Email Marketing in 2024: What to Expect in the Inbox and Beyond
Predictions. Expectations. Opinions. We all have them. Why should you care about what we think about email marketing in 2024?
Because we care about email, that’s why. The team at Sinch Email on Acid subscribes to the mission of simplifying email marketing’s many complexities. And from the looks of it, things could get pretty complicated in 2024.
So, what’s our take? We’re glad you asked. Let’s start this rundown of what will happen to email marketing in 2024 exactly where you’d expect…
Artificial intelligence becomes the norm
Will it steal our jobs? Will it make our work faster and easier? Will ChatGPT take over the world? No longer are we asking these questions. It’s not that we know the answers. It’s just that we’re already getting used to living in a world of artificial reality.
Last year, we were all wondering what to make of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Some of us were excited and others were concerned. This year, it’s clear that generative AI is a freight train that can’t be stopped. So, we must decide how and when to use AI in email marketing.
What seems most likely is that AI will be assisting email marketers and developers in 2024. So, our jobs are probably safe… for now.
Marketers often use generative AI for quick brainstorming. It can be helpful when you’re stuck and need ideas for things like subject lines, creative CTA copy, or reworking an email for different segments. Take what you like, ignore what you don’t, and tweak it to make it yours. That seems to be the way it works, and that’s exactly how Sinch Mailjet users are taking advantage of the new AI Copy Generator, for example.
Meanwhile, email developers are finding ways to use AI to clean up their code and complete mundane tasks. In theory, this should free up email teams to get more creative with marketing campaigns designed for the inbox. The less busy work you have, the more you can pursue opportunities like interactive emails.
Yet another way AI could impact email marketing in 2024 involves a different type of artificial intelligence. Predictive AI uses machine learning to examine your data over time. It then makes predictions about things like campaign performance. That’s predictive analytics. But predictive AI can also create segments based on customer activity and generate personalized campaigns based on predicted behaviors.
Dive deeper into email and AI
Last year, we asked the question could ChatGPT be more creative than you? The answer might surprise you, or it could inspire you. We also hosted two AI debates with our email geek friends from ActionRocket.
Check out Email Geeks vs ChatGPT with developers Megan Boshuyzen and Jay Oram. And for the digital marketing crowd, watch Marketers vs Bots with Julia Ritter and Nicole Holden. These on-demand webinars get straight to the heart of the matter.
Authenticity and empathy become more important
The rise of generative AI has a lot of us questioning everything we see online. Did ChatGPT write this? Is that an image from MidJourney or DALL-E? Am I hearing from a real person or what?
In 2024, everyone is going to be wondering if what they experience is “real” or not. At some point, we may start accepting AI-generated content as real. But for now, when we say “real” we mean human.
As generative AI finds its permanent place, it’s likely that we’ll become awash with AI content – in our inboxes and elsewhere. Since nearly everyone has access to these tools, you can expect AI-generated content to become a commodity very quickly.
Once again, email geeks will be faced with the age-old question – How do we stand out in the inbox? We believe authenticity and empathy are the answers.
Authenticity has been a buzz word for quite some time. But now it really means something. Part of what authenticity in email entails is the distribution of original ideas from real people. This bodes well for the use of thought leadership in email marketing.
When AI makes everything easy – emails that come from humans show you care enough to do the work of connecting with subscribers. AI can do more than make email marketing faster and easier. We can also use it as a tool to better understand our audience and craft relevant emails. At the same time, email marketers shouldn’t lose sight of the need for a human touch in certain situations.
Dive deeper into human-focused email strategy
Email marketing works best when we use it to create a one-to-one customer experience. Of course, we also use fancy marketing technology to personalize emails and trigger automations. Sometimes, it takes a human to understand humanity and do the right thing.
That’s the story behind one of the most popular sessions at Email Camp 2023. Find out more about how Kay Peacey taught us the value of radically human email marketing in a world full of AI. You’ll see how a cheese monger could have designed a more human-centric email experience.
Accessibility gets the attention it deserves
One of the most important ways to bring empathy to the inbox is to focus on email accessibility in 2024.
According to research from the Email Markup Consortium, most brands could be doing much better in this area. The EMC’s latest Accessibility Report revealed there is still a lot of work to do. 99.9% of the 35,000+ emails the EMC evaluated in 2023 had accessibility issues it classified as “serious” or “critical.”
In case statistics aren’t really your thing, 99.9% means pretty much everything. The good news is, there are some very simple ways to make your email campaigns more accessible:
- Use the lang attribute to define the language used in the email’s body.
- Write descriptive alt text for all images.
- Use basic semantic HTML (like <h> tags for headings).
- Set table roles to presentation.
