Email and SMS Trends for 2023

Melanie Balke
October 24, 2022

There are only a few months left in 2022, and the year is almost over! Wild, right?

The end of a year is an important time for marketing campaigns. Every marketer will be busy studying results, crunching numbers, and figuring out how everything has performed. Marketers will also be looking to the future.

What can be done to improve your marketing? How will your results impact your strategy?

I can’t answer those questions, but I can tell you about some of the latest and greatest trends in marketing. 2023 is already poised to be a massive year for digital marketing, and many trends are already taking shape.

1. Micro-Segmentation Gives Digital Marketing a Personal Touch

A photo of someone making custom shoes with overlaid header text: “Micros-Segmentation: A Personal Trend.”

There’s no denying that people love personalized content.

Some of this is done with basic coding. Most email marketing platforms have built-in features to add names and customer data to email messages. However, advanced personalized content relies on segmentation.

Now, segmentation is nothing new. Marketing campaigns have been using segmentation for years, and this handy email automation tool is a must-have feature for many businesses. The new part is the “micro”.

What Is Micro-Segmentation?

Micro-segmentation is a lot what it sounds like. It’s a strategy for refining large segments — such as gender, age groups, and interests — into incredibly specific groups. As an example:

  • “Male customers” is a segment
  • A micro-segment would be “male customers between the ages of 18–35 who have recently purchased a pair of tennis shoes”

The TL;DR here is that micro-segmentation is an advanced email automation tool, and it allows for extremely specific and seemingly personalized experiences. It takes relatively little coding knowledge, and most of the implementation is simple.

An infographic with a text overlaid on a photo of an office. The header is, “Marketing in 2023: Micro-Segments.” Beneath this is smaller body text: “Micro-segments are a great way to create personalized content for your subscribers, but what do the numbers say about personalization?” This is followed by a two list items: (1) “Personalization has a 122% ROI. Compare that to targeted emails, which only have an average ROI of 58%!” and (2) “Segmentation can boost revenue by 760%! In many cases, you can create segments and micro-segments automatically.”

How to Start Micro-Segmenting Like a Pro

Creating a micro-segment is a fairly simple process:

  1. Pick a broad segment (i.e., “male customers”)
  2. Define one or more micro-segments (i.e., “who have recently purchased an item”)
  3. Refine as needed
  4. Implement your micro-segment

Now, here’s where marketers may encounter a problem. It’s easy to make a micro-segment, but it’s hard to implement it. Marketing automation can easily create these groups-within-groups for you, but it’s up to you to use them.

Like regular segmentation, it isn’t enough to break your existing customers into groups. You have to create relevant groups, and they must have defined uses. Otherwise, you’re creating a bunch of useless lists!

2. Mobile Optimization Is the Key to Success

It’s been a trend for years, but it’s finally happening: Mobile devices are becoming the norm. More than half of the world’s emails are now viewed on a mobile device, and that means that 2023 will be the year of mobile optimization.

A photo of three iPhones with overlaid header text, which reads, “Time to Take Advantage of Mobile Devices.”

Don’t believe me?

Then believe the numbers.

An infographic with text. The header reads, “Marketing in 2023: Mobile Compatibility.” Below this is smaller body text: “The majority of the world's emails are now being viewed on mobile devices, so what does that mean for your marketing?” Below this is a three-item list: (1) “iPhones are the most popular mobile device. 28.4% of mobile traffic comes from iPhones.” (2) “Refusing to adapt will cost you. When sent an email that was not mobile compatible, 7 in 10 users deleted the email. 15% unsubscribed from the list.” (3) “People regularly check emails. In a survey, 60% of respondents reported checking emails first thing in the morning.”

Ecommerce businesses must cater to mobile users if they want to attract new customers. If you want your marketing to thrive, then it’s time to start prioritizing mobile compatibility.

Tips to Improve Your Mobile Email Marketing Campaigns

If you’re ready to improve your mobile formatting, then there are a few general rules that you should keep in mind. Many of these tips are also general rules to follow when you’re working on accessibility.

