2016 Web Predictions - The Future of Email Marketing

By Chloe Mark | December 2015

What's going on with email marketing and what will it look as we continue into 2016? In 2016, 57% of marketers are increasing their investment with email marketing (see graph below). What is more, marketing via email yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States (Direct Marketing Association). 

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Graph from Get Response

The success that many marketers have seen with email marketing indicates that it's probably not going to fade away any time soon. At the same time, none of us want to add to the spammy messaging we receive ourselves. If we want to balance these two factors, it's hard to know what the right approach is. As we continue into 2016, I asked for some help from marketing manager Joli, requesting she share thoughts on the future of email marketing. 

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What is the future of email marketing?

The main aspect we can predict? People will become more selective. Joli described that since email is increasing in prevelance, "users will get pickier about what shows up in their inboxes, and they won’t be afraid to click unsubscribe."

There are some ways to avoid being seen as spam. Joli suggests segmenting your emails by audience. Doing this "will matter more, because each audience will expect really relevant and interesting content." In order to understand what each audience is looking for, take a look at our Audience Development Guide

What emails (newletters etc.) have worked for this year?

One email Joli loves receiving is Search Engine Land’s SearchCap daily email. They simply provide a list of blogposts from the day, but they're successful in her eyes because their content is always really relevant to their audience.

So how could we take advantage of their example?

To Joli, it comes back to crafting your email with a specific segment of your audience in mind: "segmenting and relevance is really key to creating a newsletter that will get the least amount of unsubscribes possible."

Are people jaded by the "personalized email" that is obviously sent out in bulk? Or can it still work?

Joli agreed with my feeling on the matter: "Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with personalized emails. If the body of the email is so obviously sent out en-masse, it irks me." To be fair however, it really depends on what's within the email. If it is promoting a product or service, it feels sales-y and not as personal. Joli provided an example of the difference:

A sales-oriented email she dislikes:

Hi Joli,

Did you know that 98% of our customers would recommend our product to others?

An email from the blog she subscribes to that she does like:

Hi Joli,

Here’s what’s new from our blog today!

In the end, the main insight I gained from Joli is that if marketers are seeking to continue to receive such amazing ROI, we have to take the time and energy to make emails feel personal. The best route to doing so is to think about your audience's needs, and to take time to write a few different emails if you have multiple audiences. 

For help in creating personal emails and content that works for your audience, contact ArcStone.

Topics: Marketing Strategy, Email Marketing

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