Email marketing is one of the oldest digital advertising strategies, and in 2023, it’s still thriving. As the most used digital communication channel with over 4 billion users, following the latest email marketing trends can effectively expand reach, increase profits, and establish brand awareness.
At Business2Community, we’ve researched the current and upcoming trends that could be essential for businesses of all kinds. In this article, we’ll cover the most useful email marketing trends in 2023, sourced from reliable outlets and research institutions, so you know how to utilize them for your next email campaign.
What are 2023’s Email Marketing Trends?
Since the first email was sent in 1971, this form of digital communication has been widely used by business owners and marketers to keep customers informed about upcoming launches, boost sales, and build credibility.
In 2017, there were 3.72 billion email users. The number rose to 4.37 billion email users in 2023 and is expected to exceed 4.73 billion by 2026. During the same period, the number of emails sent and received per day worldwide also rose from 269 billion in 2017 to 347 billion in 2023.
Effective email marketing campaigns give you the potential to reach more than half the global population.
In the Litmus State of Email Marketing report in 2021, 90% of marketers said email was important to their business. Over 40% of marketers went as far as to say email marketing is vital to the success of the brand they work for.
The same report noted that email marketing ROI was at 36:1 in 2021.
According to Market Reports World, in 2022 the email marketing market was valued at $911.3 million. With an estimated CAGR of 2.9%, the market is expected to reach $1.08 billion by 2029.
With businesses flooding to take a slice of this profitable cake, you need to know these email marketing trends for 2023 to build your money-making email marketing strategy.
1. Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns Drive Signups
Customers have a greater incentive to follow your business if they can get tangible benefits from doing so. Special offers and sales are a useful strategy to turn your target audience into subscribers and enhance customer experience.
In a 2020 Hubspot survey, 28% of consumers said they signed up for an email list to get promo codes, sales news, and promos from the company.
By offering a free taste of your services/products, you’re more likely to get your target audience to sign up for your newsletters and updates. When formulating your email campaigns, you can consider including the following to reap more subscriptions and better a customer satisfaction rate:
- Free trial/experience day
- Product samples
- Discounts for bulk purchases
- Loyalty points
- Free ebook/consultation
2. Effective Subject Lines Are a Mainstay
Subject lines are the first thing your audience sees. Nailing your email subject can get your brand seen and generate profitable leads.
Email marketing software provider Get Response analyzed 7 billion messages its customers sent in 2022. The research found short and on-point subject lines could lead to higher open rates and click-through rates. Headlines between 61 and 70 characters performed best in terms of open rates.
The research also looked into how the use of emojis could affect email campaigns. Although the differences observed were not tremendous, not using emojis brought better performances by 1.84%.
Depending on your target pool, email preferences can vary drastically. More mature groups may see the use of emojis to be too childish while younger consumers could respond positively to the friendly tone.
When it came to personalization in subject lines, emails without a personalized subject had a 2 times higher CTR. Marketers are no longer putting personalization in headlines on a pedestal – it has become an outdated way to attract audiences.
However, it doesn’t mean personalized emails are dead. They should still remain an integral part of your email marketing campaign. Personalized content offers a more intimate and positive experience for your customers when done right.
3. Video Content in Email is Trending
Email marketers are using videos to draw attention and increase CTR for their email campaigns.
The same Get Response report we looked at earlier revealed some of the most popular phrases that lead to higher open rates on emails include:
- Video: 32.52%
- Infographic: 36.43%
- Free: 23.17%
- Quick: 26.14%
- Now: 41.35%
- Sale: 27.74%
Overall, people found emails with one or more links to video content enjoyable and were more willing to click on them. YouTube and Vimeo were the two most popular video platforms that led to the highest open rates (32.21% and 41.31%, respectively).
Adding videos is becoming a solid way to increase your email marketing campaign metrics.
4. Consumers’ Email Preferences Evolve
As people spend more time on their smartphones, optimizing your ads for mobile devices can generate better results.
According to Litmus, 41.6% of email users opened their emails on mobile devices and 40.6% on webmail in 2021.
Apple users (iPhone) and Gmail were the biggest email clients, accounting for 38.2% and 35.6% of the total share, respectively.
Smartphone users prefer to check their email whenever they have access to their devices. Creating mobile-friendly email templates is a crucial part of launching a successful email automation series.
5. Relationship-Building Email Marketing Strategy Builds Trust
Before you convince a consumer to make a purchase, you have to sell your brand as a trustworthy icon first. Nurturing your relationship with potential clients through email reaps a loyal following that expands your business scope.
A report published by the Content Marketing Institute in 2019 stated that top-of-the-funnel content accounted for 50% of the total content created by marketers to promote businesses.
Popular top-of-the-funnel email content includes:
- Welcome emails with links to your blogs/landing pages
- Long-form emails with promotional ads
- Short-form videos
- Influencer marketing
The purpose of top-of-the-funnel content marketing is for your audience to recognize your brand. A potential client may receive hundreds of promotional materials from various email senders. If they can identify your brand immediately, it builds trust and they’re more likely to buy from you in the future.
As the Content Marketing Institute survey revealed, 81% of B2B marketers used newsletters in their operations to increase brand recognition.
Email newsletters are an excellent method to:
- Raise brand awareness at minimal costs
- Promote upcoming activities/sales
- Segment your audience
- Increase leads to your desired channels
6. Email Segmentation Remains Important
When you have a large audience base, segmenting your list is an efficient way to nurture different groups based on their needs and preferences.
