15 Email Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2024

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If you’re looking to start your brand’s email marketing campaign, it’s not a smart move to rummage through your inbox. 

You don’t know how successful a strategy is and what may work on your might not work on 99 others. 

To help with that, I researched and collected some of the most relevant email marketing trends right now. 

Let’s get started.

Email Marketing Trends to Watch in 2024

Some parts of email marketing have remained consistent over the years. Have a great hook and subject, use a favorable email address, offer solutions, etc.

What changes is how brands do that; let’s look into it.

Majority of marketers agree on an email-first marketing strategy.

most effective marketing channels
Email marketing is almost 2.5X more effective than the second most effective channel. (Source)

According to a study by Litmus, 41% of marketers agree that email is their most effective marketing channel. 

A long shot down comes social media and paid ads at second and third place with 16% each.

That’s followed by organic search at 9% and only 3% of marketers said that video is their most effective channel. 

We can chalk off video as an outlier for brands that depend on video, like Buzzfeed’s Tasty or the Dollar Shave Club. 

At any rate, marketers prefer email marketing for a reason – the same Litmus study also found that email marketing has an ROI ratio of 36:1.

That’s $36 earned on every $1 spent. Unless you’re completely new to the trade, you know that’s an extremely high return on investment.

ROI for Google Ads
Google Ads have an 8.49:1 ROI in Q1 2024. (Source)

I’ll give you some context. A recent HockeyStack study found that the average ROI for Google Ads in the last two years is 8.17:1.

While the number has increased in the last two years, it’s still miles behind email. 

However, it’s important to note that this massive difference doesn’t always mean that email marketing trumps paid ads.

Generally, paid ads require a greater investment, leading to a lower per-dollar return, even with similar results. 

Email marketing costs can be limited to the email marketing tool subscription, along with labor costs. 

Regardless, this is a great way to explain to your boss why you need to continue investing in a strong email marketing campaign.

2. Awareness and promotion remain the number one objective for email marketing.

key objectives for email marketing
16% of marketers consider awareness and promotion their key objective for email marketing. (Source)

For the longest time, email marketing has been a relatively less expensive way to promote products.

That’s still the case today, which is why it’s the most common key objective among marketers. 

It’s closely followed by objectives like retention, sending out newsletters, and customer acquisition. 

Customer retention efforts through email marketing are a necessity, I would say. Especially for convenience goods – stuff you need to buy regularly. 

Newsletters are also an important part of email marketing today because of the customizability and personalization options today.

A 2010 study found that 90% of consumers prefer getting company updates through newsletters. With social media becoming more commonplace, that number has probably been reduced by now, but it’s still relevant. 

As for customer acquisition, getting new customers through email remains a low-investment-high-return method.

Especially when the alternative requires massive investment and time (paid ads, content marketing, etc.). 

Moving on, a 2016 study by Marketing Sherpa found that 60% of US consumers prefer to receive company updates and promotions through email. 

The study also found that there is a disconnect between what customers want and what marketers think customers want.

For example, 49% of consumers chose to receive emails at a frequency of their choosing. Meanwhile, only 14% of marketers said that they would offer that. 

This gap between marketer practices and consumer preferences is still present today. 

Today, 84.5% of marketers think that they deliver personalized and consistent experiences. However, only 27% of consumers agree that it’s the case. 

My point is that you can’t generalize key objectives among all industries. Email marketers need to understand their consumers, their products, and the scope of their organization before deciding what to focus on with their email marketing efforts.

3. Conversion rate is the go-to metric to determine email campaign success, followed by click-through rate.

open rate metrics
26.5% of email marketers consider conversion rate to determine their campaign’s success. (Source)

For the longest time, email open rates were the number one metric to gauge the success of an email marketing campaign. 

There are lots of reasons why open rates are unreliable; for example, the open rate is determined by the loading of a pixel when an email is opened.

However, not every email client can open all forms of content which means a user may open the email but it wouldn’t show up as opened. 

