Compared to having millions of followers and going viral on social media, email is understandably the less flashy of the marketing channels.
We get it–email isn’t sexy. It’s not the hot new thing. But you know what is sexy? A $36 return on every dollar spent. That’s what you (can) get with email marketing.
And in a time when so much is in flux with social media companies, dependability and reliability are huge pros to running email marketing.
Email marketing is not only a great way to get the word out about your business, but is also an effective tactic to keep your customers engaged, increase brand awareness, build trust, and drive sales.
In short–email marketing is worth investing in. And if you’re going to invest in it, you’re going to want to do it right. And to do it right, it helps to be up on both the latest trends and what’s proven to drive success.
So in this guide, we’ll cover…
- Email marketing statistics
- Email marketing trends to consider in 2023
- Tried-and-true email marketing trends that aren’t going away in 2023
Let’s jump in.
Why email marketing?
Not convinced that email marketing is worth your time? Check out these statistics:
- The number of email users is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025
- 99% of email users check their email each day (some as often as 20 times each day!).
- 58% of users check their email before they check social media or the news. They do it while watching TV (69%), in bed (57%), and on vacation (79%).
- Revenue generated from email marketing has continued to grow as steadily as ever–and that’s projected to continue.
Email is here to stay. It’s effective, it’s personal, and people continue to use it. For all the reasons mentioned above, it’s still one of the most reliable platforms to market on, both now and in the future.
8 email marketing trends to follow in 2023
We all know that the best way to stand out from your competitors is to be unique. We also know that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your audience. But how do you stand out when doing it?
Here are eight email marketing trends to follow to boost your results in 2023.
Hyper-segmented, hyper-personalized campaigns
Years ago, it was common to send a nice, simple weekly newsletter to your entire base without personalization.
But that was before the rise of email marketing software and services that make it easy to segment, target, and personalize email campaigns.
Today’s email marketing services give you the ability to be extremely precise in your (necessary) attempts to send the right information to the right users at the right time.
In order to do that, you need to both learn as much as you can about each user, and deliver what they need, at the best time for them to consume it.
It’s no simple task, but it’s incredibly important.
For example, if you’re able to identify that a customer is a homeowner looking for help remodeling their home and they typically open their personal emails around noon, it’s in everybody’s best interest to send them short emails that respect their busy schedules and help them solve that exact problem as close to noon as possible.
This email could have been targeted at budget-conscious homeowners looking to invest in home landscaping.
Modern email marketing services make this possible. When you tailor your emails to each recipient’s needs, you will open them–and your business–up to more possibilities.
Using artificial intelligence to improve email marketing
Because of its cost-effectiveness, direct approach, and ability to boost the results of email campaigns, many email marketers already consider AI essential for their marketing efforts.
That’s not likely to slow down in 2023.
AI is capable of doing many things that humans can’t—and it can help simplify processes that can improve email marketing campaigns. For example, it can help optimize the best subject lines most likely to convert, or it can help overcome writer’s block for even the most creative people.
As Corey Haines, co-founder of SwipeWell, put it: “One area I expect to see AI exceed in email marketing is in generating subject lines. Machine Learning is already used for multivariate testing with large brands to find the optimal subject line out of 8-16 options. AI can take it one step further and handle the ideation of subject lines as well based on the contents of the email and what’s proven to work in the past.”
You can use a tool like ChatGPT to provide email subject line ideas you can customize and edit for your campaigns.
It’s best to see AI as a helpful tool to improve your email marketing strategy rather than relying on it entirely. The most effective email marketing campaigns are focused on building a one-to-one connection between your business and the email recipient, which means infusing your brand voice and your brand story into your marketing messages is essential. And that’s something AI can’t replicate—yet.
Increased use of interactive elements in emails
If you want customers and prospects to interact with your emails, you need to make them engaging. One way to do that is by adding interactive elements to your email marketing campaigns.
Reports have shown that almost 23% of brands are using interactive emails as part of their marketing campaigns while 32% of email marketers are planning to use interactive emails in future email campaigns.
“The more interactive you can make something, the more people look forward to using it,” said Zarar Ameen, CEO of CANZ Marketing.
Here are a few interactive elements you can try for inspiration:
- GIFs and other animated illustrations or elements
- Swipeable image carousels
- Videos to watch
- Games to play
- Surveys and polls
- Accordion features that allow readers to expand and contract longer-form articles
- Hover effects to showcase products for sale
- Animated buttons and CTAs
Here’s an example of a gif within an email from Billabong showcasing some of their new products.
