Amidst the digital explosion of new apps and social media networks, 40-year old email has defied many predictions of its demise. Far from dead, the size of the email market continues to grow and email open rates increase year over year. Email still remains the cornerstone of all business communication.
In 2013 there were 929 million business email accounts worldwide. This is expected to grow at 5% a year to over 1.1 billion accounts by of 2017, says The Radicati Group in its Email Statistics Report, 2013-2017. As the year draws to a close, let’s look at what email will look like in 2014.
1. Primarily for Mobile
Mobile email usage is growing exponentially. Half of all emails are opened on mobile devices according to a study by Experian Marketing Services. Over 40% of email campaigns are viewed on mobile devices. The majority of these users delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for the small screen.
Going forward, best in class companies will design and time emails primarily for the mobile. Companies that frequently run email marketing campaigns will turn to responsive design email templates.
People are known to check their email on their phones late in the night or early in the morning after they have shut down their laptops. We will see increased experimentation with the time of sending emails to cater to different screens.
2. Audio-Visual Content
As audiences savor up audio-visual content, email marketers will use video as bait to stand out, be interesting and relevant. Videos are extremely engaging. According to Forrester Research’s Dr James McQuivey, a one minute video is worth 1.8 million words.
Email marketers will increasingly experiment with HTML5 and the static image route to create videos, animated gifs and interactivity. Early adopters have already achieved higher click through rates, heightened engagement and increased sharing.
3. Social Integration
Marketers will add multiple social sharing icons and Like buttons in their emails and enewsletters. Social sharing icons are known to improve the CTR of emails and enewsletters.
Marketers themselves will share links to their email campaigns on social media to increase their reach. Companies who wish to grow their mailing lists will put a form on their social media pages. Marketers will use tools to track their subscribers’ on social media to gain insight into their behavior and interests.
4. Trigger Emails With Smaller Lists
As more B2B companies adopt marketing automation, email marketing will also become more sophisticated. Trigger-based campaigns will increase in vogue as they are known to get a better response rate. Emails will be triggered when a prospect views a product video or downloads an ebook.
Savvy marketers will engage in detailed list segmentation based on:
- Demographics – age, geography, education, title
- Firmographics – size of company, vertical, HQ
- Behavior – emails opened, videos viewed, downloads, pages visited, time spent
- Areas of interests – topics viewed, social media activity
Constant evaluation of superior, detailed customer data will allow businesses to tailor make emails for specific customer needs. Hyper-targeted emails to smaller lists will win engagement as the “spray and pray” method will become passé.
5. Shorter Text Than Ever Before
As audiences grow text-weary, attention spans reduce and screen sizes shrink, the idea will be to say more with less. Brevity will become a likeable and desirable quality. Short content also helps invoke curiosity.
Both subject lines as well as email content will tilt towards short and sharp. Short content has less chances of being snipped and more chances of being read.
As a whole, 2014 will see marketers grow savvier in their email marketing with increased adoption of marketing automation. The emails will be short and hyper-targeted emails based on triggers such as customer behavior and areas of interest. They will increasingly target and cater to small mobile screens. And these messages will contain a generous portion of audio-visual and social elements. I foresee a typical email in 2014 being just one line that sets the stage for a short, snappy video. Excited? Tell us your predictions for email marketing in 2014 in the Comments section.