The challenges email marketers face in 2018 and how to overcome them

Contributor EJ McGowan shares what roadblocks email marketers are hitting and offers suggestions to improve content, integrate with other channels and keep ahead of legal problems.

The challenges email marketers face in 2018 and how to overcome them

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on last year’s campaigns and set achievable goals for the year to come. Toward the end of 2017, my company surveyed 506 of our customers to get a sense of the year’s challenges and successes and to uncover areas that are ripe for growth in 2018.

Here are three easy-to-maintain tips and suggestions for growing email’s reach this year, based on what we learned.

1. Adapt programs to keep subscribers interested and motivated

Marketers find it increasingly challenging to capture subscribers’ attention. The majority of email marketers (59 percent) found a top challenge in growing open rates in 2017. Additionally, 41 percent struggled to create compelling content for their campaigns. As consumer habits continuously change, marketers must adapt their programs to growing trends to keep consumers motivated and loyal and to increase ROI.

Marketers should utilize A/B split testing to fine-tune messages and subject lines to catch subscribers’ attention and increase open rates. When crafting subject lines, try playing off current events and social trends to add a timely twist and pique the interest of subscribers.

For example, create dynamic content that changes to reflect each subscriber’s local region, climate or time zone. By using current and relevant news and events, marketers can create interesting and relevant emails for all age groups, which can also be used to increase brand engagement.

2. Set campaigns up for success with appealing content and integration

It’s important to have content integrated across all platforms to create engaging campaigns. In 2017, email marketers aced social media integration, with only 10 percent reporting it as a top challenge. To no one’s surprise, social media giant Facebook captured the interest of most digital marketers, with 48 percent choosing to invest most in it for 2018.

To create in-depth campaigns, make integration a top resolution. With 27 percent of marketers already utilizing video and 31 percent eyeing landing pages to boost ROI, use these integrations to increase engagement with customers. For an added in-store integration, use QR codes that link to landing pages with special discounts and promotions.

3. Plan for potential roadblocks: Keep an eye on regulations

Don’t forget, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on May 25, 2018, and — contrary to widely held misconceptions — will affect American marketers. This mandate can cost businesses more than 20 million euro in fines if they are not compliant, but 84 percent of email marketers we surveyed are unsure of how GDPR will affect their business. This mandate is already causing a global effect, and Australia is reportedly looking to implement similar statutes.

Marketers should take time to read up on global regulations to ensure they’re not breaking any laws. One suggestion: Adding a form field during the subscription process to ask subscribers their location can help businesses stay in line with local country laws and better personalize emails by location.

Marketers can take advantage of 2018’s fresh start by taking these steps to build stronger, more captivating email marketing programs. It is important that they set goals to make steps toward growing their brands. By fully utilizing all available tools, integrating campaigns across all platforms and eyeing new regulations, marketers can expand their reach and make this year their best one yet.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

EJ McGowan is the general manager of Campaigner at j2 Global, a cloud services, unified communications, and digital media company. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the software industry with expertise in building highly available, scalable SaaS-based solutions.

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