A Deeper Guide to Email Marketing Automation
This post is a deep dive into many topics that we touched on in our widespread Email Automation and Marketing Automation Guide and provides many real-life examples. Both articles complement each other to provide a comprehensive source for your marketing automation strategies.
For every $1 that you put into email marketing, you can expect to receive $42 back. Email marketing has been consistent and reliable in this kind of return for years and years.
Of course, other marketing techniques have come along. But, nothing beats traditional email marketing.
And, with new tactics like email marketing automation, email marketing has become even more successful. Email marketing automation tools can help you take your strategy to the next level.
So, if you're looking to learn more, keep reading. We're going to cover everything you need to know.
What Is Email Marketing Automation?
Email automation is an easier way to approach email marketing. It allows you to send emails to every single subscriber at the right moment.
And, you don't have to wait by your computer to do it. The automated email marketing system that you use will handle everything for you. All you need to do is tell it what to send and when to send it.
If you've been writing identical emails over and over again, you've been wasting your time. Automated systems can help you send repeated emails that are still directed towards individual customers.
And, you'll be able to track more analytics than ever before. You'll be able to target customers on a variety of characteristics:
- Previous purchases
- Recently viewed items
The list goes on and on.
Once you've accumulated all of the data you need, you can personalize each customer's experience. In turn, you'll increase your revenue and improve the relationships that you have with your customers.
It almost sounds too good to be true. But, trust us.
Email automation is 100% real, and we're going to tell you even more about it.
The Benefits of Email Automation
We've already touched on a few of the things that you may see with a successful email automation strategy:
- Save more time
- Collect more data
- Improve customer relationships
- Personalize the email experience
But it's a little more intricate than that. In other words, there's a lot more to know.
So, let's dive into all of the things you can look forward to with your new email marketing strategy.
1. Personalized Marketing Towards Customers
Marketing personalization will get you everywhere. Customers love when businesses think of them. So, they're more likely to engage with a company that does so.
Whether it's addressing them by name or making personalized recommendations, you're taking a giant leap in your relationship with that customer.
Not only is personalization nicer. But, it also makes logical sense.
If a customer purchases on your site, they should expect to receive an email about that purchase. If you send an email about an upcoming sale instead, this won't make sense to the customer. They should be receiving an email about how to use their product or rate it.
Sending emails wisely will do more to build your customer relationships. They'll be more likely to interact with emails that make sense with their current situation with your company. And they'll appreciate the personalized communication that you've sent.
With email automation, you can set up these logical emails. You can tell the system to send an email following a customer's purchase. You can recommend other items a couple of weeks after purchase.
You can even do both.
Email automation can help you set up email series, a group of emails that you can send following a specific action.
For example, you may want to make a series after a customers purchases a service:
- An email directly after the purchase that confirms the details
- An email the next day explaining how the service works and where the customer can find more information if they have questions
- An email a couple of days later asking for a review of the service
- An email a couple of weeks later recommending other similar services
You can automate all of these emails to send to your customers in a particular order at a specific time.
2. Better Use of Your Marketing Team
Marketing automation can and will completely transform the way that your marketing team works. Automating your email marketing strategy can improve employee productivity.
By automating specific tasks, you're allowing your employees to focus on the things that truly matter. They don't have to waste their time on repetitive, mundane tasks. Instead, the automated system will perform these tasks while your employees can focus on higher-value work.
For example, you may decide that you want to set your system to compile email lists automatically. Now, your employees don't have to run emails and names through your emailing program.
And, if you automate specific email campaigns, that's another thing that your employees don't have to worry about.
Of course, you can't automate everything. But, automating some of these more boring tasks could significantly improve morale.
3. Retention Rate Improvements
Your customer retention rate tells you how many of your customers return after making one purchase with your company. The retention rate shows how you perform at creating and cultivating a relationship with your customers. The higher your retention rate is, the better you're formulating customer relationships.
Whether you're new to this idea or not, there's always room to improve. And, email automation is a tool to get you started.
With automated emails, you'll be able to schedule emails to your customers. Email automation will guarantee that you'll keep in touch with them often. So, you'll never forget to reach out.
The longer you go without contacting a customer, the more likely they are to forget about your company. You don't want to flood their inbox every single day. It is essential to reach out regularly so that you can keep your customers updated on everything they should know about your company.
