Over time, email has proven to be a relevant tool in communication, marketing, and customer acquisition/retention. Emails foster a one-on-one kind of conversation with subscribers, which makes them a favorable means of communicating with old customers and new leads.
As emails get more personalized, an intimate relationship is built between the receiver and the sender, which will have a direct impact on sales. Businesses can create and maintain such relationships by leveraging top of the line email marketing platforms. Such platforms have the necessary tools to create and deliver emails with relevant content as well as track and scale email marketing campaigns regardless of business sizes.
The Coronavirus pandemic disrupted systems and lifestyles with visible effects seen in every sphere of life and field, even in email marketing. The surreal situation changed customer preferences and their buying behaviors, which has compelled marketing professionals to revamp their strategies. This period also showed how quickly plans can be altered and humans want changes. Therefore, the need to stay informed and monitor new and upcoming trends or projections if businesses are to stay profitable.
Surprisingly, the email marketing world experienced an unexpected surge as more emails were opened, subscribed to, and shared during and since the pandemic. Will this trend continue in the new year? What are the newest trends to look out for in 2022? What should email marketing teams focus on in the new year? These trends and more are discussed below.
Discover them all:
1. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is top on this list for many reasons, one of which is its ability to analyze data and interpret split tests. It will play a critical role in creating more personalized and tailored email campaigns in the new year. There are mammoth data created every second that will become a daunting task for marketers to analyze and make meaning of, but AI tools will analyze such in a fraction of time. AI will help companies manage lists, find the most effective offers and subject lines, and identify the best sending times. All done in less time than humans can. More than that, AI tools could be used for:
- Mailing list clean up
- Predictive analytics
- Curate and select the most effective subject lines
- Optimize survey results and send time
- Create and send personalized emails to each prospect.
- Arrange email campaigns, etc.
Many marketers are reluctant to embrace the idea of AI as some believe that it's meant to replace humans and render them unemployed. Interestingly, AI isn’t meant to replace marketers. It is developed to optimize workload and help to scale email marketing efforts. This technology can be used to analyze customer patterns to understand better how they interact with a brand's email and what they want from such brands. These tools will analyze thousands of data points and pull out meaningful insights to shape email marketing campaigns, save cost and time while creating automated content with the data analyzed.
2. Data privacy
In 2022, email marketers will be challenged by the laws and restrictions placed on how personal data can be used such as Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature. Another challenge to look out for is the contradiction of what subscribers want. Subscribers want personalization (which comes from sharing personal data) and simultaneously demand privacy of information. Email recipients are more concerned about their privacy than ever before and are more knowledgeable about how their data is being utilized. Contradictory or not, recipients must be assured that their shared personal information is secure and won’t be sold to the highest bidder. Aside from data being sold, customers are equally worried about their data being breached by hackers. Investing in a secured mailing service will become non-negotiable.
To gain subscribers' trust and loyalty, create an option for them to unsubscribe, choose the type of content they want to receive, and the frequency of such email. Regularly analyze data privacy legislation and inform subscribers about any forthcoming data privacy changes via emails. Without strong privacy statements, click-throughs and conversions will decrease as more recipients are interested in how their data are used and for what. These changes in the data marketers can leverage for audience targeting will affect how email marketing is done but success can be achieved still when appropriate steps are taken.
Customer segmentation has proven to be a highly beneficial method to boost conversion rates. But in 2022, it's taking a deeper dive from just segmentation to micro-segmentation. Targeted emails with relevant content will become more important than ever. Therefore, the need for proper categorization of email recipients based on their behavioral data, preferences, location, personality, etc. More converting than the parameters above are advanced segmentation based on past purchases, resources downloaded, and the kind of products searched for. Micro-segmentation must be done often to categorize recipients accordingly. Especially because audience behavior is never the same. It will change from time to time. This means that email lists need to be regularly updated. To create micro-segments, interactive content like quizzes, chatbots, assessments, etc can be used to generate data for accurate segmentation. Also, by including a survey in emails, marketers can be updated on the changing needs and preferences of their audience, thereby creating the right micro-segments for each category of readers. A detailed segmenting of the email list will provide real value to subscribers and can increase the open rate by as high as 203%, a great bonus to marketers.