  • Avoid lengthy emails. Keep emails short. While there are some situations where longer emails are appropriate, you’ll usually want to keep things brief.
  • Be aware of special characters. Adding emojis may be popular, but you may be alienating some of your mobile users. Older phones will often fail to display newer emojis, and some devices won’t display any emojis.
  • Limit yourself to one column. Two columns may look nice on desktops, but the content will appear squished on mobile devices.
  • Make image links obvious. Designing image links to look like buttons is a great way to make sure your customers know that an image is clickable. You’ll want to do this for all of the interactive content in your email marketing campaigns.
  • Subject lines should be 30 characters or less. Mobile users see shorter subject lines, and anything longer than 30 characters will be truncated.

3. Pay Attention to Privacy

Customer data has been a hot topic for a while, and it’s about to get a lot more complicated.

A photo of a private property sign with overlaid header text: “Pay Attention to Privacy.”

Google has announced that its new Privacy Sandbox project, which aims to ban third-party cookies from its browsers, will be officially implemented by the end of 2024. This is great for customers, who will be gaining more control over their personal data; but it’s a massive blow to most marketers.

The Facts About Consumer Privacy

Google’s announcement may be the final nail in the coffin of invasive cookies. When combined with the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), CAN-SPAM Act, Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), marketers must now navigate a minefield to collect data.

An infographic with text. The header reads, “Marketing in 2023: User Privacy.” Beneath this are two bullet points. (1) “Consumers want more control. 93% of American consumers report that the ability to control who can see personal data is important.” (2) “The majority of consumers dislike being tracked. When surveyed, 91% of respondents reported that they do not believe that consumer tracking is worth any associated risks. 84% report being concerned about their personal data.”

However, following these laws will actually improve your customer experience. Paying close attention to privacy gives your brand a good reputation, and that trust can boost many aspects of your marketing campaigns.

Tips for Improving Your Business’ Privacy Policy

For starters, you’ll want to have a solid privacy policy on your website. Obviously, you’ll also need to have a solid understanding of all legal requirements.

I don’t have time to address all of the legal technicalities, but I can give you some tips on improving your brand’s data privacy.

  • Be transparent. Tell users how data is collected and used.
  • Don’t collect excessive customer data.
  • Never sell or share user data. The only exception to this rule is if you get explicit permission to share a user’s information.

Of course, you can always enlist the help of an email marketing specialist! An email marketing firm will be able to handle all of the legal technicalities while boosting your conversion rates and engagement.

4. Use More User-Generated Content

Reviews and word-of-mouth advertising are marketing department staples, so it may seem odd to include user-generated content on a list of “new” marketing trends.

A photo of someone typing on a computer. “Make Use of User-Generated Content” is overlaid in all caps.

Here’s the catch, though: The information age has made UGC more important than ever. You can try as many marketing channels as you want, and you’ll never find a tactic that’s as effective as UGC.

Let me put it this way: Loyal customers are your best spokespeople. More companies than ever are using user-generated content to generate sales and appeal to website visitors, and it’s super easy to get started.

An infographic with text. The header is, “Marketing in 2023: User-Generated Content.” Beneath this is smaller text for a three-item list. (1) “It's more effective than influencer marketing. User-generated content is 9.8× more effective than influencer marketing.” (2) “People trust user-generated content. 84% of consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other marketing channel.” (3) “User-generated content influences purchases. When asked about their purchasing habits, 79% of consumers reported that UGC has an impact on their decisions.”

Tips for Obtaining and Using UGC

If next year’s marketing strategy include user-generated content, then make sure you read this section!

You must obtain permission before you use anything that your loyal customers submit. You won’t usually have trouble using content that’s submitted directly to you as a review, but content that’s posted on social media is a different topic. To make sure you don’t alienate existing customers, you’ll want to follow a few basic rules.

  • Include disclaimers. Most content submitted through branded hashtags or contests will fall under “implied consent”. However, not everyone knows this. Make sure you include a disclaimer if you plan to use any of this content in the future.
  • Use branded hashtags. Branded hashtags will allow users to post about your product on social media. All of this content is (usually) fair to use in your marketing campaigns.
  • When in doubt, just ask! If you’re ever unsure, just ask! Your loyal customers will appreciate the interaction, and asking directly improves your brand’s image.

