Top 8 Email Marketing Trends in 2022

Illustrator: Xelon XLF
email marketing trends 2022

In the marketing world, emails get branded obsolete each year, and by the end of each year, people start talking about new email marketing trends set to dominate the next one.  

This has been a trend in itself. Email marketing works, and it works best when you have a laid-out strategy that doesn't come across as an afterthought. Knowing what to expect and how customer preferences will change in the coming months gives brands a huge advantage over their competitors. 

So we're following the trend as well by listing down the top 8 email marketing trends that'll dictate how your marketing strategy fares in 2022. 

1. Personalization Beyond the Name

Our inboxes are bombarded with irrelevant, spam emails every day, so the only way brands can stand out is by customizing the email copy to the recipient's needs. Luckily, most marketers have moved past the "dear reader" phase of email marketing. However, personalization in email goes way beyond just knowing the names. 

Here's why hyper-personalization is so important for emails to succeed in 2022:

  • Ninety-three percent of B2B marketers consider email personalization a key metric for revenue growth (Statista).
  • Sixty-six percent of customers expect their favorite brands to know what they need (Salesforce).
  • Seventy-two percent of consumers prefer to only interact with emails that are specifically targeted towards them (SmarterHQ).

These numbers tell us that consumers are well aware of the power of personalized emails, and they're not willing to settle for half-baked, poorly written emails anymore. From a brand's point of view, personalized emails lead to a better click-through rate (CTR) and more revenue. 

If you're targeting high ticket B2B clients, start by building your most qualified customer base. Next, spend time researching them and find their pain points or recent developments in the organization. Then, personalize your email to show how your product can be relevant to what they're looking for and end with a great call to action that gives the recipient a direction. 

On the B2C front, here's how Grammarly stays in touch with me each week by showing personalized usage statistics. 

2. Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, and Automation 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the buzzword in nearly every industry so far, and it'll make its presence felt in emails in 2022. 

Intelligence tools will become a big part of email marketing because of the many data points brands need to consider today. Having a large pool of consumer data leads to nothing unless you cannot turn them into actionable and repeatable insights. And this is where AI comes into the picture. Using AI tools, you can process a large chunk of data, build better analytics, follow customer trends, and predict user actions.

But that's not where the impact ends. AI can help in list segmentation, one of the most underutilized elements of email campaigns. Segmentation allows you to test your emails by creating smaller groups of recipients who share the same background or characteristics. AI can comb through the data to build segmented lists for you to target. 

On top of that, AI can be used in email drip campaigns and cover the touchpoints for an extended period of time. By combining machine learning and AI, you can also build chatbots for emails to improve automation. Chatbots are one of the few elements of email marketing that also work outside of the email body. You can use chatbots as a lead generation tool by adding them to ungated content. Based on user response, the chatbots can prompt visitors to receive communications via email for better deals. 

These are only a few ways AI can upgrade the email experience under the hood. With proper execution, it might create subject lines as well! Judging by the possibilities, it's safe to say 2022 is the year to join the AI bandwagon for email marketers. 

3. User-Generated Content in Emails

The only thing better than creating your own content is using the content created by your users. And most of the time, it's free!

User-generated content (UGC) is showing great results because customers trust a brand when they see a diverse group of people enjoying their products. This takes the same philosophy of testimonials and product reviews that we see on websites and brings to the email body. 

UGC can be text reviews, videos tutorials, GIFS, images, and even podcasts. You can add UGC to build trust with cold prospects, offer additional value to new users, and turn qualified customers into champions of your brand. On top of that, UGC is a great way to promote omnichannel marketing by pushing recipients to check your social media content.

Source: Really Good Emails

UGC works the best in B2C because you get a lot of visual elements to play with, but that doesn't mean B2B email marketers cannot utilize user-generated content to their full potential. Sometimes, all a confused lead needs is a detailed review of the product from another customer before making a decision.

4. Interactive Emails

For far too long, recipients have been treated with simple email texts that look uninspired at best. But with a new competitor in every corner, brands need to up their game when it comes to user experience. Interactive emails grew in popularity in 2021, and they’re going to be widely used in 2022 as well.

According to Kapost, interactive emails can create 2X more conversions than passive content. These emails take the essence of the UGC and improve engagement with various types of scrollable and clickable content without opening a browser window. 

You can create an interactive email by including:

  • Surveys, polls, and quizzes to gather user insights;
  • Slideshows and carousels of curated products;
  • Rollover images to give a rich shopping experience within the email;
  • UGC to establish reliability;
  • Animated CTAs to encourage people to check the landing page.

