Email marketing can be overwhelming, so to help out, here are the top automotive email marketing trends for 2021. Email marketing has evolved a lot in the past 40 years and continues to evolve today.
When you’re writing and designing email creative, there’s a lot to consider. First you need to think about the audience you’re trying to reach. By that, we mean what “voice” will you use to speak to your audience? Do your images fit your target audience?
You need to know how your content will be seen and rendered on various email clients. You must be aware how it will be received by spam filters. There’s a lot more, that short list is just scratching the surface. You can see how it’s easy to get overwhelmed!
Making content that aligns with current email marketing trends and best practices doesn’t have to be difficult. In order to make content creation easier, here are some trends and tips to help improve your email marketing in 2021. Read on for some of this year’s biggest email marketing trends!
Automotive email marketing: Compelling subject lines
Email marketing trends have to start with subject lines. They’re the first thing your audience sees. They need to be attention-grabbing. A subject line’s main goal is to get the recipient to open the email. One thing you can do is add personalization to subject lines. Adding a personalized touch, like putting the recipient’s name in the subject line, makes it over 20% more likely to be opened.
You can also add a question to your headline to pique your audience’s interest. If you ask a question, like “Want to know more?” your recipient might want to know the answer, which makes them more likely to open your email. It’s another great way to keep your audience engaged.
Watch your email frequency
One of the big complaints from consumers is too much email! Email marketers sometimes focus on their unsubscribe rates. If they don’t get too many unsubscribes they keep ratcheting up frequency. One problem with that approach is that it doesn’t account for engagement of the recipient. Some people will unsubscribe, some will simply ignore email. A good automotive email marketing agency can help with recommendations and best practice.
Email spam triggers
Spam triggers are the bane of any email content writer. In order to avoid triggering spam filters, try to avoid all-capital, pushy calls to action like “ACT NOW!”
Putting pressure on your audience can make them less likely to engage with your email, anyway. Other direct words you can avoid are “Action,” “Apply Now,” “Don’t Delete,” or “Offer Expires SOON!” Typos in email subject lines can also trigger spam filters.
Another good tip for avoiding spam triggers is moderation. If your email contains too many numbers, punctuation marks or images, then it is more likely to be flagged as spam. We aim for a ratio of 50% text to 50% images.
Automotive email marketing trends: missing images
Another thing to watch: What does your email look like without images?
Here’s a screen shot of an automotive marketing email we received. Notice the red rectangle pointing out the notification: “To protect your privacy, some pictures in this message were not downloaded.”
It’s a security setting in Microsoft Outlook. Many people use this setting. In this case, this email has nothing for the recipient to read! It has been estimated that over a third of Outlook users enable this setting.
This email is a wasted marketing effort. In this particular case, this emailer has been using this same format for over a year. Avoid sending emails that are entirely imaged-based.
Check your emails and build them to be effective with and without images.
Another trick is to always use alt text with images. That way if images don’t download, hopefully the alt text that describes that image will be visible.
Here’s another trick: if you use tables in your email’s HTML coding, and you embed images inside cells, give the cells a background color that emulates the image. That way the recipient will notice different colored rectangles and “see” something is missing.
To make your email easier to read, include some blank space around your images and text. This keeps your email from looking too cluttered.
As always, test.
Emojis in subject lines
A clever content writer can strategically use emojis to increase engagement. They can help a subject line stand out in your inbox. According to HubSpot, social media posts can get over 50% more likes if they contain an emoji as well. Limit the amount of emojis you use, since too many can make your email more difficult to read. They can distract from the message you’re trying to give your audience. Use good judgement, and a well-placed emoji will add extra emphasis to your subject line.
Email preheader text
An email’s preheader or preview text is also one of the first things your audience sees when reading email on a phone. Think of it as a second subject line. Email preheader text is optional in an email, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
If the email subject line is used to grab attention, then the email preview text can be used to give your audience more details about the email’s contents. That way you don’t have to worry about cramming too much information in the email subject line.
Be sure to keep your preview text short so that it doesn’t get cut off. Your audience will likely be viewing their email by phone, so keep that in mind when writing concise preview text. The longer a subject line or preview text is, the more likely it is to have your text cut off. This may leave your audience with incomplete information.
The character limit for a subject line is around 60 characters. For best practice and to be safe, a subject line should usually be around 28 to 50 characters. The preview text can usually be a bit longer, between 40 and 90 characters.
Email marketing trends: calls to action
An email call to action (CTA) can be tricky. Try not too be too pushy with your call to action with phrases like, “Buy Now!!” or “Act TODAY!!!” As we pointed out above, these can trigger spam filters. Be careful with multiple exclamation points. They’re a bit pushy and spammy for our taste. Instead, try words like, “Learn…” “Discover…” or “Start…” You should create a sense of urgency without putting pressure on your audience.
A call to action should grab attention and create a sense of urgency. When creating a call to action, put white space around it so it stands out. Bright or contrasting colors will help your call to action stand out even more. Keep it at the top of your page when possible; your audience should see your call to action immediately. Don’t have the call to action be dependent on an image. Remember the image tips above. If the call to action is an image that doesn’t get downloaded the message is gone.
If you’re writing a business to business (B2B) email, then you should use a different strategy. A B2B audience is more likely to read emails to get information before buying. Using a prompt like, “Click Here To Learn More,” will increase your click through rate for buyers.
Animation and interactivity in email
There’s a big push for more engaging visual design in automotive email marketing trends. When done well, visual design does incredible things for your conversion rate. One of the ways you can create a more appealing email is the use of animated GIF files as small animations to draw in your audience. You can even experiment with an animated call to action or buttons to make them more appealing. If you use an image for a call-to-action be sure to use alt text in case images aren’t downloaded.
An interactive email sees more engagement because your readers have more items to click on. Examples of interactive design include surveys and polls for your readers. If you have an event you’re trying to promote, add an “add to calendar” option. You can also add menus full of links to your website to draw your audience in.
Design for an optimal email user experience
A minimalist user presentation is important for best practices. Since most people are likely to read emails on their cell phone, it’s important to design with a mobile screen in mind. Clean, simple designs are more appealing to your email readers. Clean design makes it easy to get your message across to your audience and cuts down on loading times.
What does clean design mean? It means not using too many images, really large images that overshadow the rest of your email’s content, or large amounts of text. Your email should be easy to navigate and not overwhelming with information. It also means a mobile-friendly design that doesn’t require endless scrolling.
Another big push for optimizing the user experience is email content personalization. This is about personalized content suggestions. For example, recommended videos on YouTube. It can be products that are similar to past purchases. Personalization doesn’t always have to be too advanced.
Test test test
A final thought. Don’t take our word, or anyone’s word, at face value. Test your emails. What works for one company and one target market may not work for another. We’ve seen examples where going against email best practice works.
And there you have it! With these helpful tips, you can enter the new year feeling more confident knowing email marketing trends 2021.
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