The evolution of the Internet is an ongoing process. Every year new trends emerge while others decline in strength. This year was no different. And since December is time for revisions and predictions, we’d like to analyze and review some of the most important ones.
Today we’re taking a closer look at the GlobalWebIndex report Wave 5 Trends, which summarizes the most important trends in the social media development, and at how they can be applied in email marketing.
1. From prosumer to consumer
- The growing use of micro-blogging and social networking has shifted the focus from creating valuable content to retransmitting it.
- The average user’s activities focus on consuming and redistributing.
- A huge share of what’s being shared and forwarded is professionally created content (video clips, films, TV shows, games, links etc).
Consumers expect brands to provide content that increases their knowledge about specific areas and is easy and exciting to share. A brands’ role will evolve from being a distributor of services and products to being a provider of content of genuine value, as this will become the best brand promotion tool.
- Content remains the king. So start building your content strategies and invest in creating professional, highly relevant content that’s useful and fun to share.
- The future belongs to rich-content multimedia newsletter formats, such as video email marketing. Start using cost-effective tools such as GetResponse Multimedia Studio and Image Gallery to improve the impact of your emails (and brand.)
2. A shift in the social media balance of power
- LinkedIn advances to become the second-highest social power in the world after Facebook (excluding Asian neworks).
- Micro-blogging and social networking discourse limitations encourage compact and laconic but frequent updates of brand communications.
Brands will need to look for engaged recipients in their industry-related circles and address those narrow markets with customized offers. Staying close to recipients will require real-time responses and reactions and constant monitoring of the information flow.
- Automating updates and the flow of information will help save time and money. Tools such as automatic RSS feeds for blogs and newsletter updates at FB and Twitter are a must.
- Integration with various contact databases (such as social media and CRM platforms) will facilitate the import of contacts, and source-based segmentation and can increase the quality of your contact list.
3. Social brand
- Impact on brands responding to actual needs that consumers express in one-to-one discourse increases.
- The consumers look amongst fellow users on micro-blogs, forums, viral content, etc. for feedback and opinions on products and services.
- Enable the feedback option in your email; monitor and respond to it.
- Listen to what your customers have to say via social networks and community forums.
- People love complaining to the public, so stay alert, as it’s the negative feedback that creates the most buzz. Respond to it and provide immediate compensation to control the damage it can do.
4. Mobile revolution
- Mobile Internet usage is growing globally. It is predicted that, a year from now, the number of mobile device users will equal the number of PC/laptop users.
- The Internet has become an integral part of people’s lives, due to the fact that it is available anywhere, anytime.
Mobile screens impose limitations on content; therefore they are used predominately for practical purposes. People search for relevant information on the spot or want to save time managing their business activities while they’re on the go. This stimulates faster email consumption and immediate decisions.
- To win customers, brands will need a multi-platform strategy: website, mobile site and applications.
- Mobile newsletters, adjusted to the limitations of the phone screen, will get immediate attention. Their content will need to be practical, and “phone-handy”: offer apps, downloads for mobiles, location directions, Vcards, event alerts, etc.
- The golden rule – less is more – will dominate the newsletter creation processes.
5. Global network of local network
Despite the predicted unification of the online environment, the Internet instead stimulates cultural fragmentation and divergence of online attitudes and behaviors across the world. Different groups use the Internet for different activities and in different ways. Some examples:
- Some markets (e.g. Brazil, Turkey) are experiencing peak engagement in social commerce markets; in others, such as Germany, participation in social networks is still mostly passive.
- The older generation is less likely to pay for content and shop online.
- For young adults, the Internet (not TV) is the first source of news.
The batch-and-blast strategy is slowly fading into history. Segmentation will have to reflect online attitudes. Target groups will be defined based on a growing number of conditions.
Email marketing solutions with integrated, advanced segmentation options will raise the bar. The more segmentation models you can apply in your email marketing, the better:
- Start your adventure with custom fields
- Stay tuned for action-based campaigns
- Use the subscription origin and time field as a criterion for gauging loyalty and engagement
- Don’t give up on groups that are reluctant to buy online; integrate your newsletters with offline offers (coupons redeemed in-store, event updates and alerts, etc.)
- Don’t rely on your intuition – get detailed stats and use one-click segmentation to reward or encourage engagement
The Internet is a constantly evolving structure. For email marketers, every trend fluctuation should be an opportunity, not a threat. Anticipate and stay ahead of the emerging tendencies and you’ll always be on the right track.
We’re curious to know which trends are the most significant and influential for you. Share your opinion, and be the email marketing trend setter.