular voice-assistant technologies currently in use include Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft Cortana.
Presently, if you are using Amazon Alexa it will help you do five basic things with your email.
- Read it
- Reply to it
- Delete it
- Switch to the next message
This could prove to one of the most effective and ingenious email marketing strategies of this century as it makes your message heard despite the busy schedule of subscribers. So, even if your email recipient is busy pursuing some other activity, a voice-enabled email would help you to quickly figure out the content of your email.
Even Apple’s Siri is programmed to offer you similar functionalities. You can check out How Alexa Reads Your Emails & Impacts Email Marketing blog to get further ideas on how to use Alexa for your emails.
3. AI-driven emails
Not long ago, email marketing was purely driven by human instinct, be it the subject line or the send time. It was spray and pray strategy, more or less.
No more. AI has taken the hassle out of email marketing as marketers can now make accurate predictions, that too, not just with the subject lines but the send time as well. Plus, it also offers amazing recommendations.
How does AI do that?
AI, powered by machine learning, makes use of massive data to arrive at decisions that keep evolving as it learns. Though humans are involved in AI training initially, but then, by and by, they evolve themselves to find their own solutions and pathways.
Here are a few top use cases of AI in email marketing:
A. Craft outstanding subject lines
AI-powered by NLG, which runs on large and structured data sets, is quite good at churning out outstanding subject lines that could even beat copywriters’ hands down. In addition to subject lines, AI is quite capable of generating content for social shares, press releases and more. From word choice to emojis and sentiments, the copies are spot on and delivered quickly. And, more than anything generates more opens for your emails.
B. Optimization of send times
In 2020, marketers will have to optimize email send times based on historical open patterns of the audience. Say, for example, if Jonny opens his inbox between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm then you need to make sure that your emails reach his inbox during that period of time and not later.
But then, his sister Joanna opens her inbox around 5.00 pm. Manually it’s almost impossible for marketers to shoot so many emails, at different points in time, especially when tens of thousands of customers are involved.
This is where AI could chip in with its expertise. AI is programmed to handle problems of scale easily. The technology dissects mountains of data to come up with a predictive model for every contact on your list. This way, every individual, on your list, is sent an email at a time when they are most likely to open it.
C. Smarter segmentation of email marketing lists
Segmentation of the email list enables marketers to develop a relevant buyer persona, which, in turn, helps them shoot tailor-made emails. Such segmented email campaigns are known to increase revenues by a whopping 760%. However, such segmentation, though it yields good results, isn’t good enough.
Combined with AI, smarter segmentation, on the other hand, helps you generate a list that significantly accelerates open and click rates. This is because it thoroughly analyzes the behavior of the current customers and finds patterns that help you segment the audience in new ways. And, the brilliance of it is, that it gets the job done faster than what any humans could do.
Customization is central to capturing today’s audiences. And with smarter segmentation, you get optimized email lists that help your emails perform better.
4. Video centered emails
Yet another way to bolster your email marketing efforts is to add videos to your email campaign. It’s one of the proven ways to increase leads, educate customers and, in the process, enhance brand awareness.
And being a clear differentiator in terms of content, it manages to stand out from the mass of emails that you receive every day. They offer several advantages:
- Immediately hooks the audience and drives engagement
- More impactful than plain text as it communicates product or service information better and faster. This, in turn, ensures a faster response rate from users.
- Complex topics are easily explained
- Videos are viral in nature
- Wide social media sharing, thus boosting a brand’s SEO ranking
Also, don’t forget, if your client’s emails are not HTML5-compatible, they won’t be able to view your videos. In such cases, you could do two things: One, you could create an image that looks like a video image. Once the user clicks on it, it would direct the user to YouTube. Just ensure that your video is on an autoplay mode. Two: Embed GIFs or cinemagraphs. According to Experian Research, 72% percent of brands using animated GIF or a cinemagraph experience higher transaction rates.
5. AMP for emails
As it turns out, AMP or accelerated mobile pages was introduced by Google to speed up the mobile web, specifically the landing pages, blog posts, and even full websites. Now, with millions of domains already under the “AMP”ed umbrella, the open-source technology is expanding its reach to emails as well.
AMP for emails will allow email marketers to create more interactive and actionable emails with the help of AMP elements. Broadly put, when you add interactive features such as accordions, confirmation, carousels, and purchase buttons in your email, AMP will allow you to take actions inside their emails without opening a new tab or visiting the website.
Additionally, emails can be updated in terms of news articles, weather, stock prices, and so on.
Other benefits of AMP for Emails
The technology will swap static content with a more dynamic web-page like the content. So users will be able to receive highly personalized content on-demand in the form of current product prices, weather updates, news, and so forth.
It’s a red hot technology. Only a few marketers are experimenting with this technology. This means you have the edge over your rivals if you have a clear cut idea on how to use AMP elements inside your emails while interacting with the users.
Known email service providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook support AMP technology. This means you can add AMP elements into the emails for most of your subscribers.
Examples of AMP emails
Pinterest: AMP allows you to enlarge each of the images, inside the email, and see more detailed information, instead of visiting the Pinterest webpage.
Doodle: With the help of the Doodle website, AMP for emails can help you create, manage, and respond to polls. Plus, you can set dates for meetings without opening a new tab.
Overall quality should be the goal
Integrating all the latest technology and all is fine, but then don’t forget it’s the rudimentary aspects that make your emails click-worthy, that is content and design. So, by all accounts, take into consideration the following points while designing your email.
An email shouldn’t have more than 50 words because a reader won’t be putting in more than 13.4 seconds to read it.
So, how do you write a compelling copy in 50 words? Litmus recommends the following tips:
- Short sentences
- Limited jargons
Some simple ways to make email designs accessible and effective to a broader audience:
- Use Real text HTML
- Be cognizant of font sizes, line spacing, and text justification
- High contrasting colors
- Ensure visual hierarchy
To make sure that your emails can be read as soon as they are opened you need to slightly tweak your code. A solid code-base assures accessibility.
So how do you ensure a solid code-base?
- Enter alternative text for images
- Make HTML tables accessible to screen readers
- Use semantic HTML
- Specify a language in the HTML
Going by the Lindy Effect, email marketing, at the very least, is going to around for the next 50 years. So, no matter what, make it a point to update your current email marketing tactics with the latest technologies, be it AI, voice, video or AMP for emails.
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