Getting your current campaign up to par now obviously means a lot when it comes to the viability of your email operations in the short term, but what about preparing for tomorrow? In virtually any industry, having an eye on the future is the only way to keep the competition at bay. When it comes to the advantage garnered by successful email marketing operations, this practice is no different. To keep your brand on top now, and moving forward, let’s spend a little time talking about where leading inbox initiatives are heading and where your organization needs to be to take advantage of these trends.
Mobile Stepping out Front
At the top of the list regarding email marketing’s future is the continued emphasis placed on catering to the mobile viewership. Sure, this isn’t exactly a breaking news development, but as Elizabeth Carter of Charity Digital News explains, there’s no escaping the ongoing shift toward these portable platforms. The odds are that we’ll never see a completely mobile audience, but that doesn’t mean that the vast majority of the customers that matter most to your brand won’t someday view your content exclusively via their favorite tablets and smartphones. The message here is clear; if you want to stay relevant over the next several years and beyond, you better start focusing in on mobile email marketing optimization in a hurry.
Reducing Noise and Frequency
Additionally, Carter fully expects the sheer amount of marketed emails – especially the ones originating from charities – to drop in the future. For those who can’t help but assume this prediction correlates to a downturn or other negative issues with email marketing, you actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reason for this expected reduction hinges on the concept that nonprofits, and to a lesser extent corporate entities, will eventually take on a more “tactical” approach to message frequency in response to the overwhelming amount of emails hitting inboxes today. Essentially, Carter surmises that embodying a “less is more” mentality and focusing on fewer, high impact selections could help cut through the noise and offer an avenue to truly connect with viewers who might be feeling a bit of sensory overload when opening up the contents of their inbox.
While the tactical method is a matter worthy of debate, there’s no question that the future holds a continued emphasis on regulation and the fight against spam. Whether it’s the EU’s plan to have data protection and required opt-ins on the table by 2015 and in place by 2017, or the continued emphasis of CASL enforcement and other more local legal movements, the powers that be have a very clear message for the coming years – if you’re sending messages via email however you are sending out spam, you’ll need to start looking for a new way to connect.
Changing the Conversation
In terms of the conceptual approach to engaging email content, Ernie Smith of Associations Now feels that we’ve just begun to scratch the surface in terms of the connection between creativity and email marketing. For instance, Smith tosses around the idea of skipping out on the “institutional voice” and adopting an individual voice that speaks on behalf of your brand. Whether it’s working under the name of an in-house expert, or sponsoring content that originates from an outside industry thought leader, having a single voice do the talking in the inbox and leaving behind the sometimes cold and impartial corporate front, could create a more personal and conversational method of supplying exciting content to your target audience.
The Evolution of Design
Even if you’re not ready to drop your standard content creation and take on a radically new interpersonal approach, Smith still believes that there’s innovation to be had on the technical design and the message of your email. Instead of relying on designs created for dated programs and email service providers, the emails of tomorrow will focus on optimization and interactive designs built exclusively for modern platforms.
Obviously, taking this path comes with a certain amount of risk, especially considering our previous look at the roles of images and scripts in the inbox. However, the next brand that finds a way to incorporate a striking new design that plays by the rules and doesn’t bog down the viewer experience at the same time will undoubtedly take its audience by storm. Adding in the rest of what we’ve learned about the impending future of email marketing proves that the next step in the evolution of this approach could be a big one indeed.