How Email Marketing will Change Direct Marketing in 2018

From year to year, trends change. In the digital media world, trends change even quicker. Take a look at platforms like Vine. Vine was relevant one day and then Instagram gave the same offering and Vine quickly became irrelevant. If entire social media platforms can be here today and gone tomorrow, the idiosyncrasies within email marketing go with the wind as well. However, as a marketer, it’s very important to keep a watchful eye on the trends and be aware of what works for your brand. As you execute strategies and build a following, there are a few trends you’ll want to consider implementing because they will keep your company relevant in the months to come.

1. Mobile-Friendly Emails Prioritized

With more people owning smartphones, tablets and other smart devices, it makes that they’d want to spend more time on them. According to the 2017 Cross Platform Future in Focus report, comScore discovered that the average American spends about two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone on a daily basis. Truthfully, there are many adults who spend well over two hours on their phones each day. Since they’re spending so much time with the phone in hand, it makes sense that many adults check their inboxes through their smart devices. Many companies are recognizing that and for 2018, email marketing will change to cater to those with mobile devices first. There’s always been an inclusion of mobile-friendly emails. It’s one thing to include mobile devices. It’s a completely different thing to put them first. Litmus Analytics discovered that 54% of emails were opened through mobile phones in 2017. This is a significant amount. Responsive design, messaging and language will change to cater to those who love checking emails through their phones. Additionally, the subscription form is going to change because it’s not really mobile-friendly right now. As that changes, companies will definitely see an uptick in the number of users who are engaged through their mobile devices.

2. Artificial Intelligence

The artificial intelligence industry continues to grow. Presently, the majority of people think of artificial intelligence and associate it with Siri (iPhone), Alexa (Amazon) and their GPS. Truthfully, there are more avenues of AI in various forms and they’re going to continue to emerge this year. Artifical intelligence will work its way into email marketing trends through its ability to make the email creation process a lot easier. After writing an email, an AI-powered tool will suggest a few subject lines to sum up the content. Another cool trick involves images. After learning the content of the email, an AI bot will be able to suggest a few images that would be the most appropriate within the email. Boomerang for Gmail has created an AI bot through a plug-in. This plug-in will be able to decipher whether or not a person will be interested and want to open up an email. It’ll also break down what needs to change in order for a person to become interested. As a marketer, this AI tool, that helps you craft an email your users will actually want to read, could easily be equivalent to striking gold. Most successful marketers confess that the money is in the list. Artificial intelligence is definitely positioning itself to pry the wallets open in 2018.

3. Interaction

With the push for more interaction, email marketers are taking notes from social media platforms. Take a look at a platform like Instagram. Forecasters are predicting that Instagram will be the most relevant platform in 2018 as it currently has 800 million monthly users. In fact, it’ll surpass Facebook when it comes to effectiveness and marketers are taking note of this. One of the reasons behind this is because of the interaction that takes place on various portions of the platform. Within the Stories feature, people can view a story and participate in a user’s poll. This trend will show up in email marketing in 2018. People like to feel like they have buy-in and a voice in what happens with a company. Plus, this works for the marketer because when users respond to a poll, there’s no question as to what they want. The readers will tell you. Image galleries will continue to be a part of email marketing. Additionally, it’ll be easier to purchase items through an email as more marketers will begin to include ‘Add to Cart’ buttons into their messages. The 2018 consumer truly wants convenience and is more likely to respond positively when the process is easy and streamlined. So, as a marketer, use interaction to make your emails interesting and fun for your readers. They’ll tend to be more responsive when this happens.

4. Segmentation

Currently, list segmentation is a helpful tool because it separates your lists of contacts. When the lists are set up this way, you’re able to send personalized marketing messages to each list. Currently, there aren’t a lot of small businesses that really take advantage of this type of marketing. As a result, their wide-spread messages don’t always convert well. List segmentation will increase because more marketers understand the value of targeted information. For example, if a realtor covers multiple counties within one state, list segmentation would be highly beneficial to their marketing efforts. In addition to promoting homes for sale in the county, a realtor can also include the latest news and events happening in that particular county. These are extra tidbits that people wanting to move to that county might want to know. This type of specialized information to a targeted list will naturally lead to a higher response rate.

5. List Clearing

Marketers understand the value of list-building. If you’re trying to get the word out there and garner more sales, it’s wise to build a huge list. However, if your email list is filled with people who don’t respond or open your emails, this is problematic. This is especially troublesome for marketers because it directly impacts the expense. Most email autoresponders like Aweber and Mailchimp charge marketers based on the number of people on the list. If you have a list of 3,000 people, but only 300 open the email, it’s time to make some changes. Many marketers cling to the hope that one day, more people on the list will respond. Meanwhile, money is going down the drain each month. In 2018, more marketers will be clearing out their lists if there’s an indication that an email subscriber hasn’t opened or positively responded to an email.

Not only will this save the marketer money, it’ll also help a marketer to gain a more responsive and targeted list of subscribers. It’s not enough to fill up a list with people. It’s all about relationship-building strategies and interaction. Clearing a list of unresponsive subscribers will only support that goal.

Keep in mind that these are projected trends. While it’s important to work on implementation, consistency is also a vital component of how well a company is received by its consumers. Make a commitment to push the company’s marketing reach and growth at a sustainable pace. Sustainability is key. Some trends like artificial intelligence will be helpful for profits. Other trends like list clearing are also incredibly practical for targeted and customized communication. As you implement different strategies, keep track of the data and statistics. They’ll help you analyze what worked, what didn’t and how to continue with your marketing in 2018.

Start 2018 in the Right Direction with a New Email Focus

Email marketing is always going to do one of the most effective ways to engage with an audience while also growing a business at the same time. Just because we are now in a new year, don’t think what worked in 2017 will be as effective today. Be sure to run through each of the actionable tips, trends, and key points we’ve listed above.

Follow the actionable steps above, while also considering your options with AfterOffers to grow your mailing list faster than ever.