Automation is a great way to save time and money. It’s also the latest email marketing trend.
In fact, automation is one of the most effective ways to engage with your customers and drive more sales. It can help you send out an email campaign that includes specific products or services that are relevant to each customer based on their past purchases.
This saves time because instead of manually sending out emails by hand every month, you can automate it so they’re sent automatically at certain times during the year (like Black Friday).
In this article, we’ll talk about the latest and most effective email marketing trends like email automation, conversion rate optimization, user-generated content marketing, and more.
What is Email Automation?
If you, as a business, want to send an email to 100 people, the idea of typing it out and sending it 100 times is daunting. Thankfully, technology has made it easy.
By using email automation software, you can create an audience list, type out one email, and schedule it to send. You don’t have to sit in front of your computer and hit send 100 times.
As part of the bigger email marketing trends, automation is one of the newer ones. Email automation helps you take the shortest path to your customers’ inboxes. It helps you streamline the communication process – so you can free up valuable time and focus on other tasks.
There are several benefits to this form of automation. You can send the kinds of emails your audience needs to see when they need to see them. If they abandon their cart, you can automate an email to send instantly.
That email might try to incentivize them to come back with a discount or coupon. When a lead signs up for your newsletter, you can automate your welcome email so it goes out right away.
With the best email marketing automation, you can also automate confirmation emails after a customer places an order.
What Does the Future of Email Marketing Look Like?
The channel of email marketing is always evolving. While there’s no way to answer this question with complete confidence, we can use trends and stats to predict what may happen.
Understanding these predictions can help marketers and businesses finetune their marketing strategies to prepare for the future of email marketing and evaluate the ongoing email marketing trends.
1. Hyper-personalization is the key
Your customer’s inbox, at any given moment, is full of emails out of which you’re just another subject line. To make them click on your email, you have to personalize it – make it so that the email is tailored to their interests.
While you can achieve basic personalization by collecting information like demographic and location data, hyper-personalization takes it one step ahead. You can combine collected information with real-time data that adapts to every action your customer takes.
For example, if a lead lands on your products page but moves on without making a purchase, you can send them an email or trigger a notification that nudges them to revisit that page.
Email automation software can help you set up trigger-based campaigns that reach your customers at the right time. You can also use customer segmentation to identify leads at different points in the user journey and personalize emails that way.
You could also personalize the email body itself by adding buttons that link to social media profiles.
In all that automation, sometimes it gets easy to forget that we are human beings, not machines. While your company may be primarily run by marketing and email automation, the human touch cannot go away in the process.
2. CRO is an important metric to follow
We’re talking about conversion rate optimization. This is a means of boosting website visitors who will then buy and/or convert.
You can absolutely use email automation to drive your CRO, as a good email marketing campaign will lead to more conversions. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Interactivity matters, as does the overall experience of your website. This is about more than landing pages and sales pages, but the look and feel of your site as a whole. We’ll get back to this later.
- CRO tools will continue to become more advanced to make it easier to implement effective marketing campaigns.
- Virtual reality and augmented reality have a place in CRO as well, especially as the technologies continue to evolve and become more widespread. We’ll come back to these technologies later in the article.
3. Email automation will now help maintain list hygiene
Every email marketer wants qualified leads or those who are ready to buy almost right out of the gate. These qualified leads don’t just materialize out of thin air, of course.
Through segmentation, you choose candidates who are more likely to be at that point. Then, through nurturing, you boost the relationship until the lead is eager to make a purchase.
Another great email marketing trend gaining traction is automated email list pruning. If you’re doing this pruning yourself (or someone else is in your company), you might want to change that.
Automation can comb through every contact, even those we accidentally miss. You can set your software to hyper-categorize contacts or move them into more general buckets depending on the scope of your automated email campaign.
Pruning your email list with automation means you’re only spending time reaching out to leads who are actually interested in what you have to sell. Those leads become more qualified, which means higher conversions and often sales as well.
4. Visual automation workflow is more important than ever
Visual automation workflow builders are ideal for those who are more visual learners. These builders are also good for those who fear letting tasks—even small ones—slip through the cracks.
As you can see in the above example, this email flow is very apparent. You’d write the message for the new registration email and then program the email automation to send it. Then the automation would send out the welcome email, which you also wrote.
After waiting 15 minutes, the automation would determine the distribution switch. Depending on how leads behaved, they’d receive various discounts, some as little as five percent off the first order and others as generous as $50 off if the lead spent $400.
Not only does it save time, but it also simplifies a complex process – you understand your email campaign better and have fewer chances of making mistakes.
Creating visual workflow builders will also help you draft interactive emails with a consistent email design and tone. This type of communication is an example of drip campaigns.
These drip email campaigns tend to perform better because the message is sent out periodically rather than all at once. It builds up a more organic relationship between a customer and the brand.
5. Chatbots and conversational marketing
Chatbots can get kind of a bad rap. For many, the constant pop-ups and ambiguity in answers are a negative experience, especially on a website.
Thankfully, with evolving tech, chatbots are now more optimized than ever. In fact, many of them are now programmed to respond to common queries, as well as, increase customer engagement.
