Keeping with the general trend toward automation at scale, MailChimp announced earlier this week that it now includes marketing automation features standard with all plans, including their legendary free plan. Automations run off of pre-set triggers from customer interactions with your web pages, abandoned carts, or sign-up forms.
While marketing automation has been around for a long time, it’s only within the last couple of years that the practice has gained broader adoption, beyond Fortune 500 tech companies using prohibitively expensive platforms. We’re seeing an uptick in demand for automation because marketers realize they can set and forget campaigns instead of manually emailing each customer — an unsustainable strategy that definitely doesn’t scale.
ALSO READ: How MailChimp Grew to 12 Million Users
It should be noted that MailChimp is not the first email marketing provider to offer free automation as part of every plan: Emma, CampaignMonitor, iContact, and others offer basic automation at the lowest plan level, while AWeber offers all features at all plan levels. But MailChimp holds sway as one of the most popular brands for startups and small businesses due to its cool design aesthetics and popular advertising campaigns.
MailChimp’s new free automation features give small e-commerce marketers (who need to send those time-consuming emails for orders and shipping) access to features that might otherwise be out of their grasp. The features also have the capability to send custom automated messaging for customer onboarding and education — helpful for those looking to extend the reach of their email marketing campaigns.
What does this mean for B2B marketers?
While most marketers in the B2B space work with larger platforms that already include automation, the democratization of email automation tools could have profound effect on the practice of email marketing as a whole.
B2B marketers may lead the way in innovative practices to build customer base, engagement, and targeting, but small-to-medium businesses really comprise the mainstream. As more marketers become familiar with automation, more people will use it. This, in turn, increases the prevalence of segmented and personalized campaigns and drives more product innovation in the space. Instead of just offering automation, email marketing tools will need to grow more powerful and easier-to-use to compete.
The proliferation of automation will also mean more marketers plan out detailed email strategies in advance.
Competitors Offering Email Automation
- Constant Contact: Plus plan
- Emma: Lowest Plan: 1 automated workflow
- AWeber: All Plans: all features, automation included
- iContact: Lowest plan: basic autoresponders
- GetResponse: All Plans: basic automation with workflows and tags
- Campaign Monitor: Lowest Plan: basic automation
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