The 2021 Email Marketing Trends You Should Include in Your Strategy

The 2021 Email Marketing Trends You Should Include in Your Strategy
Téa Liarokapi
Téa Liarokapi Feb 24, 2021 — 7 min read

When it comes to digital marketing, 2020 was an absolute whirlwind, and it shaped the landscape in a way that nobody could have expected.

With quarantines worldwide, going online was the only way to communicate, make purchases, or even buy groceries in many cases.

The world of ecommerce saw an unexpected boost, and with that came new online shopping trends. Of course, email marketing has experienced some changes, too.


If you’re doubting that email marketing is still important, you may want to check the latest stats. Among all channels, email brings the highest ROI equal to $42 per every dollar spent. That’s way higher than social media and PPC.

However, that doesn’t mean you can be expecting great results using the same old tactics.

Email marketing is evolving, and so should your email marketing strategy.

Some of the trends we’ve reviewed in this article are new; others have been around for some time already. If you’re using email in your marketing strategy, you may want to incorporate some of them and see what happens.

1. Email personalization

Personalization is the oldest email marketing trend. The reason why it’s still on the tip of everyone’s tongue is simple: personalization works extremely well on every stage of the funnel. According to Website Planet, emails with personalized subject lines get opened 26% more often than those with generic subject lines.

But it doesn’t stop there. Personalized messages get higher engagement. Consumers love them because they feel that the brand makes an effort to analyze their interests and needs.

Personalization is the oldest email marketing trend that has proven its efficiency

The most common email personalization practices include using the first name of the recipient both in the subject line and in the email body, sending recommendations based on their purchase history, and offering personalized discount coupons on their birthdays.

One of the most efficient personalization techniques, however, is audience segmentation 👇

2. Audience segmentation

Segmentation is a powerful email marketing technique that allows you to personalize emails on a deeper level. You can segment your audience based on their age, location, gender, behavior, interests, and then – tailor the message depending on who will receive it.

Segmentation allows you to create emails that truly resonate with subscribers.

Let me give you an example: I find hyper-personalized email newsletters to be fascinating. And even though I understand why certain emails are oddly specific, it never fails to amaze me and make me want to interact with them.

On the other hand, my mother says that overly personalized messages make her feel uneasy. Some brands know that and structure their emails differently depending on whether they’re targeting millennials or boomers.

Another great example of clever segmentation is weather-based emails. Weather has a direct impact on people’s mood and shopping behavior, and if you find a way to leverage a local weather forecast in your email – you’re on your way to see engagement spikes.

Audience segmentation is a surefire way to increase CTR and get more sales

Bottom line? Segmentation is the hottest email marketing trend right now, and its examples are numerous. For deep audience segmentation, you can resort to AI-powered algorithms, but even in its basic form, segmentation helps you create messages that will look and feel tailor-made without making your brand look stalker-ish.

3. Interactive emails

Interactive emails may include videos, built-in surveys, quizzes, CTA buttons, clickable images – in other words, irresistible elements designed to nudge your subscribers to interact with the email. You can use it as a tactic to increase overall engagement with your emails, but it’s also a proven way to increase sales.

Many ecommerce brands combine the power of segmentation and interactive design to allow customers to initiate a purchase directly through email. Take this recommendation email by Public Goods as an example.

Interactive emails

Each image takes you directly to the product page where you can learn more about the item and purchase it. Had it been a cart abandonment email, a button would take you directly to the shopping cart to help you finalize the purchase.

Interactivity is a brilliant way to eliminate friction and use the impulsive nature of purchases by keeping your customers in their inbox.

4. User-Generated Content (UGC)

Another email marketing trend that deserves your attention is UGC or User-Generated Content. Essentially, it’s the content produced by your customers or followers and used in your email campaigns.

UGC can help you increase customer loyalty and the level of trust in your brand. Why? Because chances are, the content created by your existing customers will resonate with the rest of your audience.

The most popular example of UGC usage is when a brand features photos or videos of their customers using their products.

