5 Email Trends to look out for in 2021

Email trends in 2021 are likely to be very different from the pre-COVID era.

As we head into 2021, COVID-19 continues to impact marketing strategies and budgets within organizations of all sizes and industries. Advanced analytics are also emerging as an important facet of email marketing and the email trends of 2021 are reflective of this evolving development.

COVID Impact

COVID’s impact on different nations and demographics has been hugely varied. In the marketing world, this has also been the case – as some COVID-proof industries have prospered, others have been forced to shut their doors, drastically cut budgets and enter survival mode due to the restrictions put in place.

It’s clear that there’s no longer a “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to managing your email marketing in 2021. The email trends are reflective of whats to come.

Email trends analyzed in this post are derived from a bold McKinsey’s analysis of the industries which have been majorly impacted by the COVID pandemic here.

Email Trends – 2021

The trends which are emerging now with the way COVID has played out in 2020 are indicative and in my opinion are :

  1. Analytics is going to be key to email assisted campaigns in 2021 – Advanced analytics is going to be key to effective email campaigns in 2021. These analytics are going to be accrued from Artificial Intelligence based algorithms and with personalized tracking. The race between delivery of emails to inboxes and privacy laws that govern its delivery will continue in 2021. Tracking – legally – is going to be key.
  2. Strategy, not technology, will drive solutions – Your company size, sector and digital maturity will have all played a role in determining how your email strategy has needed to shift over the course of 2020. That will hold true in 2021 as we emerge from COVID and enter into the recovery phase. While this happens, it’s crucial that strategies are suitably mapped out. Businesses can then start to consider investing in new technologies and solutions that can help them achieve specific goals. Email technologies are going to see a major impetus of new technology, but the strategy will drive its success. Spray and Pray is NOT going to work in the long run. It might work now for some industries. The fundamental nature of email marketing will never change – Send the right message, to the right person at the right time. No brand marketer sets out to send an unwanted email. The difficulty is; to know what the right message is, for whom and when. Streamline and chalk out your strategy now.
  3. Customer Experience is going to be Key – Seamless user journeys must be combined with the kind of experience a consumer would expect face-to-face. Long gone are the days of cold, hard selling: just like website visitors, email users expect to be treated like a valued contact from the outset. COVID-19 has accelerated the need for considered communications and digital experiences that put the customer’s needs at the heart of your strategy. Clearly, throughout 2020 many consumers will have headed online to make purchases for the first time. For many marketers, the ultimate aim now is to emulate the physical experience of purchasing by creating a truly memorable online experience. A fantastic CX, in essence, acts as a catalyst right across the customer journey, boosting their perception of your brand. Make your emails dovetailed in the overall CX your brand wishes to provide, rather than a stand alone element of the marketing mix.
  4. Real – Authentic Personalization – Personalization is not a new concept for email marketers. The events of 2020 have now brought the need for authentic personalization right back into the spotlight though. Almost every brand has made attempts to connect with their consumers on a personal and human level throughout this period. That level of connection is now required throughout your email communications too.  This means sending more personalized emails, and I don’t mean ‘Hi Joolz’ at the start. Whilst these types of emails can be the most difficult to deploy, especially for smaller businesses, they are also the most effective and always worth the effort. Think dynamic content; behaviour based segmentation; the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence – approaches that have shown to be successful for bigger brands and are almost expected by consumers. If you are not getting personal you are not connecting. So get personal.
  5. Plain text email will see a Resurgence – Personal plain text emails are going to become more widespread in 2021. Some companies have been already doing this with some emails, such as for onboarding and reaching out to valuable customers.  I predict more companies will scale this approach for their marketing emails, using a casual, conversational tone for them and plugging in a few user details like company names to make the email feel like they were written one-on-one. These personal emails tend to engage and convert better as many people are turned off by overly saley messages and non-designed emails have a better chance of landing in primary inboxes. The key to writing these personal emails is asking yourself “Would I really say this to someone one-on-one?” because it’s easy to fall into marketing speak when you’re thinking about it as a marketing email.

Email marketing continues to show an incredible resilience to change, as well as the ability to adapt to meet consumer’s ever-changing needs in an increasingly dynamic digital landscape. 2020 has also proven that not everything in life is as predictable as we’d like. But, armed with these key email marketing trends for 2021, we hope you can optimize your use of email marketing in a huge variety of ways across your digital marketing strategy.

For further information on how you can perhaps change your email strategy for 2021, feel free to reach out.


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