How email marketing changed in 2020
It’s been quite a year. 2020 had an extraordinary impact on the way we lived, worked and interacted, and saw companies changing up their marketing strategies for the better. These trends reflect the ways that successful marketeers adapted to the needs of readers, taking a more considered approach and adding value to stay relevant. So what changes did 2020 see, and will these email marketing trends continue into 2021?
Readers were more engaged
This year, we spent a lot more time scrolling. As audiences relied on the digital world for news updates, entertainment and a sense of social connection, it’s not surprising that email engagement was up in almost every industry. Readers looked to brands they trusted, and the most successful treated inboxes to new content formats – recipes, wellness tips, fitness videos, community stories and supportive messages in place of commercial messages.
Text was more thoughtful
Copywriters worked harder to be sensitive during times of such upheaval. A warmer, calmer tone of voice replaced urgent calls to buy. Companies were more mindful of their word choices, as phrases like “essential”, “must have” and “survival guide” took on a new meaning this year.
“email engagement was up in almost every industry”
Plain text challenged HTML
Brands started experimenting with plain text emails over slick, flashy HTML that’s clearly identifiable as marketing material. The jury is still out on whether plain text has longevity. However, it has clear benefits - likening commercial communications to personal notes from friends and family, saving space in our inboxes and loading quickly without images. GatherContent’s newsletter does it especially well.
Sending times changed
Pre-2020, optimal sending times were during office hours from Monday to Thursday, when readers looked for a distraction during their workday. Now in work-from-home mode, (and already a little distracted!), hours are more flexible and office hours are less relevant. Sending on Mondays and Fridays worked well in 2020, however all industries and subscribers are different, so testing is more important than ever.
“Sending on Mondays and Fridays worked well in 2020”
User-generated was on the rise
As brands found creative ways to communicate in more engaging ways, 2020 saw a trend for making user-generated features of newsletters. These took the form of pull quotes from customer reviews, interactive polls or rating elements, as well as images and videos created by readers – a clever way to get more mileage from user-generated social media content.
This year has been a turning point for many individuals and companies. As the world slowly returns to the next phase of new normality, it will be interesting to see how email marketing will be in 2021 and beyond. Which 2020 trends will last? Which will be confined to this one, strange year? Whatever happens, we’ll keep you updated via the EdenFrost blog and – naturally - via our own friendly little newsletter.