The new year is less than two weeks away, so now is a perfect time to take a look at some of the big email marketing trends for 2014. Many of these were on the radar this year, but will be even bigger drivers as we move forward.
Trend #1: Mobile-optimized emails
With 50% of emails being opened on mobile devices, the need for mobile-optimized emails is greater than ever. Additionally, a recent study by Experian suggests that the most engaged subscribers are the people who open on mobile devices and then reopen on a desktop or via webmail — these people account for 12% of all transactions and have a 31% click-to-open rate. The message is clear: even if your website is not mobile-friendly, your emails can — and should — be optimized for mobile.
Trend #2: Personalization
With increasingly sophisticated customer data at marketers’ fingertips, personalization is moving beyond a name field in the subject line and into the domain of relevant product and services recommendations. People expect to see things that appeal to them. The days of batch-and-blast are gone.
Trend #3: Automation
Automation makes your life easier by allowing highly targeted, relevant messaging to reach specific subscriber groups. Welcome series, shopping cart abandonment emails and order confirmations are all perfect email streams to automate. Check out some automation best practices here.
Trend #4: Socialization
The link between social media and email marketing is undeniable. Make sure you stay on top of the most current and relevant social media sites and tools, as these sites are constantly undergoing changes. Linking to social media is a must, as emails promoting social shares are consistently more clicked on and shared than emails that do not include social share icons. But, don’t promote your company Facebook page and think you are done for the year! LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are big with B2B. Make sure you identify and target the social sites that are right for your business.
Trend #5: Deliverability and Visibility
Email marketing is a continually evolving marketing channel. We as marketers are constantly being challenged in the way we deliver and appear to our subscriber base. Gmail introduced new inbox tabs this year, sending many marketers into a panic. Gmail also recently changed the way they handle images in inboxes, lifting the image-blocking that had been in place, and allowing images to appear safely for users. This new practice has the potential to affect the way many ESPs track some open data. (Read more about this here.) But, it also means your beautiful email images are more easily seen! The biggest takeaway from these shakeups from Google is that marketers just need to stay on top of these happenings. You can adapt to just about anything if you can react accordingly.
I hope this list of top email marketing trends in 2014 has helped jumpstart your email marketing campaigns for the new year. Do you have any suggestions for email marketers looking to ramp up their programs in 2014? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
Happy holidays — and happy marketing!