It’s that time again when thoughts turn to the coming year and it is time to start thinking ahead to the trends and developments that we can capitalise on in 2020.
Email marketing has defied its critics in continuing to provide an array of benefits to marketers, from building trust to providing some of the greatest ROIs of any digital channel.
What's more, this year's DMA Email Benchmarking Report highlighted how email marketing has been reinvigorated following the introduction of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
So here are the top things we think you should be considering for your 2020 strategy.
Action-oriented design and the quest for engagement will always be high priority and as a result on the list of top email design trends are GIF’s and CSS animation. Not only does movement get people’s attention, but animation can be a fun way to set your brand apart and create a unique brand image. Use APNG images instead of GIF’s, as APNG files are a higher quality than GIF files.
As you integrate more animation into your emails, remember that less is more and stick to one primary animation per email.
Combining responsiveness with interactivity challenges even the most advanced email marketer. In the olden days of email marketing, interactivity was designed to entertain the recipient. In 2020 and beyond, it will be used in more functional ways, promoting engagement and preventing consumers from leaving the emails.
Some of the hottest interactive email elements heading into 2020 include:
A further step on from animation is video. Video content continues to grow in popularity, and integrating video content into your email design can help entice more clicks and a higher open rate. In fact, a study by email monks showed that simply using the word “video” in your email subject line can boost your open rate by 19% and your click-through rate by 65%.
Not all major email platforms support video playback within emails; Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo, for instance, are on the no-go list. So don’t embed a video in your email. Instead, create a thumbnail image and use the image as a clickable link leading to the video on your website to effectively drive traffic there.
User generated content isn’t just for social media — one of the top email design trends we’re seeing now is that UGC is great for emails, too. Include five-star reviews you’ve received or images from customers. E-commerce leader 3dcart asserts that 82% of consumers consider user-generated reviews extremely valuable and 70% of all consumers will look to reviews or ratings before making a purchasing decision. In addition, given that email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than leads that came through another channel, email marketing provides a symbiotic relationship with social media, leading to more user-generated content to leverage in the future.
Case studies have always been a key element in the marketing armoury, but this brings customer comment to the fore, capitalising on the snippets and endorsements to build trust and inspire confidence. You could even bring email in social together to create a campaign using a # to collect positive reviews or photographs from customers that you can then promote through your email campaigns.
Accessibility — making emails easily readable for individuals who have disabilities (whether those are physical disabilities such as low vision, or cognitive/neurological disabilities). Email accessibility can be simple (such as making your font sizes a little bigger) or can get into more complex methods. Take a look at our basic guide to see what you can do now to meet the demands of increased accessibility.
“Accessibility grew to be a major consideration for email design in 2019. Building on simple code changes to improve support for screen readers, smart marketers are now embracing wider challenges, for example, considering people with autism, epilepsy, color blindness, and anxiety in our approach for content,” said Elliot Ross, CEO of Taxi for Email. “Whilst screen readers are a technical code challenge, these considerations are wider reaching, ensuring copywriting, visual design and strategy work for everyone.”
Gmail is one of the most loved email clients with 29% users (as of May 2019) all over the world. And why not! After all, Gmail strives to provide superior subscriber experience with their regular updates and facilitates easy communication.
In the past, Gmail had released a feature that allowed the users to unsubscribe or hit the spam button within Gmail. Generally, the unsubscribe link is provided at the bottom of every email, but Gmail caused a disrupt in the realms of email marketing by incorporating the “unsubscribe” button at the top.
The passive opt-out feature will consider the activity of the subscribers and suggest them to unsubscribe from the emails they have not engaged with, thereby saving the users from identifying emails on their own. This will significantly optimise the user experience. As far as marketers are concerned, it will help them maintain cleaner email lists consisting of genuinely interested subscribers only.
Bot activity is increasing, globally and the sophistication of these bots is also increasing. Legitimate senders with good data health processes have less to fear but may still suffer the annoyance of email security bots. There is sophisticated technology on both sides of this battle and e-shot™ continues to develop bot detection methodologies and deliverability tools in the more general sense. You may find our recent webinar on deliverability to be of additional help, along with our blog post “Rise of the machines”
Most of the AI that is discussed in the marketing world concerns the automation of processes. Marketing automation is centred on providing the most relevant content at the most suitable time to a specific individual or group, be they existing or potential customers. The intelligent part comes from how AI systems learn from past behaviours to shape future actions.
AI should be seen as the solution to a large number of your processes, rather than another terrifying technological advance to get your head around! It strives not only to replace the traditional (and somewhat arduous) segmentation processes currently in action but to completely transform the levels of relevancy that we, as marketers, are capable of providing to consumers.
2019 was another memorable year in email, with innovative developments in new features and technology, numerous mergers and acquisitions, mailbox provider improvements, and an increased focus on data privacy and security. This is further evidence of the strength of the email ecosystem and state of our industry as a whole. I forecast 2020 will be another exciting year in email and I’m optimistic about the new opportunities for email in the new decade!
Things are changing in the world of email - why not get completely up-to-date by attending our half-day Email 2020 course to see how you can stay ahead of the game.
We are confident that we can help you, which is why we offer a free healthcheck to identify potential issues with your current programme and free advice on things that could be done to improve it.