User-generated content is the hottest email marketing trend to help you increase trust and loyalty

The biggest advantage of user-generated content is the ability to tell stories from the customers’ perspective and create a deeper connection with the audience. Just imagine opening an email from your favorite brand and seeing your picture being featured. Wouldn't that make you feel valued?

To start collecting UGC, you can run a challenge or a giveaway on social media and encourage the participants to use your hashtags. Chances are, you’ll collect lots of great stories! Just make sure your audience permits you to use their content before including it in your emails.

5. Minimalistic design and social agenda

Wondering what type of email newsletter design your audience will love? Well, the latest email marketing trends show that standing out doesn't equal being flashy. Quite the contrary.

Consider using consistent color patterns and a simple, minimalistic design to shift the focus on your message. In fact, one of the biggest email marketing trends we see emerging this year is text-only emails from brands.

Text-only emails look as if they were sent by a friend, not a company

The reason behind their rise is that they seem more real, more human. Text-only emails look as if you’ve received a message from a friend, not a company. They help your brand voice resonate with the audience and create a deeper emotional connection. It doesn’t mean, however, that you have to choose text-only emails over interactive designs. Mixing techniques creates a nice change of pace and shows that your brand is versatile and can appeal to different moods.

Speaking of moods…

The last year has brought up many issues related to social injustice – and most brands made an effort to show where they stand on those issues. Some did it very well, others – not so much.

What we’ve learned is that the social context can and should be included in your marketing message, because it matters for your audience.

And email is probably the best channel for delivering your message because while publicly communicating your position, you do it using a semi-personal space – your customers’ inbox.

Being socially active and including the agenda in a marketing message has become common for brands

Chances are, we’ll see more brands being socially involved, and that’s another email marketing trend to be aware of.

6. Automated campaigns

Automated emails are those triggered and sent automatically to your subscribers whenever they have performed a particular action or hit a particular milestone. Some of the best examples are abandoned cart emails, birthday emails, welcome and transactional emails, and so on.

Abandoned cart email sequences have high open rates and often end up in a purchase

In addition to being time savers, automated email campaigns are highly effective. The conversion rate for abandoned cart emails, like the one above, is over 10%.

Meanwhile transactional emails – those used to confirm a purchase – make 6 times more profit than any other type of email marketing sequence. Why? Because transactional emails create a perfect moment to upsell and cross-sell!

If you aren’t using automated email campaigns, chances are, you’re leaving money on the table.

If you’re not convinced, check out the options provided by your email automation tool and see the results for yourself.

7. Permission-based email marketing

Data privacy has always been an important element of brand-consumer relations. Since GDPR has been implemented, however, it has been taken to the next level.

Not only do you need to follow the new protocols to guarantee that your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) is secure – you also need to follow the principles of permission-based email marketing. In a nutshell, this means, you can only email those who gave you explicit permission to do so.

One way to do that is by adding a mandatory checkbox to your email opt-in form, disclosing what exactly your new subscribers are signing up for.

Other tactics include double opt-in, customizable email frequency, an easy way to unsubscribe, and more.

By following permission-based marketing guidelines, you create a better experience for your subscribers and keep the customer satisfaction level up. However, as a company, you benefit from it too.

For example, in some countries, sending unsolicited emails is illegal. But even if your customers aren’t residing in those countries, most people tend to flag unsolicited emails as spam or delete them without even reading. This will tank your open rates and eventually get your newsletter to land exclusively in the spam folder.

There’s no way to profit from emailing to those who never agreed to receive your emails in the first place.

Here is a quick checklist to help you get started with the permission-based email marketing:

  • Always get explicit consent before adding new subscribers to your list
  • Add the Unsubscribe button to your emails and make it easy to find
  • Make it easy to access your Privacy Policy on the website and make it understandable

Addressing (or readdressing) privacy concerns and making an effort to better the communication experience will only strengthen relations with your customers.

Takeaway

Email marketing is like a knock on someone's door. If done in a friendly manner, it can turn into a long-term relationship.

In 2021, you have all the tools, including the experience of other brands, statistics, and the optimal software to build a strategy that will make your emails look tailor-made and relevant.

So, what are you waiting for?

Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.

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