Other than that, I’ve seen people use AI and bots to open emails and flag important ones.

Regardless, if someone opens your email, at best, you can consider it a success in the form of awareness. 

That is why marketers have been shifting toward conversion rates. However, a massive shift toward conversion rates as a primary metric came after the introduction of Mail Privacy Protection

See, MPP makes it practically impossible to find out whether a user is opening your emails or not.

Why? Because it disallows senders from sending those invisible pixels that tell you whether someone opened their email or not. 

Because of MPP, email marketers are, by all means, forced to shift to a different metric.

That is why a lot of them have shifted to conversion rate. It’s closely followed by click-through rate, which is another metric that requires an additional action by the user. 

It’s interesting to note that only 9.9% of email marketers consider open rates as a means of determining campaign success today. 

That being said, marketers who are still using open rate as a metric often have a backup KPI setup today.

4. Consumers are more likely to buy if the email contains a coupon or discount code.

types of emails consumers will buy from
67% of consumers tend to buy a product after receiving an email with a coupon or discount code. (Source)

At the same time, consumers are only 33% likely to make a purchase when they receive an email checking in on them; that includes emails with informational content. 

Meanwhile, consumers are only 28% likely to buy something when they receive business updates through email. 

So, if you have a decent open rate, including some coupons in your next email campaign is likely to get you some sales. 

It’s no secret that many consumers get tipped towards making a purchase if there’s a coupon or discount available.

A 2022 Capterra study found that 85% of consumers are ready to give out personal information in exchange for coupons or discounts. 

Only 7% of consumers said that they wouldn’t divulge any information in exchange for discounts. 

This makes it an excellent tool for getting sales, especially if you’re lagging behind in a quarter. That said, businesses can’t afford to continually offer coupons and discounts, especially small businesses. 

Businesses that get into the habit of offering discounts to boost sales fall into what I call a discount trap. This is when you start making the majority of your sales through discounting and coupons. 

This is often seen as brand assassination. How are you supposed to build brand affinity if your customers only buy from you with a discount? 

At that point, you have no unique offering or exceptional services that would set you apart.

In the long run, that sense of urgency and incentive behind discounts starts disappearing because customers know it’s available at any time. 

This leads to a repetitive cycle where you need to keep offering higher discounts to keep customers interested. 

So, even though it’s tempting, use that discount email campaign wisely with reasonable pacing.

5. Email marketing is getting the generative AI treatment.

usage of AI supported emails
50.7% of email marketers believe that AI-supported emails are more effective. (Source)

Companies like Phrasee are already offering full-fledged generative AI services with email marketing. 

This is a game-changer for small businesses, especially one-person businesses. Automating email marketing is not new but automating brand-specific copy for the email too?

That’s disruptive. We’re not far from the point where email clients will start offering generative AI as part of their platforms. 

We’ve all heard how personalization is the key to email success for years, decades even at this point.

But personalization with thousands of customers is no easy feat. So companies either focus on their cash cows when it comes to personalization or create personalized clusters. 

Both methods leave a massive gap. However, with generative AI, personalization at scale is possible.

That too in way less time and with less effort. Right now, 46% of people are unable to detect content generated by artificial intelligence.

And, with the rate at which AI is going with the introduction of ChatGPT and Sora, more people will be unable to tell the difference. 

It’s important to note that this also sets a dangerous precedent because it is likely to give rise to a new generation of spam.

And email clients will develop tools, features, and safeguards to deal with that.

B2B Email Marketing Trends

B2B email marketing is a powerful B2B tool because most professionals and business owners have a habit of checking their emails daily, some even first thing in the morning.

It’s the prime-time ad placement equivalent of online B2B marketing.

6. Ethical data collection methods mean a greater emphasis on email marketing.

ethical data collection methods

There is a general uptick in data collection transparency as customers become warier with their data.

When dealing with other businesses, this becomes even more important. You can’t rely on third or second-party data. Y

ou need first or zero-party data – when a consumer shares data related to their business willingly and freely. 

