COVID-19 has separated the years into a pre-COVID and post-COVID era. What customers liked a couple of years ago does not appeal to them anymore. With changes in their behavior and preferences, you will have to make several modifications in the way you market your products or services. This applies to the entire marketing strategy including emails.
Since email has continued to be one of the most effective marketing channels, bringing in a revenue of $51 for every $1 spent, it is worth discussing all the exciting trends that email marketers can look forward to, in 2021 and the years to come.
Let’s get started.
1.Use an empathetic tone in your emails
Maintaining a considerate and empathetic tone in emails will become all the more important in 2021. The times are still quite challenging for many people and businesses. Therefore, you must make sure that you adjust your tone and strategy accordingly. This is especially true for the automated emails that you might have set and forgotten about. Go through all the workflows and optimize the emails according to the changing times. You can even choose not to send any automated emails for the time being.
Emotionally intelligent messaging will gain momentum and email marketers must be open to pivoting their messaging, particularly if there is any regional emergency or a sensitive situation crops up.
Here’s an example by Charity: Water that perfectly demonstrates the usage of emotional messaging. Even the image is in perfect sync with the purpose of the email and the sentiments behind it.
2. Be the early adopters of agile email marketing
According to Litmus’ 2019 State of Email Workflows, it takes 2 weeks or more to create a single email for 53% of the brands. This goes to show that email marketing is an unbelievably slow process. To overcome this flaw in the system, you must first do away with the micro-inefficiencies, and that is possible through agile email marketing.
Agile email marketing rests on the principle of taking small steps to achieve bigger milestones. Traditionally, marketers sent out emails to sell their products or services. However, with the agile methodology, the purpose will switch to educating the users rather than conversions.
Information, innovation, and inclusivity are the three ‘I’s that form the foundation of agile email marketing.
If you are looking for an edge over the competitors, going agile is the way forward. It will not only cut down the time taken to create a single email but also help you build more effective emails that bring in results.
3. Invest in an omnichannel marketing approach
Despite the fact that email is one of the most effective marketing channels, you cannot rely on it alone to get conversions. Therefore, you must take an omnichannel approach where you work on social media marketing, in-app notifications, push notifications, and text messages to impart a consistent experience to the subscriber. For example: If you are a marketer at an eCommerce store and you want to send out a cart abandonment reminder to the lost customers, you must send a text message, push notification, and in-app notification in addition to the cart recovery email. Just make sure you do not make it too overwhelming for the customer. If your customers are more receptive to emails, you can skip sending push notifications or text messages. Here, the idea is to make sure that your communication does not go unnoticed amidst the digital noise and distractions.
4. Focus on Email Automation
Email automation is slowly growing to be a best practice rather than a trend. This tactic will work like a charm for the eCommerce industry. Whether it is welcome emails, product recommendations, cart abandonment, or browse abandonment emails, automated email workflows will prove to be a major growth engine for the eCommerce sector. To put things in perspective, email automation contributed to a 29.5% conversion rate in the year 2020. Does that give you aspirational vibes and tempt you to execute email automation?
Even if you are not an eCommerce business, travel agencies, real estate companies, and B2B companies can also use email automation and drive faster business growth.
5. Incorporate BIMI in your email marketing strategy
In 2021 and the days to come, BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) will be one of the most effective approaches to build brand credibility. With the help of BIMI, it is possible to display your brand logo with the message in the email inbox. If you have not implemented BIMI, email clients usually show the user’s profile picture or initials of your brand.
Take a look at this image that shows the logo of HBO beside their email subject line. In case BIMI is not implemented, it will simply show the letter “H” in place of the logo.
So, what’s the purpose of implementing BIMI?
Here are some reasons to inspire you.
- BIMI helps to build trust.
- It will protect your brand from phishing or spoofing attempts.
- Employing BIMI standards for your emails will boost your visibility and help you stand out in the competition.
- It will ensure an optimum email deliverability rate by serving as proof of legitimacy.
- All this will contribute to a higher conversion rate for your business.
6. Make some noise for AMP in emails
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages as they call it is one of the hottest trends that can enhance subscriber engagement and take customer experience to the next level. With the help of this technology, you can allow the users to add events to the calendar, RSVP to an event, book tickets, and fill up a contact form, all through email.
In other words, the users do not need to be redirected to any landing page and they can take action from the email itself. If you are an eCommerce store, you can even use AMP to give your customers an option to check out and complete the purchase from the email.
Booking.com creates a beautiful AMP email that gives the user an option to check out the deals and book tickets without switching to their app or website.
Take a look:
7. Marketers will have to create Dark Mode compatible emails
As the adoption of Dark Mode is rising by leaps and bounds, the entire email marketing team will have to create emails that look good even in Dark Mode setting. Dark Mode compatibility is also important to ensure that your email deliverability rate continues to be at an optimum level. In case your email does not render well in Dark Mode, it will trigger spam filters. Even if it somehow lands in the inbox, it might hamper the subscriber experience. As a result, they might end up marking you as SPAM or not engaging with your emails anymore. To avoid such a situation, you must make it a point that you design emails that do not show any issues in either of the settings – Dark Mode or light theme.
Take a look at this email by Duolingo and see how seamlessly it renders in Dark Mode as well.
8. Make your emails visually appealing
Of course, you can still use text-only emails for your B2B company to nurture your leads or welcome them with a personalized message. However, most of the brands are investing heavily in designing and coding an HTML email with attractive visuals. Besides images, marketers are using GIFs, cinemagraphs, embedded videos, and animated illustrations to add visual oomph to emails. Moreover, they are also using gradients to give a vintage feeling to their emails and serve something new in the subscriber’s inbox. On the other hand, some brands are taking the minimalistic, monochrome approach to creating their emails. You must think out-of-the-box and get creative while keeping in mind what will work the best for your business and target audience.
This brings us to the next point of “A/B testing”.
9. A/B testing will be more important than ever
Since your customer preferences have changed over time, you must employ A/B testing to see what strikes the right chord with them. Whether you want to try out emojis in email subject lines, use a persuasive and considerate tone in your copy, add GIFs or animations to your email, or change the position of your CTA, you must carry out A/B testing. This means that you must send out two versions of an email campaign to two different sets of subscribers. Analyze the performance of these campaigns and send out the winning variant to the remaining subscribers.
Just make sure that you test just one element at a time to get reliable results. Also, send out the test emails to subscribers who belong to the same segment and have similar preferences.
See how Swiggy has tested their email subject lines in one of their campaigns.
This is a concise guide to all the email marketing trends that are in store for 2021 and the days to come. In case you are looking for a more detailed account of the same, head to the infographic created by Email Uplers. It will give you a sneak peek into all the trends, as suggested by 29 email industry experts. Have a read:
About the Author
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.