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Better Data and Personalization Are the Future of Email Marketing

Updated Oct 24, 2023

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Email has become a ubiquitous communication platform that marketers have jumped on to reach their target audiences. Most brands understand that an email marketing strategy is crucial. However, many don’t grasp the mindset of today’s savvy buyers, who aren’t impressed by a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Editor’s note: Looking for the right email marketing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

As internet technology and email access shift with new devices and standards, businesses must update and optimize their email marketing strategies to keep up. 

Did You Know?Did you know

Crucial email marketing metrics that can gauge your campaign’s performance include open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate and conversion rate.

The future of email marketing

According to Statista, there will be 4.6 billion global email users by 2025. The communication medium is a no-brainer for brands seeking to reach their target customers directly. However, capturing the attention of qualified leads isn’t easy. Content must strike a delicate balance between sharing valuable information and pointing people toward your brand.

“The key has been properly managing email content that is educational and serves the reader with helpful information and promotional emails that lead to your product or service,” explained Crystal Sheffield-Baird, strategic content storyteller at Crystal Clear Storytelling. “Too much promotion and people will unsubscribe; not enough and people will forget what your business is about, and they won’t become customers.”

Brands need a personalized approach to engage consumers and must adopt technological advances to maximize conversions. Consider the following email marketing trends and predictions to create a successful email marketing strategy that engages consumers, converts leads, and boosts brand awareness. 

1. Machine learning, AI and cloud technology will change how we think about email marketing.

As in most industries, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing are shifting the email marketing landscape, enabling marketing automation that tailors messages to an intended audience based on customer data.

  • Machine learning and email marketing. Email marketing is evolving into tailor-made recommendations for precise products consumers need. Machine learning algorithms generate personalized marketing based on a consumer’s previous searches. Personalization increases engagement and boosts the likelihood of conversion.
  • AI and email marketing. Kent Lewis, president and founder of Anvil Media, said AI will “bring new and improved capabilities to email marketing” to ensure campaigns comply with privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and give small business owners the tools to create email campaigns without huge budgets. “AI will automate and improve many aspects of email planning and management,” Lewis noted. “For example, AI can make quick work of what used to be elaborate and time-consuming A/B and multivariate tests.” Lewis explained that AI can help understand predictive behavior, optimize send times, and further personalize messages. 
  • Cloud computing and email marketing. Stacy Caprio, owner of Her.CEO, says technologies like cloud-based computing are playing a role in email marketing. Service providers like Brevo (formerly Sendinblue), Zoho Campaigns and Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) are game changers in the industry that Caprio believes will end up “lowering costs for everyone” since high-volume email marketing lists can be expensive for a small business’s needs.
Did You Know?Did you know

Email marketing benefits include a high ROI, wide audience appeal and stronger customer relationships.

2. Personalization is crucial in email marketing.

Whether your email marketing strategy targets individuals or other businesses, one thing remains certain: People want to feel like their specific needs and interests are being met. People are more likely to delete emails that are overly promotional or unrelated to their interests. They may even mark these messages as spam. 

Here’s some expert advice on personalizing your email marketing messages:

  • Personalization is more than a name. Personalization means more than adding a recipient’s name. “People simply open and react to emails that are tailored to them, but including their name and workplace is not enough,” advised Jakub Kliszczak, head of marketing for YouTube channel Ali Abdaal. “Taking it to the next step — personalizing the email according to the website they’ve been on recently or things they like or recently did — is much more powerful. This sense of familiarity creates trust, which, especially nowadays, is key to creating a relationship.”
  • Hyper-personalization is the future. Olga Mykhoparkina, founder of B2B software company Quoleady, says hyper-personalization is the future of email marketing. While email marketers already focus on customer segmentation based on general demographic and psychographic data, Mykhoparkina believes most marketers can do more to drive engagement. “No matter how segmented our lists are, we can always go one step further and make our emails even more personalized,” Mykhoparkina noted. Mykhoparkina suggests adding steps to the email opt-in process, including asking subscribers the type of content they want to receive. While extra steps may decrease sign-ups, you’ll gain more engaged subscribers. 

