Email & SMS

Experts Share Email Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2021

By Tinuiti Team

2020 was an unpredictable year for Email Marketing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent events forced brands to reevaluate media plans and adjust to a new reality.

“Brands were required to shift their marketing efforts in the face of this new normal,” Kellie Collins, Sr. Strategist, CRM & Email at Tinuiti said. 



“As digital marketers, we have the privilege of being able to pivot and be nimble to changing landscapes, but it’s important to create a new sense of normalcy not only for yourself and your teams but also for your customers. Because email marketing is one of the lowest cost, highest ROI digital channels, you’re likely leaning heavily on your email program to keep lines of communication open with your existing customers.”

Although we can’t be sure what to expect in the new year, what we do know is brands that are mindful and empathetic of this current state will fare far better in the long term.

“The way in which a company operates in this time of uncertainty will directly impact their ability to retain their customers in the future,” Collins said.

Of course, if you don’t believe us – just take it from our clients such as Cuts Clothing who joined forces with Tinuiti to redesign their email templates, create an email calendar strategy, optimize their campaigns and increase their deliverability. 

As a result, email is even more of a profitable channel for Cuts Clothing⁠—with optimizations driving a 147% increase in email revenue.

“Tinuiti has been absolutely instrumental in helping our business scale. KPIs across the board increased almost overnight when we began our work with them, and they’ve continued to rise as our business has scaled. We love having Tinuiti’s amazing team of experts in our corner.”

Steven Borrelli, Founder and CEO, Cuts Clothing

We asked our leading industry experts what trends they predict will shape Email Marketing in the near future. Take a look at their responses* below. Whether you agree or disagree – please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Email Marketing in 2021


1. Implement the “Test and Learn” Approach

Email testing provides a process for optimizing your emails and tailoring your program to your contacts’ propensities, tastes, and needs.  Testing can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.  Without incorporating testing as a regular part of your email program evolution, you leave valuable data and insights on the table for increasing your program’s performance. 

“A simple way to approach email testing best practices is to think of testing as an ongoing cycle.  We call this the Test and Learn approach, where you develop and execute tests, measure the results, and use the results to develop your next test iteration. Following this approach allows you to start with simple tests and progress to complicated program adjustments.”
Emily Collins, Sr. Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti  

2. Customer Lifetime Value is king

For years, you’ve probably heard that quality is better than quantity when it comes to your email list meaning that it’s more important to have a quality list of engaged contacts, no matter the size, versus a larger list of unengaged contacts. 

“While that will always ring true and should be the core of your list growth practices if you are not also collecting quality data from your email contacts, the time to start is now. Collecting data metrics from your contacts is key because it will allow you to more effectively market to them and in turn, increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.”
Kati Harris, Sr. Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti

There are several effective ways to capture email addresses and collect data outside of email addresses. Onsite email capture is the most effective way to grow your list because these contacts are already on your site and interested in your brand or product. There are multiple ways to capture emails on site. You should have an email capture in the footer of your website, as well as on the checkout page. However, pop-up email captures are typically the most effective form of email capture. 

3. Cross-channel is the focus for the future

“Brands who incorporate a cross-channel customer journey including email, mobile, and web will be the most successful in 2021. We’re living in a cross-platform, digital world that has been further accelerated by COVID-19. Customer expectations have heightened, and marketers must deliver seamless experiences to meet them. While email is a highly effective channel for customer engagement on its own, it’s most effective when paired with other channels. In an increasingly mobile world, creating a cross-channel customer journey that incorporates email, mobile, and web will yield the best performance today and beyond.”
Myles Kleeger, President and COO, Braze

4. Don’t neglect your data hygiene

Maintaining a healthy list of subscribers has several benefits. It allows you to focus your efforts on subscribers that truly want to hear from you, thus reducing your CPM and increasing your engagement KPIs.

“As email providers continue to heavily weight overall email engagement as a key indicator as to whether your message lands in the inbox or the spam folder, ensuring your sending to the truly engaged will positively impact your overall deliverability. Those unengaged subscribers are pulling your overall engagement metrics down – thus potentially blocking users from seeing your email.”
Kellie Collins, Sr. Strategist, CRM & Email at Tinuiti


5. SMS Marketing is a chance to bolster other campaigns

If you’re an ecommerce business and you haven’t boarded the SMS Marketing train yet, you probably should.

“With COVID-19 shaking up the world and economy this past year, we began to see a shift towards ecommerce at an accelerated rate as well as a shift towards mobile, people now more than ever will be shopping on their mobile devices.
Megan Prindle, Strategist, CRM & Email at Tinuiti

You can learn more about SMS Marketing here.

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