Stay Engaged: Top Email Marketing Trends in 2018

13 Feb 2018 / Freeparking Team

To help you start the year strong, we have compiled 7 key email marketing trends to take note of. These 7 initiatives will have a significant impact on the success of your email programmes throughout the year.

Email remains an integral part of brand marketing. Moving forward into 2018, with the rate of change in digital marketing and Google, we simply can’t be sure how current email strategies will fare. In order to stay on top marketers must adapt and modify their focus and tactics in line with emerging industry trends. According to the Litmus 2016 state of email report, the preferred method of communication with clients is email. With over 225 billion emails sent each day (up 5% from last year).

What is covered in this guide:

1. Kinetic Email: A Changing User Experience
2. A Rise in Passive Opt Outs
3. Robots are Invading Your Emails
4. Effective Editorial Content in Emails
5. The Next Generation of Personalisation
6. Get Ready for GDPR
7. Purchasing through Mobile Devices is Rapidly Rising

1. Kinetic Email: A Changing User Experience

Kinetic email means readers interact much more with your message. Rather than opening what looks like a text document, a kinetic email allows users to experience your message like a webpage, with clickable areas that link to pages on your site, to their account log in, more information etc. Gmail is leading the charge adopting this kind of technology and supporting kinetic emails, other mail providers are following suit.

Kinetic emails can include helpful and visually interesting components such as image carousels, hover buttons, add to cart and more. Being interactive and attractive gives kinetic emails a higher chance of a reader clicking through to your site, to make purchases, and raise brand affinity.

Large companies such as Coca Cola, Taco Bell and Burberry are already taking advantage of kinetic emails, using them successfully to promote their businesses and encouraging more email interaction. It is still not that common to see kinetic emails in your inbox, however it is definitely the way of the future, and producing them now will give you an edge over your competitors. While this is still a fairly new strategy, it will give your emails a higher level of functionality, and visual appeal.

Fresh Inbox has recently released a series of articles with examples and tutorials on how to add kinetic elements to your emails. There are varying ranges of support from the various email providers. You can browse theFresh Inbox guide here.

 blog pic email

2. A Rise in Passive Opt Outs

The volume of marketing emails sent out is the highest it has ever been. The downside is the sheer number of emails piling up in inboxes. This means it has become harder to engage subscribers or even get them to open non-personal emails at all.

One strategy for minimising opt-outs is to engage and maintain a reader’s interest as fast as possible. To do this you must write subject lines which make viewers want to open the email immediately. It should also have personalised, relevant information near the top along with engagement buckets, triggers and touch points where possible. Also use strategies like offers, discounts and competitions to tempt people to subscribe and remain with you. Some marketers will struggle to keep their subscribers this year, but with the right strategies you can still be very successful using email marketing.

Try these6 Super Ways to Keep Your Subscribers Engaged and Happy by Fulcrum Tech, to assist in retaining your subscriber’s long term.

3. Robots are Invading Your Emails

AI is a fast growing method for optimising online marketing and communications. With technology like Google RankBrain, Chatbots and Voice Assistant being relied on more and more, expect the use of artificial intelligence in the industry to continue rising.

Optimising content is an effective area to focus on with automated applications. The technologies are still being perfected and updated, but there is already a lot of competition. If you choose to try them, weigh up your options and look into a few before committing.

Optimail is a good example of growth in this field. They optimise emails by personalising them with adaptive content. Initially their main focus was on creating subject lines which draw readers in, but they have now expanded into many other areas, like interactive segments etc. Take alook at their website herefor inspiration.

The main selling point of using artificially intelligent applications is their ability to seem human, without having to hire an actual human to interact with clients. Using an AI can create the feeling of interacting with the staff of the company when people read their emails. Having more personalised email content can create positive emotional reactions, by giving readers the sense that you know and care about them, and they are not just a number to you. An AI can analyse information they have previously been given and personalise emails for you, making the reader feel more connected.

4. Effective Editorial Content in Emails

Today’s consumers want to see more than just information on products and offers. They want to see helpful and interesting information. This could include things like how to guides, recipes, latest trends, tips for saving money/power etc.. Also things like daily or weekly images, jokes, news, and reviews.

Because a majority of your subscribers probably aren’t purchasing from you every month orregularly, you need to find other ways to keep them engaged and interacting with your brand. Content that is entertaining, helpful, or educational can encourage them to stay subscribed and keep reading your emails. Finding ways to add entertainment and lifestyle trends to your emails will boost subscriber interaction and reduce opt-outs.

Most successful companies are already using Editorial/sticky content in their messages to build rapport and maintain interest with their subscribers. Another up and coming technique is usingGeolocation for marketing. This can be incorporated into emails by having sections such as dynamic maps, these show readers which stores sell your products nearby, based on their location.

5. The Next Generation of Personalisation

This year we will see more businesses going the extra mile to personalise emails, webpages and even products. For email this means that as well as using customers names and details there are also aspects to consider such as real time specials, suggestions based on what they have previously bought or liked, and remarketing by showing them what they looked at a while ago but didn’t purchase. Some companies are already benefitting from higher levels of personalisation; Converse is allowing people to design their own shoes for example and Coca Cola is making it possible to order personalised bottles with your name on them. We expect to see more of this over the next year and into the future.

If you can offer potential buyers customizable options in your emails, it provides another opportunity for interaction and for people to explore their uniqueness. People generally like personalisation, and we as marketers can use that to draw them in and boost our business. This can be done with emails offering ‘design your own’ as well as content targeted to their interests, and past purchases. Some examples are Specsavers, who allow you to upload a photo of your face to try on glasses to see how they suit you, or car companies that offer customization like choosing colours and materials for the interior, types of hubcaps, and extra features.

If you do a survey when new customers are subscribing to discover their interests, preferences and past purchasing behaviour, you could even choose to personalise their email design by colours and backgrounds. This is where AI applications would prove useful as clearly you can’t manually manage personalisation and analyse data for each customer.

6. Get Ready for GDPR

From May 2018General Data Protection Regulation  will start affecting businesses. This is legislation created for all EU citizens that protects the privacy and information shared with businesses. Every company selling to or dealing with the European market will be affected by these new laws. Even for those who do not deal with the EU, this is just the start, other countries will see it as an example, watch how it works, and are likely to enforce similar laws.

It is important to start preparing as soon as possible for the changes and new requirements. Companies should avoid a mad rush near the deadline and reduce the chance of facing legal ramifications due to not meeting the new requirements. It is wise to take the time now to understand the changes and ensure your data management systems protect customers privacy to the highest required level.

7. Purchasing through Mobile Devices is Rapidly Rising

The gap between desktop and mobile purchasing is closing fast. More and more consumers are buying products, downloading apps, donating money, paying bills and purchasing subscriptions and services from their phones or tablets. Mobile versions are getting better and more user friendly every day, and that is set to boom after Google’sMobile First Index goes live, predicted to happen any time now. It will be easier to purchase products from a mobile device than ever before.

For email marketers this prompts changes that ensure your emails are mobile friendly, easy to view and interact with and link customers to easy to use, dynamic mobile sites to purchase products from. Emails need to be responsive moving forward if we hope to provide a smooth purchasing experience for mobile users.



Over the last forty years of so, email marketing has returned positive results for those who stay up to date with the latest technological advancements, consumer trends and marketing strategies. By modifying your email marketing strategies each year, and moving with the changes in the industry, you will continue providing the positive user experiences and gaining the results and sales that you want from your emailing efforts. 


Did you find this article helpful? Click here for more digital marketing tips and tricks.

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