Happy birthday email marketing—40 looks good on you ;). It’s been around since the early 1980s, but this past year has increased our reliance on email marketing, so let’s talk about email marketing trends & predictions for 2021.
So many of our brands have been leaning on digital marketing heavily as we’ve been trying to navigate this ever-changing marketing landscape out there this past year. And the volume of emails that are actually going out has increased, MailerLite said that there’s increased 45% from the past year.
>>Sooo what in the world does all of this mean for your 2021 email marketing strategy as a creative small business? <<
Well, you are in the right place because today I’m unpacking FOUR of my email predictions for 2021 and I’m telling you what I learned about email marketing in 2020. If you stick around until the end, I’m taking you behind the scenes and walking you through a spreadsheet that we’re using to keep track of our campaigns moving forward this year. If your marketing plan FOR SURE has email marketing in the mix this year— this post is for you.
I have helped thousands of creators and creative entrepreneurs like you make more money with their words. As a Conversion Copywriter and Launch Strategist, we sent a ton of email marketing campaigns last year in my own business. Also, on the agency side of my business, we had a lot of launch and email funnel clients that we served. And so this is what we learned both in my business and with them.
Let’s hit it!
⬇️Don’t forget to grab your freebie: 42 Email Subject Lines Swipe File ⬇️
No. 1| More mix-ups of text-based & aesthetic driven emails.
The first email marketing prediction that I have for 2021 is that I believe we’re gonna see more of a mix-up of overall email marketing strategies that send both more text-based emails, and more aesthetically driven emails, all under one roof.
I broke down the difference in text only emails and more design-heavy templates in last week’s video on my YoutTube channel, but I swear we’re gonna see more businesses and brands not be afraid to mix those up and have both types under one roof.
If you always send out visually designed heavily designed and templated emails to your list then sending a text-based email may be refreshing for your subscribers to get.
Think about last year when everything crazy started going on, you got a lot emails that seemed like letters from the founder in your inbox, they were more personal. They were typically more stripped of the GIFs and the images, and they just felt more like just one person was speaking to you.
I snagged a few examples of these you can see what I mean—they come across and feel a little bit more personal.
Text-based emails like this can be great when you’re trying to connect more with your audience, or you just have one little key message that you need to get across. BUT— anddd here’s where my “guess the way the wind is blowing” prediction comes in—I think we saw just as much interest in consuming beauty, having an aesthetic, and a branded experience over the internet, since we couldn’t go into the store and feel fabrics and smell candles.
Don’t be afraid to mix your text-only emails in with your other designed and templated emails for maximum effect. Use design, use imagery, use strong brand photography, use GIFs, use type styles, give that magazine in inboxes.
One quick action step that you can check off your list today. —> Go into a email sequence that you already have, maybe it’s even your welcome sequence in your inbox, and add two emails to that campaign. Make one email more design-heavy, it has a magazine feel to it. Then also add an email to that same sequence and campaign thats stripped down and it’s text only… it feels a little more personal.
Now again, if you watched my last week’s video then you do know how the more stripped-down/text-focused email will naturally get a few more points when it comes to deliverability. You can watch that here if you missed it, so you can make sure that when you are sending those more design-heavy emails, you’re making sure you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.
No. 2| More personalization in emails.
The second email marketing prediction is all about personalized emails. We’re gonna keep seeing more personalized human elements in emails—BUT—it will be beyond just having your name in the salutation. Campaign Monitor reported that personalized emails get 6x more of a higher transaction rate, and personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be open.
>> Right NOW go ahead and add a first name field to one of the subject lines you already have in a sequence. See what happens<<
When I’m saying personalization I’m not just talking about your subscriber’s name.
Talk to me about what kind of customer I am, speak specifically to how long I’ve been in business, or what type of business I have.
Let’s say that you are in the wedding industry…
- What about speaking to your subscribers based on when they got engaged? Somebody that just got engaged is gonna be very different than somebody that’s been engaged for over a year at this point.
- Have I taken so many hand lettering classes before and I’m old hat at this, maybe even have my own business or is this a quarantine hobby I picked up and I don’t really know what I’m doing yet.
- Am I a parent? Do I have kids? Or do I not? That definitely looks different this year as schooling has changed.
This is the kind of data to keep getting from your people.
Then send out those hyper customized, personalized emails. I promise it’s worth that 15/30 extra minutes to create different variations of one email that you have going out. You want to make sure that you’re looking at people saying, Hey, I hear you. I know exactly who you are. And you’re the type of person opening this email. According to Lucid, 20% of people will hit that unsubscribe button if they feel like they’re getting emails that don’t speak to them.
