Predicting the future is always a gamble, but when you’re deeply entrenched in a market segment – as I am with email marketing and the data that drives it – it’s easier to imagine what might come next. Here are five trends that, from my perspective, will impact email marketers in 2020, along with my thoughts on what to do to benefit and prosper from them:
- Emerging technologies making email even smarter: I’ve written recently about new trends and technologies that are able to significantly bolster campaign results, reach audiences like never before and save marketers time and money. At the top of my trend list is intent monitoring, which captures and analyzes buyers’ online activities to uncover purchase intent signals that can be used to improve marketing effectiveness across email and other channels. Intent data will rise in importance in 2020, offering marketers the ability to reach the right prospect, with the right message at exactly the right time in the buying journey. At OMI, we are seeing great opportunity for our clients who engage with us to combine intent data with targeted, accurate business contact data to take email and other campaigns to the next level and drive stronger impact and ROI.
- The customer is still king (or queen): Today’s buyers listen to recommendations from their colleagues or search for impartial reviews from other real users. Studies show that 82% of consumers consider user-generated reviews extremely valuable, and 70% will look at them before making a purchase decision. That means marketers must proactively engage and incentivize their customers to create, participate and share user-generated content, such as videos, reviews, testimonials, case studies, articles, etc. that support and promote their products and brands. The most successful brands turn their customers into brand ambassadors who advocate for the brand across their social groups.
- Make your messages interactive: Interactive emails are less about merely entertaining recipients and more about augmenting your message and encouraging engagement. This can be done through animated call-to-action buttons, interactive images or rollover effects to showcase abilities or provide “behind the curtain” insights; accordion features to shorten or expand messages; and surveys and polls intended to get your audience responding to you with helpful insights you can use to improve their experience with your brand.
- Less is more: With the proliferation of mobile devices and even wearable technologies, screen sizes continue to shrink, providing less real estate for marketers and their email messages. That means you’ve got to be concise with your copy and clear with your design. Use bullets and shorter sentences, limit use of jargon, and simplify complicated concepts. Litmus research says that the average email attention span is just 13.4 seconds.
- Don’t lose the human touch: Even though I’m a big proponent of leveraging emerging technologies to bolster email marketing results, this should not be accomplished at the expense of the human touch. Nobody wants to engage with a robotic, faceless company, so that means you need to answer inquiries quickly, make your sales process easy, be transparent about promotions, policies and prices, and ensure a consistent brand experience. According to McKinsey, companies that incorporate a human touch to their digital marketing efforts achieve five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit and twice the return to shareholders.
The 2020s are just about upon us, and B2B email marketers will, as always, need to learn new skills and techniques, understand emerging technologies and roll with the times to best serve the ever-changing demands of their customers. How are you adjusting your marketing practices for the next decade?
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.