Engaging in ethical data collection often starts by building out your email list. To do that, you need to offer something of value in exchange for data.

For example, you can start a newsletter, offer discounts to specific customers, etc. 

Email-based contests, polls, and surveys are another great way to collect data. These are more versatile methods of data collection.

You can get product feedback, information on how people are using your product, and learn what people expect from you in the future.

7. Email newsletters are becoming blog posts.

email newsletters as blog posts
One Thing Better newsletter by Jason Feifer. (Source)

If you’ve been on the interwebs as long as I have, you probably remember how people used to write about things they’re passionate about on their personal blog. (blogspot.com era) 

Some people shared their daily lives, some shared poems, some shared experiences, some shared professional advice, some were critics, and some were analysts. 

Point is, it was a platform to talk about what people are passionate about. And the success of a blog depends on its loyal following. 

However, the introduction of apps like LinkedIn, Medium, and Wattpad gave people specific platforms.

On the other hand, Google updates and the massive influx of content along with strong SEO practices meant that people’s blogs were taking a backseat. 

Loyal followers were there, but new followers were hard to find. 

Over time, that practice has evolved into specific apps, as I mentioned before. But a recent evolution has been in the form of email newsletters. 

Influencers, subject matter experts, and analysts have started to use email newsletters as a platform today. They write entire pieces where they share their thoughts, offer advice, talk about experiments, and more. 

With email newsletters, you are not only able to retain a loyal following but also bring in new subscribers pretty easily. 

They’re unaffected by search engine updates and their success is only determined by how well you maintain your newsletter. 

A great example of such a newsletter is One Thing Better by Jason Feifer, Editor-in-Chief at Entrepreneur Magazine.

8. A mobile-first email design is a priority now.

mobile first email design
McKinsey research shows that improved communication and collaboration can lead to a 25-30% productivity improvement while reading/answering emails. (Source)

I’ll give you two statistics before I tell you what this is about. Right now, the average working person spends five to six hours per day on their phone.

Two, the average working professional spends 28% of their workday reading and answering emails. 

Therefore, a good majority of professionals use their mobile phones to check their email. 

This email addiction happens due to operant conditioning – the idea that opening or checking our email will get us something new.

Some people check email as a form of procrastination. Think professional doom scrolling. 

All that is more common today because of smartphones and the fact that people have 24/7 access to them. 

However, these things are a massive opportunity for B2B email marketers. This means your potential target regularly checks and goes through their email throughout their workday. 

It also tells you that said targets use their phones to do it. That means your focus today should always be on a mobile-first email design. 

So, how do you create mobile-first designs? 

Well, it starts with simple content, big buttons, wide CTAs, and a responsive design. 

Keeping content simple and concise is important. It should be easily scrollable, the font should be legible, and it should be easy to read. 

As for CTAs, links, and buttons, it’s best to use high-contrast colors, along with large buttons. 

Also, test your emails on different phones, if you can. Find a template that works universally and then use that.

Last but not least, responsive email templates can also help adjust your email to various screens. 

Last but not least, according to Mailchimp, a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique visitors and clicks by 15%.

So, don’t skip on this one.

9. Most B2B buyers prefer being contacted over email.

According to Sopro’s research, 77% of B2B buyers prefer that you contact them by email. That’s more than twice that of any other channel. 

It’s not surprising since email is universally the primary contact method for professionals. However, there are still people who prefer the old-fashioned way. 

The old-fashioned way being cold calling and an in-person approach. But LinkedIn and other professional networks are replacing that approach. 

Despite that, a good majority prefer an email approach, especially when it comes to cold outreach. 

However, I’ve seen that many marketers today adopt a multichannel approach today. That’s a fancy way of saying that they contact a prospect on LinkedIn, email, and other platforms together. 

In some cases, it may prove to be detrimental. Especially with prospects who have a stoic point of view; who would rather only get such outreach on specific channels. 

