30-Second Summary:

  • Email is vital for customer retention, acquisition, and prospect nurturing.

  • Email marketing provides an ROI of $48.81 for every $1.38 spent.

  • They’re more than four billion email users worldwide.

  • As COVID-19 continues to impact organizations, many will seek out affordable email marketing solutions.

  • Data will become king as brands rely on it to promote user engagement.

  • AI is excellent to have, but not necessary. You only need the right email marketing tools.

  • Companies will become more considerate with email communications.

  • Video usage in emails should rise.

  • Anti-spam legislation will continue to shape how brands market to consumers.

  • Marketers will leverage interactive content to boost engagement.

 

Email plays a vital role in customer retention, acquiring new customers, and nurturing prospects. But what opportunities lie ahead for brands? What email marketing trends are most likely going to transform the industry?

Email marketing has survived the rise of social media and still yields the highest ROI. Brands receive an average return of about $48.81 for every $1.38 spent. Plus, there are over 4 billion email users worldwide, and that massive user base makes email marketing such a powerful channel.

Email enables B2B and B2C brands to directly reach target audiences when implemented right, bypassing the need for ad spend. This article explores some trends that will most likely transform email marketing in 2021 and beyond.

1. Companies will seek more affordable email marketing solutions

During these times, where COVID-19 continues to impact industries, some organizations have had to cut back on marketing budgets. Many are in survival mode due to restrictions put in place to combat the virus. As such, not all brands can afford costly technologies.

The most affected companies will seek out more affordable and reliable email marketing solutions.

Data from McKinsey shows how long it would take some industries to recover from the pandemic. For the hardest hit, it may take more than five years.

Brands will need innovative email marketing tools that are also affordable.

For example, Constant Contact’s pricing starts as low as $10 per month. Yet, it’s one of the most feature-rich among email marketing platforms. Another affordable solution to consider is Sendinblue, which offers a free plan with unlimited contacts. It also has all the features you’d need or expect from email marketing software.

2. More will rely on data

As attention spans dwindle, users want to know things quickly, especially the benefits of every brand interaction. In other words, the user is always thinking, ‘if I engage with this, what’s in it for me.’

The way to appeal to an audience is knowing the audience, and you need data for that – data helps marketers make more intelligent decisions about content and promotions.

More brands should start using data to provide personalized experiences to improve user engagement. One study revealed that 72 percent of consumers only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests.

Many more organizations may also adopt advanced personalization beyond the “hello [name]” with the help of AI – such as sending celebratory birthday emails, specific content based on past behaviors, etc.

Further, through predictive analysis, a feature available in some email marketing platforms like HubSpot, you can identify the most optimal times to send emails. That includes how likely it is that someone will become your customer.

The bottom line is without data, you can’t personalize, and the pandemic has made the need for personalization more critical than ever. 2021 will see more brands aim to connect with consumers on a personal level, and the trend should continue, even post-pandemic.

3. Fundamentals first, AI maybe

AI has been an email marketing trend since advancements to the technology; however, it’s not a must-have to run successful campaigns. As previously noted, many organizations have had to cut back on budgets, and for most of these companies, AI is a luxury.

You see, the fundamentals of email marketing have remained consistent for many years – send the ‘right messages, to the right people, at the right time.’ As long as you have the tools to do that well, AI is not necessary.

4. Considerate communications

Digital demand soared throughout last year because of the pandemic, and more people now use the Internet than ever before.  According to research, every primary industry experienced a surge in digital adoption. COVID-19 has moved digital adoption forward by several years and, in turn, accelerated the need for considerate communications.

Brands will need to provide digital experiences that put the customer’s needs first. In other words, more companies will weave consideration about the crisis into marketing communications and apply mindfulness when designing customer experiences.

Organizations will explore more conscious marketing methods – from the tone of voice to offerings to product purchase to post-purchase.

Here are some tips for considerate communication.

  • Don’t ignore the pandemic. Sympathize with your audience by acknowledging that COVID-19 impacts everyone and offer reasonable assistance whenever possible, such as sharing helpful relevant resources.
  • Consider the role your product plays in peoples’ lives. In other words, communicate from a place of understanding. For example, if your product or service isn’t a priority right now, be mindful of promotions.
  • Rethink and refocus everything. From automation to calendar-scheduled campaigns, think about how your promotions may come across. For instance, you can eliminate overly pushy emails and replace those with softer, toned messages.
  • Address COVID-related concerns. Let people know you’re doing everything possible to keep staff and products safe from contamination. You can even show subscribers how your company is responding to the pandemic.

These are only some things a business can consider doing, so do what will work for your situation.

5. More video in emails

Video is great for conveying information, especially when you have a lot to say. According to data from Wyzowl (2021), out of 68 percent of consumers surveyed, 96 percent are watching more video content online because of the pandemic. Ninety-one percent of marketers also feel that video is now more critical for brands.

With all that in mind, the trend of companies using video in email messages will probably increase.

6. GDPR, CAN-SPAM, and CASL

For the past few years, anti-spam legislation has tightened up. Today users only receive emails from companies that have permission. And as users demand more privacy, email marketers will need to adapt, changing how campaigns are conducted. GDPR, CAN-SPAM, and CASL will no doubt continue to shape how organizations market to consumers.

7. Email interactivity

You may have noticed the interactive email trend. Whether it’s making CTAs (call-to-actions) change color on hover, embedding surveys or games, etc., interactive elements make emails more engaging. That’s because when people have something to do other than reading, interest peaks.

With more Internet users and the current global climate, interactive elements will become a go-to for email marketers, helping brands promote engagement and retain subscribers.

The most resilient channel is email

Email marketing is a resilient channel, and the trends shared above illustrate that well. Email has consistently adapted to change, meeting the ever-changing needs of consumers. Use the trends discussed here to optimize your campaigns as needed. Good luck.