We continue to speak about the importance and power of email marketing. As more and more people turn away from email, the smart people of the internet move closer than ever.
It’s essential to understand when things change and become more sophisticated. It leaves a wide-open opportunity for marketers and business owners who are willing to embrace the change.
With email marketing innovation changes will help you reach your target audience, speak their language, and convert them like never before.
In this article, we hope to highlight some of the most significant changes and email marketing innovations in 2020 and beyond.
Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping Email Marketing
AI helps us learn what's going on in the world and to capitalize on it in a way that is popular for our audience. Many marketers are afraid of this if they’re used to a more traditional style of marketing.
That said, artificial intelligence is nothing to be afraid of. This isn't a challenge or something you need to compete against. It is a solution to help provide you with better automation and improvements to your current process.
For example, one area where we can use AI is in predictive personalization of emails. There are advanced data algorithms that will help you personalize an email without having to scrape data for six hours a day.
This will help you save time and money, plus you’ll get insights that may not have stood out right away.
AI also helps with the segmentation of lists. The algorithms can take your compiled data and identify trends associated with certain spending habits or demographics. From there, it can help you understand more about your audience so you can better split them up, which helps pander to the individual.
Artificial intelligence can even help you optimize the time you send emails and how many you send to each person. The algorithms can help determine when you should send an email based on when that person opens the most in their inbox. From there, it can automatically send an email when it thinks the recipient will sit down at their desk and open their email inbox. That is powerful stuff folks! Don’t fall asleep on AI!
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. How many times have you performed an A/B test with little rhyme or reason behind why you chose the two variables to test? You sit down, throw a few subject lines into the email, and blast it out to see which performs best.
This year and beyond, we expect to see much less of that, and we anticipate email to become much more data-heavy. The focus for years now has been on social media marketing, Google Ads, Youtube, etc.
These platforms are where you take your data. These are the areas where you can really maximize your dollars by targeting specific audiences, using lookalikes, pixels, and finding that perfect customer avatar.
This methodology is just as important with email, and data will drive all email marketing.
We've seen a big change in the digital marketing world. There was a time when people experienced 95% open rates on their emails, and you could basically sell anything to anyone on the internet.
Then email started to drop off, and people turned to other forms of marketing that could better leverage data.
It’s interesting to see the cycle and how email marketing is starting to pull back as a popular source for delivering a high ROI. In our opinion, it never should have stopped. Email marketing is an art of itself, and those who have the highest quality list win in 2020 and beyond.
The important thing to understand is that data will drive email marketing. We’ll no longer blast emails out to a list of 80,000 people and sit around and wait for a bite.
Marketers will segment the list down to smaller bits based on demographics, gender, and interests. Then we’ll segment it down even more based on where they opted in from. So now we might have 40 smaller lists that we’ll send unique emails to.
That’s how you’ll have more success in email marketing!
Interactive Content (AMP)
There’s a big focus right now on content. We used to think that we could slap anything on an email or social media thread and grab some attention, but that train is long gone.
In the past, email had two forms, either HTML or plain text. Now, AMP emails are paving the way for new content. They are showing us that we need to get more creative if we expect to engage with our audience.
AMP is important for a few reasons.
First, it creates a more engaging email experience for your subscribers. Since AMP appears more like a web page, it provides the user with functions that are not usually available in an email. Some of these include:
- Direct replies from the inbox
AMP also provides a more personalized experience. It provides you with the ability to create dynamic emails that update as you send them. For example, you can set the email to automatically update as prices fluctuate in your e-commerce store.
All main ISP’s like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail support AMP technology. If your subscribers use one of these options, you can utilize AMP for your subscribers (hint: they definitely do).
Examples of brands utilizing AMP
It might be challenging to understand what AMP can do and why you should use it. Here are some examples of companies using AMP to its full potential.
Above is a great example from AWeber. It’s simple but effective in gathering data. People love to provide their opinion and it only takes a few seconds.
Here’s another awesome example of how travel and lodging websites can use AMP. This email allows users to reserve their hotel room directly from the email. It makes things super convenient for the user and creates less barriers between them and the result you want.
Privacy is More Important
As of January 1, 2020, The California Consumer Privacy Act comes into play. There are stiff regulations surrounding data transparency and privacy. This gives residents the right to gain access to the personal information that a company keeps about them and how they use it.