That’s where the importance of researching your prospects shines out. It’s also why personalization gets so much emphasis. 

When you try to personalize your emails, that means you’re researching your prospects in detail. 

At any rate, the general idea is that a lot of B2B buyers prefer email. But you should still commit to over-the-top research before starting your email campaigns.

10. B2B email marketing budgets are increasing.

B2B email marketing budgets

Despite what leadership or that one single YouTube video tells you, email marketing is stronger than ever in B2B markets.

In fact, B2B email marketing budgets are increasing by as much as 60% in 2024. 

Let’s say you got your increased budget. How do you design your B2B email campaign? 

There are a few things that should be on your checklist, starting with profiling your target customers and prospects.

It’s best to divide them into various roles, such as initiators, users, buyers, deciders, influencers, and gatekeepers

While retaining the perspective of a buyer, use email segmentation by segmenting subscribers based on their characteristics.

Then, plan your email campaign around the buyer journey, based on the roles you attributed. 

After appropriate research, you should understand what email templates you can use. Unless you have a small list that you can personalize, you need templates. 

Then, utilize email automation and AI to improve efficiency but don’t completely rely on it. 

Use your increased email marketing budget to run multiple campaigns; commit to A/B tests and figure your customers out.

Develop case studies on successful attempts and then use them as a baseline for future campaigns.

Finance Email Marketing Trends

Email marketing in the financial world is an excellent tool for creating and maintaining relationships – something that’s crucial in that setting.

11. Finance email marketing relies on omnichannel efforts.

The finance industry is a cautious one; people don’t make decisions as easily as they do in other cases. That means a single-channel approach is less likely to work. 

That is why email marketers in the financial services industry have been adopting a multi-channel approach with email marketing in their foundation.

The idea is to create an omnichannel customer experience that slowly drives engagement and leads to action. 

This also allows marketers to offer an experience across multiple devices and platforms. 

Other common channels include content marketing, social media, and video marketing. Perhaps the biggest one that’s common with the finance industry is direct mail marketing. 

According to Lob’s 2024 State of Direct Mail Marketing report, 58% of finance companies use their prospect’s address data for direct mail campaigns.

Of that, 56.8% was marketing mail to communicate crucial information to customers, and 43.4% was operational mail to promote products and services. 

This combination of direct mail and email marketing works well because, in this industry, many people still need physical/tangible evidence of a financial product or service.

12. Compliance and data security remain the key focus of financial email marketing.

compliance and data security in email marketing

In a heavily regulated industry like the financial services industry, the protection of sensitive data is how one determines the validity of a company. 

There are certain regulations in place to help you remain compliant. Financial institutions follow regulations from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

It’s also affected by HIPPA, GDPR, and CCPA. Therefore, compliance within your email marketing efforts is essential. 

To make sure you’re in the clear, make sure you have strong privacy policies and data protection systems.

Always ask for consent from your subscribers and offer an opt-out mechanism without strings. 

Most importantly, rote learn anti-spam laws. As for data security, invest in secure servers, excellent data encryption, and regular employee training.

For your customers, make multi-factor authentication a necessary step. Last but not least, conduct regular audits of your entire email marketing process.

13. Email marketing for financial services has among the lowest cost per click.

Financial services marketing requires a lot of time, effort, and money because it’s hard to convince people of such products or services.

That is why direct mail is still common in the finance industry. It’s also why financial services emails have a low cost per click; there isn’t much confidence in cold emails. 

However, this also means that email marketers can double down on their email efforts. A low cost per click means more campaigns compared to other channels. 

The only thing you need to keep in mind is legal compliance. Warnings of risk, unsubscribe buttons, and other legally required information need to be there. 

You should also only use your company domain for emails. Most importantly, avoid spam.

Healthcare Email Marketing Trends

The healthcare industry thrives on preventative measures as much as it does on reactionary measures.

Email marketing works mostly on the former.