You could communicate about relevant products, sales, services, and more. And, you'll be able to reach the customer more effectively if you can tie these emails to their history with your company.
Your goal with these emails is to improve relationships. Yes, you may make a sale. But, it's about more than that.
Your goal should be to nurture your relationship and establish a genuine connection with that customer so that you're filling a need for that customer.
4. Growth Within Marketing
No matter how big your marketing team is, there is only so much it can do. Your people cannot handle double the customers you have now. So, if your business ever grows, you won't be able to handle marketing without hiring more and more people.
While growing your marketing team is exciting, it's not the only answer. Email automation is another great way to scale your marketing team. Because, with email automation, your existing marketing team can do more work than they could do alone.
Let's think about a typical example: welcome emails. Every time a customer signs up for your email list, your company should send a welcome email that does the following:
- Thank him/her for signing up
- Explains what he/she can expect from the email list
- Details the kinds of products/services he/she can find from your company
Suppose you're going to do this for every single person who signs up. In that case, you'd need one consistently available person. You never know what time of the day or night someone will sign up, so you need someone to send the email whenever this happens.
And, don't forget that time matters. If you send a welcome email the next day, the customer isn't likely to respond.
All of this sounds pretty ridiculous. It's unnecessary to have someone manning your email 24/7 when you could just use automated marketing.
With this strategy, you'll be able to create and send welcome emails automatically. Email automation makes this happen each time someone signs up without you even having to know.
Email Marketing Triggers
Whenever you send an email to a customer, there has to be a purpose. In other words, there should be a trigger that pushes you to send this email.
Identifying these triggers can help you prepare current emails and understand future ones.
Here are few common email marketing triggers:
- Someone signs up for your email list
- Someone abandons their cart
- Your company releases a new product/service
- Your company announces a promotion
With each of these triggers, there is a proper response. So, your company should be prepared to make these responses (emails) at all times.
Let's talk about how your company can use these triggers to improve customer relationships and grow your business.
We talked about the welcome email earlier. And, we're mentioning it again because it is one of the most popular forms of automated emails. And it sets the tone for your relationship with that subscriber.
Plus, your subscribers will notice if you opt not to send a welcome email. 74% of people expect to see that welcome email in their inbox once they've subscribed to a mailing list.
With this, they are more likely to click on, read, and react to a welcome email. Sending a welcome email means that you will likely have more prospects and sales at the very beginning of the customer relationship.
The way that your new subscribers react will all depend on how you phrase your welcome email. So, you should make sure to show your gratitude while showing off what you think the subscribers will like.
An abandoned cart is more common than you think. About 70% of shoppers abandon their carts for a variety of reasons:
- Concerns regarding the security of the site
- High shipping costs
- Registration issues with their account
By sending an email after a customer abandons an item, you can recover lost sales. Doing so means that you'll be able to increase your sales for the period while helping the customer resolve the issues that set them off from completing the purchase in the first place.
Of course, to complete the purchase, your abandoned cart emails have to be effective - your time and wording of the email matter.
So, you should be prepared to formulate an email that can convince the customer that your site is worth buying from. To do this, you may need to include information about site security, reasoning as to why the product is excellent, or an easy way to sign up for a membership.
The simpler you make the sale, the more likely it is that the consumer will react to the email and complete their purchase.
New Product or Service Release
Consider even making your product and service announcements personalized. If you send out an email every time you release something new, it may become overwhelming for your subscribers.
By personalizing emails, you can announce new products and services to those who care about them.
For example, you may have a customer who is interested in your workout gear. You may know this from seeing their history of searches, purchases, and more. So, when you release a new workout line, you need to notify this customer.
By specifying your notifications about new lines, you can reach the right customers and make more sales. And, you'll avoid bothering customers who don't care about those other products and services.
If your company has an upcoming promotion, you need to let your customers know. Everyone loves a good sale.
Here is another ideal opportunity for you to reach out to customers who enjoy specific products and services. If you notice that a particular customer is enjoying a product with upcoming promotion, you should alert that customer. They may have been waiting for such an opportunity to make a purchase.
Or, the promotion could be the reason that they needed to buy that extra product.
Either way, you're improving that customer's experience with your business by reaching out ahead of time. If you don't send an email, it's unlikely that they will find out about the promotion themselves.
