Contrary to popular belief, email marketing has not lost its status as the channel that offers the greatest return on investment for businesses. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to argue that email marketing has never been more important for growth than it is now. Whether you're working on your own marketing strategies or working with a digital marketing agency, it's crucial to stay on top of email marketing trends - especially given how transitional the channel can be.

Here we break down the trends we feel will define successful email marketing in 2020, and how you can use them to drive engagement, break new ground and generate additional revenue.

Get ready to try some new things in 2020!

1. Artificial Intelligence

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When talking about future developments, it is inevitable to highlight the field of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI, is on the rise in almost all areas.

With it comes a wide range of applicable possibilities:

Predictive Personalization
AI helps you personalize the content of future emails for each of your subscribers through sophisticated algorithms and insights based on Data.

Automation
Processes are made faster and easier with the help of AI. AI-powered systems are building lead lists, help identify behavior patterns and events with trigger-based email-marketing, tailor messages to improve conversions and help you with automated campaigns to nurture your leads. Additionally, automation can be used to retrieve business contact details at scale.

Optimizing send time and frequency
Through AI, you will be granted the possibility to set up a specific time for your recipients at which they will be most likely to open your email. It also allows you to configure frequency with the goal of optimization.

Artificial intelligence is already firmly established in online marketing, as is the case with Mailify. As mentioned above, it has become indispensable in areas such as predictive delivery, and optimizes numerous processes in email automation.

Artificial intelligence also makes many things easier in terms of customer experience; there are already voice assistants that can read incoming emails aloud. However, this is still in its infancy but it’s applicable possibilities are endless.

Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy and constantly brings new innovations with it. It is important to stay up to date to stay one step ahead of the competition.

2. Use of responsive design

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One of the most important recent innovations in adaptive web design is Responsive Web Design, i.e. websites that adapt to the size of the device from which the email is opened: Computer, phone, tablet.

This goes as far as to create responsive templates, newsletters etc. A great way of being user-friendly and providing a great user experience is by taking into consideration the panoply of different devices that people now use to access emails and rich media - and those that are yet to be seen - and how the email experience can be further improved for each and every screen.

3. Interactive Content

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Another trend that is steadily growing in popularity is interactive content.

We are talking about a medium that can be used by and with any brand that exists.
As communication in general is slowly shifting towards audiovisual mediums, a lot of companies are beginning to work with videos and gifs. This opens up a big variety of possibilities in email marketing.

The content of an email can be made more visually appealing and thus stand out from the masses of emails that recipients find in their mailbox every day. This includes  videos and GIFs. Animated GIFs work in all webmail clients and most mobile and desktop clients. Ultimately, these interactive elements can all work together to improve clickthrough rates and engagement in general.

4. The Rising Importance Of Copywriting

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While copywriting has been a pivotal element of email marketing for as long as one can remember, good copywriting is now more crucial than ever in the face of shorter global attention spans.

If you can captivate your customers and grab their attention with intelligent and compelling copywriting, you can immediately increase open rates with clever and personalised subject lines and targeted copy.

Moving forwards, trends for copywriting with continue to skew in favour of innovative and personal methods of writing - as opposed to generic and simple messages that get lost in the clutter of most inboxes. The more you can stand out with your copy - whether that’s through humour, emotion or passion - the better it will bode for your engagement rates.

Most people skim through their emails quickly and look for value in what they read quickly, so succinct but clever messaging will continue to be important in 2020.

Another Direct Marketing Channel To Consider In 2020: SMS

Mobile phones are gradually beginning to eclipse desktops when it comes to internet browsing. This doesn’t mean that desktops are now obsolete, though it is worth mentioning that the percentage of sales generated by mobile phones has increased by 23% compared to the previous year, which has led to an acceleration of mobile optimisation across almost all digital marketing channels. As a result, SMS Marketing is gaining more and more popularity amongst marketers - and with good reason.

The benefits of SMS Marketing

Low cost
SMS marketing is a very cost-effective way to get your message across to your audience. This allows companies to invest their resources in other channels and as a result gives you more flexibility for the rest of your marketing plan.

Opt-In and Opt-Out Options
A company must offer the possibility to vote against receiving further messages for each SMS sent to its recipients. This gives you the chance to build a high quality database.

Reach
With SMS Marketing, you can reach a large number of people at the same time. SMS is an instant marketing tool that puts your message in the hands of the right audience, whenever you want it. People tend to keep their mobile phones close to them, so it is easy to get your message across to them - especially considering that up to 60% of mobile phone owners take a look at their smartphone at least once every hour.

As it turns out, the average open rate of a SMS is an incredible 82%. In comparison, emails sit at a much lower 24%. SMS marketing is still an underrated channel, not fully embraced by most marketers, as it is assumed that it is more strictly regulated than email marketing.

The market research conducted in this field has also resulted in various changes such as Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, a derivative of HTML specially developed for creating websites for mobile devices. That means that SMS marketing is on it’s way to becoming a truly powerful marketing weapon.

Wrapping Up

It’s not always possible to predict the future precisely, because nobody has clairvoyant abilities. However, certain tendencies and trends can be identified and thus a relatively reliable forecast can be made.

We can likely expect Artificial Intelligence to be a big deal over the next year. Automation based on Artificial Intelligence will be a crucial aspect of email marketing for months and years to come.

It’s also important to not discount SMS Marketing, with it’s fast-growing popularity and low-cost effectiveness.

More than anything, it’s important to be open to innovation and always keep yourself up to date in order to remain ahead of the curve.