What does the future hold for email marketing? What's going to happen in the next year and beyond? As we crack open this brand-new 2023, let's go and find out. Here are our predictions for email marketing in 2023.
Be warned - some of these things might change the way you view your marketing. Ready to get planning for an explosive 2023?
SOME EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:
(0:13) Come and talk to us inside our FREE Facebook group.
(4:07) The importance of having a direct line with your customers.
(8:32) The tech in email is going to improve.
(10:07) AI writing tools will get smarter.
(14:17) Readership of email on mobile devices is going to continue to grow.
(15:10) More businesses will make email marketing their top priority.
(17:38) The introduction of algorithms for individual inboxes.
(19:38) People who don't take email marketing seriously will be left behind.
(21:04 ) Want to learn how to make email marketing work for you in 2023 and beyond?
(21:38) Subject line of the week.
The first shift we see happening when it comes to email marketing in 2023 is the fact that having a direct line with your customers is going to become more important than ever. Why? Because the social media algorithms are going to continue to throttle organic reach in favour of ads, which are getting a lot more real estate on those platforms. Advertising costs continue to increase because social media platforms have limited space and inventory to display ads.
With more and more businesses advertising and usership going down as people switch to other platforms, we've definitely seen a huge shift over the past few years. Take Facebook, for example. We all used to see a lot more posts from our friends and only a few ads from big companies. But now the balance has tipped in favour of ads because that's how the platforms make their money. And the reach for organic social posting is pitifully low.
We knew it was tough before, but if you put great value out there, back then you could go viral. And if you decided to run ads, the return was a lot higher. Still, not as high as the return for email marketing, which is about $80-$90 for every $1 you spend. So having that direct line where you can talk to your customers through a channel that you own (email) and lands directly onto their phones is going to be super important.
In a nutshell, with demand for advertising being at an all-time high, social media has become an unpredictably unscalable business. But there's no scalability issue with email because every single person who is on your list can have a one-way conversation with you. You have as much space in their inbox as they’re willing to give you. At any point, they can choose to unsubscribe, but until then, you can have a back-and-forth conversation with your audience.
Another prediction for email marketing in 2023 is to do with tech. In the next few years, technology is going to allow us to put more and more interactive elements into emails, such as surveys and videos. And it's going to become more accessible too.
As a result, more people are going to be attracted to the world of email marketing because of the Shiny Object Syndrome phenomenon. In fairness, email hasn't evolved much from a tech perspective for a long time - not much has changed in terms of what's possible. So the changes will come in.
But we're not convinced that the advancement in tech is going to be a phenomenal idea. Because email has one job to do. And that's to deepen the relationship with your customers and get them to click on the links in your emails to take some sort of action (either to register for something or to buy from you).
And we're not sure that the ability to put more into your emails is going to help you make more sales. In fact, it might become a form of distraction for both marketers and their subscribers. In other words, just because we can do more, should we?
One of the things that are going to improve in the tech space is Artificial Intelligence - AI writing tools are definitely going to become smarter. We did some testing of existing tools earlier this year, and the results weren't great. But as the software does get better, more people will start to use AI tools and automate more of their email marketing.
Introducing more automation is obviously an attractive proposition, but is it really going to serve you? Because, in a world where algorithms are writing emails, your personality is what's going to stand out. Things written by an algorithm are going pale in comparison to a human-written email that has your personality.
When people get our emails, they often tell us they can hear our voices in their heads as they read - it's a psychological thing called subvocalization. People read things and 'hear voices in their heads' (not in a bad way). But no one wants to hear the voice of a robot when they read your emails!
If you want to find out more about what we have to say about AI, go check out the episode Write Emails Using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
We can’t argue with the fact that AI software is going to get better. But the one thing we can’t see happening in the next 5 years or so is for it to be able to completely emulate your personality. Because we can't train an AI tool to know your personality!
One of the most effective techniques in our email marketing philosophy is to base your emails around stories of quirky things that have happened to you in the last 24 hours or around interesting facts about you. You can't train an AI tool to know these stories and anecdotes about you! Also, while these tools can write individual emails for you, they're struggling to connect them into sequences to build a campaign.
In a nutshell, if you want to stand out in someone's inbox and want people to resonate with you and buy from you, you want your personality to shine through your emails. And that means not having AI tools write emails for you.
Another thing we predict is going to happen is that readership of email on mobile devices is going to continue to grow. There used to be a time when people would read emails on desktop and use their phones more for social media, but that's no longer the case. People check their emails when they're connected to their mobile devices.
