By Sami Ghani, Senior Director
In the constantly shifting world of digital communications, finding consistent ways to reach audiences and motivate them to act can be difficult, costly, and frustrating. Many organizations use email marketing, but some have pushed it aside in recent years with an all-in strategy on social media engagement. Though social media is important for communications, many social media platforms have become pay-for-play, and as we shift toward the 2024 general election, cutting through online discussions will be harder and potentially more costly than ever before.
Amid those challenges, email marketing remains one of the best tools nonprofits, government bodies, and organizations can use to connect with their audience and get them to act. To understand how you should use email in 2024, let’s look at what changed in 2023.
The most meaningful change to the email environment in 2023 originated with Apple’s privacy changes in 2021. Their operating system updates changed how email providers measured open rates, creating false inflation across the board. After two years of measurement, reputable digital organizations like M+R announced they would no longer provide benchmarks for the metric due to the inability to glean reliable data. But what does that mean for marketers?
Given the lack of consistent, measurable open rate benchmarks, marketers need to rely on their internal numbers for consistency in measurement. Moreover, it means that measurable key performance indicators (KPIs), like click and unsubscribe rates, have become more important for measuring an email campaign’s success.
Aesthetic changes have also impacted how people read emails. With some studies showing that more than 80% of people use dark mode on their desktop and mobile devices, designing your email’s visual elements in an eye-catching and dynamic manner that looks good in a variety of brightness environments is crucial for earning strong conversions.
Looking ahead to 2024, the rise in artificial intelligence tools across the digital space will likely play a big role in email output. Whether it’s using AI tools for lightning-fast audience segmentation based on dense spreadsheets or using AI-templated images to create dynamic content that displays differently for recipients based on your database information, we’ve uncovered only the tip of the AI-email iceberg.
One of the most significant hurdles organizations will need to overcome in their 2024 messaging is competing against the tidal wave of paid election communications. Your target audience is likely to be inundated by these messages, so writing dynamic narrative emails that feel authentic and personalized will be imperative.
These AI-inspired tools and the importance of pushing through election noise with authentic content should be paired with the lessons learned in 2023. If your AI audience segmentation ignores the new state of open rates and your wonderfully written email isn’t readable on a mobile device using dark mode, the email strategy won’t be successful.
Reflecting on email communications in 2023 and planning for 2024 trends will help cut through the noise of the election season to connect your audience with your organization’s mission. Focus on realistic, measurable KPIs while carefully considering how innovations in the space can take your email campaigns to new heights.