Estimated read time: 4 minutes
Emily is an account manager at Affinity who specialises in writing and social media, with a keen interest in how companies can leverage good content to power their brands.
Whilst attempting to resist the festive snacks in Lidl, only yesterday I was moaning about how we just packed away Christmas 2022 and it’s already time to start planning for 2023, despite 30-degree temperatures over the weekend.
So, the hypocrisy is not lost on me that I am putting together an article for marketing in 2024, a year that no one wants to think about yet. But as an agency, we want to give our clients as much time as possible to prepare for a year that will continue along the trajectory of rapid technological change – and related consumer expectations.
The early marketer catches the worm.
Why email marketing?
Of all the channels we could pick to discuss when planning for next year, email marketing is traditionally the least volatile, so strategy planning can (in general) commence earlier. However, there are some notable best practice changes taking place, from privacy demands to AI personalisation, which are crucial to consider.
As an agency, in the current economic landscape, we’ve seen that while consumers are still spending, they are making far more considered purchases, taking more touchpoints to complete than previous months & years.
This is where your email strategy comes in, forming part of an omnichannel approach that is key to nurturing the modern, cost-conscious consumer.
Leveraging email personalisation
Any email marketer knows the importance of personalisation when creating effective copy and visual content.
2024 shoppers, however, will expect more than just their first name in the subject line. AI-driven content blocks should drive curated product selections, delivering personalisation to not only user segments but also individual users themselves.
In this evolving digital landscape, consumers expect businesses to take the hard work out of product discovery and comparison. Dynamic content can help to serve the most relevant products to your audience, increasing effectiveness and also taking out the guesswork when it comes to campaign creation.
AI enhancement can be leveraged for copy too, for example, helping you to analyse the best subject lines to maximise your open rates and increasing value within written copy – all whilst streamlining the creation and writing process.*
*A note from me about using AI to create content – there are pros and cons and it needs to be used in the right way. Your copy should be human, relevant and on-brand. Whilst AI can help with minor details and optimisation, overall campaign copy still needs a good copywriter to inform the campaign and seed any text.
Using randomly AI-generated text that isn’t relevant to your business and doesn’t read like a human wrote it will likely harm your engagement rates, so be smart with how you use these tools. They are not a replacement for human effort, but a tool to enhance and streamline.
Increased demand for privacy control
Long gone are the days when we’d put up with endless spam in the inbox (I fondly remember at one point having 90k unread Yahoo emails). Consumers expect to have full control over their privacy and the ability to update their preferences at any time, without faff.
It should be as easy as possible for your email users to unsubscribe, even encouraged… Say whaaat?!
OK, losing subs is miserable, but if you want to streamline your efforts and improve KPIs for your business (like open rates and spam complaints) it’s time to embrace privacy centres for your users and the practice of data cleansing.
Put it this way, if you worked in a garage selling cars, would you rather have one hundred tyre kickers that came solely for the free coffee, or one ready-to-buy customer that is definitely going to take a motor off your forecourt?
The higher the quality of your subscriber lists, the more you can rely on your metrics, testing and resulting strategy changes – resulting in more effective campaigns.
Marketers spending their time effectively are no longer painstakingly re-writing separate content blocks for various audience segments, but instead capitalising on increased automation and AI functionality.
The secret sauce to success lies in workflow automation planning and optimisation. Your workflows should nurture a user through the customer journey and down the funnel. From welcome discounts to cart-abandon notifications, leverage your data by setting up optimal workflows to maximise results.
Automation not only helps you to get better results and save time for your business, but in tandem with personalisation, it will help buyers to stay on track, engaged and informed.
Food for thought
I have my own opinions about AI. It’s dominating the media at the moment and the marketing sector, often viewed as an easy way out and a black-hat silver bullet.
I think that AI should only ever be used as a supplement to our existing marcomms and strategy planning, making our jobs a little easier and leaving time for us to mull over the big stuff.
Now isn’t the time to give up and hand over to the email robots, but instead to capitalise on smart functionality, give recipients what they want, and stay a step ahead of the competition.
At Affinity, we’re experts in email marketing, and we’ve helped many businesses over the years transform their email strategy. Whether you need a complete strategy overhaul or just a few tips to get you started, we can help. Start a chat or contact us today to speak to our team.