A shrewd marketing strategy is vital for reaching your target audience effectively.
Companies in 2020 are committing themselves to data-driven email marketing campaigns that give a hyper-personalized experience for email recipients.
In fact, it’s one of the best digital marketing channels out there.
Leveraging AI and data analytics software, companies can segment and target audiences with extreme precision, delivering perfectly-customized content straight to customer inboxes.
Looking for campaign inspiration? Here are 11 killer email marketing trends you can’t miss this year.
Trend #1: User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) refers to any content that is created by the end user, such as an influencer, fan, or customer. This covers a whole catalog of content, from surveys to user-submitted videos.
UGC builds an empathetic connection with your audience. According to 48% of marketers, UGC humanizes marketing, enabling businesses to connect better with their tribe.
Leverage UGC to connect your email campaign to your social media campaign with a hashtag that users can add to their social posts. When harnessed in this way, 45% of marketers agree that UGC boosts social media statistics.
Example: Green People
Green People uses this email marketing trend to sell their newest line.
With UGC, Green People draws the reader’s attention to the efficacy of the product and provides a clear call-to-action.
Trend #2: Educational Content
Rather than simply spamming customers with sales pitches, educational content solves consumer problems.
77% of marketers use educational marketing because it builds brand expertise and trust, and offers direct value to the customer at no extra cost.
Since 81% of consumers base purchasing decisions on brand trust, it’s wise to use educational content to show your brand is an authority that can be trusted.
The fusion of brand trust and educational authority compounds the value of your product in solving real-world solutions.
Identifying key societal trends, Trello leverages its email campaigns to offer a business case for combining Trello with Zoom to support remote working.
By offering a practical integration guide, Trello uses educational content marketing to establish itself as an expert, while building a value case for its product.
Trend #3: Loyalty Codes and Discounts
Another email marketing trend is to offer a loyalty code or exclusive discount via your mailing list to help to decrease the rate of cart abandonment.
Studies show that 57% of first-time buyers are more motivated to complete their purchase if they can use a discount code or coupon.
Not only does this increase conversion, it enables you to influence customer behavior. Using targeted discounts, you can gather customer data, test new products, sell old lines, etc.
Eco-fashion brand, Wearth, uses a discount code to encourage mailing list subscribers to try products from the launch of a new range.
Wearth instills a sense of urgency to encourage customers to ‘Buy Now’ by adding the word ‘weekend’ to the code.
Trend #4: Curated Listicles
Curated listicles are structured lists of interesting content related to a particular topic.
A common 2020 email marketing trend, brands release a regular newsletter listing top 5-10 industry-related articles, podcasts, news features, and so on.
Extremely popular with readers, listicles present information in a clear manner where readers can ‘choose their own adventure’. Often consisting of links with short summaries, customers don’t feel bombarded by details.
Since 40% of emails are read for less than eight seconds, it’s important to capture attention quickly with a simple, clear format.
Both the visual structure and the personalized curation of listicles is far less taxing on the brain than block text.
Example: The Economist
Touting an extremely simple email design, The Economist gives customers the top five journalistic stories of the day, hand-curated by news experts.
Readers know exactly what to expect and can click on the stories that appeal to them, rather than wasting time sifting through mountains of content.
Trend #6: Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are one of the most effective ways of converting email leads.
Converting 3.73% more than any other call-to-action, competitions are the top way to influence consumer behavior and increase engagement.
Since email marketing beats social media 40 times over when it comes to customer acquisition, it makes sense that email contests would increase in popularity as an email marketing trend in 2020.
CBD company, Spruce, generates leads by encouraging users to take a quiz in return for a 20% discount code.
In doing this, Spruce collects email leads, opening this communication channel for further digital marketing campaigns.
Trend #6: Data-Driven Email Personalization
Hyper-personalization refers to the email marketing trend where companies direct marketing materials specific to the recipient’s tastes.
Through uber-tailored content, businesses propose customer-centric solutions without the customer having to think about it — saving them time and brainpower.
Thanks to data-driven insights from funnel-based marketing automation tools like ClickFunnels and Keap, companies can more accurately personalize emails to their target segments.
Data-driven hyper-personalized email marketing is extremely popular because it works. Statistics show that well-segmented emails are responsible for 58% of all revenue.
