6 Email Marketing Predictions for 2018

This year marks the start of an innovative year for marketers as we say goodbye to some traditional ideas and usher in modern ones. It’s out with the old marketing tactics and in with the new.

To see what the future holds, Campaign Monitor asked six industry experts to make predictions about the year ahead. A trend emerged as experts, shared that this year is all about getting to know your subscribers on a micro-level, and embracing the technology that can make the personalization process easier.

Take a look at six email predictions for 2018:

1. Say goodbye to the traditional marketing funnel

According to Samantha Anderl, Senior Director of Acquisition Channels at Campaign Monitor, our idea of the marketing funnels needs to be adjusted.

For years, marketers have subscribed to a traditional, cone-shaped marketing funnel that showed how a potential customer becomes a loyal one. Here's what it looked like:

Old Marketing Funnel

Customers all started in the awareness phase, moving on to engagement and discovery before making a purchase and becoming a lifelong customer. It's neat, tidy and not at all how things work anymore.

With the growth of so many different digital channels, every customer's journey is unique. Marketers have to adapt. In the new funnel, customers can come and go at various stages with the goal of maximising a customer's lifetime value (rather than simple making one sale).

Here's what the new funnel looks like:

New Marketing Funnel

In 2018, it will be up to marketers to deliver personalised, targeted messages to develop long-term relationships with customers at every touch point.

2. Automation takes the driver's seat

Automation will be taken to a whole new level in 2018, predicts Chad S. White from Litmus.

To personalise emails at scale, you'll need some help, and automation is your answer. By setting up triggers based on a subscriber's behaviour, interests or demographics, you can automatically send emails to active customers.

Want to deliver a series of emails after a subscriber abandons a cart? Simply set up a workflow, called an automated journey, so pre-made emails are delivered to encourage the subscriber to checkout.

You can set up automated journeys for a variety of different situations, like sending a welcome series to new subscribers or a voucher to subscribers who click on certain links inside an email.

Setting up an automated journey only takes a few minutes, but it can really help marketers who are manually segmenting and sending emails. And, here's the best part, research shows your ROI is pretty good.

Personalised, triggered emails increase open rates by 25%, double transaction rates, and give revenue per email a 63% boost, according to a study from Experian.

3. Automation becomes easier

In the past, marketers have struggled to implement automation features because of technology barriers. To get access to such features was costly and implementation was difficult.

A lot of the automation tools weren't user-friendly and had a steep learning curve. Marketers, especially those working alone or with a small team, often didn't have the budget or resources to experiment with automation.

In other cases, a third party tool was needed to automate emails, so marketers are stuck switching between programs to achieve automation.

This all changes in 2018, predicts Jordie van Rijn, founder of EmailVenderSelection.com.

This year, look for email service providers to showcase easy-to-use automation features with drop-and-drag editors, dynamic content, and visual workflows that make the automation process easier and more accessible than ever before.

As a result, more marketers will embrace automation.

4. Marketers make better recommendations to subscribers

After a purchase, it's not uncommon for subscribers to get another email that suggests similar products he or she might be interested in. Recommendation emails are effective. They're relevant, timely and show subscribers that you're paying attention to their interests.

These recommendations go beyond product suggestions. Netflix suggests TV shows based on a what a viewer watches; Pandora suggests music channels based on artists that users search for; Air Canada suggests vacation ideas based on previously booked excursions.

But, this year, Alex Williams with Trendline Interactive, expects recommendations like this to be even more intuitive.

Super computers will help marketers quantify data that can predict a subscriber's next action. Using this information, emails will become even more relevant and personalised than they are today.

5. Predictive measurements become the holy grail of metrics

The concept of "predictive analytics" will catch on this year, and start giving marketers access to never-seen-before metrics.

Imagine if you could identify which segment of your subscribers will generate the most revenue for your company overtime, or spot a group of subscribers who are most likely to become brand advocates.

Holistic Email Marketing CEO Kath Pay says predictive measurements will burst onto the email marketing scene this year and give marketers a whole new set of insightful benchmarks to use. Here’s a look at the kind of data marketers rely on for predictive analytics:

 Data Utilised for Predictive Modeling

 Source: The Relevancy Group Executive Survey 2017

Predictive metrics will give marketers the ability to up their personalisation game with data that will drastically improve relevance, and in turn, response rates.

6. Multi-channel marketing is a priority

To be effective in marketing, you have to know where your audience is. In today's digital-dependent world, customers are all over. They're on a dozen social media channels, watching live video streams, reading real-time news feeds, and shopping through apps.

To maximize the marketing dollar, marketers have to own multi-channel marketing like never before, says Enchant's Philip Storey. You'll have to know what platforms your audience uses and create campaigns that speak specifically to that niche at every step of the customer journey.

It's not about focusing on new customers and existing ones anymore, it's about knowing where each subscriber is in the new marketing funnel and creating strategies that embrace a variety of digital channels from email to paid seach.

Wrap up

Email marketing becomes more personal, relevant and tech-savvy in 2018. Marketers must recognise the importance of personalisation and embrace tools that can help them create tailored campaigns to yield the best response rates possible.

Holding on to old school methods like email blasts or manually mining data for insights is no longer sustainable. To thrive, marketers must embrace what subscribers want and that's relevant and targeted email messages.