Email Marketing in 2018 and Beyond

October 27, 2017

Business

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Having preached about how email marketing is far from dead and taking a look at past mistakes in your campaign, it is time to take a long overdue look at the future. There have been massive strides made in the email marketing space in recent years but there is still plenty of room for improvement. As the lead support rep in North America, I am the first line of defence when a client comes in with a feature request, so I’ve heard it all. While there are some outlandish requests, like the ability to stop contacts from manually placing emails into the spam folder, there have been a number of ideas brought up that really struck a chord with me. Here, I will take the time to go over a few of these concepts and see how they could impact the email game going forward.

Auto-segmentation and Personalization

You may be saying to yourself, “wait a second, both of these are doable right now! What’s up?” And that is true, but no to the extent email marketers want or need. Yes, you can parse lists according to a number of different variables and even customize email content based on pre-set values, but it still largely has to be done manually.

What I’ve found to be a common request is the desire to do more in a fraction of the time. People want to import their list and then have the work done for them. While this may seem like the fantasy of a lazy salesperson, it actually isn’t that far from being a reality. With advances in AI happening so rapidly it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to create a thinking and growing email platform that can cut your workload in half.

Imagine automatically seeing your contacts organised according to age group, gender or location and then a template is automatically brought up based on those segments? It would be quite the convenience wouldn’t it?

The value of a flat out email list just isn’t there anymore; it is about all of the additional data you can collect about that list. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about a potential client the more versatility you grant yourself. With a system that could automatically sort through the information you input, create segments and populate templates with the best variables for that given segment a sales rep could get an exponential amount of work done in comparison to have to sift through everything manually.

An Interactive Age – Branching Campaigns

Much like the previous section, branching campaigns are not a novel concept, though they aren’t the norm either. But this idea expands on that even further. Take, for instance, a restaurant sending newsletters. Today you can have a static image of your menu, maybe an animated banner and links to your website. Wouldn’t it be better to have the entire interactive menu from the site proper embedded in the actual email chain?

Instant gratification has become a staple of the Internet, so why not let your customers interact with your site from the get go? The email routine today goes a little like this:

Email is received

Open the email

Client is interested

Client clicks link and is taken to the website

They then have to sign-in and search for whatever it was that interested them about the email.
Along the way they lose interest because of the back and forth
You can craft the perfect copy but the disconnect between the email and the actual purchasing process can lead to lost sales. If the interface of your email had the same level of interaction as your site you could essentially cut out the middleman and have them make purchases from directly within the message.

Which then leads us to the concept of branching campaigns. Based on the level of interaction a client shows you can trigger different phases of the campaign. If someone is showing a lot of interest the platform would automatically detect this and skip ahead a few follow-ups to take a more direct approach. If a prospect seems a little more hesitant they would be sent down a path with a bit more nurturing. It all boils down to advancements in AI and the ability to implement these ideas into an email without setting off every spam filter on the Internet, but it would be nice!

One-Click Purchases

Building off of the interactive email concept, the ability to make a payment with a single click, through a fingerprint or retinal scan would be a huge boon to sales teams.

This would mainly be for the mobile markets but the ability to make the sale with a single button press would benefit potential clients and companies alike. As mentioned above, there is a current disconnect between the email and the purchasing process. External links are necessary, which leads to unnecessary time being spent and potential frustration building.

We live in a world of impulse buyers, and adding this tool may seem like taking advantage of the times, but isn’t that what we’re here for? If we aren’t going to capitalize on trends we may as well be in another industry all together.

Giving people the option to buy your product or service with the touch of a button will save both party’s time and energy.
As mentioned previously, all of these advancements rely on an expansion of the email platform in general as well as rapid AI development in the future. That being said, it isn’t too hard to imagine these actually coming to fruition in the near future. Nothing will ever beat a hand written letter to a potential client, but to be able to create that same feel in a fraction of the time is an immeasurable asset that shouldn’t be ignored.