Create Your Email Marketing Automation Strategy
When creating your email marketing strategy, you need to make sure that you've set up to collect as much data as possible. The better you construct your approach, the better you'll expand that strategy based on your collected information.
Here are the steps that we recommend following for starting your very own email marketing strategy:
- Collect information from your leads
- Set any goals that you have for your email marketing automation strategy
- Select the metrics that you want to pay attention to as you're growing your automated emailing strategy
- Create all of the emails that you're going to need to start your marketing campaign
- Test your hypotheses and see if new methods work before implementing them officially
- Monitor how many checkpoints you have with your leads
- Analyze your metrics often and make changes as needed
By following the steps, you'll be able to create a strong email marketing automation strategy that will grow as your business grows. Just remember to listen to your customers as you're making changes in the future. They will be able to tell you what they want from your emails.
Email Marketing Automation Best Practices
If you're just getting started with email marketing, there are plenty of existing strategies for you to learn from. As more and more people have become involved with automated emailing, we've learned more and more about how to do it effectively.
So, we've pulled together some of the best strategies that we've seen over the years. If you're just getting started, these are great strategies to keep in mind as you're developing your company's automated system. And, if you have some experience with automation, these are excellent practices to keep in mind as you're continuing to grow.
Branding Email Templates
Branding is everything in marketing. And, it's no different when it comes to emails.
As you start to depend on your automated system, you should make sure that you've developed your custom personalized email template. Your custom email template is the one that your automated system can use every time it sends an email.
The template will make it easier to send multiple emails to multiple people without rewriting or revising anything. So, it will help save you time. But, branding is the most crucial part.
Specific branding in your emails will make it easier for customers to know whether or not emails are coming from you. They should be able to tell which company sent an email without seeing the sender's name.
Take advantage of your company colors, phrases, fonts, and more. Your emails should look similar to social media posts, product branding, and everything else that your company is doing.
A cohesive brand is crucial for customer recognition.
Creating an Onboarding Series
An onboarding series of emails goes beyond the typical welcome email. Usually, a company will send new subscribers a welcome email when signing up for the emailing list. But, an onboarding series can have a more significant impact on your relationship with the consumer.
An onboarding series is a collection of emails that you'll send throughout the first few weeks that a subscriber is subscribed to your emailing list. These emails should give the reader an excellent first impression of your company.
Your onboarding emails need to do a few things:
- Welcome the new subscriber
- Explain what they can expect from your mailing list
- Provide proof of why it was a good idea to sign up for the mailing list
- Show customer ratings and reviews of your company
- Send links to popular articles and pages
- Show off your best products and services
As a part of your onboarding series, each email should have its distinct purpose. For example, you'll want to start with welcoming the subscriber and explaining what this email list will provide them. Then, you'll want to go into the details about your company and its products.
The order of your onboarding series matters. The things that you share in your onboarding series matter.
It's essential to take your time developing a series that works for your audience. You may need to revise a few things as you learn what works best.
Segmenting Your Email List
Segmenting your email list involves grouping your current subscribers by interest, behavior, past purchases, or other characteristics. By segmenting them, you can send personalized, targeted emails. Therefore, you may be able to create a stronger relationship and make more sales.
One of the easiest ways to submit your email list is by asking your subscribers how many emails they want to receive from your company. When a subscriber signs up for your list, they should be able to choose how many times a week/month they're receiving emails from you.
By giving them this option, you're providing clarity in the subscriber-company relationship. And, you'll be able to know what kind of emails they want to see from you.
When your subscribers choose how many emails they want to receive, you should separate them into different email lists. Segmenting your subscribers will make it easier to email the right people at the right time.
Additionally, you could ask the subscriber what kind of content they want to receive. When they sign up for your email list, you may ask them to check off the content that they wish to receive. You may provide a list that includes sales, new products, company announcements, weekly newsletters, and more.
The more segmented your mailing list is, the more personalized your emails will be.
Nurturing Customer Relationships
The entire point of developing a successful email marketing strategy is to nurture customer relationships. Yes, you want to make sales. But, you also want to make sure that you're creating lasting relationships with customers who are likely to make repeat purchases and tell others about your business.
As you're sending these emails, you should keep this in mind. You're participating in lead nurturing every time that you sent an email.
