Technology advancements in email marketing have come fast and furious, with automation and integrations bringing new capabilities to businesses of all sizes. Some of the major benefits include the ability to automate a series of personalized communications to customers and prospects, which can play a major role in cultivating customers and improving sales conversion rates. These advances, coupled with email marketing’s impressive ROI (on average of $38 for every dollar spent) make it a “must” for growth-minded startups.
Of course, the fast-paced evolution of email marketing can be challenging to keep pace with, so here’s a quick primer on the email marketing trends you need to take advantage of in 2019.
Automation and personalization in email marketing
Startups take note – email is not dead, but the days of email blasts are.
Email marketing platforms are leveraging automation and personalization technologies, making it possible to send well-timed, highly personalized emails with relative ease. You can essentially put your email marketing on autopilot (set it once and forget it) and increase engagement with your contacts by delivering personalized, timely and relevant messages.
Some things to keep in mind:
The exact content you’ll use depends on the needs of the individual contacts within the group you’re emailing. Whether you’re collecting contact details through a sign-up sheet or an online sign-up form on your website, you can provide a list of topics so that subscribers can check off what they’re interested in receiving.
This will ensure they only receive information that is relevant to them and help you determine what to send to whom. Once you’ve collected this information, you can segment contacts into different lists and create an automated series of emails based on these interests.
- For prospects, you may focus on content that shows them how working with you or using your product will make their life better
- For customers, you may focus on how they can get the most from your product or service
Automated email series are a great way to build relationships with customers while you focus on running your business. The value of this kind of automation, which helps to retain customers and drive repeat business, is highly valuable, given that loyal repeat customers spend about 300 percent more than new customers.
E-commerce email campaigns
For e-commerce startups, the power of email marketing is undeniable. While Facebook is a good way to find new fans and future customers, email is a great way to nurture relationships and grow sales. And if you think about your own purchasing habits, you’ll realize you’re more likely to buy from a brand that you are familiar with and feel good about. E-commerce platforms like Shopify integrate with email marketing platforms, allowing merchants to create a seamless communications strategy based on customer actions and interests.
- Nurture customers: With automation on your side, you can create an email series that builds customer relationships and nurtures prospects. From welcome emails to special occasion emails for birthdays and holidays, you can develop a bond with your email subscribers and remind them that they matter to you and your business.
- Convert sales: Send emails that remind customers they have items in their shopping carts and promotional emails that appeal to their buying interests. Trigger emails can also be set up to so consumers get an email when they take a certain action (like clicking on a particular link in a previous email).
From the small business perspective, sending meaningful and relevant content to customers also results in a huge number of referrals.
AI-powered email marketing recommendations
Entrepreneurs aren’t typically marketers by trade. They’re learning as they go, which can lead to hit or miss marketing initiatives. Email marketing platforms now offer AI-enabled recommendations on everything from best time to send, to optimized subject lines, to product recommendations. The best part is, the AI-engine serves to personalize your email outreach in a way not previously possible.
There are some email marketing platforms giving small businesses and startups the option to leverage many of the same sophisticated capabilities that enterprise-level organizations have been taking advantage of. While “AI-powered” may sound complicated, it’s anything but.
Recommendations can pop-up in the product, making it easy and fast to optimize emails. For example:
- Subject lines: Subject lines play an important role in compelling someone to open an email. Machine learning algorithms can now determine, with the help of A/B testing, which words are working with your customers, and which are not, refining the data as time goes one.
- Content and calls to action: Generating the right content can be one of the biggest challenges of email marketing and the good news is, that challenge is getting easier. Segmentation capabilities, coupled with relevant data points on what types of content your customers are clicking on and spending time reviewing, allow for effective content recommendations that can help ensure your customers will not only be opening your emails but engaging with them, too.
- Send times: Open and click-through rates are highly influenced by send times. AI-powered recommendations factor in customer time zones and past behavior to suggest the time that your email is most likely to be opened and read.
As you build out your marketing plan for 2019, be sure to integrate an email marketing strategy into your plans with the confidence of knowing that it’s easier to be more strategic and effective with email marketing than ever before.