Upcoming Email Marketing Trends for 2014


With more people using smartphones to check email you need to have a mobile email strategy.

While there’s no magic crystal ball to predict exactly what’s in store for email marketing in 2014, we can make some educated guesses based on current trends. 

Mobile must be in the mix

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this one. All it takes is a few relevant stats:

  • By 2014, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage. (Source: Nielsen)
  • 66% of Gmail opens occur on mobile devices, with only 19% opened in a web browser (Source: Litmus)
  • More than a third of all adults own a tablet device (Source: Pew)

A Forbes article on online marketing trends for 2014 included mobile content. “Whether it’s creating an alternate mobile version of a website or utilizing responsive web design, it’s important to provide a positive experience” to mobile users, according to the article. This is particularly applicable to email marketing.

Mobile, mobile, mobile. That should be your email marketing mantra.

Can you say “content”?

Subscribers are no longer content with the same old, boring content. They are expecting (demanding?) valuable, relevant online content. This trickles down from websites to banner ads, email marketing and SMS.

Email marketers can no longer rely on strictly promotional emails. Simply slapping a product image, price and “Buy now!” call to action in an email just won’t cut it.

Whether your company is B2B or B2C, consider including reviews of products and services in your email campaigns. Make your emails more engaging with content that’s interactive (a survey or contest), targeted (dynamic content), informational (link to a case study or white paper) and even entertaining (such as a video).

Automation is the answer

In the business world – and society as a whole – of yesteryear, the word “automation” got a bad rap. It was accused of replacing people with machines and putting people out of jobs.

In today’s business world, however, “automation” is music to marketers’ ears. For email marketers, it’s crucial for continuing the conversation with subscribers after they’ve opted in to your list.

Automated or triggered sends can be used for a welcome series, for abandoned cart messaging, to encourage browse-only visitors to buy, post-purchase thank yous, re-engagement emails to inactive subscribers, for birthday offers, loyalty programs, and much more.

Dive into data

Don’t be intimidated by data. On the contrary, data is an email marketer’s best friend. Start with unique opens and clicks, but don’t stop there. Make sure your ESP can provide statistics on which links got the most clicks, which emails had highest conversion, what types of devices your subscribers use to open your emails, what day of week/time of day produces best results.

The list goes on. It’s a “nice to know” what industry trends are, say, for time of day with best open rates. But you need to plan your email marketing strategy around what works best for your audience. Don’t assume that what works for another company or another industry will work for your business.

As 2014 approaches, re-examine last year’s email hits and misses. Take a look at everything, from the “from” line to subject lines, images, copy, calls to action, landing pages, offers.

The busy holiday season will soon be here, but you’ve got to set your sights beyond Q4. Email marketing is as strong as ever, with no signs of decline in the coming year. As online marketers, you must be ready to ramp up and refine your email strategy in order to make the most of this tried-and-true channel.

Image: Irita Kirshbluma

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