To find the first example of email marketing we have to go forty years back in time. In 1978, Gary Thuerk promoted Digital Equipment Corp’s computers to 400 users via Arpanet. Back then, email was still considered an oddity, only used in corporate or university environments. This changed in 1991 when Hotmail introduced the first free web based email service, creating a whole new way for marketers to reach their customers. Direct marketing hasn’t been the same ever since the introduction of personal email addresses. Throughout the years, it has been suggested many times that email marketing is getting outdated and would get replaced very soon by new communication channels. For those who doubt the relevance of internet marketing, Gmail alone has 1 billion users worldwide already and according to the Radicati Group, almost half of the world’s population will have an email address by 2020. Email marketing is definitely here to stay and therefore you should know about the latest developments. Read on and get up to date on some of 2018’s biggest email marketing trends.
Rethink the Marketing and Sales Funnel
The marketing and sales funnel as we know it today is becoming a thing of the past. Remember how marketers always talked about a cone-shaped marketing and sales funnel that transforms leads into customers? This idea that leads will turn into customers in a linear way isn’t realistic anymore. These days, companies communicate using various channels which makes it possible for customers to enter the buying process at different stages. As a result, we should take a look at a new marketing funnel which is all about multi-channel, multi-touch and multi-path customer journeys. This new funnel implies that customers learn about a company on different channels. Furthermore, they have the possibility to enter the buying process at different stages and they can leave the buying process at any time. This new funnel focuses on both the pre-purchase and post-purchase stage in order to present a comprehensive view of the entire customer-lifecycle. We have entered a new age of customer lifecycle marketing in which email marketing will be a leading channel at every stage of the buying journey.
Personalization Shifts to Predictive Content Personalization
Email marketing is among the most effective digital marketing channel when it comes down to personalized campaigns. Until now, email marketing has been focusing on the past rather than what’s next. We all have received emails with our name in the subject line or post-purchase emails suggesting similar products. From 2018 onwards, email marketing will focus more on “what’s next”. By using new machine learning and data collection tools, email marketers will be able to predict what the customer is up to next. This results in better tailored content, messages and product predictions for individual customers. A great example can be found at a store which specializes in travel gear. In the past this company would suggest other products based on a customer’s previous purchases. With intelligent personalization, the company can learn about an approaching trip and suggest items based on the future needs origination from that trip.
Marketing Automation Software Expands Its Features
Automation in email marketing means that customers automatically receive your emails after they’ve subscribed to your emailing list. Forrester, an American market research company, found out that automated marketing can generate up to four times the revenue of standard communications. That being said, email marketing automation is a must these days. However, thirty percent of marketers say automation is the most difficult part of email marketing to implement. Today’s email marketing automation software is not user-friendly. The software has a high-learning curve and is often incorporated into a more complex CRM system. On top of that they are very expensive. Expect this to change in 2018. This year, existing platforms and brands will come up with more refined and high-value automation platforms at a better price.
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