2020 was a rollercoaster ride for everyone in the world. It led to the digitalization of almost every business and set new trends in all industries and areas of business. Email marketing has been no exception. Consumers have adjusted the way they buy from and engage with businesses, and that has influenced the way in which they interact with your emails and other marketing communications.

Nonetheless, email marketing continues to be one of the channels that brings the highest ROI.

email marketing trends - email marketing delivers high ROI

So, what will be the top email marketing trends to look forward to this year and beyond?

Let’s take a look.

 

Email Marketing Trend #1: Micro-Segmentation

There was a time when people used to segment their email marketing lists according to age, gender, and geographical location. However, as CRM tools have gotten more powerful, it has become possible to segment users based on more advanced criteria like their past purchases, previous interactions with your website, resource downloads, and the products or services they searched for.

Take a look at this example in which Brooks has sent different emails to their subscribers according to the weather conditions.

2021 email marketing trends - micro-segmentation

 

Email Marketing Trend #2: Hyper-Personalization

In line with micro-segmentation, we have the tactic of hyper-personalization. As we have better access to data, it is possible to send more relevant email communications. For instance: If you are a local travel agency, you can send out emails based on the packages the user has searched or inquired for.

Such tailormade emails will skyrocket email engagement and increase the likelihood of conversions.

See how Spotify sends out a hyper-personalized email to one of its users.

2021 email marketing trends - hyper-personalization

 

Email Marketing Trend #3: Email Automation

Setting up automated workflows to send triggered emails to your subscribers can save you valuable time. Email automation can be a source of passive income where you can still generate conversions without any manual intervention, and we foresee this becoming a best practice rather than simply a trend over the next couple of years.

Another thing that will gain immense momentum for your email marketing success will be sending a series of automation workflows like welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, and re-engagement emails. By doing so, you will be able to stay top-of-mind with your customers and encourage them to take action.

 

Email Marketing Trend #4: AI-Driven Email Marketing

Have you ever searched for a product on Amazon and received relevant recommendations in your email inbox soon after? Well, that’s the power of artificial intelligence in email marketing. With the help of predictive models, robust CRM tools can predict customer interaction. As a result, business owners and marketers can send targeted emails that bring better results.

Netflix follows this email marketing trend and sends out a recommendation email to their subscriber based on their watch list.

2021 email marketing trends - ai-driven email marketing

 

Email Marketing Trend #5: Agile Email Marketing

The agile methodology is getting immense impetus in email marketing. One of the reasons for this is that email creation can be time-consuming. Litmus revealed that 53% of brands took two weeks or more to create a single email.

The best way to avoid this and achieve a faster turnaround time is to strive for micro-efficiencies. By this, we mean that you must break things down into bite-sized tasks that can be accomplished faster and in a better way.

To start with, you must formulate a proper plan for your email copy and design. Having an effective strategy in place is important to ensure the timely execution of your email campaigns. It will facilitate better communication which will, in turn, reduce the likelihood of too many revisions.

Furthermore, you must standardize the process of email development. You must create reusable blocks of code for the email header, footer, and other brand elements. This will help you expedite the email creation process and final approval. It will also give you more control over your email marketing strategy.

 

Email Marketing Trend #6: Email as Part of an Omnichannel Approach

In addition to email marketing, marketers will also invest in SMS marketing, push notifications, and chatbot marketing that will work together for better customer communication.

For instance: When a customer abandons his or her cart, e-commerce businesses will not only send out a cart abandonment email but also a text message and a push notification. It will have a bigger impact on the subscriber’s purchase decision and enhance the possibility of conversion.

Email Marketing Trend #7: AMP in Email

With the help of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in email, marketers and business owners can send emails that emulate a microsite. These emails allow the user to RSVP to an event, checkout to complete the purchase, or fill out a form from the email itself. There is no need to be redirected to a separate landing page. Such emails take the customer experience to the next level by making things faster and saving time.

Email Marketing Trend #8: Consent-First Email Marketing

Because of anti-spam guidelines like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA, marketers have become extra careful of who they are sending emails to. Instead of simply complying with these legal guidelines, marketing professionals will focus on nurturing their subscribers and sending them emails containing content they’re looking for and want to engage with.

In line with this trend, most businesses have started adopting a double opt-in strategy.

 

Email Marketing Trend #9: More & Varied Visuals in Emails

Using visuals in emails will not just be limited to static images, GIF animations, and embedded videos. It will expand to trying out innovative things like gradients in emails, monochrome layout, 3D images, animated illustrations, and 3D image animations. The goal is to deliver a unique experience to your subscribers.

Take a look at the image below.

2021 email marketing trends - visual email marketing

See how adding an animation to a 3D image totally enhances the impact created by an email?

 

Email Marketing Trend #10: Dark Mode Compatible Emails

As more and more people are choosing to access their emails and social media in dark mode, it will be inevitable to create emails that are compatible with the dark mode setting. Before sending out any email, try testing it in dark mode across various browsers and mobile devices.

Doing this is important because if your emails do not render well in dark mode, your subscribers might stop engaging with your emails, and in the worst case, end up marking your email as SPAM. Consequently, it will hamper the email deliverability rate and the overall effectiveness of your email campaigns.

A well-designed dark mode email should look something like this:

2021 email marketing trends - dark mode emails

 

Email Marketing Trend #11: More Humanized Email Copy

In addition to investing in email automation, businesses will also pay attention to humanizing their communications. Subscribers are looking for a more empathetic and considerate tone. So, marketers will have to steer clear of a robotic voice in their emails.

Although some emails may be sent out from an automated system, it must look like it is written exclusively for the reader. That’s what emotionally intelligent messaging will be all about. The copy, visuals, and entire look and feel of the emails should aim to educate and engage with your customers rather than sell.

 

Email Marketing Trend #12: A/B Split Testing

Rather than assuming you know what works best to engage with your target audience, you must try out A/B split testing to figure out what your subscribers are actually looking for. The buying behavior of customers has drastically changed over time, and therefore, it is the safest bet to test what kind of messages resonate the most with your subscribers.

Have a look at this image that demonstrates A/B testing of email subject lines.

2021 email marketing trends - a_b testing

 

Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level in 2021

These are some of the most exciting trends that we can look forward to in the world of email marketing in 2021 and beyond:

  1. Micro-Segmentation
  2. Hyper-Personalization
  3. Email Automation
  4. AI-Driven Email Marketing
  5. Agile Email Marketing
  6. An Omnichannel Strategy
  7. AMP in Email
  8. Consent-First Email Marketing
  9. More Visual Emails
  10. Dark Mode Compatible Emails
  11. Humanized Email Copy
  12. A/B Testing

If you’re looking for more expert insights about 2021 email marketing trends, take a look at this infographic.

 

About the Author

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration and migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

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