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Trend Tuesday: Staying ahead in 2023… Email marketing trends and best practices

By 13th March 2023Trend Tuesday

Email marketing has been a crucial part of digital marketing for years, and it’s still one of the most effective channels to reach and engage with your audience. However, with changing consumer behaviours and technology advancements, email marketing strategies need to be updated to keep up with the times. According to Statista, the worldwide email marketing industry had an estimated worth of $7.5 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to grow to $17.9 billion by 2027. Email marketing remains the most effective, scalable and cost-efficient digital marketing strategy. 

As we move further into 2023 and having been crowned ‘the email guru’ at OWB, I thought it’s only fitting I do a quick rundown on the latest email marketing trends and provide insights into the strategies and techniques that can help your business succeed in 2023 and beyond. The ever-evolving and crowded landscape of digital communication requires that marketers remain adaptable and proactive in their strategies. With new trends and challenges emerging, it’s important to understand the best practices for effective email marketing in the current climate. So whether you’re a seasoned email marketer or just starting, you’ll find valuable insights to improve your email campaigns and boost your ROI.

Increase in email security awareness

The internet is a never-ending battle against threats, with new ones popping up just as we think we’ve overcome the previous ones. Over the years, these phishing attacks have become more complex, and no brand is safe from being the target or the decoy in such situations. Technical teams are always focused on protecting customer data from breaches, but what if customers fall victim to phishing attacks without their data being stolen? This scenario is more common than people realise, and even if the company did nothing wrong, the impact on brand trust can be significant.

In 2023, email security will be a top priority for brands, and organisations will continue to explore ways to help customers identify fake emails through proactive messaging or trust features like BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification).

Focus on privacy

In 2023, data privacy and protection will be a legal obligation rather than just a trend in email marketing. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) established guidelines for cold emailing and mailing list development in 2018. To improve data privacy and gain the trust of your subscribers, it’s important to provide them with an option to unsubscribe or change their email preferences. You can do this by asking leads to fill out a short questionnaire and linking them to the preference control centre in every email. By doing so, you can get more data to segment your subscriber database, clean your mailing list of uninterested subscribers, and improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns.

Email verification at signup – safeguarding email deliverability

For email marketers, a strong email database is not just about the number of email addresses it contains but rather, the level of engagement it has with its subscribers. A long list of inactive or non-existing email addresses can actually hurt your email deliverability and harm your email marketing efforts. While keeping email lists clean is an ongoing process, there are useful tools and processes available, such as sunset policies or bulk verifications, to simplify the process. However, these methods still require a proactive approach that many senders don’t have the time for. As we move towards more effective marketing in 2023, senders will be seeking simpler and more efficient ways to maintain a clean and engaged email database that is free from spam traps and incorrect addresses. At the point of sign-up, email verification can be a viable solution to detect invalid email addresses, spam traps, and other hazardous threats. This process can help prevent these threats from entering the email list, thus safeguarding the sender’s reputation.

Open rates will give way to more reliable email-tracking metrics

In 2023, email marketers will have to adjust their metrics to track engagement due to the release of Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in Apple’s iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, email marketers will need to adjust their metrics to track engagement. MPP allows Apple users to protect their data from third-party apps, preventing senders from knowing when an email is opened or a user’s location. This means that email tracking software using pixels to calculate open rates will now have a higher margin of error, as even unopened emails will appear as ‘opened’ due to the preloading of email content. Therefore, companies will need to implement more sophisticated tracking methods beyond open rates to truly measure the impact of each email on achieving marketing goals.

Email marketers must now look for alternative Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track engagement, use open rates for Android and PC users, or assume a larger margin of error by tracking open rates for everyone. This change will affect essential email marketing processes, including audience segmentation, A/B testing, and send time optimisation algorithms, which rely on accurate open rate calculations.

Email marketers will need to establish clear attribution models and tracking capabilities via UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) to determine what actions occur after an email is opened. These metrics include click-through rates, conversion rates, unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates. Along with these factors, the quality of the email content and its relevance to the recipients must also be considered.

By analysing a combination of these metrics, email marketers will be able to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the efficacy of their email marketing campaigns.

Hyper-personalisation & hyper-segmentation of email marketing using Zero-party data

Simple personalisation techniques are no longer enough in today’s world, where consumers receive a barrage of emails a day. Personalisation is crucial in email marketing campaigns as it can lead to increased revenue. In fact, it has been concluded that complete personalisation of the user experience is one of the best ways to increase engagement. Failing to personalise emails can have detrimental effects on the outcome of the campaign. A lack of personalisation can lead to mailing list degradation and a failure of the email marketing campaign. As a result, the focus of the business world is expected to shift to hyper-personalisation and hyper-segmentation in email marketing campaigns in 2023 and will become the norm. This involves tailoring messages and promotions by audience segment, recommending products or content by audience segment, sending triggered emails based on visitor behaviour, and recommending products or content on an individual basis. Customers expect brands to cater to their unique needs and expectations by providing truly relevant experiences.

However, enriching email data has always been a challenge for marketers, especially with new privacy regulations. Therefore, the use of zero-party data, which is freely shared by the user, will be crucial in building personalised emails throughout the customer lifecycle. By requesting the right data during the sign-up process, brands can connect with their users in a more relevant way without invading their privacy.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While many marketers are intimidated by the prospect of AI, it can actually be a valuable asset that streamlines email marketing efforts and leads to greater success. AI won’t replace email marketers, but rather those who embrace its possibilities will stand out. Incorporating AI into email marketing strategies can simplify the process of personalisation by enabling marketers to gather customer data more quickly and easily.