3. Interactive email will more easily bridge the gap to a sale.

Today, email services are generally relegated to a specific application or web address. However, email marketing experts believe more interactive emails will take the industry by storm.

For example, we could start seeing emails that look and operate like miniature web experiences. With features like enticing video content, interactive CTAs (calls to action), and in-email instant messaging, email marketing materials could become portals to products or services for customers.

“The more interactive you can make something, the more people look forward to using it,” explained Zarar Ameen, CEO of CANZ Marketing. “There’s tons of space for email marketing to grow in terms of interactivity.”

Interactive emails could increase customer engagement and click-through rates, eventually converting more customers. Combined with AI technology, Lewis said, interactive components could “pull user-generated content into emails dynamically, creating more compelling storytelling and increasing read and engagement rates.”

TipTip

Compelling CTAs can improve your marketing return on investment (ROI) by boosting qualified leads in your sales funnel while nurturing existing leads with new, compelling content.

4. Captivating storytelling will drive email marketing.

Everybody loves a good story. If your small business has one, your email marketing should share it. Tasmin Lockwood, tech reporter at Business Insider, says customers want to cement their brand relationships, and email newsletters are an excellent way to do so.

Sending newsletters helps consumers connect to your business. “[Newsletters] give insight to employees, culture, social consciousness and plans for the future,” Lockwood explained. “As a result, the customer feels like they are on a journey alongside the company.” 

Lockwood says email newsletters don’t have to be about your business exclusively. They can share industry news, tips and pertinent advice, cementing your brand as an expert source of information. “This keeps existing customers in the funnel, represents value-added content for new prospects, and generally keeps customers engaged without having to go to your site,” Lockwood noted.

5. User-generated content will become more common in marketing emails.

Customers are more likely to buy products that other people recommend. When you include user-generated content in your marketing emails, you demonstrate that actual people buy what you sell. More importantly, you show that consumers enjoy your product enough to share it with the world.

To obtain quality user-generated content, set up a system that automatically sends emails after purchases asking customers to leave reviews with photos. You can include these reviews and photos in your emails to leads. You won’t have to pay any extra money for this content, making it a great form of free email marketing.

FYIDid you know

Responding to online reviews — good and bad — is a crucial way to solidify your business’s reputation and demonstrate that you care about your customers.

6. Data privacy will be paramount.

Data privacy regulations like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act reflect increasing customer concerns over data privacy. This trend is sure to gain additional traction moving forward. 

Addressing your customers’ privacy concerns can be as straightforward as stating that your emails adhere to Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance and GDPR standards. You should also send emails whenever you change your privacy terms. These updates — and every email — should come with opt-out opportunities. This way, if customers feel uncomfortable with your data practices, they can unsubscribe and safeguard their information. 

The best email software for data and personalization

The best email marketing software can help your business face the future of email marketing. When you’re evaluating email marketing software and services, ensure they provide crucial features like email triggering, segmentation and database maintenance tools. You want to be ready to reach your audience in creative, effective ways that leverage the latest technology. 

Consider the following email marketing solutions that leverage personalization and the latest trends: 

  • Constant Contact. Constant Contact is an excellent small business email marketing solution. Its affordable plans and easy-to-use tools can help you reach your target audience effectively. Read our in-depth Constant Contact review to learn more. 
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a feature-rich platform with CRM functionality that includes data-driven email customization features. Check out our complete review of Salesforce Marketing Cloud to see if it’s the right solution for your business.
  • Freshmarketer. Freshmarketer by Freshworks helps businesses send promotional emails, newsletters, event invitations, product updates and much more. Read our Freshmarketer review to learn more. 

With the right tools, your business will be prepared for the future of email marketing and reaching your audience in new, creative and effective ways.

Tejas Vemparala and Max Freedman contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Andrew Martins
Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Andrew Martins is an award-winning business and economics expert who has spent years studying trends and profiling small businesses. Based on his on-the-ground reporting and hands-on experience, Martins has developed guides on small business technology and finance-related operations. In recent years, he focused on the small business impacts of the 2020 presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic. Martins, who has a bachelor's degree in communication, has been published on trusted financial sites like Investopedia, The Balance and LowerMyBills, on technology outlet Lifewire and in the New York Daily News.
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