Email segmentation can be done by:
- Zip code
- Purchasing history
- Email activity
- Signup date
In 2021, Hubspot surveyed marketers and found that 78% said subscriber segmentation was the most effective email marketing strategy. Meanwhile, the DMA has reported that a segmented email campaign can increase revenue by a whopping 760% compared to a one-size-fits-all approach.
Benefits of email segmentation include:
- Informing customers about selected products/services that are relevant to them.
- Reducing spam/abuse reports.
- Sending out promotional materials based on consumers’ needs.
- Keeping track of consumer behaviors in various subgroups.
The DMA found that between 2019 and 2020, marketers sent out 4% more segmented emails, which was more than automated emails and non-automated emails.
Incorporating email segmentation in your business strategy is a cost-effective way to turn new clients into loyal subscribers and manage your audience list.
7. Artificial Intelligence is Changing Emails
AI in email marketing can:
- Improve email deliverability by studying your targeted population.
- Analyze performing headlines to increase open rates and CTR.
- Clean up your email list to remove inactive contacts regularly.
- Create fun, interactive emails that align with your brand voice.
- Analyze the best time to send automated emails according to your audience’s online activity.
- Report the performance of automated emails to marketing teams for review.
- Segment and target different consumer pools with different products.
RPE Origin and Ascend2 published the 2023 AI in Email Marketing Research Report to see how marketers were utilizing AI in their businesses.
The report found that 24% of respondents were using AI extensively in their email marketing strategies with 33% using it to some extent. A further 25% said they were yet to adopt AI in their operation but were considering it for the future.
Selzy surveyed 1,250 business owners and email experts in 2023 to find out their take on AI. 63% of respondents trust AI-generated emails and 24.7% were fully dependent on AI to create email content.
Furthermore, 58.3% showed confidence in AI-generated content, believing that it could improve email quality and 33.3% were curious to see how AI could improve their email automation process.
Todd Lebo, CEO at Ascend2, believed “AI can enhance everything that works already, such as predictive analytics, open rates, clicks”.
“Marketers are realizing there are so many channels that are out of their control. With email, the ability to control your audience is much more profound, and AI will help personalize, target, and re-target those messages much more effectively,” he said.
8. Apple’s Data Privacy is Changing How Email Marketers Work
In 2021, Apple’s mail privacy protection (MPP) had marketers worried about its impact on the effectiveness of email marketing. Put simply, automated emails are automatically opened in the mail app by Apple to distort the real open rates.
The move aimed to protect Apple users but also made it more difficult for businesses to track the real number for their email opens.
Throughout 2022, Get Response recorded stable open rates. However, compared to 2021, the overall open rate spiked by 7.37%. The click-through rate remained stable.
The DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker 2021 highlighted that email experts ranked “Open” as the 5th most important metric (31%). While Apple’s policy would certainly affect the industry, email professionals could still find a way to gather useful data.
Here are a few things business owners can do to minimize the impact of the mail privacy protection policy and collect information for marketing purposes:
- Focus your subject line A/B testing on Android and PC users.
- Explore alternative data points such as postcodes and locations as MPP limits location visibility.
- Use other metrics, such as CTR, together to identify successful email marketing automation series.
How to Find Email Marketing Trends
Adopting email marketing strategies can get your company seen quickly and boost customer engagement. The ever-changing email trends can be overwhelming to keep up with. To make things easier, here are a few simple ways to stay up to date.
1. Company Reports and Surveys
Email marketing software companies like Hubspot and Get Response regularly publish reports on the hottest trends to inform marketers about the current environment. They analyze billions of emails to produce well-researched reports.
From email interactivity benchmarks to trending audience segmentation activities, these companies provide you with the most useful resources to maximize your email marketing efforts.
2. Blogs, News Sites, and Podcasts
Blogs, news sites, and podcasts keep you updated about the day-to-day events in the exciting marketing world. Whether there is an update on the general data protection regulation or a new trend in email interaction strategies, you’ll be sure to know as soon as it comes out.
If you’re more of a podcast person, then the Email’s Not Dead From Mailgun By Sinch series could be a perfect fit for you.
Industry experts Jonathan Torres and Eric Trinidad go deep into different topics like email accessibility, ChatGPT, consumer expectations, and email marketing programs and tools to keep developers and business owners aware of the current state.
3. Test Your Audience
While there are loads of platforms to get the latest trends, the best way to find out what your audience wants is to conduct various trials. For example, even though interactive emails are trending, your targeted pool may not respond well as they prefer straightforward, informative content.
Understanding your audience’s needs makes all the difference. Do an A/B test and alter your email marketing campaign content each time to find out the best strategy to bump up sales.
The Future of Email Marketing
With email marketing growing faster than ever, there are always emerging trends to keep up with. In the future, this form of digital advertising strategy is very likely to maintain its dominance and continue to be an effective way for businesses to promote and brand themselves and get in front of the eyes of their buyers.
Here are a few things to expect from the future of email marketing:
- Artificial intelligence will take on a more crucial role, such as analyzing first-party data from customers, crafting automated transactional emails, regulating budgets, etc.
- More marketers will favor hyper-personalization to build deeper relationships with customers.
- There will be a legal obligation to regulate the data collection process to protect user privacy.