I recently came across an email marketing trends report from Smart Insights, a publisher and online learning platform. The report was part of their email marketing and marketing automation toolkit, which focussed on the email marketing trends we can expect to see in 2021, based on insights from surveys and 10 email marketing experts who gave their views and examples of the future of email marketing.

With email marketing remaining one of the most effective techniques for marketers, keeping up to date with the latest trends, best practices techniques and email marketing technology remains important.  This blog will explore 4 key trends marketers need to watch out for in 2021 as shared in the Smart Insights report.

Emails will become more interactive

As technology continues to evolve, more companies are adapting and looking to make more elements of their emails animated or interactive. As recipients are becoming increasingly used to some kind of animation or interaction functionality, more and more marketers are using EDPs (email service providers) or AMP technology to include some form of interaction, whether this is surveys, carousels or rollovers, to engage customers throughout their decision-making process.

Whatever the functionality may be, this is certainly something that will increase in use and that marketers should consider to make their email stand out in their target accounts inbox.

Intelligent Personalization will be more utilized

Email personalization has been possible for a long time, but in fact, is something that many marketers do not utilize. Moving to intelligent personalization lies within reviewing your segmentation. Your database consists of several different kinds of people, with different interests, profiles and behaviours, and who all deserve to receive personalized emails based on their interests and needs.

Many marketing automation systems have the capability to provide automated emails to contacts that are tailored and triggered to send based on the pages they visit, the forms they fill in, as well as products they have bought before. This provides the opportunity for marketers to use this data to automatically send emails that could feature ‘money off’ vouchers for specific products, encouraging customers to re-engage and buy additional products.

Emails will focus on customer experience

Marketers have long lost patience with brand-centric messages, and often demanding more meaningful, relevant and personalized experiences from the emails they receive. We now live in a world of customer experience marketing, which is a newfound focus on the customer and ensuring that companies are truly responding to their customers’ needs, wants, and current situation.

A/B testing which has always been necessary for a successful email marketing strategy will be a big part of this. Its important marketers can understand what is truly resonating with their customers, and tools such as our Napier A/B Test Analyser calculator can help you understand what data you can pull valuable insights from. This testing can also help you uncover insights to inform your marketing strategies across all other channels, as you can get insight into your customer thinking and motivation.

The use of AI will increase

Many email marketing and automation providers now include AI features within their platforms to improve personalization, with the aims of improving relevance, engagement and response.  AI can be used to create automation of product recommendations, using the data available from the subscriber to predict which products and content are most likely to be interesting. AI also provides marketers with the opportunity to remove the need for rules-based manual configuration of email campaigns and instead evaluates historical interactions and responses to generate insights for future communications, allowing marketers to improve relevance and messaging of campaigns to generate a higher quality of results.

Although AI is certainly something that is being used by marketers already, we suspect that many more will be looking to take advantage of this technology. With several tools available, marketers don’t need to invest big parts of their budget in order to use AI to their advantage. In fact, there are several low-cost AI tools that can help marketers optimize their campaigns without breaking the bank. You can read more about this in our Truth about AI in Marketing blog. 


To read the full report and to find out more about the trends expected in email marketing for 2021, please click here.