4. Agile email marketing
In the coming year, overhauling or tweaking of the marketing strategy might be required at the shortest notice. This requires that marketers must be prepared for adapting and pivoting at a moment’s notice. With agile email marketing, this sudden change can be easily navigated. Agile email marketing is the process of using data and analytics for continuous iteration of a marketing campaign by collaborating with other teams to carry out tests and experiments.
Agile email marketing works on 6 principles, which are:
- Creating a remarkable customer experience
- Adapting to change
- Validated learning
- Process management
The agile methodology streamlines email marketing operations while adopting a trial-and-error approach. This approach focuses on 4 things/shifts: outcomes over output, Continuous improvement, Customer-focused, and decentralized decision. Consequently, email strategy can be overhauled as data and subscribers change. The features of agile email marketing that make it worthwhile are:
- It helps to save time in the email workflow.
- It enables marketers to focus on the needs of their target audience.
- It enhances greater speed and accuracy in promoting products or services.
By following the agile methodology, a personalized experience in line with the customer’s interests can be created. The agile approach also helps with overcoming any inefficiencies and enhances collaboration with other teams.
5. The rise of animations
Human attention span reduces by the day. Making it important to grab their attention with engaging content. Gone is the era of loading the newsletter with unwanted elements and unnecessary content. Designing a moving email campaign will make a lot of difference in audience engagement with brand emails. By integrating GIFs, animated backdrops, animated icons and typography, and CSS animation, subscribers won't be bored by long letters staring them in the face. Many marketers now often include minor elements of animation in their emails to capture the attention of their readers. CSS animation, for example, permits the creation of transitions, allowing one element to effortlessly transition into another. These are highly successful at capturing the reader’s attention. With the number of emails received daily by many people, it's important to stand out by making a conscious effort for a better user experience. Animations can bring emails to life, but they can also affect the loading time of said emails. Email sizes should be reduced or animations added through codes instead. All of these must be considered to make sure the emails perform well in the recipient's inbox.
Over the last couple of years, marketers have concluded that one of the best ways to generate more revenue from email marketing is to do so through the complete personalization of user experience. Personalization is an email marketing trend that has persisted throughout the years, and it's expected to make more impact in 2022. This strategy is a great way to get subscribers to interact with brands via emails and encourage them to check out the available offers.
The lack of personalization that comes with previously automated content can be a concern in email marketing. As many customers simply feel like another cog in the machine. Rather, they want to feel valued by the companies in which they invest. But with the rise of AI, a better-personalized email is assured.
Personalization is all about knowing and understanding the basics, such as names, customers’ purchasing habits, open rates, and preferred products or services before crafting an email that relates to those behaviors or their interests. Hyper-Personalized emails, in terms of subject lines, body content, timing, and even the types of offers presented will generate more results in 2022. This is a major trend to focus on for more revenue in email marketing campaigns.
7. Integrating interactivity
Integrating interactivity into email marketing has been around for a while but with the potential to grow stronger in 2022. Interactive responsive emails are the holy grail of email marketing. Delivering static emails just won’t cut it for subscribers anymore. One of the main aims of every email marketing campaign is to encourage interaction. And not just any kind of interaction but one that walks them through a journey and can guide them through the sales funnel from awareness to the buying stage. Engaging recipients with surveys, rollover imagery, polls, and other content design techniques turn passive readers into active and interested prospects. They boost customer engagement and significantly increase email interaction. Interactive emails must include elements that users can manipulate without having to visit another page and leave their inbox. Such as:
- Animated buttons and CTAs.
- Carousels of images users can swipe.
- Rollover effects to showcase product offering.
- Video users can play.
- Surveys, polls, and user-generated interactive content.
- Sliders users can manipulate
- Games users can play.
