What is email marketing and what is marketing automation, really? Why should we, as marketers, care about these two tools and why should we try to, first, define them and then, use them?
More importantly, though: What will the trends of these marketing tools be like in 2020? And why do we need to care, if we want to achieve growth?
Let’s define the term “marketing automation”. When we talk about that, we talk about a tool, a software that allows companies to achieve sales, awareness and, in the end, growth, by automating the classic marketing tactics: lead nurturing, retargeting, content creation and so forth.
Since such a thing is more affordable than one-on-one sales, it’s, by default, the more intelligent choice nowadays.
One of the things marketing automation can help with, which can generate a crazy-high ROI all on its own, is email marketing.
As you can see, email marketing is the preferred channel, and for a good reason. The use of emails that can help brands create and nurture a relationship with prospects and, ultimately, recurring clients is a tale as old as time-or as old as the 70’s when the first email was sent.
Email marketing and automation platforms, like Moosend, a great Constant Contact alternative, were eventually created and have been out and about for quite some time. And though we know how they can help brands achieve one of the most important metrics there are, which is conversion rate optimization (CRO), we need to know what to expect from them in the near future.
As near as 2020, that is.
Artificial Intelligence? Yes, please
The fantastic thing with today’s marketing automation tools is that they use-and will continue to use-Artificial Intelligence in order to gather and analyze data and let us marketers know exactly when to send that email, without us having to study the behavior of each and every prospect and segment according to the set criteria at the time.
Marketing automation will do all that for us and will, additionally, manage to create and improve pieces of content, such as subject lines or chatbot dialogues that won’t feel forced or unnatural.
In other words, AI enables us to not only know what to do and does the job for us, but also to not lose that personal touch that is much needed when you’re talking to a prospect.
AI can also allow us to find new prospects and engage them with tailor-made offers and content. It can give us clear insight when it comes to the buying habits of the customers. This makes targeting a whole lot easier and allows us to make efficient, data-driven decisions.
And since this is not a fad, but something that will continue over time, we can expect email marketing and automation to get a whole new spin down the line.
Personalization and interactive email marketing
With so much targeting, data and segmentation, hyper-personalization is bound to happen. An email has stopped being “just an email’, as the demand to stand out continues. The same goes for chatbots, that need to feel more like humans and less like robots.
Therefore, emails will continue being tailor-made to meet needs, but they will also become interactive and will begin to resemble microsites more than they do at this point.
In the future, brands will be able to create content that will be interactive to the point where they’ll need to know how to create a landing page to convert prospects into customers and lead them down the funnel after they’ve interacted with the email. This will be possible with broader use of video content in the email, for example, or mini-games that will engage, entice and perhaps give out discount codes as well.
Email marketing campaigns and marketing automation tools will give us the opportunity to research solutions that weren’t possible or that we wouldn’t have been able to come up with, all on our own.
And since marketing is all about predicting desires, this will provide a whole lot of revenue and connection with a brand that knows exactly what their customers need.
Some GDPR action
GDPR was, in all intents and purposes, a frightening practice and experience for brands. However, from a client’s perspective, it had been long overdue.
And from a marketer’s perspective, we should all admit that it did more good than we could’ve imagined. So, instead of trying to fight it, follow the rules and see how they can benefit you.
You’ll need to be GDPR compliant, regardless of the region. Showing that your brand is transparent and doesn’t follow shady tactics creates a win-win situation for both you and your prospect.
The prospect will, that way, feel safe with entrusting you their data and you’ll win in the form of conversion and trust.
Not to mention that GDPR provides an effortless alternative to keeping your list clean and tidy, as a person who is not that interested, will think twice before signing up.
And, by making it mandatory for prospects to be able to opt-out whenever needed, you’re one step closer to a super shiny email list!
A different sales funnel
We all know the classic sales funnel that describes the stages of the customer’s journey. And even though we’d love for it to be linear throughout history, this is just not possible, seeing as the customer journey itself has stopped being linear.
Nowadays, people can express interest, do research and decide what they’d like to purchase, at the blink of an eye. Prospects can remain prospects forever, they can be moving back and forth from one stage of the funnel to the other, they can remain inactive or move from the top to the bottom of the funnel in a flash.
In 2020, this will be even more prominent, and emails will be sent out to prospects that won’t need any information at all, they’ll just need a product, or bottom-funnel customers that will need to know everything about everything.
Through email marketing, we’ll be able to create workarounds and stop considering a non-linear funnel to be a problem, as the hyper-personalization mentioned above, will enable us to engage and entice any lead, use multiple touchpoints, and nurture them throughout their experience.
Pro tip: If you’re having trouble visualizing a non-linear funnel, maybe thinking like a client and creating a decision tree that will be showcasing your own experience, will help you.
Marketing automation that cleans up the mess
In 2020, there won’t be a brand that bothers with marketing automation and email marketing, that won’t have a tool at the ready, to help clean up their email list.
Automation tools will run through each and every one of your leads, check their data, see if they’ve been active or not, and in what ways, and end up hyper-personalizing the content and send out emails that will be relevant, be it opt-out emails or emails with personalized content that will help those leads get re-engaged.
By using marketing automation tools to do this, you pretty much eliminate the factor of human error, which is pretty important, and create the proper conditions to increase your conversion rate with interested and qualified leads.
Email marketing and marketing automation tools still have a lot to give and can go a long way, up to the point where every task will be on “set ‘em and forget ‘em” mode and all data will be there waiting for you to use them without having to break a sweat.
So, what say you? What other trends will there be on the email marketing and marketing automation fields for 2020? What is your prediction?
Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to share the knowledge!
Téa is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.