This whole process is so much easier if you already have an email marketing service that lets you send what’s called dynamic content. ConvertKit does this beautifully.
Let me take you behind the scenes and show you how you can send out your email marketing newsletter every week and speak to your different segments, all in the same email just by sending a different version of it. I want to show you the two ways that you can do this in ConvertKit to send different versions of your newsletter out. ⬇️⬇️
To wrap up this prediction, here are 5 examples of places you can include personalization in your email marketing:
- Subject line
- Content (which I just showed you about!)
- Product or offering that they’ve purchased in the past… nodding to the fact that they bought that and you are aware of that.
No. 3| Optimizing emails for mobile is more important than ever.
Every week when I test my email newsletter, I send it to my personal inbox and the first thing I do is open it on my phone. I’m looking to see where that subject line cuts off at what character count. I’m looking to see what the content load looks like. About 68% of all email marketing campaigns are opened on mobile devices. Like websites, we naturally look at emails in our inboxes differently than we do on the computer. We probably scroll a little bit faster or we may be paying attention a little less because we’re in front of the TV.
<< Here are 4 ways that you can make sure that your email is optimized for those mobile opens >>
(Remember: about 70% of your audience may be opening it on mobile)
- Shorter Subject Line… Or just stack that subject line with the more pertinent info at the front. The latter half may be cut off.
- Do not rely on images for that email… I see this all the time. If you’re in a place where wifi is down or coverage isn’t that great, those images aren’t always gonna load and it can affect the content of the email. So if the email has that text that pulls the message across in the email, images just come in to support that that can help.
- Font size … make sure your copy isn’t SO small that I have to squint at it.
- Put in a hyperlink higher up in the body copy of the email… I have told clients in the past to try to have three different hyperlink chances in that email. So I would pick a word higher in your email, hyperlink that you can still have your CTA button in the email or whatever you want to do. but definitely put one hyperlink high in the email I think.
No. 4| Keep your list clean.
Last year was rough stuff for businesses and brands that hadn’t maintained a clean list. The verdict: keep up that good list hygiene, keep your list clean. If you have that good quality scrubs you’re off to a good start this year.
Traffic from email campaigns have a conversion rate of around 4.29%, which is crazy high in comparison to direct traffic, social media traffic, even SEO traffic, all according to WordStream.
But even though you’re cleaning your list, I would still use a tool that does email verification BEFORE you send out an email—I recommend a tool called GlockApps.
The internet picked up last year, which means email picked up last year. (Yes, & we’ve already discussed how the volume of email marketing campaigns going out increased last year.) This means that email platforms like Google got even smarter about recognizing when something may be spam, or it may be something you don’t wanna see, and it’s gonna bury it in a promotions folder. And like I said in a recent video, they are just smarter about when an email may not be from your mom.
<< Two Action Steps >>
- Test your email on your mobile device. When you’re testing that email before you send it out, I talked to you about looking at it on your mobile device first but then I would also use a tool like GlockApps to send it out and test it there before you send it to your whole list.
- Keep your list updated. I talked about this in last week’s video and I talk about how to clean up your list in this post here—I give tons of takeaways and tips about email deliverability.
Like I’ve said recently, we did not clean the list every single quarter last year like we should have been doing, so learn from that mistake and keep cleaning your list. You run the risk of having a higher bounce rate and also being flagged as a spammer, or continually sending out emails that people aren’t interested in, both are no good. I’m committing to it this year, you do it too.
Let’s go behind the scenes one more time… I’m going to show you the spreadsheet that we’re using to keep more track of the campaigns that we’re sending out this year my business. ⬇️⬇️
Like I mentioned above, if you’re familiar with Rocket Fuel & familiar with the concept of a scorecard, that’s what we use. And again, if you don’t have something like this, there is a Business Stats Tracker Template in the shop—you can find that here.
While you’re implementing these tips in your 2021 email marketing strategy, if you want some free subject line swipes that you can use to split test in your business, then click here or down below to grab over 40 examples that you can plug and play as you send out email campaigns.
Now you have some marching orders for your 2021 email marketing campaigns, but what about making sure those emails absolutely end up in people’s inboxes? Be sure to watch this video where I’m telling you three things to look for in an email marketing platform and why ConvertKit does the job beautifully.
Please comment with any questions that you have below, here’s to working for more of a place of rest, not hustle.
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