With the rise of social media it may seem that email is on the way out but it is in fact stronger than ever. Tim Watson, founder of Zettasphere, a digital email marketing consultancy, has this to say about the strength of email marketing:

"The email channel is alive and very strong; I believe smartphones have helped email hugely as it makes email a 24-7 always on channel with users checking emails multiple times per hour. This has supported the levels of email we see today. Just recently Instagram turned to email to drive user engagement back to their social network, adding a ‘highlights’ email. Facebook send more email worldwide than any other single brand...When the social networks turn to email to drive their business you must believe it’s strong."

Effective email marketing is one of the top priorities for many companies today. This is because email marketing still delivers higher sales volumes than either social media or display.

We are now half-way through 2015 and these are the email marketing trends to pay attention to:

Innovative Email Layouts

Now that responsive design has more or less become standard, businesses must take it one step beyond. Most people are now switching between devices all day long. Emails are often read on the go. For this reason, trends in email design have shifted towards simple, straightforward messaging with a focus on images and text. Marketers are also focusing on the way different devices utilize colour, backlighitng, and other built-in capabilities.

From a coding standpoint, this means that we will be seeing increased support for HTML5 and CSS. For example, Microsoft Outlook users will see gave a radically different experience depending on the viewing environment. On the web users will see basic static layout but on mobile devices users will see different versions of emails with more animation and scrolling. From the perspective of users, this will give them the impression that your company is technologically savvy and progressive. Also if the formatting of an email is off users will not think twice about deleting it.

Double Opt-in

This is method, also known as blank email opt-in, lets recipients opt into a company's email program by sending a blank email to a designated email address. Sending a blank email will trigger an opt-in confirmation request email that asks the user to confirm their subscription. The only thing the user has to do is click a link in order to confirm. Email marketing expert Chad White thinks that 'it's slightly easier than signing up for email via SMS because it requires fewer keystrokes; and it keeps the email signup process entirely within the inbox, which simplifies the process and increases opt-in confirmations.'

Double opt-in might seem counter-intuitive since it requires people to take an extra step in order to subscribe to an email list. Double opt-in is a form of permission-based marketers that asks users and customers to make a commitment. Moreover, double opt-in is great method for businesses or organization that deliver any kind of controversial or polarizing message.

Location-Specific

Not only are emails often read on mobile devices, said devices are also location savvy. The iPhone, for example, has the passbook feature which gives its users location-specific information. Matthew Evans from Pure360 believes that 'location demographics allow you to refer to events, landmarks or stores which are most relevant to a specific segment of users... this can also help drive footfall to your offline stores.'

It is imperative that email marketers use these technologies to the fullest extent possible. Location-specific email marketing adds a more local and even personal touch to email marketing. Users will feel like businesses and organizations are in touch with their community, events and overall day-to-day lives. This will ultimately give businesses a slight edge in customers' inboxes.

Conclusion

The aforementioned email marketing trends have been around for a while, but it is only now in 2015 that we get to see trends like location-specific marketing, double opt-in and innovative email layouts used to their fullest extent. Ultimately, these trends are big because they are effective for acquiring and retaining customers. This means profit and ROI.

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