It is that time of year again when pundits predict what is in store for email marketing in the year ahead. Such articles make the writers nervous; too specific and there is little chance of being correct, to vague and there’s nothing said. So what are they all saying?
There are certain developments that everyone says will continue: more emails opened on mobile phones, more use of animated GIFs and emojis, more laws, more enforcement, more personalisation, more concentration on user experience, and more. Or, to put it succinctly, more of the same but more so.
Just because everyone agrees does not mean this is what will happen. After all, there might be a ‘next best thing’ around the corner which iff we don’t know what it is then it impossible to plan for. What we need to know is what changes we should implement for 2017.
There are the eternal basic requirements of email marketing: 1/ the quantity of subscribers to your email marketing list, but remembering that with quality is the king, 2/ time, frequency and placement of the email, 3/ email design, and 4/ integration. If you concentrate of these four matters then you will have a degree of success. However, you want more so how should you move forward?
Personalisation was touted as the coming thing last year and so it proved but not to the level many predicted. The main limitation is data, so focus on increasing as much knowledge of your subscribers, and improve storage and access.
Automation results in lowers cost and increased ROI. Some seem to regard it as the antithesis of personalisation but if you use it correctly it will enhance loyalty and brand awareness by offering customers products they will buy.
Animation, which includes animated GIFs, emojis and video, was promised as the coming thing for 2016 and so it proved to an extent. A few companies let their enthusiasm for GIFs override good sense but they soon reduced numbers to a more productive level, presumably after their returns. As customers become more familiar with them experimentation is more productive.
User experience is touted by many to give high returns on investment. The logic, that if a customer enjoys the buying experience, they will become repeat customers is obvious. There are suggestions of minor changes to come in 2017 so be ready for them.
More legislations and enforcement has been predicted for 2017 both from national and EU regulators. The new head of the ICO has put her plans on the table. You need to ensure regular checks for compliance.
Brexit is a brooding giant, not helped by the lack of clarity as to government strategy. Whether the activation of Article 50 will be a major influence on email marketing is something that may well be all too clear in the next few months. However, somehow I doubt it. Flexibility of response is essential.
2017 will be a year of opportunity. Ensure you are ready to take them and respond to changes.
We will cover all these points in articles to come during the year. In the meantime; Happy New Year.