For every industry, the year 2018 was a landmark one. For the marketing industry, it was the year of digital marketing’s biggest overhaul yet. In the midst of all the changes, it’s important to keep in mind the deeper changes that have been going on long before the year 2018.
Even before the year 2018, email was enjoying a renaissance.
Thanks to platforms like Gmail and the arrival of email marketing software, it’s never been easier for businesses to stay in touch with customers. But while email marketing software gave birth to many of 2018’s biggest changes, it wasn’t the only factor.
The year 2018 was the year of the consumer. Customers became more active on social media and started expecting a better experience from brands. As a result, marketing departments had to shift gears and develop new tactics, strategies, and approaches to engage with consumers.
Here are the five ways email marketing changed in 2018 and how you can implement them to stay relevant in the ever-changing marketing world.
1. Email Marketing Software Is Essential
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already familiar with the countless positive effects of email marketing software. If you’re not, then you should be.
We’re not talking about platforms like MailChimp here- the gold standard amongst email marketing platforms. We’re talking about the software that runs on your desktop or mobile device.
Email marketing software takes the drudgery out of email marketing. It makes sending out regular mailers a thing of the past. And the best part is that it makes implementing an email marketing strategy much simpler.
No longer do you have to hand-compose every single email. You can simply enter a few details about the campaign- like who the recipient is and what they’ve got in their inbox already- and the software takes care of the rest.
Plus, you can set a variety of triggers so that when a certain number of contacts subscribe to your email list, you’re automatically sent a pitch (like a blog post, for example). This makes it simpler to send out a series of emails that entice the reader to take action (like subscribe to your email list or leave a comment on your blog).
2. Data is the Name of the Game
In the past, a business’ market research department might have been the one responsible for collecting and analyzing customer data. But today, everyone from marketing to sales is in the data analytics business.
Data is a business’ most precious asset- it embodies their customers, their products, and their markets. Collecting and analyzing customer data is now a key part of growing a business. Platforms like Google Analytics and Hootsuite make it simpler than ever before to do market research and analyze the results.
This trend towards data-driven marketing was made possible by the explosion of digital marketing platforms- the ones I mentioned above plus a variety of blogs, forums, and websites that allow businesses to have online communities.
3. Email Is Still the King (or Queen) of Digital Marketing
Despite all the changes mentioned above, email marketing remains at the top of the heap in terms of digital marketing strategies. Why?
Well, for one thing, it’s extremely effective. According to HubSpot Blogs research, email marketing can drive sales between 18% and 29%. That’s a lot of potential for any business.
Secondly, it’s been around for a long time. Think about it- email marketing was invented in the 1950s, and back in those days, people used to write letters to friends, family, and customers to get their point across. Now that we’re in the 21st century, emails are still mostly used to communicate. According to the Radically Open 2018 Marketing Report, 62% of respondents said that they use email the most to communicate with customers. Only Facebook Ads (57%), Snapchat (55%), and Instagram (54%) were used more frequently.
4. Influencers Are the New Celebrities
In the past, celebrities were often seen as the face (and behind the scenes as well) of a brand. But today, influencers have replaced celebrities.
According to the 2018 Marketing Trends Survey from HubSpot Blogs, 48% of respondents said that influencers are most effective at creating buzz and attracting attention for a brand or product. And what do you know- that seems to be true. Take influencers Kylie Jenner, for example- she certainly has the eye and ear of the social media generation. Since launching her makeup line in 2017, she’s amassed an impressive 26 million followers on TikTok, 19 million on Twitter, 6.5 million on Instagram, and 5 million on YouTube. Between her various accounts, she’s likely the most followed person in the world. And did I mention that she has a staggering 100 million combined social media followers?
As a business or brand, how do you stand out amongst this crowded, attention-seeking marketplace? You become an influencer yourself.
But while you might think that getting famous is a quick and easy way to gain popularity, it’s not. According to Influence Intelligence, an influencer marketing agency, getting to this point isn’t easy. It takes time and a lot of grinding.
Getting famous on TikTok, for example, requires you to build and grow a following. Creating compelling content that will stand out amongst your competitors is difficult. And if you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to begin a trend of your own. Something that is uniquely you. Something that makes you stand out amongst the sea of copycats.
Forbes has a list of 19 tactics that digital marketers can use to get more mileage from digital marketing. Four of them are email marketing campaigns:
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Video Marketing
5. Mobile Is Everything
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the importance of mobile in today’s world. But if you’re not, then it’s time for you to become more familiar.
Based on a report from Google, 75.8% of all global digital content is viewed on mobile devices. And if you’re using social media to attract potential customers, you’re almost certainly posting and engaging on mobile.
According to the 2018 Marketing Trends Survey from HubSpot Blogs, respondents said that mobile is most important in attracting new customers (23%), retaining existing customers (21%), and building credibility (15%). Those are the keys to any successful marketing campaign.