Lead nurturing is an integral part of any marketing strategy. It allows marketers to turn prospective customers into actual customers. By providing valuable content through email marketing, your business can turn leads into customers.
And email collections like the onboarding series are instrumental in doing this.
As you're creating emails for your subscribers, you need to keep good lead nurturing steps in mind:
- Understand the lead's level of engagement
- Explain the benefits of your products/services
- Show them how to use your products/services
- Provide valuable, educational content
Keep in mind that you shouldn't stop sending this kind of information after you've made a sale. You should continue to send helpful content to customers. Doing so will increase your customer retention rate and your overall sales.
Milestone emails are few and far between. You may have received a birthday email from your favorite local restaurant. But, you're unlikely to receive these kinds of emails from large companies.
Now, it's your turn to change this.
No matter how large your company is, you should be sending milestone emails to every single subscriber. And, you can automate these emails so that your marketers don't need to worry about marking every single subscriber's birthday on the company calendar.
It's more than birthdays, though. You may wish to recognize the anniversary of when they signed up for your mailing list. You may want to commemorate their first purchase.
These milestones may not seem like a big deal, but they are perfect opportunities to reach out to your subscribers. And, it gives your subscribers a sense of nostalgia around your company.
It's about the most personalized an email can get. And, customers will be more likely to click on these emails and interact with any offers, promotions, or other links that you provide.
You can also use automated email marketing to suggest products. Most often, marketers use email automation to up-sell and cross-sell items.
Up-selling involves encouraging customers to buy a more expensive product rather than a less expensive product they've been showing interest in. You may send an email offering the upgrade for a specific amount of money. Even if they've already purchased the less expensive product, you can offer to change the order.
Cross-selling involves encouraging a customer to buy products that go along with a product that they've ordered. You may suggest that they buy a case for the headphones they just bought. Maybe there's a matching pair of jeans to go along with the shirt that they liked.
To take advantage of cross-selling, you'll need to make a list of related products for a particular sale. This way, your automated system will be able to recognize those sales and send the correct email.
Whatever it is, you can send an automated email after they make their purchase. These kinds of personalized emails are more likely to be appealing to customers because they have to do with recent activity.
And, this means that you may be able to make an additional sale.
Sending Transactional Information
The following may seem like a simple email automation tip, but it's one that many companies forget about. You can automate your transactional emails. Transactional emails include order confirmations, shipment status updates, password resetting emails, pricing plan expiration dates, and more.
Your customers expect these kinds of emails every time they purchase or perform a similar email trigger. So, you should make sure that customers receive these emails promptly. Hence, you need to take advantage of email marketing automation.
Rather than sending all of these emails individually, you can set up your email marketing automation system to automatically send all of these emails. By doing so, you'll be able to maintain customer retention without having to have a marketer consistently writing emails.
Re-Engaging Quiet Subscribers
Every distribution list has quiet subscribers who don't open emails, click on any links, and likely send your emails directly to the trash bin.
It may hurt the marketers who take their time to perfect their wording and messages, but every company deals with them.
However, since the subscriber hasn't opted out of your email list yet, you still have a chance to win them back, i.e., re-engaging a passive client.
These are users who may have lost interest in your company or forgotten about it altogether. Usually, companies define passive subscribers as those who haven't opened an email in more than three months.
Developing a re-engagement email might be mundane to a marketeer as it may include information about your emailing list and why you think it's important to them. However, maybe together with a special promotion, doing so might spark a new sale and a loyal customer.
If this re-engagement strategy doesn't work, it may be time to remove that subscriber from your email list. It may seem unnecessary to decrease your subscriber count, but this will also improve your emailing statistics.
Managing Your List
Managing your list overall is essential. Removing passive subscribers is just the first step.
You should also make sure that your transitioning consumers as you deem necessary. These shifts define where the consumer is in the sales funnel.
Someone who just signed up for your emailing list should not receive the identical emails as someone who has been a part of the emailing list for a year. These two individuals are in entirely different stages of the sales funnel.
Separating or segmenting these customers over time is essential. You wouldn't want to send introduction emails to the same person for months and months. Eventually, they need to move on to a later stage in the sales funnel.
