With the emergence of social media and numerous other ways to market your business, experts have been predicting the downfall of email marketing for years. But the truth is that email marketing is bigger than ever, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in 2018…if you know what you’re doing.
If you’re already making plans for your email marketing plan for next year — and let’s face it, you should be! — here are some tips and trends to keep in mind.
1. Personalize your emails.
Consumers crave personalization now more than ever, and in 2018 they will expect it. At the very least, include their first names on your emails. That also includes sending the emails from a real address that consumers can respond to rather than a no reply address.
2. Stop cold contacting consumers.
Businesses shouldn’t be buying email lists anymore. Cold contacting is also pretty sketchy these days. There’s very little chance you’re going to receive a response from a consumer who didn’t want you to contact them in the first place. Give consumers every opportunity to sign up for your emails by placing simple, easy-to-use contact forms on your website.
3. Pay attention to sudden changes in engagement or open rates.
If people start unsubscribing or even worse, marking your emails as spam, there’s a good chance your emails are starting to feel like spam. Try to get to the bottom of the issue, or, at the very least, send fewer emails.
4. Clean up and update your list.
If you have 20,000 names on your email marketing list and only about 100 engage with your brand, the big number means nothing and may even hurt you in the long run. Delete the members of your email list that haven’t opened or clicked a link in one of your emails in over a year and start reaching out to new subscribers.
5. Avoid clickbait.
Think about your own inbox. Are you really going to open something that sounds like clickbait or are you going to mark it as spam? Use enticing but realistic subject lines for your emails. You can also personalize them with names and the use of an emoji or four in your subject is becoming quite popular when appropriate.
6. Focus on design.
Your email should be just as in line with your website and brand as anything else you do. As a matter of fact, your customers should be able to receive the email without a company name on it and know who sent it to them. Consider hiring a designer or developer to help make that happen, because if your email doesn’t match the rest of your brand, it may come across as spam, and if your consumer does happen to click a link, it’s going to make following through on any call to action difficult.
7. Send your emails on Saturday.
Or Friday. Or maybe even Monday. Most marketers send their emails during the middle of the week, and receiving 100 emails from 100 stores on Tuesday or Wednesday when consumers are already knee-deep in other things usually leads to them being deleted, sometimes days or weeks after the information in them is relevant. Studies have even shown that consumers who receive emails on Friday or Saturday are more likely to follow through with the call to action.
8. Focus on micro-moments.
Consumers are acting quickly. They’re making decisions quickly. They’re making purchases quickly. When you send an email, you need to make sure you are doing what it takes to reach those customers within those moments or the opportunity will pass before you know it.
9. Don’t just take — provide something with value.
Don’t be surprised if you send out an email announcing a sale and no one engages with it if you didn’t offer something else of value first. Valuable content, such as a how-to video featuring one of your products or blog posts about your industry are a good place to start. Of course, coupons and codes for free shipping, discounts, and money off a purchase are always welcome. Free gifts work well, too. Find out what your customers want and provide it every time you send out an email, and you’ll see your engagement numbers rise.
10. Don’t give up.
Again, you’re going to hear some “experts” say email marketing is dead. You may even see a drop in your own engagement rates. This doesn’t mean email marketing is dying. It simply means it’s becoming more competitive and you need to do more to keep up.