A young woman sits at a table in front of an open laptop and looks off to one side with a smile. Behind her are several large plants, some potted and some in hanging baskets. More plants in pots and baskets sit on the table around her. The woman has short dark hair and wears overalls over a long-sleeved moss green shirt.
You can't personalize every email, but you can make your customers feel special by sending rewards and deals through targeted emails based on interest level and company loyalty. — Getty Images/Xavier Lorenzo

According to data from HubSpot, 77% of marketers report increased engagement with customers via email over the last year. Email remains one of the most powerful ways to promote your business. It’s also a communication channel that’s constantly evolving. As you plan your next campaign, consider how these new email marketing trends can improve your open and conversion rates.

Use AI to come up with email topics and content

Artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly in the headlines as tech companies experiment with using AI for everything from flipping burgers to writing rap music. Perhaps one of the better use cases for AI is helping small business marketing teams create content for their email campaigns. Tools like Google’s Bard and Open AI’s ChatGPT can be used as “content assistants” that generate topic ideas for blog posts, draft email subject lines, or simplify long text. A recent study found that 95% of marketers who use generative AI for email creation rate it “effective,” with 54% rating it “very effective.”

[Read more: Keep It Quirky: 5 Small Business Owners Share Their Best Email Marketing Tips]

Focus on quality over quantity

No one likes to be bombarded with email messages; in the case of email marketing, fewer really is better. An extensive study from ​​GetResponse found that companies that send fewer than five newsletter emails per week receive higher open and click rates.

Focus on creating content that truly adds value to your audience. Emails should be personalized to each individual and hyper-targeted based on your customer segmentation strategy. Go beyond simply adding the subscriber’s first name in the salutation and craft emails that speak specifically to the recipient’s interests.

Consistency is also key. “Someone joins your email list because they want to hear from you. If you consistently send them helpful content, they will come to expect—and even look forward to—your emails,” wrote The Fool.

[Read more: How to Plan a Drip Email Campaign]

Perhaps one of the better use cases for AI is helping small business marketing teams create content for their email campaigns.

Understand Apple’s privacy changes

In 2021, Apple launched its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in an effort to give users more control over their data. This policy applies to all Apple Mail users on iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and iPadOS 15; as of June 2022, 89% of iPhone users have adopted iOS 15. It’s safe to assume that many of your customers are now receiving emails subject to Apple’s MPP rules.

The headline when it comes to the MPP is that some traditional email marketing metrics, such as email open rate, click-to-open rate, and individual email data are no longer as reliable as they once were. A/B testing results may also be somewhat impacted. Instead, focus on engagement metrics, such as return on investment (ROI), list growth compared with unsubscribe rate, email forwards, and email replies.

Test everything

Email marketing is getting more and more sophisticated. Today’s email marketing tools allow you to get granular and test every detail of your campaign. Try A/B testing your subject line, email content, and CTA buttons to see how the design and copy of your email change your engagement rates.

In addition, consider testing these elements outside of each individual email message to see how well your sales funnel is performing.

  • Forms: See which offers generate the most sign-ups.
  • Landing pages: See which pages convert.
  • Series: See what cart abandonment reminders or welcome emails garner the most engagement.

Make sure you test your design to see if it loads correctly on a mobile device and is accessible to all customers—even those visually impaired. Testing constantly also helps you avoid spam filters.

Make your subscribers feel like VIPs

Getting someone to open your email is only half the battle. The whole goal of email marketing is to foster strong customer loyalty—and that requires treating each customer like a VIP.

“One of the biggest perks customers can receive from subscribing to a newsletter is gaining exclusive access to deals, joining some kind of reward program, or being the first to learn about new products,” wrote Buffer.

Your targeting strategy should segment your customers into different loyalty groups, rather than by demographics. Use your email to nurture customers into high fidelity; offer discounts, previews, and other special access in order to make each customer feel special.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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