Email Marketing and Automation “Do’s” for 2018

3 min read
January 11, 2018

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to start fresh, try something new, and improve upon your current marketing efforts.

With new tools and technology, and new data protection regulations in the EU, there are several shifts in the email marketing and automation landscape that can inform your strategy for the new year. Here, we’ll dive into some focus areas for email marketing and automation in 2018.

A Personalized Experience

Batch and blast emails are out, and the focus for email in 2018 is a shift towards personalization and targeting. Think about the last time you received an email starting off with a generic “Dear Guest,” or “Dear Customer,” and how did you react to it?

With the shift toward personalization in our other experiences online, we have started to expect communication tailored to us as individuals, and this includes our emails. And, personalization really works. In fact, HubSpot found that emails with the recipients’ first names in the subject lines had higher click-through rates than emails that didn’t.

To increase engagement with your emails, personalize and target contacts based on their engagement, online activity, demographic or persona information. Stick with personalization basics like first name, last name, and avoid tactics that may come off as creepy.

Then, you can tailor your emails through list segmentation. Try filtering your lists by recent downloads, previous engagement, or by persona to tailor the content of your email based on the needs and interests of your contacts.

Real-Time Engagement

Bots, chat, and real-time engagement is a major focus for automation in 2018. This is the year to start connecting with buyers in real-time and prevent missed opportunities for a conversation.

Messenger, website chat, bots and AI are the tools to watch, and try for yourself in 2018. With the HubSpot Sales Pro tool, Messages, you can quickly set up a live chat feature for your website with custom targeting rules to engage with your website visitors in real time.

Goal-Based Email

It’s time to shift away from emails sent for the sake of sending an email. Without a goal, your emails are just adding to the noise flooding your recipients’ inboxes, and ultimately hurting your engagement rates.

Each email you send should be meaningful with a clearly-defined purpose. The key is to identify a goal for each email you’re sending - what action would you like the recipient to take? Whether it’s checking out your holiday sale, requesting a demo, or reading your latest blog post, identify the purpose for your email and the end action you would like the recipient to take.

Simple and Meaningful Automation

Automation can be a major time-saver for marketers, but more isn’t necessarily better. There should be a strategy behind your workflows, and you should have a holistic view of how all of your automation efforts are connected.

With HubSpot’s 500-workflow limits being enforced as of December 2017, there is a push for HubSpot customers to take a look at their portals and remove the excess workflows, even if you aren’t close to the limit.

Start the process by auditing what you currently have in place, and assess whether the campaigns are performing adequately. Take the new year as an opportunity to start fresh - look at the automation you currently have in place, and reevaluate what is working, what could be enhanced, or what could be turned off.

Respecting Personal Data

With the updated EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect May 2018, there will be a mandatory shift as to how businesses collect and retain the user data of EU citizens. According to HubSpot, this regulation will “significantly enhance the protection of the personal data of EU citizens and increase the obligations on organizations who collect or process personal data.”

This shift will inform email marketing strategies, and make marketers more accountable for how we are using and storing personal data, including who we are emailing.

To learn more about the regulation and prepare for these changes, HubSpot has several resources and materials available.

Mobile-Friendly Design

Designing with mobile in mind is a must for 2018, especially for your email campaigns. More email is read on mobile than on desktop email clients; according to Litmus, 51% of email is now opened on a mobile device.

Place emphasis on easy-to-read, skimmable text, large buttons, and compelling, mobile-optimized imagery. And remember, keep the important information above the fold - the less scrolling the better.

For more resources and up-to-date marketing trends, download the 2017 State of Inbound Report.