- Animated GIFs
- Adding dark mode along with the light mode
- Adding interactive sounds.
Aside from boosting interactions, another benefit of survey and poll results is the creation of social proof. They equally provide messaging insights for future emails. Thereby improving email open rates, CTR, and conversions.
8. Renewed focus on performance marketing
In 2022, one of the most revered performance metrics is losing its hallowed position. Open rate was assumed to be a reliable way of tracking and analyzing the performance of emails sent but not anymore. Email marketing performance is straying away from open rate since Apple released its new privacy features that pre-loads all email content. Previously, companies could track open rates by using pixels that loaded when users opened the email. Now, all emails will automatically read "opened" even though it hasn't been clicked by the recipient. The update also hides the subscribers’ IP addresses from companies. Why is the update important to email marketers? In Q1 2021, Litmus evaluated that around 39% of emails were opened on an iPhone and 11,5% on Apple Mail. This simply means an inability to track the open rate for a great majority of mobile users. Not that alone, there's a high chance of other mobile device companies to follow suit soonest. Although at the moment the open rate for Android and PC users can still be tracked, email marketers will be better off if their focus is shifted from open rate to different metrics like conversion rate and mailing list growth rate. Focusing more on sales and conversions driven by an email campaign will help marketers optimize toward these more valued and revenue-driving performance metrics.
9. Mobile optimization
Since the coming of smartphones, more and more people are accessing the digital world through their smartphones. In 2022, the dependence on smartphones won't be slowing down either. From basic grocery shopping to closing deals or creating and editing videos, mobile devices are humans' most used items daily. As of 2021, 43% of emails were opened on mobile devices, which is double the open rate on desktop and webmail. which is double the open rate on desktop and webmail. In 2022, it's going to skyrocket. This proves that a positive mobile user experience will capture the interest of prospects and customers who would otherwise ignore emails. Mobile optimization shouldn't only be about meeting the users where they are (their mobile devices), it should meet their demands. First, such emails must load within a few seconds. 3 seconds maximum or users will be left with no choice but to click on the back button and are likely not going to open the email again. Second, email layout/structure and design must be visually appealing. Lastly, because of the limited screen space on phones, a more straightforward copy is needed. With this steady growth in the users opening their emails on mobile, creating mobile optimized newsletter designs is non-negotiable in 2022.
10. User-generated content
User-generated content has been a staple of social media marketing for years but is gradually finding its way into email marketing. It is one of the most effective and simplest ways to create more conversions and improve organic traffic. This is a trend that relies on asking customers to tweet or post their review or favorite product, and such opinions are used to create content capable of influencing leads and subscribers. When recipients see and read other customers' reviews, they may be much more influenced to buy than by reading a marketing copy written by the business team. User-generated content comes at no extra cost and builds brand positivity and cheap publicity for businesses and their products. This content can be gathered from users by encouraging them to take a snapshot of themselves while using a product or include a CTA on a poll or survey to collect the data quickly. User-generated content could also include videos, text, reviews, social media posts, audio, etc. Other than its visible effect on sales and conversion, user-generated content can take the place of email content sometimes. It spices up the reader's inbox and brings about more engagement as readers find it interesting and different from the "usual" content. Again, user-generated content is free and highly valuable in sales conversion. Business-minded email marketers ought to milk it in 2022.
11. Use of plain text
Minimalism is a growing design trend for 2022 and more marketers are opting for it because It helps readers focus on the message and just the message alone. Also, it's a great choice for when the business or marketing team is on a budget. Plain text emails’ stripped-back, static nature eliminates all superfluous components and cuts straight to the point. While interactive and dazzling design work for some email campaigns, plain text has proven highly effective for others. This is worth trying in 2022 email marketing campaigns. When in doubt as to what to do and how to do it, just "keep it simple and short".
