Published: 09 Jan 2020
Category: Marketing , Digital Marketing

What Works and Doesn't Work: Email Marketing Trends That Will Carry On


In 1978, unsung innovator and Father of Spam Gary Theurk sent an email blast to 400 people – this is recognised as the first bona fide email marketing campaign, which resulted in over US$13 million in sales.

This set the trend for the world moving forward, and although the impact was not as sizable as Theurk’s feat, emails continue to be a popular marketing tool that reaches over half of the world’s population.

Knowing how to capitalise on email marketing tools is an essential competency for any business. Keep reading to find out about some of the enduring email marketing trends 2020 will bring.

Pros and Cons of Email Marketing

If there was a perfect marketing tool, there would be very little for marketing professionals to do. But, luckily for them, there are more than just one, and emails are one of them.

Some of the benefits of email marketing include the following: cost-effectiveness, traceability, and flexibility. The costs involved are mostly front-loaded, as they’re related to creating an email database that can later be mined continually. And, because it’s so easy to track metrics, email marketing is easy to customise quickly.

As far as the disadvantages of email marketing go, it is difficult to design emails to perform across multiple devices, and there’s a learning curve to creative effective and catchy email copy. There is also the risk of driving customer dissatisfaction from receiving unwanted emails.

Trend #1 – Personalisation

If email marketing statistics in 2019 are any indication, emails will continue to become more finely tuned to specific users. Over half of the world’s population uses emails, so the one-size-fits-all approach is not likely to be suitable. Instead, what you’ll find is more personalisation in email marketing strategy.

Automated campaigns are already creating segment-focused emails but also tracking user data in real-time to provide hyper-specific information. Keeping track of a customer’s search histories can help reinforce their purchasing options by emailing them customised offers and reminding them of their intent. Data will also be easier to collect as click-through rates and other email marketing KPIs will provide a wealth of information through personalised email.

Trend #2 – Mobile-first

One of the difficulties in email marketing is deciding what to optimise for. Even large companies with huge marketing budgets struggle with this because it’s a question of how to produce the best ROI. Rather than trying to analyse customer data too closely, many companies are starting to move away from the desktop altogether.

At this point, over half of emails are opened on mobile devices, and close to 80% of mobile users make purchases through their mobile device. If there are only enough resources to focus on one format, mobile is clearly the way to go. In 2020 and beyond, the features of email marketing looks to be increasingly optimised for mobile users.

Trend #3 – Video Content

One of the trends that has skyrocketed in popularity is video content in email marketing. It’s one of the most consumed types of content online. Therefore, it makes sense that it would permeate all sorts of marketing efforts. Video content makes it easy to show a product or service, rather than relying on people to invest time in reading about it.

In addition to the benefit of conveying more information in less time, videos can also increase brand credibility. Creating videos the right way can make them appear less like a sales pitch and more like a value-driven benefit for the audience.

Trend #4 – Brand Storytelling

Today’s businesses are also focusing more on creating long-term relationships with customers rather than making a quick sale. This trend has spread to every aspect of customer interaction, including email marketing efforts.

Rather than aiming to project a sale or an actionable item quickly and briefly to audiences, companies are using emails to share their company’s story in a casual way. It’s a good method to a) relax the audience and not make them feel like they have to buy something, and b) create a sense that there’s more to the business’s goals than generating a profit. This, in turn, creates better engagement and a desire to connect with the company.

Keep up With the Trends

This list represents examples of email marketing trends that will gain traction in the coming years, offering a brief but broad look into the changes email marketing is undergoing. The key to successful email marketing now is to embrace new trends and explore personalisation in content to create emotional connections that will link your customers to your brand in a long-term manner.


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