Top 5 2018 Email Marketing Trends

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As email marketing continues to be a very effective means of communication between businesses and consumers, it is increasingly becoming more and more competitive. As inboxes become more crowded, it's challenging to get subscribers to open, read, and engage with your messages. As we enter a new year, it's time to consider which practices will help you stand out in the crowd and improve engagement. The following are five trends that will help you get the most of your email campaigns in 2018. 

1. Messages Catering to Mobile Users

54% of emails are opened on mobile devices and that number is likely to continue increasing in the coming years. Website designers understand the importance of responsive design for their websites. The same principle holds true for email marketing. Make sure your opt-in forms, as well as email messages, are easy for people using mobile devices to read. Here are a few points to keep in mind.

  • Stick to single-column format. It's harder to read multiple columns on mobile devices.  
  • Keep images small. Larger images use up more bandwidth, which is an issue for people with slower connections. 
  • Larger sized fonts are easier to read on small screens. 
  • Mobile users are less likely to scroll passed long messages, so keep your emails brief.
  • Subject lines should be short, longer ones are likely to get cut off.

2. More Segmentation

In the past, email marketers talked about having a list. Today, the most successful marketers are likely to have multiple lists. Segmentation lets you send messages that are highly targeted. As your list grows, you can start to break it up into smaller lists so that everyone isn't getting the exact same message. For example, if someone has already bought a certain product, it doesn't make sense to send him or her promotional emails for that same product. You might, however, send information on upgrades or peripherals for the original purchase. Lists can be segmented using many criteria, including geography, age, and past purchases. Surveys are also a good way to find out what your subscribers want.  

3. Interactive Emails

People like receiving emails that they can respond to in some way. Rather than messages that are one-way communications, interactive emails give subscribers something to do. This usually means giving their opinions, which also helps businesses learn more about their customers. Poll, surveys, and quizzes are fun for people to fill out and they inform you about people's preferences. This, in turn, gives you information that you can use to segment your lists and provide more targeted content in future emails. Image galleries and sliders let people choose which products to browse. 

4. Integration with Social Media

When social media started to take off, some observers predicted it would replace email. This hasn't happened, of course. Instead, we're seeing that email marketing and social media are complementary rather than competitive. One of the advantages of email messages is that you can use them to send traffic anywhere, including your Facebook page, Twitter feed, or anywhere else. Conversely, you can use social media to build your email lists. It's even possible to embed content from your Instagram and Twitter feeds right into your email messages. At the very least, it's easy to include social media buttons in emails. In 2018, we can expect to see businesses looking for as many ways as possible to combine the advantages of email and social media.  

5. AI-Powered Email 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making inroads in every industry and it's also starting to change email marketing. As this type of technology gets more sophisticated, it will allow marketers to gain valuable insights into customer's preferences. A company called Boomerang has created a tool that analyzes email messages to predict the likelihood of a response. Just as tools such as Grammarly correct spelling and grammatical mistakes and suggest improvements, emerging AI tools will guide marketers on how to make email messages more compelling. 

While none of these trends are brand new, they're all on the upswing. Mobile, for example, has been rapidly growing for the past several years and AI tools are quickly gaining speed and becoming more advanced. Businesses that stay at the forefront of these trends will have a competitive advantage that helps them get better responses from their email marketing campaigns, increasing their ROI and bottom line. 

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