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In 2019, email will still be king of the marketing channels. If anything, we expect to see businesses focus more on email marketing, and automating their email campaigns. 2019 will be all about hunkering down on email marketing automation, and perfecting your strategy so that it out competes and stands out in noisy inboxes.

If you’re considering how best to navigate email marketing strategy this year, then let us help you get your bearings. Here are 7 email marketing trends to watch in 2019.

Automation is a tool with which email marketing can’t succeed without

2019 will be the year that we stop asking whether marketing automation is important, and instead scramble to use the best of the best marketing automation apps available.

If you want to compete with other brands, then using a marketing automation platform will become imperative in 2019.

Marketing automation tools allow brands to leverage segmentation, personalisation, targeting and AI levels of reporting, analysis and prediction. As we move through the other predicted trends for this year, you’ll see that marketing automation is the foundation for all of them.

Graphic heavy promotional emails will make way for simple, interactive campaigns

In years past, email marketers have strived to stand out inboxes by delivering graphic heavy, uber-designed, HTML rich, website-like emails. These emails have stood out for quite some time, but as email marketing becomes a channel that every brand across every industry leverages – these graphic laden email campaigns are fast becoming overcrowded, and overlooked.

In 2019 we expect to see more brands harking back to the good ol’ days of text only emails. In general, we are seeing more of a move towards simple emails, where graphics only accompany a text dominant campaign.

This means that content will become even more important, as your copy will be the main attention-grabber of your email campaigns.

In the same vein, purely promotional one-sided communications will no longer be adequate at holding attention and engaging subscribers. We’re beginning to see a trend of interactive content, where storytelling copy engages recipients and asks them to interact. We’re seeing more embedded surveys and polls, more options for feedback and input, and more recipient-autonomy where it counts (for example, inviting subscribers to decided what kind of content they receive).

Campaigns will focus on extreme relevance

When it comes to improving engagement and conversion rates, relevance is everything. In 2019 if an email isn’t sent to the right person, at the right time, with the right content – then you might as well land in your contacts’ junk folders.

This year, your brand is going to have to prioritise relevance over volume; send less subscriber-base-wide emails and more pre-scheduled emails which trigger to send to specific individuals.

This is where marketing automation tools come in. For example, a great way of ensuring email marketing relevance is to pre-setup email campaigns which only send when a subscriber has undertaken specific behaviour. For example, your VIP early bird’s invite for your next brand event will be most likely to be well received by contacts who’ve only just attended your last event. You can set up a trigger on your e-invite to send to any contact who attended your last event 3 days ago.

Other tools you’ll see brands using this year to maximise relevance is data segmentation (having dozens if not hundreds of drilled down mailing lists based on behaviour, or demographic), and dynamic content (email content which changes based on each subscriber’s data).

Personalisation will be shaken up in 2019

Personalisation has been a strong attention grabbing tool for every email marketer, but in 2019 we’re going to see businesses use personalisation in more creative ways.

After all, your subscribers are now used to being addressed by their first name within your campaigns’ greetings. In order to appear less robot and more human, you’re going to have to use personalisation in unexpected ways.

Whether you’re simply addressing your contact by their first name somewhere in your email they wouldn’t usually expect, or using other data of theirs to add that personal touch (such as a reference to the weather of the state they live in), make sure you’re shaking things up.

Privacy compliance will be a top priority for email marketers

2018 was the year where data privacy topped the news. Data leaks across social media, government, and finance kept everyone – understandably – on edge, and most online users are now aware of their rights to privacy.

Regardless of which country your business resides, knowing your national privacy laws inside and out will be imperative in 2019. As most people become more discerning recipients, it’s important that you honour trust in your brand-subscriber relationships, and show that you take your contacts’ privacy seriously.

And as always, make sure unsubscription is straightforward, easy, and accessible.

Leveraging AI to test on the go

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that there’s a lot of both anxious and excited buzz around Artificial Intelligence and its implications.

In 2019 we expect more email marketers to leverage AI-like tools in their marketing automation platforms.

Tools such as A/B split testing subject lines – which figure out which subject line of 3 alternatives is the most popular – and engagement scoring, which allows you to score contacts based on their behaviour; giving you countless predictive abilities, will be used to their full potential this year.

If you’re wanting to make most of the AI trends in email marketing this year, make sure you’re with a high-quality marketing automation software and don’t be afraid to try out brand new tools and functionality as they’re introduced.

Mobile centric CTA design

The dominance of mobile devices amongst email recipients has only become clearer over the past 5 years. In 2019, we’ll see brands prioritising mobile conversions more, in order to make sales via these most used devices.

If you’re looking to double down on this trend, then consider one of our earlier recommendations: go easy on the graphics, and try to simplify your emails. Text dominant emails that are short but sweet are much easier for the on-the-go mobile-user to digest. Use graphics for your calls to action, to make them stand out. For example, use brightly coloured buttons which are big enough for clumsy thumbs to click on.

We expect mobile-centric CTA design to become a lot more common in 2019 emails, as email marketers try to close the sales gap for their large mobile device subscriber base.

As technology continues to improve and deliver more complex ability, it’s becoming harder to really pinpoint predicted trends in the email marketing sphere. Having said that, one thing we know for sure is that email marketing will be a core part of most brand’s marketing strategies and that the majority of brands will be using automation and AI to further out-compete other businesses for the much-coveted attention of global, online audiences.

If your company is wanting to stay on top of email marketing trends in 2019 then it’s best to follow any of our above advice, and of course – hop onto the marketing automation bandwagon. It’s no longer just a matter of being left behind, but a matter of being left out completely. To compete in the email marketing world in 2019, your company is going to have to prioritise the use of smart automation tools like never before.