While this doesn’t strictly call out email marketing, we can see the implications here and how it may impact the industry.
By now, everyone should understand the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. But we see privacy becoming a much more critical factor in marketing in the years to come. It seems that the consumers continue to gain power over the industry and rightfully so.
For too long, companies had power over the people, and they were able to use grimy tactics and almost anything they wanted for attention. As we said in the beginning, these changes are catastrophic for some. For the ones who stuck to the rule book, this is an advantage for you because it gives you a leg up.
In the coming years, we'll see requirements to record times, locations, sources, and dates of opt-ins, and the accuracy of the email address. Gone are the days when you could send an email blast and have 40% of them bounce. Keep it clean and keep it lean.
Google is continually updating its algorithm to prevent people from doing that and blacklisting emails and domains that allow it to happen. Privacy online is no joke!
Okay, we know everyone has been talking about the mobile takeover for like ten years now. But it’s finally starting to gain some serious steam. We’re done optimizing for mobile; now we’re prioritizing for mobile. With 70% of traffic coming from a mobile device, it’s about time we started addressing the elephant in the room.
A lot of your strategies are outdated. In addition to most of your audience being on mobile, we’re also experiencing higher open rates for email on mobile. This is where everything we’ve talked about so far culminates into the success column or failure column.
Let’s say you worked for weeks on segmenting your list into the perfect bundles of highly qualified leads. Then from there, you created the best interactive content for your email. Finally, you sent it out to the masses, but you only optimized it for desktop.
More than half of your leads received an email that looks crappy.
They likely can’t properly engage with it, and in some cases, they can’t even read it because it’s cut off.
You’ve thrown more than half of your efforts down the toilet because you skipped a tremendous step. We’re going to keep saying this throughout the article for those who are hanging on here.
Those who aren’t willing to take these extra steps to have success will fail, and they’ll blame it on something else.
They'll blame it on an algorithm change, on privacy laws, on the growth of mobile, on their mother-in-law, and they’ll never know the truth. No worries, it leaves a sweet low hanging fruit for the marketers who are willing to put in the work.
Before we move on, we should also talk about cross-platform compatibility. We have to think about how our email looks on each mobile device. We’re dealing with Androids and assorted types of iPhones. It’s important to realize that your email will not look the same on an iPhone 8 as it does on a 10.
If you’re using a high-quality email marketing tool, it will provide you with a way to see how your email appears across platforms. This is important, and you want to make sure to use it.
Even a small detail like your header appearing before the fold of the email can make a massive difference from Android to iPhone.
If you’re unsure about what to do to optimize your emails across the different platforms, make sure you put yourself in your subscriber's shoes. Think about what they’re doing when they’re receiving an email from you.
You need to grab their attention as quickly as possible. If they do not see the right thing when they open that email, you’ve likely already lost them.
Brand Indicators for Message Identification
BIMI is a new and popular way of getting your brand out in the open. It helps build trust by verifying sender information through the use of your logo in the inbox.
As you can see from the photo above, Mailkit has their logo next to the email. When you send an email, the recipient provider will look up this BIMI text file to ensure the verification of the sender. When it gets verified, it will pull the logo and insert it at the left of the inbox. While this is a rather bland and simple concept, it’s powerful for a few reasons.
- First, you need authentication records setup for BIMI to work. These include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
- Second, you need to have access to your DNS to set up BIMI.
- Third, you need an SVG file for the logo.
So why should you worry about this?
Because it builds trust! Trust is everything in email marketing, and making it easier for customers to identify you is another way for you to build trust. When someone opens their inbox and sees your brand logo on the left, they’ll know that it’s you. And they can open the email because it’s safe.
We’re also certain there are some deliverability factors that come into play here as well. Once again, as we’ve said throughout. Here is another example of something that most people won’t bother to do. As a result, it will increase the deliverability and success of those who take the extra steps. Be that person!
Email marketing innovation will never end because there will always be something new and exciting going on. In 2020 and beyond, we expect to see these changes take full force with mobile leading the way on the back of artificial intelligence. It’s getting easier and easier to send emails, but the quality of them continues to decrease.
Make sure you’re on the right side of the see-saw when it pops up and knocks everyone off. We think you know what we mean!