6 email marketing skills you need to succeed in 2019

As digital marketing tools and technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial that email marketers continue to evaluate their strategy to stay ahead of the curve to connect with subscribers.

Considering that there are 3.7 billion email users throughout the world today, email marketing is still the top contender in terms of digital outreach. However, 53% of those users believe that they receive too many emails from brands. How can companies break through email fatigue to ensure their messages are being opened and clicked?

If you’re looking to refine your strategy to reap the benefits of this powerful communication method, we’ve put together a list of 6 essential email marketing skills for you to master in your next campaign. 

Why is email marketing important?

As technology emerges, it can be tempting for marketers to try a new platform that promises higher lead generation and conversion rates. Sure, email marketing isn’t anything new. However, it’s important to note that email marketing has lasted because of its effectiveness— where other new platforms fade as fast as they became popular in the first place.

So, why should this be important to you? With email marketing, marketers have the opportunity to build one-on-one connections with their subscribers and long-lasting relationships that will continue to convert.

The modern customer journey

Before you begin refining your email marketing skills, it’s important to note that the modern customer journey is evolving as well. In the past, the journey looked similar to a cone, where a prospective customer learned about the product and moved down the funnel until they made a purchase. 

Now, thanks to technology advancements, marketing delivers multiple touchpoints that allow brands to connect with and collect leads at any stage of the customer journey. People spend less time with sales and most are directed through the funnel on their own terms. Email marketing helps provide these touchpoints in the form of welcome emails, transactional emails, newsletter updates and more.

Email marketing vs. social media

While social media continues to garner the attention and budget from marketers, it’s becoming clear that this channel is beginning to fade with consumers. In fact, 40% of people polled in a recent study by Edelman claimed to have deleted at least one of their social media accounts because they didn’t trust the platforms with their data.

The modern consumer understands how influencers are paid, the circulation of “fake news,”and even how retargeted ads are delivered on their newsfeeds. Take the recent events with Facebook’s data privacy issues—people are now beginning to search for new platforms to connect with brands in a more authentic and less-regulated manner.

While social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon—savvy marketers will recognize it is no longer wise to have a social-only digital strategy. 

This is great news for email marketers! With social media slowing down, email marketing is more important than ever to deliver engaging communication that makes the individual subscriber feel unconnected to the pay-per-click algorithm they have grown used to.

6 skills to implement in your email marketing strategy

Now that you understand the importance of email marketing, it’s time to start diving into your strategy. Let’s take a look at six email marketing skills for you to prioritize in your next campaign to stay on top of trends and reap all the benefits this channel can bring. 

1. Personalization and automation

Personalization and automation continue to be two of the most important tactics in email marketing. Why? Consumers are tired of receiving irrelevant emails that aren’t catered to their needs.

In 2019, personalization goes beyond using merge tags to input names into the body content or subject line. With a plethora of data at your fingertips, the goal of the email marketer is to provide subscribers with solutions to their problems.

When connecting with your subscribers, leverage their location information, purchase history, and more to build custom campaigns that will pique your subscriber’s interest. At this point, you can set up automatic trigger emails to deliver a personalized experience based on your subscriber’s activity. For example, if a customer left an item in their cart but never completed the purchase, you can send an email that pinpoints the specific product as a reminder to checkout.

Personalization and automation have the opportunity to increase engagement and customer retention to build loyalty with your subscribers and avoid the spam folder.

2. Data privacy

The General Data Protection (GDPR) went into effect in 2018 and it transformed the way marketers handle customer data. With data privacy becoming more and more crucial, ensuring your email marketing is compliant will give your subscribers more insight and peace of mind when receiving your communication.

To adhere to the GDPR regulations, follow these tips:

  • Update your signup forms to ask for consent

  • Update your privacy policies to include information on data collection, sharing, and usage practices.

  • Operationalize how you respond to subscriber requests

  • Keep comprehensive records that prove the consent between your company and subscribers

Many brands are now moving towards utilizing a preference center which allows subscribers to consent and choose the frequency and type of emails they would like to receive. Not only does this give your subscribers control, but it also offers you a unique way to better understand their needs.

Many brands are now moving towards utilizing a preference center which allows subscribers to consent and choose the frequency and type of emails they would like to receive.

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Interactive content

Interactive content continues to grow every year and 2019 is no exception. With many different style options—GIFs, videos, forms, reviews, and more—marketers have the opportunity to engage with subscribers in a new way that cuts through traditional email design. The best part is that subscribers can interact with the brand without ever having to leave the email itself. In fact, recent studies have shown that interactive content generates 2x the conversions than passive emails.

For example, provide subscribers with a way to leave product feedback without being directed to a new browser or take a travel personality quiz before choosing a hotel room. These touch points will leave your subscribers more entertained and educated to continue opening your emails and make a purchase.

These touchpoints will leave your subscribers more entertained and educated to continue opening your emails and make a purchase.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Accessibility

New technology advancements continue to pave the way for people with varying abilities to interact online, which presents new opportunities for marketers as well. Considering that 285 million people have visual disabilities and ~1 out of every 12 males and ~1 out of every 200 females are affected by color blindness, this is a huge step in technological advancement.

To start developing accessible emails, consider the following modifications:

  • Maintain a logical reading order—left-to-right and top-to-bottom and create a single-column layout for all screen sizes

  • Choose contrasting text and background colors so there is enough difference between the two for those who are less sensitive to luminosity

  • Provide alt text on images that convey the meaning behind each visual used

  • Use heading elements—like <h1>, <table>, and <body>—to ensure the hierarchy and organization of your email stays intact

Since emails are widely visual, your design won’t have the same effect on those with disabilities and you run the risk of your message being lost.

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Mobile optimization

From booking appointments to researching a brand’s product reviews, consumers are using their smartphones for every stage of the customer journey. As 54% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, optimizing your email campaigns is crucial to build brand loyalty and connect with your subscribers on their own terms.

When developing your mobile responsive campaigns, ensure that you consider every part of the customer journey. Not only should the email design be responsive and visually appealing, but the buttons, landing pages, and any other action you want your subscriber to take are as well. With every step of the journey optimized, the process will be much smoother for your subscribers and they will be more apt to engage with your future content.

6. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a buzzword—it offers a way to streamline the process of analyzing customer data to ensure your subscribers receive relevant information. Traditionally, data analysis would be cumbersome and labor-intensive, but with AI, marketers can quickly understand what type of content is being consumed, subscriber health, segmentation options, headline suggestions, and more. 

AI will help email marketers improve their current strategies by sending information that related to their past behavior. By utilizing this technology, you’re telling your subscribers that you’re listening to their needs, and in turn, you will see a greater retention rate.

Wrap up

Email marketing will continue to evolve throughout 2019 and it’s imperative that marketers stay on top of trends and distinguish which tactics will resonate with their audience. By mastering these skills and guidelines, you can deliver more impactful emails to build connections and loyalty with your subscribers. 

If you’re looking for new email marketing skills in 2019, we recommend:

  • Implementing personalization and automation for more relevant emails

  • Becoming compliant on recent data privacy laws

  • Creating interactive content that surprises and delights

  • Designing accessible emails for those with disabilities

  • Developing mobile-optimized emails for every screen size

  • Utilizing artificial intelligence to quickly analyze subscriber patterns and habits

Are you ready to start implementing these email marketing strategies? Request a live demo of Emma today!

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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