Adding UGC and interactive content is part of the email gamification strategy that focuses on the cycle of engagement, rewards, and competition. By encouraging people to more than just scan the emails, marketers will be able to drive engagement and loyalty.

5. Newsletter Campaigns

It's no secret that newsletters form the core of email marketing. But we often see brands giving up on their newsletter campaigns midway because they're unable to find its impact on direct sales. In 2022, brands might not get away with this. 

Newsletters are a major part of drip campaigns, and they help nurture leads, warm up cold customers and create an authentic brand image. The secret to writing professional emails is to know who you're writing for and what purpose the email serves. When done right, newsletters are a cost-effective way to retain customers and promote products without coming across as too “salesy.” 

You can send weekly or monthly newsletters that round up news and events from your industry, unique tips, brand story or just good old thought leadership content. 

Newsletter issues are a long-term strategy, and you might not see their impact until you stop sending them altogether. In the post-pandemic world, creative and empathetic email newsletters have found great success, and we expect this to be one of the email marketing trends to look out for in 2022.

6. Minimalism in Emails

Emails were perceived in separate, often straightforward marketing silos until omnichannel marketing came along. With so much promotional noise and so little attention span, consumers find it hard to keep track of new developments. The best way to stay relevant is by creating a strong brand presence that's consistent across marketing collaterals. 

That means the brand aesthetics should reflect in your website, videos, social media, and emails. The big design trend that's taking over the internet is minimalism. People want cleaner, shorter, and well-formatted emails that are easier to read. 

Think of these emails as a part of the digital detox movement. To create emails with minimalist design, use a lot of white space, write short paragraphs, and select a mellowed color palette. 

Another email UX trend that's worth exploring is plain text. The generic texts without visuals are a good way to avoid distractions, and interchanging them with a visual copy might be a good way to keep things fresh. Also, use a professional email signature to create a positive association with yourself.

Minimalism and plain text emails may sound contradictory to the spirit of interactive emails, but brands need to use both the trends to capitalize on varying customer emotions and different marketing seasons.

7. Mobile Accessibility

According to a Statista report, fifty-four point eight percent of global internet traffic comes from smartphones. On top of that, almost seventy percent of people use mobile devices for product research. In the last few years, marketers have tried to make their content flow nicely in different formats, and the impact is now visible in emails.

But 2022 will see continued adoption of mobile-responsive emails that don't push recipients to open a browser window. People who are used to seeing well-formatted, mobile-friendly designs will no longer read poorly crafted emails. Since a good number of emails are already optimized for the vertical screen, it forces others to optimize emails for mobiles as well. So we'll be close to complete mobile-friendliness in email marketing in the coming months.

On top of being easy to scan on handheld devices, email copy should be easy to read on the go. Ever since dark mode went mainstream a couple of years back, content marketers have found it hard to make emails responsive in different color palettes. 

But in 2022, you'll need emails that read well in both light and dark mode. Make sure to use high-contrast text and visuals that play nicely on a dark background. You can even add a dark mode toggle to give recipients the flexibility to choose their own format. Considering the fact that almost eighty-two percent of users use dark mode on their phones, you'll be doing their eyes and your brand a huge favor. 

8. Privacy in Focus

After GDPR was introduced, email marketing trends along the privacy line went through big changes. Marketers now have to embed privacy and consent right into their strategies to comply with ever-evolving laws and regulations. However, restricting yourself solely to GDPR and PCI compliance will not yield great results in 2022. 

Only twenty-one percent of consumers trust major companies with their data, showing there's still a lot of work to do. You need to be transparent about how you collect data and communicate the process to the email subscribers. Using double opt-in, respecting opt-out requests, and not being invasive are good points to start with. You'll be surprised to know how many customers prefer honesty over hard-sell. 

Speaking of privacy, in 2022, the new Apple policy update has rendered email open rates useless. The email content with the tracker pixel is loaded even before a user opens emails in iOS and macOS devices which makes tracking a difficult task. Marketers need to pivot to more organic tracking methods like time-based triggers and consent metrics. You need to optimize the best times to send emails to your audience for this to succeed. 

By using chatbots and automation, marketers can create a follow-up email strategy that can be triggered when a user takes a certain action. 

Summing Up

Email marketing trends in 2022 will revolve around creating meaningful customer experiences with the help of a drawn-out marketing strategy. Different mediums will come together to deliver a cohesive brand value that people love and support. At the same time, we'll see innovative use of AI and chatbots to enrich lead generation and customer support strategies.