One theory on the future of email interactivity is that we could soon begin to see emails functioning more like their own miniature web experiences.
By including interactive features in your email marketing campaigns, you can entice a user to spend more time engaging with your message and potentially drive them to take an action like clicking to your website, watching a video, or purchasing a product.
Privacy becomes a top priority
Perhaps this is less of a trend and more of a legal obligation, but a focus on data privacy and data protection is going to be absolutely critical in email marketing in 2023.
Famously dubbed “the age of digital privacy” thanks to laws like GDPR and CCPA, marketers are forced to oblige–and rightfully so–with user’s privacy requests.
While email marketing is certainly less intrusive than web tracking with cookies, data privacy laws still apply.
Running a safety-first email marketing campaign is relatively easy so long as you abide by the following three hard and fast rules:
- Utilize the double opt-in email list.
- Provide your readers with an easy way to opt out or unsubscribe from your emails and newsletters, labeled clearly within the body of your email.
- Don’t add users to your lists without their express permission.
An example of a double opt-in email.
Remember, letting users unsubscribe is not a bad thing. It reduces the number of people who are on your email list and not responding. For deliverability purposes, it’s infinitely better to have a decluttered email list of active subscribers than a large one that’s less active and engaged.
Open rate may become a KPI of the past
As a result of the aforementioned privacy-related laws and regulations, those running email marketing will have to continue adapting how they handle their users’ data while tracking and measuring their own performance.
Apple’s new privacy settings are an important step towards protecting customers’ personal information, but it’s thrown a major curveball at those who previously used the information collected to make informed decisions.
The fallout from this, likely, will be that other metrics will become much more important, such as clicks and click-through rate (CTR), further strengthening the argument in favor of compelling calls-to-action and clickable links being provided more often than we’ve become accustomed to.
More focus on mobile-responsive design
This isn’t necessarily a new email marketing trend, but as 81% of people check their emails using a mobile device, it’s worth repeating. But it’s also worth mentioning that people DO still check their emails on desktop and tablet-sized screens.
This is why responsive email design is more important than ever.
Responsive design ensures emails are beautiful and effective regardless of the device they’re opened from.
Notice that because of the single-column layout, this email looks equally beautiful on a computer and phone screen.
Mobile-responsive emails are coded automatically by most email software. However, there are some tricks to mastering it:
- Limit your content to one column. Adding additional columns increases the likelihood that items will be misaligned on devices of differing sizes.
- Use a simple, clean font. Creative fonts can be difficult to read on smaller mobile devices.
- Use smaller images. When you’re creating an email for mobile devices, make sure your photos are sized appropriately.
It’s also important to test your emails across devices before sending them to make sure they render correctly, are easy to read, and you can click or tap on the calls to action.
Well-crafted, well-organized emails that prioritize a clear purpose and minimize unnecessary detail are going to be the most effective in 2023.
As attention spans become shorter and shorter, email templates are shifting to be more minimalist, basic, and sleek.
Minimalism is about paring down to the essentials and focusing on what matters most. You should aim to make it easy for your customers to find clear, meaningful information whether it’s about a specific offer, event, or article.
Keep your email templates simple and easy to use by utilizing white space, monochromatic color schemes, and limited use of fonts (this is where sticking with your branding can help!). Doing so will help you keep your emails fuss-free and easy to consume–making it easier for your readers to understand what you’re offering and take action.
More emails in Dark Mode
Apple introduced a Dark Mode option to all devices in 2019, allowing users to adjust the brightness of the screen and look at the screen without having to squint. And many other browsers and operating systems offer Dark Mode as well.
Dark Mode is a design trend that’s been on the rise for some time now. It features light typography against dark backgrounds and iconography in place of text. This is done to increase contrast–and it’s worked!
Several benefits of using Dark Mode in email marketing include being easier on the eyes (as light text on a dark background reduces eye strain significantly) and dimming the screen’s brightness to extend battery life.
Because most email providers support Dark Mode, you can create separate templates for light and Dark Modes. And you might consider testing this email marketing trend this year to see if it improves your results–which it may since it will provide a better experience for users who enable this setting.
Email marketing trends that aren’t going away in 2023
Need some inspiration? These email marketing trends are now mainstream—and they’re not going away in 2023.
Welcome series emails
As you’re building your email list, you want a way to introduce new subscribers to your business, let them know what to expect from you, and provide additional information to nurture them through the funnel.
