As anyone with an in-box knows, email marketing has not died, though many thought it would. Instead, it has evolved. We agree with Campaign Monitor (CM), which says here, “Email marketing is smarter and stronger than ever and is being used to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.” That’s great news for financial services marketers (like us) who understand that it’s nowhere near time to abandon this time-tested and trusted channel. Instead, it’s time to get more creative with it.
More than ever, email marketing is informed by data, helped by automation and boosted by both strong copy and smart design. These enhancements – driven largely by the need to compete for a crucial couple of seconds of consumer attention – make the tactic a top performer for many brand marketers. And according to Campaign Monitor, these seven email marketing predictions (quoted directly from the experts CM assembled) will ensure that the channel keeps working hard campaign after campaign:
- Data-driven marketing will rule.
- Mobile payments will come to inboxes.
- There will be a revolution in email design.
- There will be an evolution of marketing automation.
- Behavioral data will help marketers dominate their competition.
- An email address won’t be enough.
- Email KPIs will go beyond open and click.
In other words: email marketing is going even deeper. Right. Now. And financial services marketers, who already gather behavioral intel and can access highly detailed customer data, are among those best positioned to take the channel to the next level. So! Based on the experts’ predictions, here are specific areas where bank and credit union marketers ought to keep watch if they want to accelerate the utility – and creativity – of this important marketing channel:
We know you hear it all the time: the financial services industry moves slowly. When it comes to email marketing, financial brands need to challenge that notion. Litmus’ Chad White, author of the first prediction – Data-driven marketing will rule – says “’Set it and forget it’ is dead.” He believes marketers will “regularly recalibrate their data intelligence” and “routinely update and optimize their automated emails for great engagement.” Consider this a creative challenge instead of a cultural one. It conveniently contains the built-in benefit of “test and learn.”
Consider what else email can do.
Right now, most email marketing CTAs involve a click-through to a web page where customers can consider an offer or access an account. But Trendline’s Alex Williams – who predicts mobile payments will come to inboxes – says, “Native, fingerprint-based integration SDK for Gmail/Apple Mail on mobile that will allow 1-click confirmation/payment from email in 2017.” That’s an important one for FS brands to think about, but don’t stop with payments. How can you use the 1-click concept to speed up other transactions? How can you use it solidify customer relationships? What do your customers need at their fingertips and on-the-go?
Collect customer data from new sources (and revisit old sources).
CM’s Andrea Wildt, author of prediction #5 above, says, “Marketers will start to integrate customers’ behavioral information from new devices. Google Home and Amazon Echo are just the tip of the iceberg of new devices [with which] customers are sharing their likes, dislikes, and other behavioral data. Marketers can … incorporate [it] into their marketing strategies.” The author of prediction #4, Daniel Codella, predicts that another key data source will be email service providers, who he says will learn to shape and optimize data into “pre-packaged customer journey” templates.
And Jordie Van Rijn (Email Monday), author of prediction #6, thinks what’s old will be new again. Specifically, tools like sign-up forms. He says, “In the past marketers tried to collect heaps of information when someone signed up or joined a list. Then the pendulum swung the other way, and in an effort to remove barriers to signing up, marketers began only collecting email addresses.” Now, with “subscribers demanding targeted and relevant content, he believes these forms will “collect more valuable information.” For FS marketers this may mean not only having the right message ready at the right time but also knowing what questions to ask and where to ask them.
Don’t settle for click-through-rates.
CM’s Ros Hodgekiss predicts more sophisticated KPIs both in terms of attribution and timing. She says, “As we see email further integrate with other marketing and analytics platforms, I predict that more marketers – and not just engineers – will be able to determine ROI, but also see how email is influencing repeat purchases, renewal rates, feature adoption and more.” Your email – the very one you’re deploying now or maybe the next one – may be the one that finally convinces a customer to sign up for mobile alerts or that reminds customers of an offer (a-ha!) they saw in-branch and spurs them to go online to activate it. New capabilities will not only help connect these dots but also spawn campaign ideas that emphasize the nurturing half of the conversion equation.