Many of these adjustments help screen reading programs interpret your emails and present them to users in a way that makes sense.
Accessibility and good email engagement are directly connected. If a portion of your list can’t read the content or click/tap on elements of your email, your performance metrics will suffer. However, the real reason to focus on accessibility is that it’s the right thing to do. Accessible emails are more effective and more inclusive.
Thanks to the EMC and others putting the spotlight on email accessibility, we believe senders will make progress toward delivering more accessible email marketing in 2024.
Dive deeper into email accessibility
Sinch Email on Acid is a big proponent of accessibility. In fact, we were one of only a few brands that passed the EMC’s accessibility evaluation. We’re also helping senders do the same with the Email Accessibility testing features in the Email on Acid platform.
Find out more about improving email accessibility with these resources:
- Article: How to Code Accessible Emails – with advice from Megan Boshuyzen.
- Report: Accessibility in the inbox – with results from a survey of email senders from Sinch Mailjet.
- Video: Accessibility in Practice – UNSPAM session with Megan Boshuyzen.
- Video: Notes from the Dev episode – with accessibility advocate, Najee Bartley.
- Article: How to Conduct an Email Accessibility Audit – find out what could make your campaigns more accessible.
Authentication becomes a necessity
New bulk sender requirements from Gmail and Yahoo Mail go into effect in early 2024. This is set to have a big impact on email marketing, but it’s not necessarily a reason to freak out.
Here’s a quick rundown of the new requirements:
- Senders must be using all three email authentication protocols: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
- DMARC policy can be set to p=none (for now).
- All commercial emails must include a one-click unsubscribe in the body.
- Senders must keep their spam complaint rate beneath a threshold of 0.1%.
- Spikes in spam complaints should never exceed 0.3%.
The biggest and most crucial item on the list above involves email authentication. Mailbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo use these three protocols to help them verify the identity of bulk email senders. The process is important when deciding whether to accept messages, filter them to spam, or deliver them to the inbox.
Authentication is also the best way to stop email spoofing, which is a form of phishing that is a danger to your subscribers as well as your brand’s reputation. Starting in February of 2024, senders that do not use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for authentication may not reach the inboxes of Gmail and Yahoo Mail users.
For senders who already follow best practices, these new guidelines won’t be a problem. But Sinch Mailgun’s report, The state of email deliverability 2023, found upwards of 10% of senders or more are not using at least one of the required protocols. Many other survey respondents were unsure about email authentication. So, now is a good time to look into how you handle it.
Dive deeper into the new sender guidelines
Find out more about the new guidelines, why they’re required, and how they’ll protect the inbox to make it a better place for consumers and brands alike.
Listen to an eye-opening episode of the Sinch Mailgun podcast, Email’s Not Dead. You’ll hear from Marcel Becker of Yahoo/AOL as he gives us the full story from the perspective of the mailbox providers.
Augmented communication strategies, automation, and APIs
Upcoming research from Sinch finds consumers prefer email for promotional and transactional brand communications. (We’ll share more soon.) However, the brands who see where we’re heading understand that omnichannel communication is the next big thing. We’re not saying email is dying, we’re just saying it’s got company.
2024 is a good time to consider how you can augment and enhance your customer communication strategy with other channels. When it’s truly omnichannel, consumers have a seamless experience in which they can communicate with brands in whatever form works best for them. As customers move from channel to channel, the information that’s needed to assist them travels with them.
So, whether you’re on email or a messaging app, talking to AI or a human representative, the customer experience is consistent, personalized, and helpful.
As brands begin adding more channels to the mix, APIs will help developers integrate them into the customer experience. Marketing automation strategies will allow more flexible and efficient communication strategies across the entire customer journey. To bring it all together, companies will use a Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) solution. The pioneering leaders in the CPaaS space are just starting to emerge.
Dive deeper into omnichannel
If you’re ready to enhance your customer communication strategy, the experts at Sinch have some advice on how and why to add new channels to the mix.
Still need to wrap your head around how omnichannel communications fits into your marketing funnel? Check out an eye-opening guide from Sinch Mailjet that applies an omnichannel customer experience to the hero’s journey. Find out what your customers have in common with Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker.
Deliver your best email marketing in 2024
No matter how complicated things get this year, email marketing in 2024 still requires that we pay attention to the basics. While there will be a new Outlook for desktop in 2024, those old, problematic versions aren’t going away immediately.
That’s just one reason why email marketers need to keep testing every campaign for rendering issues and optimizing emails for every subscriber and every inbox. Sinch Email on Acid offers a suite of tools and a customizable workflow to help you get that done. Unlike the competition, our users enjoy unlimited testing.
Make sure you put your best emails forward in 2024 with help from our collaborative email quality assurance platform. Try us out free for seven days.