The Digital Essentials, Part 3
Developing a robust digital strategy is both a challenge and an opportunity. Part 3 of the Digital Essentials guide series explores five of the essential technology-driven experiences customers expect, which you may be missing or not fully utilizing.
Hi FIRST NAME,
It’s like nails on a chalkboard…broken personalization. However, personalization and contextually relevant messages will continue to be a highlighted email marketing trend this year. With new technology paving the way, we will likely see more trends emerge as the customer journey evolves and ISPs get smarter.
Whatever does happen this year, it will hit hard and fast and brands will need to adjust their strategies to accommodate this dynamic and ever-changing industry. Here’s a look at some of the big industry trends predicted by the gurus:
- New Tech: Look for additional software and tools that can take your marketing campaigns to the next level. We’ve already seen glimpses of this new technology, but this year may see a significant increase in these technology types. The user experience across diverse channels is imperative to the customer journey and having disparate systems with data gaps will prevent true content relevancy in your campaigns. Look for major ESPs to integrate cross-channel messaging platforms to enhance communication with subscribers while also collecting necessary consumer and demographic data to narrow in on subscriber preferences. This Big Data approach will ultimately lead to more personalized experiences with your brand.
- Contextual Relevancy: Building on the previous prediction, more emphasis will be placed on the content (and context) of the email as opposed to the subject line in 2016. An actionable subject line will continue to be the driving factor for open rates, however, the relevant aspects of the body text will be imperative to keeping your subscribers interested in your brand and/or products, while also gathering more data to deliver future touch points.
- Wearables: Wearable technology could create some design challenges this year. Responsive design has been heavily emphasized in recent years, however, this new technology will undoubtedly revolutionize the industry and challenge designers to figure out new ways to enhance email design for wearables. However, this does not mean responsive design is going away. Research suggests, the number of subscribers consuming email on mobile devices will continue to rise and many are possibly sorting out email that they can read on the go (as opposed to saving it for when they return to a desktop or simply deleting it).
- Plain Text Emails: In the meantime, a growing emphasis will be placed on plain text emails. Many wearables, like Apple Watch, have limited HTML rendering capabilities and will display the plain text version of emails in most cases. Apple also recently put effort into a voice-controlled headset that could be used to read and dictate the plain text version of emails, allowing for recipients to do more on wearables as opposed to taking out their phones.
- Kinetic Email: Icons and emoticons will be used more frequently this year. While it is not as common in the B2B industry, many B2C brands are beginning to use special characters, animated GIFs and more interactive design elements in emails. Marketers beware, this could be a risk. It may work for some brands, but it’s important to assess whether these kinetic emails fit your brand and the personas you are targeting. It may also compromise deliverability, specifically for clients that cannot support such code. Until these type of elements are fully supported by all email clients, it is important to test and refine before centering your entire email marketing strategy on these types of emails.
- More Acquisitions: Over the past few years, many major email service providers have been acquired by Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Adobe and others — this is expected to continue. Big acquisitions by these organizations benefits email marketing as they are integrated with more CRMs, digital marketing platforms and ERP suites. This has led to better ROI for email and in turn, an increase of email specific roles within marketing departments. The influx of talent, many with web design experience, has led to fresh, creative design resulting in dynamic and integrated experiences within email. Instead of simply pushing to a landing page for conversions, many brands are on the brink of containing the entire experience within email, without recipients leaving their inbox. This new interactive email experience, paired with predictive analytics, may give the industry a significant boost.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of new email developments that will likely happen in the near future. However, the trends on this list alone will undoubtedly accelerate ROI for the brands investing in more innovative, prospect-centric strategies.