How email marketing in 2020 will evolve

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, many businesses owners and marketers thought email marketing was about to die a painful death.

Mostly, the concerns were around the principle of consent which, although it was only one of the seven GDPR principles, outlawed tactics such as signing up all contacts to an email list without explicit consent. Hence a mass-panic in the spring of 2018, in which marketers begged their email subscribers to re-consent, and purged their lists of contacts who did not respond. You can read more about my approach and how we handled this here.

However, email marketing in 2020 is anything but dead. Average open rates and click-through rates actually increased after the implementation of the GDPR:

Email benchmark metrics

What will email marketing in 2020 look like?

The reaction to the GDPR showed us that there’s nothing to fear when cleaning out old and unresponsive email addresses from a database: in fact, this can lead to a more targeted, more engaged audience.

But how do we communicate with this audience in a way that will continue to gain their attention?

Successful email marketing in 2020 needs to be:

1) Interactive

“Customers already expect emails to be more personalized, segmented, and easy to read than they were, say, a year ago. And now we’re starting to see more interactive content, videos, and user-generated content showing up; that will likely be common place in a just a few months.” Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO, Chargebacks911

It’s no longer enough to create a basic template and send the same email to everybody – even if you personalise the subject line or the introduction. Think about what other media you can use. If you have a YouTube channel, perhaps you could embed some clips in your email campaigns. Or if you’ve been collecting reviews on Google or Feefo, you could showcase some of these within your content.

Is there something you’d like to ask your audience? Rather than directing them somewhere else, you could embed a quiz into the body of your email.

2) Direct

Less is definitely more when it comes to email marketing in 2020. Your audience is busy – so busy most of them won’t even open your email in the first place. That’s why it’s vital not to alienate those who do give you their attention by making them read long blocks of text. Keep your copy short and to-the-point.

Think about your layout too: if you have several paragraphs of copy, consider splitting these across different sections, or at least breaking them up with sub-heads and break-out quotes.

3) Tested

Email is one of the easiest of all marketing communications to test and improve thanks to A/B (or “split”) testing. This is where you create two versions of your campaign, with one variable that is different. Your email software will send each version of the campaign to a segment of your audience, before sending the winning campaign to everyone else on your list.

Using A/B testing, you can analyse the performance of your:

  • Subject line
  • Personalisation
  • “From name”
  • Time/ day the emails are sent
  • Content (although only change one aspect at a time, such as the position of your call-to-action)

By continually testing all the components of your email marketing strategy, you can iterate and improve until your open and click-through rates are the best they can be!

Book onto one of our training workshops to find out more tips and techniques for creating a successful email marketing strategy.

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