Imagine if Rosey, the robotic maid from The Jetsons, could help you with your business marketing. With today’s marketing automation trends, that fantasy isn’t too far off.
There’s something exciting about the idea of futuristic technology making my life as a marketing professional easier. Although we’re not living in 2062, the year that show was set, it’s possible to integrate new automation systems and concepts to reduce time and improve the outcomes of any business outreach campaign.
Marketing automation doesn’t mean switching on a robot and leaving it to execute your marketing plans — yet. Today, marketing automation refers to software platforms that help businesses automate their marketing and sales engagement processes to generate more leads, convert those leads to sales, and optimize ROI (return on investment).
Think about the simple welcome email. When a customer visits a website for the first time, they may be prompted to sign up for a newsletter to receive a 15% coupon code for their first purchase. They fill in their email address and name and hit enter. Automatically, they will receive an email in their inbox welcoming them and providing them with the promised discount code.
There was no hamster (or Rosey, for that matter) behind a computer receiving this customer’s request and sending the email. Instead, the business marketing team used email automation tools to send the email and initiate a new relationship with a potential customer. With minimal effort, a business can start the process of converting someone who is simply browsing their site into a paying — and potentially loyal — customer.
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and new software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, it’s easier than ever to use technology to get the results you seek from your marketing campaigns.
We may still be waiting for Jetsons-style convenience, but with an understanding of the latest marketing automation trends, you can spend less time doing day-to-day marketing tasks and more time thinking about where to go in your flying car.
What are trends in automation?
As with all kinds of technology, marketing automation has evolved as marketing professionals and business owners better understand how to connect with their target audience. For example, a decade ago, the idea of creating a formula that inputs the first name of a recipient at the top of an email was cutting-edge. Now, the trend of personalization is much more robust and even more effective.
There are several reasons why these trends in automation are worth following. Marketing automation trends — like click segmentation, abandoned cart emails, and A/B testing — free up time for both you and anyone else on your marketing team to be creative. No longer is it necessary to manually analyze data or focus on repetitive tasks.
Remember the adage “garbage in, garbage out?” When you automate your marketing using SaaS or AI tools, you’ll reduce human error, streamline your work, and collect useful data about your customers that you can use to better solve their pain points. This, in turn, improves your bottom line.
Top marketing automation trends to know
With all of the new trends in marketing automation, one thing is pervasive: Customers are looking to connect with companies that share their values. The top marketing automation trends that can support these efforts are:
- Infographics and images
- Sales funnels
- Click segmentation and personalized content for emails
- A/B testing
- Mobile-focused websites
- Push notifications
- Omnichannel marketing
I’ll discuss these more below, but no matter which trends you adopt for your business, you must always consider the importance of value-based marketing. This is foundational for reaching your target audience, no matter what products you sell or offer as a service.
With automation, you’ll want to be aware of the possibility of dehumanizing your message. Remember: You’re looking to reach real people, and no one wants to interact with a machine that sounds like a robot (sorry, Rosey!).
This concept is called conversational marketing, and it relies on computer programming known as natural language processing (NLP). As this technology gets better, you’ll be able to automate even more tasks.
With every automation tool you use to enhance your marketing campaigns, keep the needs and desires of your target audience at the forefront. The purpose of every marketing campaign, in the end, is to foster trust with your customers and leads and create an emotional connection with your brand.
It may seem counterintuitive to discuss robots and emotions in the same article. But these marketing automation trends should show you how you can use both to boost your business.
Don’t worry about trying to implement everything all at once. The best thing about automation is that you can implement one system, refine it, and move on to the next one. Of course, plan a quarterly revisit into your marketing plans so you can integrate the newest technology and never be left behind.
Social media marketing automation trends
It’s not news that social media has completely taken over the media landscape. When The Jetsons was on television, businesses could use radio, television, and newspapers to connect with their customers. Now, more than 4.76 billion people around the world spend their time on social media.
So, it’s critical to integrate social media marketing into your business marketing plan. And these automation trends make the entire process easier.
Algorithms that dictate what is featured on social media feeds, like Facebook and Instagram, remain a closely guarded secret. Yet, marketing professionals understand that images always enhance audience engagement.
AI tools have taken image creation to the next level, and there are many new free and paid SaaS platforms to generate new images to post. Play around with DALL-E2 by OpenAI and Midjourney to discover ways to automate image generation for your business. You may find ways to create custom images that align with the message you’re trying to convey.
Pictures aren’t the only thing that AI tools can help you automate for marketing your business. You can also create infographics, which are visual tools that break down information into attractive, bite-sized pieces. AI tools like ChatGPT can automatically create bulleted lists that you can quickly integrate into a design.
Once your infographic is filled with AI-generated (and fact-checked) information, the visual can itself be a tool for automation.
How? Well, you can integrate infographics into social media campaigns that lead to a landing page designed to draw potential customers to a sales funnel. (That’s another automation trend we’ll get more in-depth with soon.)
Consider these trends when designing infographics with AI or other graphic design tools:
- Use bright colors to grab attention and create cheerful moods
- Animate graphics to create interactive visuals that keep viewers interested
- Lean on retro fonts and images to offer a sense of nostalgia
- Try gradient colors to soften the look
- Add interesting lines throughout the infographic to draw the viewer’s eye
A few years ago, chatbots got a bad rep, but this is where the new developments in natural language processing come in. Today, chatbots are powerful marketing automation trends that can save you time and help you engage with your customers. Plus, it’s easy to integrate chatbots into social media platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp.
These tools can collect information about your customers’ demographics, which you can use to personalize your communications.