Email Marketing Automation Strategy Tips
Now that we've convinced you that email marketing automation is effective, it's time to talk about how to optimize your strategy. Whether you've worked with automation before or not, it's vital to look at recent trends in email automation. These can help you streamline your processes and reach more consumers.
Overall, these email marketing tips will improve your strategy to optimize customer relationships and increase sales. Let's dive in.
Collect Data Along the Way
Every time you send an automated email, you need to be collecting data. All customers give you irreplaceable information that you can use to improve your email marketing strategy in the future.
You learn a lot by sending one email:
- You'll know whether or not they opened the email
- You'll know whether or not they clicked on one of the links in the email
- You'll know whether or not they used an offer that you presented in the email
- You'll know whether or not they bought one of the products/services you suggested in the email
- You'll know whether or not they continue to browse your site after receiving your email
This and more data that each customer gives you is priceless. The more that you learn about your customers, the better decisions you can make in the future.
By looking at the status, you'll be able to tell whether or not your automated emails are working with your current strategy. If you find that your open rate or click-through rate is low, you know that you need to make some changes.
And, by running a few consumer tests, you should be able to tell what kind of things your emails are missing.
You can ask your subscribers what they want to see from your emails. Getting their opinions directly from them will make improving your emails easier.
We mentioned abandoned carts earlier. We talked about some of the reasons that shoppers abandon their carts right before checking out. One of the biggest reasons that people do this is because they notice how expensive shipping is.
Suppose a customer disagrees with the shipping price; you might need to negate shipping prices or decrease item prices with promo codes or other discounts.
As we mentioned, you should be sending emails to consumers who have abandoned their shopping carts. With these emails, you might be able to entice those customers to complete their purchases. An automated shopping cart email can calm or resolve those problems that made them abandon the cart in the first place.
By offering a discount or promotion, you may be able to convince customers to look past the shipping price to complete the sale.
However, it would be best if you didn't overuse the strategy. Offering a discount each time the customer abandons their shopping carts might lead to unwanted expectations.
You don't want to have consumers who purposefully abandon their shopping carts to receive discounts.
Use Drip Campaigns
Drip campaigns are those email marketing strategies that involve sending multiple emails over a specific period of time. Usually, drip campaigns share content about your company with the individual receiving the emails. Companies use these emails to try to win over consumers and create relationships.
If you're looking to reach out to prospective customers more effectively, you need to use drip campaigns. However, if you've ever conducted a drip campaign, you know how tedious and time-consuming it can be.
Fortunately, that's why we recommend using automated marketing tools to compose drip campaigns.
If you automate your drip campaigns, you'll be able to reach more consumers and carry out a more effective strategy. Instead of relying on your marketing employees to create and distribute individual emails to each consumer, you can allow your automated system to take care of this.
And, because the entire process is automated, your marketing team doesn't have to worry about finding those prospects who have shown interest. Your automated system will know who to send the emails to and when to send the emails. That is, as long as you can set up those email triggers that we talked about earlier.
Your team will focus on discovering important email triggers while your automation tool handles regular communication.
Don't Forget to Say Thank You
Every time that a customer does something to further your business, you need to say thank you. Whether they made a purchase or left a review, it's crucial to recognize that their effort has contributed to the success of your business.
So, you should have a thank you email at the ready to send them when things like this happen.
Emails like welcome emails and order confirmation emails should already include statements of gratitude. But, you may want to send a separate email if the customer decides to leave a review, tells a friend about your company, or does something similar.
Even though this may be your 5000th sale this week, it's important to thank every single customer who contributed to that number. Not only is it great for your relationship with that customer. But, it also shows that you appreciate every person who takes the time to invest in your business.
A thank you email is also a personal way of interacting with your customer. Even if the email is automated, your customer will appreciate that you took the time to recognize their action. It's not often that businesses stop and take the time to acknowledge their customers individually.
Getting Started With Email Automation
Getting started with email marketing automation isn't as difficult as it may sound. You don't need to go out of your way to create personalized software that your company can use. That's what we're here for.
Helpmonks is an email marketing automation service that makes it easier to connect with your customers. And, we can help you increase customer engagement while strengthening customer relationships.
It's a no-brainer.
Email automation is the thing that could take your business to the next level. And it will create strong and lasting relationships with your customers.
What are you waiting for? Try it for free today and see how it can help you.