According to the Content Marketing Institute, Email Marketing is the content distribution method most used by B2B marketers, leading the way ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and print. Its indisputable success in building relationships, gathering data, generating leads and increasing sales makes it easy to see why B2B marketers consider email to be most important to their overall content marketing success.
As 2018 is already seeming to disappear before our eyes, we wanted to look at the upcoming trends which will shape the emails arriving in your inbox throughout the rest of the year. What methods will B2B email marketers be focusing on? What hot topics will repeatedly create explosive responses? How will technology evolve to heighten engagement and create a better relationship with your audience?
Without further ado, here are the 5 email trends you need to watch in 2018.
With up to 269 billion emails sent per day, you’ve got a lot of competition when it comes to making yourself heard. And despite the importance and success of email marketing for the majority of companies, high quality engagement can be a struggle. In comes ‘Intent Targeting.’
Slowly developing since the early 2010s, Intent Targeting is becoming more and more crucial to the prominence and attention your email campaign receives.
Have you ever found that you’re sifting through hundreds of emails on your commute to work, but you’ve just received one detailing the ‘10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight’, after researching ‘How to get fit’ the night before? It speaks to you – it’s almost like it knows you. Creepy? Kind of. But also very successful.
Intent Targeting improves relevancy by tracking content consumption habits and then retargets, based on interest that the customer has already proven on their own accord. Rather than smothering your potential customers in content you think they’re interested in, you’re providing content they actually are actively interested in – resulting in higher engagement, stronger relationships and significantly raises the likelihood of a sale. Genius.
As email marketing moves into the realm of Artificial Intelligence, more and more companies are seeing the benefits of this technology.
Though personalisation is a tool that marketers already swear by, AI takes this to the next level. With the introduction of AI, marketers in 2018 will begin to see machines gather information on how recipients respond to similar images, and use this data to recommend specific images based on engagement and performance = the image will change dependent on the recipient.
Even more impressively, AI in 2018 will optimise send times further than ever before, by learning when each individual recipient is most likely to open an email. Most email campaigns are currently segmented based on time zones, to ensure highest possible engagement rates. Making the time of a send-person specific is almost impossible without the developments within AI.
You may also want to make sure your job is secure, because Artificial Intelligence in 2018 will see AI determine the subject lines, copy and call to action that recipients are most likely to engage with, using a natural, human language that aligns with the brand. Don’t worry though, AI-generated subject lines only outperform human-written 95% of the time…
Whilst we’re on the topic of personalisation – 2018 will see the development of a more conversational tone within emails, creating a more genuine and personal relationship between the customer and the brand. Whilst this may not apply to your entire audience, conversational tone will feel more of an attempt at reaching out and providing content that specifically suits their needs. It appears more credible, it’s easier to understand, and builds an immediate rapport with the customer.
Still looking for other ways to attract the most attention amongst the inbox competition? A/B Testing is the useful tool that provides crucial understanding as to which email variation works best for a specific audience. To A/B test, marketers are to send different variations of an email to a different set of subscribers, in order to establish which variation results in optimal engagement. It can be used across subject lines, templates, content, call to action buttons, copy, imagery, you name it.
Some tools are designed to help to companies A/B test, by sending variations to subsect for them, gathering data regarding which email performs the best, and then sending this email on to the remaining subscribers. This way, the majority of the subscribers only get the best of the best. If you’re looking to improve your engagement rates, A/B testing is a trend to keep your eye on throughout the year.
With GDPR just around the corner, businesses have been preparing for the regulations that will change the way they handle data – and content surrounding the topic has been hot off the shelf. Everyone is desperate to read the ‘Guide and Overview to GDPR,’ to discover how they can ‘Tackle the D in GDPR,’ and to find out what the ‘Positive Impacts of GDPR’ are. With the penalties reaching up to €20 million (or 4% of a company’s annual turnover of the previous financial year), it is clear to see why everyone wants to understand as much as they can.
Email marketers will have to tread carefully to comply with new regulations, ensuring that data subjects have actively opted-in, maintain the records to prove consent was given, provide the option for data subjects to access their own data for free, and to withdraw in email transactions as they please. It is no bad thing, designed to further protect data owners and users of such data, and there is a chance that consumers might be more likely to opt-in with the transparency that GDPR offers. The discussions around GDPR have not yet finished, and with May creeping up on us, some critical decisions are still unclear.
Definitely one to watch in 2018.