Email marketing trends in 2019 and beyond

It is hard to believe that email is almost 50 years old. While most technology gets replaced by more powerful solutions, email has passed over the technological revolution virtually unscathed. Even more impressive is a fact that it’s still growing in popularity.

Let’s go back. The first email was sent in 1971 and the first email marketing campaign was sent in 1978, but the true explosion of email marketing was sparked by Hotmail when it launched the first web-based email service in 1996 and opened up a direct line of communication to potentially 20 million people. Marketers saw the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. The rest is history…

Fast forward a couple of years to 2019, now email marketing is over 40 years old. Even though email as technology hasn’t changed much over the years, email marketing has – a lot. So, let us take a look at exciting new trends and developments that hit the world of email marketing as of recent.

The saying “Quality over quantity” should be taken seriously from now on. Deliverability has become a serious concern for marketers. Due to increased standards from major ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL, emails can quickly land in SPAM folder, making all that hard work useless. To avoid this, from now on marketers need to ensure they are sending relevant content to high-quality value email subscribers and stop focusing on the total quantity of sent emails. This means embracing already known best practices even more. Practices such as segmentation, data hygiene, and email verification are a must to move forward.

In addition, the way of acquiring new subscribers must also change. Again, quality over quantity is crucial. Just including all subscribers to one list won’t work anymore. Future relies on highly targeted subscriber lists. Yes, this approach will most likely cost more, but in the end, the lifetime value of higher quality subscribers/customers will be worth the additional investment.

But it is not just major ISPs that fight against spam. There are also governments with their new regulations. New “Data privacy” laws are making possible for consumers to regain control over their personal data. Recently, companies handling with European citizen data already had to adapt to new rules (GDPR) to ensure compliance with the new European regulation. Other continents will probably follow soon. So, for all other companies around the world, it would probably be a smart thing to consider, to be ahead of the legislation and start moving in the same direction. And not only to be prepared for new regulations but because it just makes sense. Consumers hate spam and marketers will have to realize there is little value in blasting emails to people who don’t want to receive them. Doing so, increases unsubscribe rates and spam reports.

Implementing mechanisms for customers and prospects to select the types of emails they want to receive, instead of a blank “unsubscribe” button is the future. Marketers will need to start offering the choice to opt into certain types of emails and opt out of others. And all this can be easily accomplished with simple web forms. Giving consumers this option will ensure that the emails they receive, focus on topics that they are interested in. Essentially, the audience will tell what they want and what they don’t. As consumers gain more control over what arrives in their inbox, customer engagement levels will rise, unsubscribe rates will drop, and spam complaints will dramatically decrease. A win-win situation.

The other thing that is changing is email copy. Email content will slowly start to become more casual. Millennials are set to overtake baby boomers as the largest consumer demographic in the US in the next few years. Consumers and decision makers from the millennial generation are more laid back and less formal than their predecessors. As millennials become the CEOs of businesses and the largest pool of consumers in the market, marketers will need to adapt how they “speak” to their audience via promotional emails. Humour will become more commonplace and marketers will become more playful with their email copy. In general, the tone and voice of marketing emails will become more casual and informal.

Ok, let’s wrap it up. From 2019 on, companies will need to work on becoming much more effective in their email communication. To stay in the game, they will need to prepare themselves to leverage the trends listed above. That way they will remain on the cutting edge of email marketing. If they fail to do that, they will become obsolete, quickly falling behind their competitors.