A welcome series of emails does just that.
At its core, the welcome series is an automated email sequence that gets triggered when a new subscriber signs up to join your email list.
One study showed that subscribers who read an initial welcome sequence will be 33% more likely to engage with a brand going forward.
Here are a few tips to make your welcome emails successful:
Ensure readers know what they can expect
Remember, this is your first impression with new subscribers. Let them know what type of communication to expect from you, when to expect it, and some examples of what they’ll see moving forward (like your best tips or posts).
Keep it simple
Your welcome emails don’t have to be long. In fact, it’s better if they’re short and sweet. Make sure each email in your welcome series has a clear call to action and orient your email around that.
Offer something valuable
Offering a welcome coupon or offer might go a long way in getting you your first sale from your new subscriber. Best to make the most of it! Even if you’re not offering a coupon, try to consider something “wow” worthy you can provide them as a way to stand out.
Ask for them to respond directly
Want to establish a relationship with your audience? It’s a good idea to let them know they can respond to you if they’d like, and that you’re the type of business owner who reads every response. Ask them what they’re looking for help with and send a custom response if you can. It’ll go a long way.
Newsletters are popular for a reason. When done right, they provide great value to your target audience and establish your business as both an authority and a reliable source of information–sometimes even as a trustworthy friend.
Many businesses use their newsletters as the foundation for their email marketing strategy. They do this to stay top of mind for prospective customers and to nurture relationships with existing ones.
Some things businesses include in their newsletters
- New blog announcements
- Summaries of their most popular content
- Company news and events
- Product announcements
- Feedback requests
- Occasional sales announcements (But use these sparingly or risk being seen as overly promotional and losing trust!)
The point? Bring value to your customers’ inboxes and they’ll be interested in continuing to read what you have to say. If they’re not yet ready to spend money with your business, your goal is to be the first brand they think of when they are.
Automated lead nurturing
A lead nurturing campaign is an automated email sequence designed to take prospects along a journey that marketers hope will impact their buying behavior.
These campaigns use email automation to send targeted emails to leads based on what you know about them, their past interactions with your business, and where they are in the sales funnel to guide them toward the action you ideally want them to take next.
For example, if a lead indicates they’re interested in getting help with selling their home, you can set your automation to send them a series of emails related to selling a home, including how to know it’s time to sell, tips for choosing the right realtor to list your home with, and testimonials from your existing clients who have sold a home with you.
Not sure how to segment in order to deliver what they need? Consider including a short survey in your welcome email for new subscribers to better understand what topics they’re interested in.
Remember: Your goal is to deliver a useful, valuable message to the right person at the right time.
Nurturing your sales leads in this format makes scaling infinitely simpler and allows you to fine-tune your automated marketing to convert more leads into customers.
Requests for feedback
Asking for customer feedback is an excellent way to learn what you are doing well and what you could improve upon.
Requesting feedback via email is an easy way to tap into what customers and prospects like about your business—and what they wish to improve.
Here are some tips for requesting feedback via email:
Explain why you’re requesting feedback in the first place
Before you ask for feedback, it’s important to tell customers why you’re asking. If you don’t tell them, they might wonder if you really care about their opinions or if this is just another way for you to get more sales.
Utilize a survey
After explaining your request for feedback to customers, you can choose from several ways to collect their responses. Surveys are one of the most common and effective methods.
Be respectful of your customer’s time by using a survey that will take less than five minutes to complete.
According to PointerPro, for surveys that are optimized correctly, you can expect to receive an average response rate of about 33%.
Implement feedback and follow up
Once you’ve collected your responses, make sure to implement what you can and follow up with your customers to let them know how you’ve used the information you collected. Note any improvements you’ve made to your business as a result and send a follow-up email so they know that you care about what they have to say.
Make email marketing trend higher in 2023
Email marketing is a constantly evolving challenge, but it’s also a constant opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.
The key to success is to always be on the lookout for new email marketing trends and best practices while listening to your customers and using the tools and insights at your disposal to get to continually improve your campaigns.
Keeping an eye on these email trends can help you develop an effective strategy for marketing your brand in both the short and long term.
Here are the top email marketing trends for 2023:
- Hyper-segmented, hyper-personalized campaigns
- Using artificial intelligence to improve email marketing
- Increased use of interactive elements in emails
- Privacy becomes a top priority
- Open rate may become a KPI of the past
- More focus on mobile-responsive design
- Minimalist templating
- More emails in Dark Mode