In email marketing, AI can assist in decision-making processes, such as generating compelling subject lines and identifying the optimal delivery time for each recipient. AI can also enhance email validation by determining the status of email addresses based on their activity. As we move towards 2023, proficiency in using AI to achieve strategic objectives will become increasingly important for email marketers, surpassing skills in crafting subject lines or scheduling emails.

AI can be utilised to:

  • generate effective subject lines
  • allows for personalised emails to be sent to individual prospects
  • optimise email campaigns for maximum effectiveness
  • can assist in cleaning up email lists
  • aid in building mailing lists

Email marketing automation

Consistent and cohesive communication between brands and subscribers can be achieved through email marketing automation, giving customers a sense of control over their inbox. In a world of content overload, irrelevant and useless emails are the last thing subscribers want to see in their inbox. Drip email campaigns, where specific user actions activate a sequence of emails, tend to perform better than regular email campaigns, creating a more friendly and responsive communication. All the necessary information is provided in drips, avoiding overwhelming subscribers with hefty copy.

According to Campaign Monitor, automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails. To take advantage of this, marketers can make use of email templates, automate mailing list scrubbing, send automated transactional emails to customers, automate the onboarding process with a series of email drips, and automate email lead nurturing. To provide accurate and effective automated emails, using a dedicated CRM system can help keep track of the processes along the sales pipeline.

User-generated content

Utilising user-generated content (UGC) in email marketing campaigns has been a big trend in 2021 and 2022, and it’s expected to gain even more popularity in 2023. UGC includes any form of content created by end-users such as text, videos, images, and audio. Using UGC in your email campaigns can even take the place of creating content. If you’re struggling to meet email content requirements, incorporating UGC is an effective way to ehance your campaign. Furthermore, there’s evidence that shows using real UGC content promotes conversion as consumers claim user-generated reviews are highly valuable and relatable.

Brand authenticity in email communications

Establishing a connection with customers is more than just finding the right way to communicate or providing customised experiences. Authenticity is essential in displaying to customers who you are by being relatable, identifiable, and memorable. In 2023, email communications will be more personal, with brand identities being highlighted, and businesses taking the risk of letting their brands shine. This shift marks the end of stock photos and standardised designs, with brands making their mark by something as simple as adding first names in the “From Name” field and differentiating themselves from their competitors. To determine how effective a change in email marketing strategy is, conduct an A/B test and make the changes gradually so that subscribers can become accustomed to it. Once you have found a successful approach, you can implement it across your email copy. By doing this, it shows that your company has put effort into creating unique content, which can lead to increased loyalty and engagement from subscribers.

Interactive emails will be key to improving engagement

In 2023, interactive and responsive emails are expected to continue gaining momentum. These emails have been popular for some time and have been shown to enhance customer engagement and interaction. Popular interactive features include animated buttons and CTAs, rollover effects, interactive image and product carousels, accordion/hamburger features, surveys, polls, and user-generated content. Gamification in email marketing is also a trend that can make emails stand out in subscribers’ inboxes. Even something as simple as creating a holiday quiz with a free web form generator can be effective.

Marketers have been striving to create interactive emails for years, and in 2022, they became more commonplace. In 2023, the focus will be on prioritizing the user experience by allowing subscribers to take action directly within the email. This will streamline the process, improve ROI, and reduce friction for the recipient, who may not want to navigate to a landing page to complete an action. Expect to see an increase in carousels, sliders, click-to-reveal elements, and interactive games that serve a purpose beyond aesthetics. Technologies like AMP for Email can help marketers create dynamic updates for shipping notifications, appointment reminders, and other applications.

Omnichannel communications will be essential for the customer lifecycle

Over the past few years, businesses have recognised the significance of connecting with customers through various channels and have thus adopted a multichannel approach to their marketing campaigns. Nevertheless, using multiple channels does not automatically imply delivering a consistent experience across those channels. The real difference between a multichannel marketing strategy and an all-encompassing omnichannel experience is the alignment and uniformity of messaging. Establishing effective two-way communication across multiple channels, including email, SMS, chat, and voice will enable companies to create stronger customer connections, thereby enhancing brand trust and customer loyalty.

Email design & layout

According to Campaign Monitor, 81% of people use mobile devices to check their emails. In 2023, there are several email design trends that are expected to be popular, including:

  • Animated collaging: This trend involves using moderate animation and dynamic gifs in emails to make them more engaging.
  • Dark mode and neon: With the popularity of dark mode on mobile devices, emails that use dark backgrounds or neon colours are expected to be trendy in 2023.
  • Minimalism: Simple, well-structured emails with a clear objective and minimal clutter will be favoured in the upcoming year.
  • Illustrated iconography: Brands are predicted to use visually prominent, illustrated icons on plain backdrops to build and grow their brand identity.


Success in any industry requires preparation for the future and ensuring that your email marketing strategy is up-to-date is crucial. To achieve this, it’s important to stay ahead of the game and be adaptable to new trends and challenges. However, you don’t have to navigate this process alone. At OWB, we recognise that keeping up with the latest developments in email marketing can be daunting. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way towards success.

With our expertise and support, you can confidently measure success, personalise messages, and comply with upcoming privacy regulations and security measures to protect your customers from email phishing and spoofing. We’ll even help you create authentic omnichannel messages and harness the power of AI and interactivity. With our help, you can experiment, test, and optimise your email campaigns to take your email marketing to new heights.

So why wait? Contact us today to get started!