Trend 1: More listening & less talking
There has been an obvious trend toward emails written "for you, the reader" not "about me, the sender." Surveys and competitions give people a reason not only to read your email, but to respond. Many good email campaigns also result in personal replies which create highly desirable one-on-one conversations.
Companies are also creating better content like case studies, tips, success stories, expert interviews, product reviews, customer testimonials, genuine specials and fun competitions.
Managing Director Ariana Hendry explains, "The competition is interactive and incentivises the reader to open up the newsletter each month as it is a permanent feature.
Since its introduction, overall readership rates have increased by 34 percent. More interestingly, there is a notable spike in customer sign-ups the week after the newsletter is disseminated."
Trend 2: Email ties in beautifully with social media
Email marketing perfectly complements social media since they are all marvellous channels for sharing your company's message and entering into conversations with your eager audience.
You can tweet your campaigns on Twitter, message the campaign to your Facebook fans and by the same token your email can link to YouTube and your blog. Some people prefer social media to email to they will appreciate the choice in how they interact with your company.
Trend 3: Intelligent & effective list building
A great tactic to build your contacts has been to run a referral competition. James Adonis, co-founder of Team Leaders, ran a referral competition on his employee engagement newsletter -- Love Your Team -- to celebrate reaching 5,000 subscribers.
8 percent of people forwarded to a friend and 61 percent of these subscribed themselves. What was especially exciting was that the competition resulted in seven new memberships at $2,200 each.
Said Adonis, "I have to say, it's been a wonderful marketing tool, especially because some of those who have won the complimentary memberships are bringing more people along who they're actually paying for. That might not have happened if it wasn't for the initial trigger."
On the flip side, it's also wise to eliminate contacts who are no longer interested. Making the unsubscribe button prominent is an easy way to ensure you're only sending to interested readers.
List fatigue refers to the people who never open your emails and it can be worthwhile cleansing these 'unemotionally' subscribed people from your list. A simple thing to do is send a "break-up" email to contacts who haven't opened say the last four campaigns. If they don't confirm they want to keep getting your emails, you can unsubscribe them.
Trend 4: iPhones & Blackberries are here to stay
As iPhones & Blackberries continue to dominate, it's worth making sure your emails work properly on smart phones! It often requires a bit more testing and development time but as more people check their email on the run, the trend has been to cater for the small screen.
Trend 5: Franchises and small business love email marketing!
It's measurable, easy to use yourself, familiar and cost effective. Plus, most people today are totally addicted to email!
It's no wonder franchises and small business are jumping on board.
Jon Moss, Mortgage Choice's franchise development manager for Victoria and Tasmania has embraced email marketing and is hoping to get one hundred percent uptake from franchisees across Australia.
"Aside from being so effective, the benefit is that all the individual franchisees can run their own independent email marketing, whilst we can manage the overall Mortgage Choice brand via the corporate account. We can set up professionally branded email templates and also provide relevant content for them to use," Moss explains.
Even though email marketing is increasing dramatically, it is still well and truly in its infancy. Less than 20 percent of our clients actively use email marketing at the moment.
As email becomes more popular just remember to follow best practice and go for quality not quantity!