How to Use UGC in Your Digital Marketing

Getting permission is the first step. The second step is figuring out what to do with it! While hiring a digital marketing firm will make your life much easier, you can also try to devise a few UGC campaigns on your own.

To help you out, I’ve come up with a few examples of user-generated content marketing!

  • Appeal to website visitors: Reviews and consumer photos are usually featured on a company’s website.
  • Creative transactional emails: When a customer purchases a product, you can include reviews or how-to videos from other consumers.
  • Loyalty program incentives: Many companies offer customers rewards for leaving reviews.
  • Social media highlights: Here’s a classic example! You can use the content your customers create in your social media marketing.

5. Customer Service in the Palm of Your Hand

SMS marketing is a relatively new face in the marketing scene. Savvy marketers are still developing ways to utilize this essential facet of modern life, and 2023 is going to be big for text message marketing.

A photo of someone texting with overlaid header text: “The Future of Customer Service Is SMS Messaging.”

Many companies have started using text messages for two-way communication. With the help of chatbots, businesses can now offer customer service via SMS messages, and this SMS marketing strategy is dramatically improving the customer experience.

Tips for Your Responsive SMS Marketing Campaigns

An infographic featuring text overlaid on a photo of many mobile devices. The header reads, “Marketing in 2023: SMS Marketing.” Below this is smaller text. There are three bullet points. (1) “Americans check their phones 10 times a day. With its accessibility, convenience, and push notifications, SMS messaging is one of the most reliable ways to engage with customers.” (2) “Most people prefer SMS messages. Over 50% of consumers say that they prefer SMS customer service over phone calls.” (3) “SMS messaging is convenient and reliable. In a 2021 survey, 9 out of 10 customers ranked text messaging as their preferred form of communication.”

Planning to make a chatbot in 2023?

You’ll obviously need to find the right person to make one. Afterwards, you’ll need to do some testing. Before you start, however, you’ll want to make sure that you meet some basic requirements.

If 2023’s marketing plan includes an SMS customer support line, then check out these tips!

  • Avoid formal language. Text messaging is an informal channel. Being overly formal will bite into your character count and scare off users.
  • Make responses quick. The beauty of SMS marketing is convenience. However, this is a double-edged sword. Customers also expect rapid responses. For general topics and FAQs, you’ll want to be able to respond within one minute. If you can't answer in one minute, you can forward customers to your landline service and have a customer support representative speak with them.
  • Mind the character count. SMS messages are much shorter than emails.

6. Integrate SMS Marketing and Email Marketing

The final marketing trend that I want to cover is the increasing popularity of omnichannel marketing campaigns.

A photo of hills with overlaid text: “Combine Your SMS and Email Marketing.”

You can combine any strategy with other marketing channels, but one of the most effective combinations is email marketing and SMS marketing. Both of these channels can be accessed on a single mobile device, and businesses have started combining them to increase the impact of their marketing efforts.

Tips on Integrating Your SMS Marketing

There are plenty of ways to integrate your SMS marketing into your existing marketing efforts. Many doctor’s offices already do this by sending appointment reminders! But how does that help ecommerce businesses?

Even if you don’t have appointments to tell your users about, a clever marketer can keep an SMS list engaged. Some tips to think about are:

  • Keep your tone consistent. Don’t dramatically change your tone just because you’re texting!
  • Mind the length. Keep things brief. Text messages cut off at 180 characters.
  • Segment your SMS list. Your SMS marketing is no different from any other channel, so make sure your list is segmented.

Don’t Have Time to Track Email and SMS Marketing Trends?

Let’s be honest: Many businesses simply don’t have time to research all this information.

A photo of two people shaking hands. “Save Time. Skip the Research. Partner With a Marketing Group,” is overlaid on the image.

Keeping tabs on marketing trends may as well be a full-time job, and it’s not usually a priority. However, every SMS and email marketing trend is important. Your existing customers won’t prop your business up forever, and you need to attract new customers.

If you’re overwhelmed by this information, that’s okay!

It’s time to take control of your time and energy. Hiring a marketing firm will help you improve your email and SMS marketing efforts. With a firm like The Email Marketers, you’ll enjoy the perks of a marketing department without all the added expense.

If you’re ready to amplify your marketing campaigns and see more sales, then give me a call!