Chatbots can also automatically offer appropriate product or service recommendations, answer questions, and even encourage lead conversions by offering surprise discounts.
Marketing professionals have been integrating automated sales funnels into their marketing campaigns for a while. That’s because automation has made it easier to identify where a customer is on their buying journey. With automated funnels, you automatically supply leads and customers with the right information to get their attention, content to keep their interest and build their desire, and action steps to complete their purchase.
Here’s an example: Let’s say a customer learned about one of your products on social media by scrolling past one of your paid ads. When they click on it, they’re sent to a landing page with a pop-up offering a discount on their first purchase. They enter their email address, and they automatically get an email with a coupon. A day later, when they haven’t completed the order, you automatically send another with some tips on how to use your product. Still no order? Your system will automatically send a second coupon. When they finally place their order, they’ll get an automatic email of both confirmation and appreciation.
Email marketing automation trends
Before we get into email automation trends, let me answer the basic question I get frequently: “What is email marketing automation?” Essentially, it’s a tool that allows you to create emails well in advance and tag them with associated actions, such as when a customer makes an order, clicks a link, or has a birthday. Each time a subscriber triggers the system, your email marketing automation tool then sends the appropriate email out to them.
Today, marketing professionals are implementing the following trends in marketing automation with this powerful tool.
If you already have a way to gather the email addresses of your customers and potential customers, you’re a step ahead of many business owners. But hear this in a Rosey the Robot voice: It’s time to segment. It’s one of the most effective marketing automation trends this year.
Click segmentation is the act of breaking up your email list in strategic ways — automatically — based on the links your subscribers click on. What those categories look like depends on your business. Maybe you want to split up your customers by gender, where they live, or their specific pain point. Once you segment your customers into different lists, it will be easy to pre-generate messages that are specific to their needs or interests.
Enhanced A/B testing
Another important trend in marketing is A/B testing, which involves creating two separate messages within one campaign to test which one is more effective in engaging potential customers. You may change your design, a header, certain information, or any other part of your strategy. Then you can monitor and analyze the behind-the-scenes data to see what works best.
A/B testing is a powerful way to hone your email marketing message. Automation and AI analysis can make this entire process easier. You can create and automate the sending of a series of emails necessary for an effective campaign. This is data analysis at its finest.
Personalization is probably the most important trend for marketing, currently. It applies not just to email marketing but to every other method and platform you’ll use. I’ve included it under email marketing automation trends because I believe this is one of the best ways to connect on a very personal level with your customers.
Wondering how to make marketing automation and personalization work together? It’s the most important takeaway, really. It’s not just about adding a first name to an email, although that is still valuable. In today’s marketing landscape, you’ll want to identify where the customer is on their journey and address the specific pain point that’s keeping them from moving forward or completing a purchase.
Automation tools can help you gather data, which in turn helps you create email segmentation. This then shows you how to craft an effective message for a specific person. No one has enough time to create and send individual emails to each customer, but this marketing automation trend is the solution that’s perfect for many business owners.
Mobile marketing automation trends
Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, and more often than not, people are using their smartphones to log on to social media. Statista reports there are more than 15 billion cell phones in the world — that’s twice the global population! And that number is only expected to increase. So, your business must be set up for mobile marketing, full stop.
It used to be that marketing wisdom recommended having a mobile-friendly version of a website. Now, the trend is to create websites that are primarily designed to be viewed on a cell phone. Also known as “mobile-responsive.” Thankfully, many website builders and email programs automatically create mobile-responsive website versions.
Use this automation to your advantage when you create specific landing pages that users can view on their mobile devices. When you use templates or programs already coded for viewing on smartphones, you’ll see more conversions since more people will be able to easily access your content and navigate your site.
This automation trend goes hand-in-hand with personalization because no one wants to receive a push notification that doesn’t apply to them. But if you automatically send a push notification — or marketing text messages, for that matter — that piques interest, your message is sure to get noticed.
To accomplish this, use your data to look at past consumer behavior and social listening to create an in-depth customer profile. When you create an app for your business, you can ask a few strategic questions upon sign-up that can guide the automation process. Use browsing habits and the type of device your customers have to focus your message on the specific behaviors and products they care most about.
Omnichannel marketing automation trends
Omnichannel marketing aims to offer a seamless experience of messaging and communication of a brand throughout every platform, including websites, social media, email, videos, and more. It can be a challenge to change the message to fit the medium, but it’s worth it as your customer gains a stable and clear understanding of your company. That’s why it’s one of the most-talked-about marketing automation trends today.
You can increase the possibility of conversion by following the rule of seven. This term refers to the idea that it takes seven different times of seeing a message before it sticks. In a marketing context, a potential customer must see your brand marketing seven times until they’re ready to commit to a sale. To reduce this work, integrate automation tools.
For example, you can use tools to schedule social media posts on different platforms. Next, you can use a professional email marketing platform to schedule direct emails with a similar message. You can then use one of the many sales automation trends by integrating your customer relations management (CRM) software to sync any data you’ve gathered with your sales team.
Thinking long-term and big-picture can help you understand how to best implement these various marketing automation tools into your comprehensive marketing plan.
Marketing automation helps your business thrive
Regardless of the size of your business, you can make your marketing plans easier through automation. To make it seamless, integrate the latest technologies to enhance your social media, email, mobile and omnichannel marketing.
To start, take inventory of the data you currently have on your customer base. See if there are ways you can divide your customers into different segments as you begin to personalize your message. Then, see how you can use different platforms to specifically address their pain points using automation tools.
Once you set up the infrastructure, you’ll find that your marketing will be able to almost run itself — freeing you to do other important work that makes your business thrive.