So what does that mean for us as email marketers? It means we need to be conscious of the fact that when people click on a link, they'll view the page on their device. That's also where the shopping cart will be. So we need to focus on the mobile consumption of email because people are on the move and are busier than ever. Email must be treated like another social media channel.
We also predict that in 2023, people who had previously made email marketing a low priority (or no priority at all) will make it their highest priority. This is something we've already noticed over the last year or so.
Having started email marketing about 18 years ago, we probably have an unfair advantage. But back then, there was no other way of creating an audience - social media platforms didn't even exist! When they did appear on the market, they distracted people from email marketing, which, in comparison, seemed complicated and difficult. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter certainly seemed a lot more user-friendly!
But now that organic reach has taken a nose dive in favour of advertising, we've started to see a shift in people realising that email is important. So they want a way to make it work. And rather than it being something they ignore, email marketing is going to be something to focus on.
And this is phenomenal for those who choose to prioritise email marketing and do it the right way. Because with email marketing (as opposed to social media) you own the data. And the insight you can get can have a hugely positive impact on your business.
Another thing we see happening in 2023 and beyond is the introduction of algorithms for individual inboxes. At the moment, the way your emails are placed in someone’s inbox (in the Primary folder, the Promotion one, Spam, or the Socials tab) is done on a reputational level. This means that if you're doing things right and have a good reputation as a sender, you'll get better placement in people's inboxes.
But Gmail and other platforms will be looking at an individual level at the interaction and engagement that a user has with the emails you send. So how your emails are placed in someone's inbox is going to be based on a one-to-one relationship. This means you might be getting primary placement in someone's inbox but never in someone else's. And it all depends on their engagement with you (based on the algorithm for that inbox).
This means we need to pay extra attention to deepening the relationship with our readers. And this becomes easier to do when you build a list of people who want to be there, so they want to hear from you and be part of your world. This also means you don't have to worry about unsubscribes or having the biggest list in the world anymore. You don’t even have to worry about whether you’re emailing your list too much. You're not bombarding them because those people want to be there. So within the confines of that relationship, you can send as many emails as you want.
In a nutshell, people who don't take email marketing seriously in 2023 and beyond are going to be left behind. Because sales rely on email marketing. And while we've all come across a handful of people who managed to build a massive audience on social media, there aren't many of those!
Plus, while they built that audience on social media (and that's what they teach), they most probably also use email marketing to sell to them. Because email marketing and social media work together and amplify the effects of each. In other words, you want to get people to your social media from your list and from your list to your social media. Because as a business, being 3D and being everywhere really helps. So the harsh reality is that people will be left behind unless they jump onto the email marketing wagon.
If you’re not already a member of The League and want access to all the resources, campaigns, and training you need in order to turn your email marketing into an engine that produces sales for you day in and day out, go and check out the details and make email marketing work for you in 2023 and beyond.
This week’s subject line is “The right way to make more money from every customer.” And it’s not a brilliant subject line, but it works.
At first, you might think it’s good, and that's because it has a benefit in it. It also has intrigue and curiosity because it uses the phrase “the right way”. So instantly people have questions about what the right or wrong way might be. It definitely makes people wonder.
But at the same time, it’s not a great subject line because (as we always say) we tend to avoid benefit-driven subject lines. And in a way, that's probably why this one worked well for us. Because it was just one benefit-driven subject line we use in a sea of other types of subject lines.
If anything, this proves that when you get into too much of a routine, your subscribers become used to it. So when you suddenly do something differently, it’s like a pattern interrupt that grabs their attention. Normally, our subject lines are more abstract and quirky – they’re different. So when you use something more traditional, it works. In other words, we did everything opposite to what we normally do for one or two emails, and that's what helped us get more attention from people.
If you want to write better emails, come up with better content, and move your readers to click and buy, here's how. We put together this list of our Top 10 most highly recommended books that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we happened upon, which have been game-changing for us). Grab your FREE list here.
If you want to chat about how you can maximise the value of your email list and make more money from every subscriber, we can help! We know your business is different, so come and hang out in our FREE Facebook group, the Email Marketing Show Community for Course Creators and Coaches. We share a lot of training and resources, and you can talk about what you're up to.
This week's episode is sponsored by ResponseSuite.com, the survey quiz and application form tool that we created specifically for small businesses like you to integrate with your marketing systems to segment your subscribers and make more sales. Try it out for 14 days for just $1.
Not sick of us yet? Every day we hang out in our amazing community of Email Marketing Heroes. We share all of our training and campaigns and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you're looking to learn how to use psychology-driven marketing to level up your email campaigns, come and check out The League Membership. It's the number one place to hang out and grow your email marketing. Best news yet? You can apply everything we talk about in this show.
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