12. Short form emails and less copy
With human attention span declining by the day, a short but concise email will perform better more often than long-form emails. Not forgetting the place of engaging content as essentials for email campaigns to achieve success. A reader's attention must be grabbed from the headline till the end of the copy or mail. The future of email marketing is in the quality of the copy. The copy should go straight to the point, explaining the essence of the mail, and what they stand to benefit by taking action. Don't overpromise, readers can detect insincerity from miles away. A well-written, concise copy is a great way to catch a reader’s attention just as effectively as interactive emails will. Keep it simple and short but tell a memorable story that carries a clear call to action.
13. Accessibility in emails
Another trend to focus on in the coming year is the accessibility of emails to different sets of recipients. Can the recipients view email in dark mode? Are the font sizes adequate for different eye strengths? Larger fonts, simpler fonts, good contrast, and simple layouts are ways to improve accessibility. Also, there should be a consideration for subscribers using assistive technologies like screen readers to access emails. By this action alone, more subscribers with disabilities can access emails with ease. Other essential elements that improve email accessibility include:
- Mobile optimization
- Plain text
- Semantic tags (like <p>, <h2>, and <h3>) to guide the reading flow.
- Simple font style and size
- Availability of dark mode
- Suitable Alt-tag or text to aid screen readers
- Engaging color combination
- Crystal clear graphics.
- Use of GIFs with a low flashing rate.
14. Omnichannel marketing approach
In 2021, multichannel (or omnichannel) marketing improved the potential for conversions. In 2022, it will do more by allowing brands to reach out via several channels at once. Of importance in the success of Omni-channels is the unification of design and visual language across the channels used. This means providing a consistent experience across all social media platforms, push notifications, and SMS communications. Brands with omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to 33% of companies with a single-channel strategy. The beauty of Omni-channels is how the success of one channel, say social media, can impact the success of another, say email campaigns. It helps marketers take what works in social media design and apply it to email campaigns and consumers are assured of seamless transactions and the same quality.
15. Empathetic tone and appreciative emails
There's a need to be more empathetic now than ever, even as new COVID-19 variants are being discovered. Subscribers are first, human, before anything else. Many businesses and individuals are still going through a tough time, an aftermath of the pandemic. Some are still battling with finding their foot financially, others are dealing with more issues than meets the eyes. For many, inflation and terrible economic crisis are daily woes to bear in their nation. An empathetic tone, rather than a pushy marketing approach will go a long way in influencing them. Consider pausing email automation or any other scheduled communications for subscribers in nations experiencing unrest. Rather, send them a solidarity message and show them care and love.
Also, never underestimate customer appreciation in the new year. Everyone loves to feel appreciated. Customer gratitude letters could include the following to provide users with a sense of value:
- Personalized birthday messages with discounts
- Early access invites
- Thank you emails
- Special discount for a specific demography
16. Adoption of brand indicator for message identification(BIMI)
Brand Indicator for message Identification will become necessary in the new year. As customers are bombarded with different emails, brand messages that come with a displayed logo will have more chances of being opened and read than those without. BIMI helps subscribers recognize brands instantly and encourage them to open the email. Aside from recognition by users, BIMI helps to:
- Build trust and increase authenticity.
- Boosts brand visibility and increases their reach.
- Shields users against fraudulent emails and phishing.
- It may also increase email conversion rates.
Before the pandemic, it was debatable whether more emphasis should be given to other forms of marketing channels like social media or how much conversion can be raked in through personalized email. But here we are, with digital marketing making all the difference since the lockdown. With the year 2022 at the doorstep, it is high time that marketers acquainted themselves with some old strategies that still work and new ones like micro-segmentation and the use of AI.
Emails will remain at the core of business marketing strategies even in the new year. More than knowing the trends, systems, and strategies that work, an effective mailing platform makes the investment worthwhile. Cakemail makes email marketing easier and more effective for businesses of all sizes by delivering essential emails on time, every time. Email marketing in 2022 will have to be simplistic, direct, and interactive. While remaining click-worthy, email marketers must respect users’ privacy, optimize for mobile, and develop eye-friendly fonts and designs. The new year seems promising for the email marketing world, fingers are crossed, systems put in place, cheers to 2022!