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How can you apply forward-thinking to crafting your upcoming digital campaigns?

Even though the industry is over 40 years old, there’s no shortage of email marketing predictions for 2020. Each new year comes with its own set of trends to follow.

It’s not always easy to identify the most useful for your particular strategy toolkit. Every email marketer has a unique perspective and a specific way of blending traditional skills with constantly evolving technology.

Read on to discover why it’s important to consistently adapt your email marketing approach, as well as which developing trends made it to our top seven email marketing predictions.

Why should you care about email marketing predictions for 2020?

Email marketing is far from a dying industry, and the foundation on which it stands grows each year.

Did you know that estimates point to the existence of over four billion email users, each maintaining an average of more than one email account by 2022? Typical youths today already have at least two email addresses to separate personal messages from promotional or work correspondences.

As crowded as contemporary online inboxes are, more than 55% of marketers still observe the best ROI from email campaigns. Almost half of all people like receiving promotional emails at least weekly.

How do you compete in an increasingly competitive and ever-expanding playing field? To hit and surpass 2020 email marketing goals, you need 2020-approved workflows and processes.

7 marketing trends to keep in mind as you create your 2020 email campaigns

You can always trust in your old and reliable strategies. But, if your gut and your recent performance metrics point to a need to improve, it doesn’t hurt to listen to the experts.

Find confirmation of future marketing standards below and weed out passing fads from your list of tactics to try out.

1. Optimization for mobile screens

Shifting to mobile-friendly email designs isn’t a cutting-edge proposition, and the tools to do so have been around for years.

Musicbed email featuring mobile optimization

Source: Really Good Emails

People read more than 60% of all emails on their smart devices. Almost 80% of mobile users have purchased something online through their phones. Statistics points to an increasingly apparent move from computers to smartphones when it comes to viewing emails and other online activities.

In 2020, it’s essential to adopt a mobile-first approach. If you want to increase open and click rates and raise revenues, you’ll want to do everything to get more eyes on your emails. This is the way to do it.

2. Marketing messages designed for dark mode

Dark mode consideration goes hand in hand with mobile optimization. After all, using the visual setting can improve the battery life of many smartphone models.

While dark mode isn’t new, it finally became as good as standard for email marketing. Why? The top global email service providers—Apple, Gmail, and Outlook—rolled out designated dark mode settings in 2019.

How do you make allowances for dark mode? Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing a black background or a darker palette for your marketing email layouts.

Apple email featuring dark mode-friendly design

Source: Really Good Emails

Switching from JPGs to PNGs is also a good way to get rid of unnecessary white elements. If you’re worried about text legibility, you can always format dark text to always appear with a white stroke.

3. Email accessibility through minimalist layouts

Simple, sparse, and smart email templates make for better and more accessible emails, particularly for those living with visual or hearing disabilities.

Altering the way you craft marketing emails to reach a more varied audience is not only a good example of inclusive design, but also a great way to go minimalist. This approach helps hold everyone’s attention.

You don’t need to take it to extremes and rely on plain text emails only from now on. Go for layouts with a clean and uncomplicated look. These will be more scannable, making them ideal for connection with a Gen Z or millennial audience. Younger people’s attention spans are so low that your emails only have less than 15 seconds to hook and reel them in.

Good Eggs email featuring a minimalist design

Source: Really Good Emails

Like mobile optimization and dark mode compatibility, minimalism isn’t a new email marketing trend. Our 2019 predictions included minimalist design sensibilities, but what’s true last year is still true today.

Snappy copy, single columns, solid hues, and sleek use of negative space all deserve a place in your preferred marketing email layouts.

4. Social media integration through user-generated content

Combining email marketing with social media strategy will become more and more popular soon.

This means more than simply adding social icons and links to your marketing email headers or footers. An integrated campaign can employ tactics like inserting user-generated content in retail emails to encourage more sales through social proofing.

 Warby Parker email featuring social media integration

Source: Really Good Emails

The Warby Parker email above executes this trend with great success. The brand created a hashtag—#seesummerbetter—and then encouraged their Instagram followers to use it when posting Warby Parker-related photos.

Two CTAs appear at the end of the message—one leading to a gallery populated through using the hashtag and the other leading to the Warby Parker online store.

5. Customer feedback, ratings, and reviews

Did you know that more than 90% of all people online read consumer reviews? Over 80% also think of those reviews as personal peer recommendations.
In 2020, it’s time to bank on these statistics and start focusing more on the power of customer feedback.

How do you source ratings and reviews to use in your promotions? Simple: create email campaigns asking your subscribers for their input.

Casper email featuring a customer feedback request

Source: Really Good Emails

You can quickly set up automated feedback requests in most email marketing platforms. The Casper email above is a great example of this. The added section detailing a generous referral program is also a nice touch.

What if you receive a less-than-stellar review? Don’t sweat it. Instead, take it as a sign to work toward improvement. You can even place all subscribers that leave negative feedback into a special segmented list to receive a custom reputation-recovery campaign.

6. Inclusion of animation and video assets

The simple addition of the word “video” to your email title can push your open rate up by almost 20%. On top of this, click-through rates increase by about 65% when you actually include video assets to your marketing emails.

Not convinced yet? With sound, videos, and animations also help make your campaigns more accessible.

 Figma email featuring a video

Source: Really Good Emails

If you’re worried about file embedding issues, you can always replace videos with GIFs or animated PNGs optimized for email. You may also go old school and use a static image.

Doing so will make sound within the email client not an option, but, if you use any of the alternative file formats mentioned above as link anchors to a video hosted elsewhere, there’s virtually no difference. You’ll provide accessibility without compromising the quality of your campaigns.

7. A focus on brand storytelling

What does it mean to humanize a company or brand?

In 2020, consumers can display a near-obsessive need for genuine connections and authenticity. If you want to keep up with the times, you should learn how to communicate with your subscribers through brand storytelling.

Even when companies are faceless, they have a history and a mission. Weave these facts into a narrative that subscribers can piece together. This tactic will make it easier for people to retain details of your marketing campaigns and strengthen any emotional bonds you may already have with your audience.

Polaroid Originals email featuring brand storytelling

Source: Really Good Emails

In the Polaroid Originals email above, the use of brand storytelling is straight to the point. With clever complementary design elements, you don’t need more than a few sentences. Retro-referencing colors and prop choices in photos drive home the brand’s thesis statement: They’ve been making these cameras for more than 40 years.

Why is storytelling such an effective way to maintain human interest? It may have to do with 95% of cognition happening in the subconscious. Because of this phenomenon, following a story may activate sections of the brain that deal with strong sensations such as emotion, sound, sight, and taste.

Wrap up

Even for veteran email marketers, separating fleeting fads from new but still developing standard practices can be difficult. That’s where research and collective experience come in.

Here are seven email marketing predictions for 2020 to consider as you recalibrate your email campaigns for the new year:

  • Optimization for mobile screens
  • Marketing messages designed for dark mode
  • Email accessibility through minimalist layouts
  • Social media integration through user-generated content
  • Customer feedback, ratings, and reviews
  • Inclusion of animation and video assets
  • A focus on brand storytelling

Think your digital marketing campaigns are ready for 2020? Run them through Campaign Monitor’s preflight checklist before you send out those emails.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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