It’s 2020 and email marketing remains a vital revenue channel for businesses all over the world. Before the rise of paid ads, it’s one of the earliest digital marketing channels. Despite this. email marketing still holds the fort as one of the most popular and effective tools. But here’s the truth—technology is evolving faster every day. With this in mind, what can we expect from email marketing in the near future?
But first, What’s the State of Email Marketing Today?
With over 200 billion emails sent every day, here’s a quick snapshot of the face of email marketing as we speak. Amidst the other available technology-driven tools of marketing channels, where does email marketing stand?
Studies from Demand Metric and Validity show that email marketing is still one of the most-used channels today. It is also considered as one of the best ways to reach target audiences for both B2B and B2C businesses.
This is consistent with the top three reasons why marketers across various industries use email marketing. These are to communicate with customers, build brand awareness, and communicate with prospects.
If you look at these three objectives from a wider perspective, there’s one thing that stands out. They are all related to forming connections. albeit at different stages of the customer journey.
A Revenue-Driver for Business Growth
Email marketing’s contributions to revenue are given due credit. In fact, the aforementioned Demand Metric study supports this. The businesses that find their email marketing to be more effective are also the ones who are more likely to report annual revenue growth.
With a $44 return for every dollar spent, email marketing proves to be cost-efficient aside from effective. It certainly boasts the highest return on investment compared to other marketing channels. This is backed up by 59% of marketers who say that email is their biggest source of ROI. Basically, email marketing today is still recognized for what it can do for businesses looking to grow. Of course, there are always challenges and changes which make it necessary to prepare for the future of email marketing.
Always Changing and Creating Competition
Even though email marketing has existed since the 1970s, it doesn’t remain stagnant. Customers’ needs and preferences change through time, and marketers must constantly be on their toes. Plus, there are other factors that also affect one’s email marketing results. Tools, integrations, and algorithms all have a hand. It’s understandable that marketers find it difficult to catch up to the many challenges posed by the current state of email marketing.
Currently, one of the major email marketing challenges is deliverability. The Direct Marketing Association’s research shows that the average email deliverability rate has improved in 2019. However, 37% of marketers in 2019 reported that they were having deliverability struggles. this is no mere increase from 25% in 2018. You can link this issue to another commonly reported problem. And that is the lack of tools or knowledge when it comes to optimizing emails.
Another challenge is standing out among a sea of unread promotional emails. By now, many businesses in various industries recognize the effectiveness of email marketing. You can only imagine how flooded customers’ inboxes have become in recent years.
Brands have invested in personalization, segmentation, and leveling up their designs and copywriting. While those are smart investments, standing out of a customer’s crowded inbox is not a guarantee. Email marketers have their hands full thinking of the next best strategy for maximum results.
Our Take on Email Marketing in the Near Future
We did our research. We looked into the patterns and trends and formed our own predictions of what we can expect from email marketing in the near future. Let’s dive into 5 of our predictions that may take precedence in the coming year:
1. Deliverability will continue to become more difficult
Here’s the truth: there is no one solution for deliverability! Inboxes are getting harder to break into. Why? It’s because people have different devices, different preferences, and different ESPs.
When it comes down to it, it’s difficult to generalize your customers. Thus, the future of marketing involves a lot of stepping to the plate up by marketers. This is especially true when matching up all these preferences and environments.
Spam filters also affect email deliverability. This is because it takes a lot of work to get service providers to trust where those emails are coming from. Check out Neil Patel’s 12 tips on improving email deliverability. These tried and tested strategies work, but the challenge this year is overtaking these issues.
2. The comeback of SMS is just the beginning
Just when many thought that SMS is a dying technology, it reappears and makes a comeback—bigger and better than ever. SMS marketing actually has some really impressive statistics. Such as high deliverability, 98% open rates, 35% click-through rates, and an average ROI of 25x. Plus, SMS goes directly to your customers’ device, thus eliciting immediate action sometimes.
In the near future, expect to see more eCommerce businesses implementing SMS marketing. As well as integrating them with their other marketing channels. One important thing worth noting though is the effect of having multiple channels on customers. If the integration is sloppy, or if the two channels are not complementing each other, the customer experience will definitely start decaying.
Here’s the perfect resource for you if you’re interested in learning more about how you can use both SMS and email marketing to grow your eCommerce business. In this short video, our CEO and co-founder Josh Chin collabs with SMS Bump’s CEO Mike Stoychev to help eCommerce entrepreneurs know more about using both channels for maximum revenue.
3. Personalization will be on a whole different level
This is anything but new, but it would be unfair to exclude it because it will still have a very big part of the near future of email marketing.
Customers want to feel like their specific needs are being tackled. Marketers can do this by applying segmentation best practices. True enough, marketers who used segmented campaigns have noticed as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
So in the near future, personalization will continue. But with the general direction moving towards “hyper-personalization.” Or in other words, the pinpointing of very specific and minute details. Ultimately, it is the marketers’ abilities to do so that can make the difference between a successful email marketing campaign or a failure.
4. Artificial Intelligence will play a bigger role.
While we’re still on the topic of personalization, it’s just fitting to discuss artificial intelligence as well. The increasing efforts to personalize emails can also be attributed to the increasing usage of AI-based tools. For example, AI has allowed content to be dynamic such that it adjusts depending on the reader’s purchase or browsing history.
We can definitely see how AI will play a much bigger role this year. Features of which that will further tailor individual customers’ experiences and journeys. With AI, email marketing will not only be enhanced, but it will most probably undergo a radical transformation. Of course, with the rise of AI usage, the competition will lie in how marketers formulate their strategies and how they decide to use the tools.
5. Email interactivity & accessibility will be prioritized
This one is also still related to taking the customer experience on a whole different level.
Interactivity is an up and coming focus area for marketers everywhere. This is especially true with the onslaught of Accelerated Mobile Pages for emails. It is very likely that the emails of the near future will look and function like websites. They will come complete with videos, interactive CTAs, and even direct portals to specific product pages.
While it isn’t just about standing out. Interactivity is also about improving the customer experience and overall accessibility. It’s about making transactions easier for your customers and making these processes as smooth and seamless as can be.
Remember, the emails that can give the smoothest experiences are often the most converting ones too.
Email marketing’s future looks brighter than ever. While there are a lot of emerging trends that we are looking forward to implementing, there are sure to be surprises along the way too. Email marketing continues to be viewed as an incredibly important channel for growth, engagement, nurturing, and retention.
But with the vast number of eCommerce businesses implementing email marketing, you’ll need a solid strategy to break down your customers’ inbox walls. How do you get that solid strategy? The first step is to schedule your personal strategy session with one of our experts. Take the leap, because the future of email marketing starts now!