14. The healthcare industry has one of the highest email open rates among all industries.

top industries email open rates
The non-profit industry has the highest email open rate at 20.4%. (Source)

The healthcare industry currently has the fourth-highest email open rates at 19.1%

Other than that, the latest data by Paubox shows that drip emails in the healthcare industry have an average CTR of 5.36% and a bounce rate of 2.5%.

Meanwhile, marketing emails have a CTR of 1.98% and a bounce rate of 3.44%. It’s safe to say that drip emails are the better strategy in healthcare email marketing.

For those who are unfamiliar, drip emails refer to a steady sequence of emails throughout a campaign. 

Alternatively, marketing emails are direct and often contain multiple CTAs. 

Understand that the reason the healthcare industry has high open rates is because it’s a sensitive and critical topic.

People care about their health and their family’s health, and any offer to help with that is taken seriously. 

However, at the same time, this also makes it a fragile market. That means you need to be extra careful with your prospect research, outreach frequency, and personalization.

15. Saturday is the best day to launch your healthcare email marketing campaigns.

best day of the week for healthcare emails
Saturdays also have the lowest unsubscribe rate at 0.05%. (Source)

According to Paubox’s research, open/view rates and click-through rates are the highest on Saturdays right now. The view rate is 49.93% and the CTR is 4.75%. 

It’s also important to note that the bounce rate is highest on Friday (5.19%). 

But it’s also important to note that these numbers would work differently based on what kind of emails you’re sending. 

For example, if you’re sending a marketing email, it’s best to do so on a Saturday. 

However, if you’re committing to drip emails, it may be best to go with a three-day email chain starting from Thursday to Friday and then Saturday for the final email.

Why? Data shows increasing view rates as people get closer to the weekend. With sequence emails, you want people to view your emails but only commit to the last one, which is why that should be on Saturday. 

I’ll be honest, this isn’t an exact science. But, the data doesn’t lie. 

Pro tip: according to HIPPA, your email marketing efforts need to adhere to HIPPA compliance.

Expert Insights on Email Marketing Trends

Email marketers aren’t that worried about AI; instead, they focus on figuring out the next thing in email strategy.

For example, Will Allred of Lavender considers account-based cadencing to be key, especially in B2B email marketing. He says, “Find the information other sellers are too lazy to seek out.” 

He constantly speaks about the importance of talking to multiple people across a single account. When working in B2B, you don’t deal with a single person, you deal with multiple individuals who all have a say with the decision-makers. 

He also believes email marketers should embrace multi-thread prospecting. Instead of generic cold emails, bounce your email to multiple people within an organization with additional personalization. 

Moving on, I’ve seen people struggle when it comes to outbound lists. Jed Mahrle of Practical Prospecting says that to segment your outbound lists, you need a robust buyer persona, buying triggers, and an understanding of the problems you solve for them. 

Jed also shared a two-step email sequence you can use for socially engaged leads. Long story short, the first email needs to be a vague description of a problem you’re solving with a request to share more.

The second email contains visuals and other elements to explain in more detail, along with a strong CTA. 

Jason Bay of Outbound Squad shared a simple yet effective method of personalizing cold emails.

According to him, you need to look at three things – the accomplishments of the prospect or their company, what the prospect or company educates their prospects about, and what the company or prospect invests in. 

I speak from personal experience, when it comes to B2B email marketing, listen to the experts. B2C may be possible through experimentation, but B2B requires calculated strategies.

Conclusion

Most email marketers I follow are talking about the necessity of AI in email marketing today, especially cold emailing.

But they also talk about the tipping point where AI becomes detrimental. At any rate, a common theme among email marketers is still a heavy focus on personalization.

With new and updated email platforms and integrations, it’s possible to add elements to your emails you previously couldn’t. 

Interactive content, videos, full-fledged designs, surveys, etc. are only some of the options available today. 

However, the bottom line remains that you need to invest extra effort into choosing the right email targets.

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Mughees is an agile and detail-oriented content marketer and strategist with 3+ years of experience in strategy and management, and 9+ years of experience writing content that converts.