This is because customers have come to expect and enjoy personalized content, with 76% of consumers agreeing that all email communication will be completely personalized by 2025.
According to Tom Klein, the VP of Marketing at Mailchimp, email personalization is invaluable for learning about customers.
Klein says: ‘Email is already the best way for ecommerce retailers to learn about their customers, make relevant and timely product recommendations, and generate sales.”
Examples of hyper-personalization in email marketing include:
- Cart abandonment emails showing what’s in the cart
- Data-driven reports related to app behavior
- Product recommendations based on website behavior
- Reminder emails based on app usage
Grammarly collates data from its application to serve users with a personalized weekly insights report.
This demonstrates Grammarly as a highly useful tool while inferring the message ‘if the free tool is this good, imagine what our premium tool does.’
Trend #7: Interactive Email Design
Interactive email design sucks in the reader by encouraging them to interact with the email, and therefore, the company.
Including everything from animated call-to-action buttons through to sophisticated gamification, interactive content entices and entertains customers by fostering engagement.
Engagement marketing is an emotional brand awareness technique often used at the top of the sales funnel. By encouraging users to interact, businesses introduce their brand, drive awareness, and develop an emotion-driven relationship with customers.
Pret, a natural food restaurant, showcases its upcoming drinks menu with an interactive game. Users are presented with an empty cup that fills when they select a drink.
This email tactic both shows off the product and entertains the customer for a positive brand engagement experience.
Creating these types of emails isn’t easy, but you can simply outsource to freelance designers.
Trend #8: Email Video Marketing
Video marketing has certainly boomed with 66% of B2C and 71% of B2B marketers capitalizing on this marketing trend.
For marketers, video is a key digital marketing strategy for lead generation. According to Lolly, it can increase lead gen by 200%. Simply putting the word ‘video’ in your subject line boosts open rates by 7%.
Since most consumers are persuaded to buy products and services after viewing a brand’s video, it seems prudent to put videos in your email marketing strategy.
Example: Schultz & Myers
Not only does Schultz & Myers humanize its brand with an introductory video, but it also boosts potential click-rate, conversion, and engagement.
To complement this, Schultz & Myers team email videos with a landing page video, potentially increasing conversion rates by 86%.
Trend #9: Email Discovery Sessions
Email discovery sessions enable you to quickly set the stage with clients.
A promising email marketing trend, companies are deploying techniques to push customers to sign up for an email discovery session.
Companies do this using everything from landing page pop-ups to embedded automated appointment interfaces, to simple ‘Email Us’ call-to-action links.
By doing this, you simultaneously generate email marketing leads and guide clients down the sales funnel.
Example: My SEO Sucks
The marketing firm My SEO Sucks uses a landing page pop-up to direct customers straight to a cloud-based booking system.
The immediacy of the pop-up combined with the value of a free discovery session and the ease of email communication makes for an irresistible conversion cocktail for potential clients.
Trend #10: Email Lead Generation Landing Pages
Landing pages are standalone web pages that serve a single purpose. For your email marketing campaign, you should be harnessing the power of lead generation landing pages to generate email leads.
As an email marketer, you can do this by offering to give away products, discounts, or free resources in return for customer data.
On average, marketing campaigns that leverage landing pages have a 10.5% conversion rate.
In this sense, it makes sense to craft sleek landing pages to collect email leads.
Teacher training firm, TEFLPros offers access to a free introductory course in order to boost its email list.
Following this, TEFLPros sends marketing campaigns that offer dynamic content, add-ons, and premium products, such as their full certification.
Email marketing trends in 2020 will continue to focus on customizing the customer experience.
This year’s email marketing tactics aim to encourage interactive engagement through the use of responsive design, gamification, automation, and solutions-focused content.
When it comes to email marketing design trends, animated elements and interactive features improve user experience (UX). By boosting your email UX, you’ll benefit from higher conversion rates and increased lead generation.
Jeremy Moser is co-founder of uSERP, a digital brand-building agency. His work has been featured on HubSpot, Foundr, G2 Crowd, Drift, SEJ, Codeless, Shopify Enterprise, BigCommerce, Nimble, Keap, and many more.
Last modified: July 1st, 2020