Future email trends in email marketing Published April 9, 2015 Email marketing is on the precipice of exciting change right now in 2015. This is a new-world order and many are going to sink or learn to swim again. To the uninitiated, email marketing might seem like a dying art thanks to the unrelenting explosion in social media. While it is true that social is a game changer, it is equally true that email-based marketing delivers in areas that its 140 character cousin cannot. For example – because email is almost always based on a previous indication that the customer might interested in a product or service, either by signing up to a newsletter or providing contact details – it’s able to target customers much more accurately than social channels might. So there is plenty of life left in email – a fact that is reinforced by the DMA’s National Client Email Report 2013, which predicted that email marketing spends were set to increase in 2013. The report also said that 90 per cent of businesses believed that email marketing was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their marketing strategy. Future trends in email marketing However, the rules are changing and this is not the time for complacency. Consumers are demanding new heights of relevant, immaculately presented content – with the emphasis being placed on ‘relevant’. Strategies will need to remain as fluid and dynamic as the market that they operate in. Only the most responsive marketers are going to be able to take advantage of the quickly changing landscape. Here are a few trends and predictions for 2013 and beyond. HTML5 – Responsive design comes to email AHTML5 promises to revolutionise media rich content. The fifth revision of the standard introduces media elements such as <video>, <audio> and <canvas>, making it the most media friendly language yet. Despite HTML5 being five years old, it is still not a mainstream platform – but it is getting close. Email clients are still not quite on-board the HTML5 train yet, but they will be. If marketers are looking to bridge the gap between web and email design, HTML5 may be just what they are looking for. Mobile – the cornerstone of our data consumption The move to mobile is a seemingly unstoppable force with some figures suggesting that mobile devices will soon be the cornerstone of all our data needs. This could potentially cause a conflict in design methods. Should designers be basing their strategy around fully immersive, web content or should they be hedging their bets and sending mobile-friendly content? Most likely, the answer will be a hybrid of the two – but these are all questions that remain to be answered. Big Data has become small, but will get big again O‘Big Data’ is an interesting subject. Data dependent businesses have been throwing the term around for quite a few years and recently a plethora of analytical tools came along, leaving many underwhelmed. For more than a few, it seems that shaping this ‘Big Data’ into a workable form has proved more difficult than was initially hoped. However, a bad workman blames his tools and the fact still remains; there is an abundance of data out there. It just has not been fully harnessed yet. Those with the resources and dexterity will begin to find more effective ways to reach the promise land of Big Data analysis. From sentiment analysis to global shopping habits, the channelling of this information has the power to be one of the most disruptive technologies in direct marketing history. Email on social networks – could it be the future? As social networks continue to diversify their portfolios, the concept of them providing complete email solutions is not too much of stretch. Google’s Gmail platform is one of the most successful email solutions on the planet – it doesn’t take a psychic to figure out that certain ‘other’ social networks might want a piece of that targeted advertising revenue. If this were to happen, it would open up a whole new dimension to email marketing strategy where integrated social media components build right into email content. Of course, this is speculation – but if someone hasn’t suggested this to Zuckerberg, they should! Geographically-aware email – content delivered based on real-time surroundings Despite many emails being read on location savvy devices, the email itself remains intrinsically basic and as it currently stands, email clients are not aware of their surroundings. As geo-location hardware becomes the de facto standard, email marketers should be utilising this mobile technology to its fullest extent. A practical implementation of this can be seen here, where Kavan Webb explains how to use the iPhone’s new passbook feature to give users location specific information. Less spam is good for everyone Spam filters are getting much better at what they do. Since 2010 spam has been on the decline. Just three years ago, 89 per cent of all global mail was spam. By 2011 this had dropped to 75 per cent and by 2012, the number had fallen again to 68 per cent. At the current rate, do not be surprised if spam is almost completely irradiated within a decade. Software developers are beginning to adopt a ‘behind the scenes approach’ to what the end user can and can’t access. Pretty soon there is every chance that junk folders won’t even exist and the filtering will occur behind closed doors Cleaning up the world of spam is nothing but good news for email marketers. With time people will know that the information in their inbox is high quality, tailored and relevant information. This will rebuild the relationship of trust between business and consumer and almost certainly lead to higher conversion rates. Ripping up the rule book The concluding prediction is that over the coming years marketers will find that all bets are are off in terms of ‘best practice’. Starting from now, don’t be afraid to think outside the box – this touch screen driven, mobile friendly, media rich and permanently connected world is ripe for the taking. People are craving highly tailored, extremely relevant information and email remains the perfect channel to deliver it to them. Did we accurately predict the future of email marketing back in 2015? Discover the key email marketing trends for 2017 in our new report, with insight and examples from ten email marketing experts.