2020 is finally coming to an end, leaving marketers busy preparing for the 2021 design strategy. Email marketing is changing faster than ever before as the transition from text-only messages to the recent trends like AMP and progressive lead nurturing forms have made emails even more attractive, given its 4400% ROI. The web design innovations are far ahead than emails due to email clients not being enthusiastic about upgrading technology and security concerns.
However, inbox providers are introducing new features and upgrading at a much higher pace in recent times. To help you keep up, I am sharing a cheat sheet on 2021 email design trends. It will help email developers and marketers improve the reading experience and get higher conversion rates. In this cheat sheet, I will discuss upcoming email design trends that you can implement for getting higher conversion rates with minimal effort. Get ready to explore the 2021 ready email design hacks:
#1 Hero Images Infused With Typography
The purpose of using hero images is to engage readers upon landing on your email and motivate them to read it further. However, you shouldn’t rely overtly on hero images as a stand-alone strategy. Infusing your hero image with typography will help your audience know about your intent behind sending the message. You can also use a visual backdrop instead of a high-quality hero image and use typography to stand out creatively. This trend is rising steadily, and you can expect fairly higher engagement rates than using only hero image/headlines. They take the guesswork out as readers can quickly make sense out of the upper fold even if they are new to your brand.
#2 Switching To The Dark Mode
Everybody is going gaga over the dark theme, and all major inbox providers have already vamped up support for it. One good reason to design your email templates in the dark theme is the fact that most brands aren’t doing it currently. Most of the email users would be annoyed when they open an email designed for the default theme after browsing social media apps and their email app in the dark theme. Even Facebook came up with a dark theme as people find it better, especially during the “stay-at-home” era. Providing them with consistency is surely going to help you achieve more conversion without working much for it.
#3 Interactive Emails That Invite User Participation
Interactivity is long hailed as a successful strategy for gaining engagement, but very few brands are using it extensively. For instance, if you want to acquire customer data, making them feel a lengthy form is never a good idea. Using a progressive lead nurturing form instead will invite users for participation as it’s comparatively new for email marketing while not discouraging them from endless fields to fill up. Emails have an inherent benefit of the tendency to take action as the corporate culture instills the habit of reverting messages. Interactive emails that incentivize participation have a higher chance of driving engagement due to the same reason.
#4 Videos, GIFs, CSS Animations, And APNGs: Go Beyond Images
The transition from text-only messages to beautiful email templates with images might have taken long, but now you can choose among many multimedia options. Using GIFs to display products instead of using carousels is a great way of displaying more in less space. Similarly, you can use APNGs instead of GIFs as they provide better transparency and a bigger color palette. Also, this simplifies your messages as the reader doesn’t need to put in an effort to view the images like the hamburger menu buttons. CSS buttons can be used to replace the traditional call to action buttons and render interactive features like hovering when the user points the cursor on them. Cinemagraphs are also gaining popularity among email marketers.
Take a look at this GIF email by SHOEMINT to get an idea.
#5 Gamification Instead Of Writing Lengthy Email Copies
Gamification started as an HR theory, but now it has sneaked into multiple domains and applications. You can send embedded games in your emails that may not have a direct marketing impact, but they will surely help you improve open rate and CTR for all emails sent in the future. You can also experiment with them in cold emails and to educate your customers regarding your products.
#6 Google AMP
Google AMP support for emails was introduced recently, and using AMP email templates provides you with an opportunity to take interactive elements to the next level. Your subscribers won’t need to leave your message for processes like making a purchase, and you could impart a near-website experience that improves your odds of making a sale instantly. In a way, it is the same philosophy used by social media apps as they want their users to not leave the application and make all purchases from within it. AMP for emails can prove to be an asset for your 2021 strategy as you can refine your sales funnel and shorten the sales cycle significantly in many cases.
#7 Voice-Activated Interface And Chatbots In Emails
Alexa and Siri are fast becoming the new search engines as people continue adopting voice assistants. On the other hand, chatbots are also gaining traction as a customer service channel as well as a marketing tool. You can use both of them within your emails to cater to an exclusive user experience. This is a relatively new concept for email developers. You can expect better conversion rates as people will be motivated to interact out of curiosity even if they don’t want to make any purchase in the first place. I feel that using a voice-activated interface and chatbots in emails will be a game-changer as you can engage your readers as well as clear their doubts on the spot, thereby addressing multiple touchpoints at the same time.
#8 Going Minimal On Copy, Colors, And Columns
Going minimalist is a relatively older trend, but a significant portion of businesses doesn’t implement it. You can still find bulky messages packed with columns and lengthy content blocks that don’t let you focus on any of them. Using a single column email template is a good idea since it improves mobile optimization and helps you implement minimal design language. The reason behind the success of minimal design language is the limited working memory that allows us to focus on a limited frame and the white space complements this by directing our attention towards the isolated content blocks naturally.
In 2021, 319.6 billion emails will be sent and received daily at a global level. Being unique and adopting innovative strategies is the only way you can get an upper edge over your competition. I have discussed various innovations in this article, but all of them focus on one thing: delivering new functionalities. Even if your messages don’t bring top-notch artistic value to the table, making the job easier for your readers will always work the best for your business.
Harnessing these trends will help you stay ahead of your competitors while getting higher conversion rates. The future of email marketing lies in doing more with functionalities and helping your contacts to interact beyond the CTA buttons. I hope you find this blog on the 2021 cheat sheet to email design trends insightful and that it helps you improve your conversion rates.
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