Email continues to be a leading communication channel for reaching members. As new tools and functionality are built, the possibilities for member engagement can be incredibly exciting!
So exciting, in fact, that you may not know where to begin. Here are a few email trends that are becoming more popular in 2018 and are focused on audience engagement. Pick two or three (or more!) and give them a try:
1. Conversational tone
Are your emails written to sound professional and, well, even a little stuffy? Try taking on a more conversational tone. These are your members we’re talking about here! You want to make them feel comfortable and engaged, and you aren’t going to do that by sending communications that are stiff and boring.
2. Mobile-friendly design
Most people spend time consuming content on a mobile device (whether that’s a smartphone or tablet) these days, so if your emails aren’t mobile-friendly you risk losing a considerable percentage of your audience’s interest - and engagement! Your email platform should have the ability to automatically make them responsive, but we recommend always test-sending your emails and viewing them on both desktop and mobile to be sure. Speaking of testing...
3. Testing and tracking
Test, test, and test some more! Before you send the email to your members, send a test version to your team and:
- View the email on as many devices and email clients (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) as you can, so you know the design you worked so hard on looks right everywhere
- Click or tap any links to make sure they’re going to the right place
- Read through the copy to check for spelling and grammar errors one more time
Then once your email has been sent, be sure to track its performance. Over time this will allow you to see patterns in how members are engaging with your emails, and you can make changes to your designs and processes that’ll increase that engagement.
4. More segmentation and quality emails
Audience segmentation has been a trend since well before 2018, but think about ways to be even more granular with how you divide your membership up for communications. That way you can focus less on sending a bunch of emails to everyone, and more on sending only the content that will inspire them to engage.
5. Personalization for content sharing
Content sharing is very much going towards a “what’s next” recommendation model (think about things like Spotify’s Daily Playlist or your personal Netflix suggestions). By building data collection into your association’s content strategy, you’ll begin to understand each member’s content consumption preferences and be able to push content recommendation emails out to them that will resonate.
6. Mailable ‘microsites’
This is actually super cool. Some companies are now using mailable ‘microsites,’ which is just a fancy way of saying interactive emails. You’re basically sending a microsite directly to your members’ inbox, which can include things like:
- Integrated forms and surveys
- GIFs, videos, and other animations
- Search in email
- Menu options and navigation bars
- Rotating banners
These microsites are much more engaging than a static email, and eliminate the need for a member to click through to a website or take some other action in order to engage.
7. Respecting personal data
This one is more of a requirement than a trend, but it’s important to get on board with! Things like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are causing email marketing strategies to change in order to respect and protect our audience’s data. But that’s not a bad thing! Adhering to GDPR (and other regulations, as they come along) and communicating that to members will increase their trust in your organization for the long haul.
Trends are fun to test, and can certainly boost engagement. But, you’ll have a hard time making tweaks based on those tests if your email process isn’t based in best practices. To get back to the roots of email marketing and see where you stand, take a look at our comprehensive guide Best Practices for Email Marketing.