When it comes to email marketing automation, chatbots are great lead generation tools. If you use ungated content, you can program your chatbot to nudge website visitors to receive email updates and further company communication.
Those that sign up through a chatbot can be segmented into a different user list to send targeted emails.
6. Lean into user-generated content
One of the bigger email marketing trends reaching its full potential is user-generated content. We’ve discussed the importance of customer-centricity in marketing in earlier blogs, but nowhere is it more important than in email marketing.
Customer testimonials are the most effective marketing tactic. Centering your customers when promoting your brand is useful because it humanizes your company and builds credibility.
A lot of businesses are focusing on building emails that use content generated by their customers.
7. Recommended blocks will become more popular
As a customer, when you find a good product you’ll immediately want to find others like it. Especially if you trust the brand or business. This is where recommender blocks come in.
Recommender blocks are product blocks that go into your emails that predict future purchases based on past shopping behavior. Think of them like Amazon’s “customers who bought this item also bought” recommendation bar.
They should showcase product images in thumbnail format, as seen above, as well as the price and the name of the product. These recommender blocks can be implemented in the website itself, or as part of weekly email newsletters.
8. Transactional emails continue to be important
Transactional emails are immune to the shifting nature of email marketing trends. You probably already send these as part of your automated email campaigns.
These are password reset emails, digital receipts after a customer purchases a product, purchase confirmations, shipping notices, and delivery confirmations.
Essentially, they’re all the emails a customer would expect to feel secure doing repeat business with a company. They want to know that their order went through.
They also want to know when it will get here and be able to track the order themselves. If they make changes to their account, they want to get confirmation of that. You know, just in case they themselves didn’t do it.
If you slip in some sales announcements, a recommender block, and discounts, then you’re gearing these emails more towards your marketing goals.
9. Interactivity is crucial
Interactivity can include unique add-to-cart buttons, video, surveys, quizzes, games, moving banners or other website elements, email searching, GIFs, and animations.
Interactive emails are part of what marketers call the gamification strategy. It’s a way to get customers to engage with your content more; you create quizzes, offer rewards and incentives, and increase engagement.
The above email sent by Bose during Black Friday uses scratch-off as an interactive element. It encourages subscribers to take an action and make a purchase.
Interactivity doesn’t have to mean quizzes if that doesn’t work for your personal company branding. Whatever elements of interactivity resonate most with you, implement them in your email marketing automation, your website, your blog, and elsewhere.
10. AI continues to push the boundaries
Artificial intelligence is another tool that’ll take up more space in an email marketing automation strategy. This is because email, these days, is not only about sending a body of content to an inbox. You have to work on every single aspect of that email to make it worth your customer’s time.
We discussed hyper-personalization before – artificial intelligence is what can make it happen. Businesses are now dealing with several data points and bigger email lists. An email strategy will not work if you can’t use that data to gain insights into customer behavior.
Artificial intelligence can also help in automated list segmentation – a feature that can allow you to segment lists into separate chunks and test different content.
11. A/B testing is here to stay
Email A/B testing and other forms of testing your email and marketing automation will never grow old. It doesn’t matter what year it is. Make sure testing is a regular part of your routine.
Automation, as amazing as it is and will continue to be for years, is not perfect. It can reflect human errors in the way you set up your software. Always test for mistakes.
Also, test several versions of your emails to see which one(s) get the highest conversions. Sometimes conversions are as easy as rewriting a few lines, omitting a paragraph, or moving an image further up in the email.
12. The focus on mobile-friendly emails grows
Smartphones are responsible for 54% of global internet traffic. A majority of users check their inboxes on their phones. It’s not enough to test your emails on desktop, they should now be mobile-optimized as well.
Not only that, the emails must also be dynamic and be formatted to fit different screen sizes.
From an email design perspective, the trend is also shifting towards increased readability by making the email screen reader-friendly. Implementing an accordion effect in emails is a great way of conveying more information in less space.
Another overlooked aspect is the prevalence of dark mode on mobile devices. It’s becoming more popular to use your phone in a darker theme, which is what almost 80% of users are doing.
If your emails are not adapted to darker color palettes, they’ll become difficult to read; this will affect your open rate in the long run.
You can use email automation software to draft mobile-responsive templates, experiment with color palettes, and test the look before sending it to your email list.
Email marketing trends tend to reflect the landscape of digital marketing and consumer behavior. There’s a big focus on data privacy because a lot of apps and websites collect user data.
Since consumers are now becoming more tech conscious, how you market to them should adjust to that sensitivity. This applies to email marketing, as well.
Email marketing is all about building a meaningful relationship with your customers. An omnichannel email marketing strategy is important, now more than ever.
If you’ve been trying an email marketing automation tactic for a while, this may be the time to shift gears. This is so even if your technique has worked well for you so far.
Customers get sick of the same old, same old. They’d rather see you try something new and maybe not do as well at it than remain static and afraid to try anything.
Automation in email marketing continues to evolve, and that won’t change in the years to come. These email marketing trends are emerging or emergent tech, tools, and techniques that will help us, marketers, plan for the future of email.
If you’re looking for the best marketing automation platform to get you started on the road to success, we recommend EngageBay. Our all-in-one suite includes marketing automation and other automation tools for pricing that’s incredibly affordable.