Email marketing is one of the highly effective marketing channels for your business, and it is constantly evolving.
There is more to it than sending newsletters and on-time campaigns; however, they are still essential or the foundational part of the email marketing strategy.
More technology is coming on the way, revolutionizing communication and also the way we market things.
Companies are already taking up the lead to adapt to the modern upgrades in email marketing, and the very crux of it lies- in email marketing automation.
Automating email marketing is the new game, and it is hardly about just scheduling the emails.
If you are a growing business, you need to know how to adapt email automation to your marketing strategy and campaigns.
So, here is the ultimate guide to helping you learn about the nuts and bolts of email automation in 2021 and the coming years.
What Is Email Automation?
Email automation is the way to create, streamline and send emails that reach the right audience with the right message at the right time, that too without doing everything every time.
It is a process of automating the process of sending emails on a consistent cycle or the given frequency required.
Email automation demands utilizing marketing automation tools, planning, strategies, and analysis.
You can target the relevant audience based on various factors such as their preferences, customer behavior, purchasing patterns, previous sales, and more.
To achieve this, you certainly have to link your website analytics with your email marketing tool or platform.
Then, there are further ways to personalize the marketing automation campaigns depending on your goals, objectives, products, customer types, etc.
Automation Emails Vs. One-Time Campaigns & Newsletters
As opposed to the one-time email campaigns and regularly sending newsletters, automated emails are systematically scheduled to be sent to a list of people in one go.
Also, it is not just about automatically sending out emails but smartly streamlined on the basis of triggers, events, behaviors, segmentations, and other factors.
Automation email campaigns are sent to particular individuals when that person meets a particular trigger.
Hence, these emails are highly personalized as compared to simply scheduled multiple emails that are sent to everyone whatsoever.
There is much more strategy, timing, personalization, and customization involved in automated email marketing campaigns.
Imagine yourself being Facebook, and you want to send an email to someone who has just signed up for an account.
The email will welcome the person to Facebook, showing them around how to get started, how to add friends, upload profile pictures, and other stuff.
Now, it would be a huge waste of time to send an email campaign to every person who signs up, so it is better to create an automated welcome email with a trigger being a new sign-up.
The best part of email automation is you can set up email once, and then as more people continue to meet the relevant trigger you defined earlier, the email will continue sending to them without ever having to lift a finger.
That’s email automation for you!
Benefits Of Email Automation
Getting the Best From Your Marketing Team
Automation is about streamlining the required procedure that goes under business management.
It is what changes the way that all kinds of teams work. The idea with email automation is to make the most of the marketing team.
Resources have limitations, and so does having a limited time for everything. So a business needs higher efficiency, the best they can get.
So even with the best talent, every business has limited resources and time spectrum where their competition is always either catching up to them or ahead of them already.
Hence, automation comes into the scene to boost efficiency by automating the required sequence without having to put in work every time.
It saves time for your marketing team to work on something else, giving them a competitive edge against others.
According to a 2017 survey, information workers registered how automating email marketing campaign boosted their productivity :
- 69% of them said that automation helps them to reduce wasted time.
- 72% of them said the time saved was used to focus on high-value work.
- 59% of them said they save at least 6 hours a week if the repetitive part of their job gets automated.
Since every leading brand is utilizing email marketing automation, it boils down to the combination of great talents, strategies, tools, and timing.
Email automation for the team means that they can spend less time on less-valued repetitive chores of the process and focus more on the work with higher ROI.
It also enables them to creatively handle situations and approach opportunities in a better light.
They won’t have to spend hours and hours manually compiling email lists, sending each and every message across hours and weeks, or even scheduling them.
It shortens the sitting time of every employee, and they have to wait for the actions or triggers when an email needs to be sent.
So, the bottom line is automation helps get more done in less time allowing talents to focus on more creative and higher-value aspects of the job.
Personalize The Experiences Of Your Customers
Customers love personalization. That’s what attracts them, retains them, and enables them to trust the brand.
According to the research conducted, here is what you need to know :
- 90% of consumers prefer personalized content as it is very or somewhat appealing.
- 91% of consumers are more likely to support or engage with businesses that provide personalized recommendations and individual offers.
- According to an experiment, when buyers knew the ad was based on their past activities on the site, the click-through rates get increased by 11%, whereas the revenue scaled up by 38%
- The leading type of personalized experience that customers prefer or that marketers heavily use is email.
- 72% of customers seem to only respond to brand messages that were of their interest.
Automation helps in the personalization of emails on a greater scale, as with it, you can create a series of personalized emails to be sent.
When played long-term, automation helps you engage with customers regularly and develop relationships with them.
And that’s what has a tremendous impact on your business, again a consistent beneficiary for long-term profits.
Helps You Scale Your Marketing Strategy
Without automation, your marketing strategy, no matter how good it is, is very limited and highly unscalable.
Moreover, it cannot be reiterated to gain maximum returns. Then, with limited resources and manpower, you can only get so much from the strategy.
This is because when you set out to send emails manually, depending upon the size of your staff, you can only reach a number of customers in the given time.
How would you be on schedule if your customer base doubled or tripled?
Your marketing strategy crumbles the moment you bite more than you chew. Hence, very difficult to scale, and almost impossible to adapt efficiently.
On the other side, when you send automated emails, your email marketing strategy is scalable.
Every marketing effort can be doubled, tripled, or tenfold within a few clicks. With limited talents and automation, you can serve a consistently growing pool of audiences without failing in communication.
In fact, automation brings the real game in with different strategies at play to convert the potential customer into a sale or an already one-to-repeat purchase.
Also, the staff doesn’t always have to be present at the moment to send emails. With automation, emails will be sent 24 x 7 on your set time or respective trigger.
This means when a customer buys a pair of shoes in the middle of the night, he or she still will be getting a :
- A confirmation email about their purchase
- Thank you email for the purchase
- Shipping details
- Shipping updates regularly over time
- Cart abandonment email when he or she didn’t make the purchase
Then there are other factors such as behaviors, actions, triggers, and segmentation on which automation helps to scale your marketing strategy.
Improving The Customer Retention Rate
The best sales conversion you can get is from your existing customers.
So it is extremely easier and cost-effective to sell to your previous buyers rather than to convert a new one.
Automation helps to enable repeat purchases with consistent and persistent communication with the customer.
Getting repeat purchases is all about remaining in touch with your previous customers.
With automation, you can streamline sending exclusive offers, personalized product recommendations, discounts, etc., to this list without a miss.
When customers don’t go long without hearing from you, they tend to pay attention and have an overall impact.
Further, the more you personalize the emails targeted to your previous buyers, the more likely you are to get a conversion.
The bottom line is automation helps you improve your customer retention rates. It also aids in reducing the customer acquisition cost as well.
How do Triggers work in Email Marketing Automation?
The trigger is basically a specific date, action, event, or activity of your contact that tells the system to send out a respective relevant or related message.
It is what initiates the action of ‘sending emails in an email automation campaign.
Businesses or brands want to send emails at different events, times, or when something happens.
Automation does it for them without putting in the work every time it needs to happen.
You can choose the triggers and the triggered message/email that system will be sent automatically when the trigger occurs.
Example 1: New Subscriber Trigger
Trigger: When anyone subscribed to your email list through email signup-form
Email Type: Welcome Email
Subject line Example: “Welcome To Our Family.”
Message: The message will be about welcoming and greeting the new subscriber and communicating what the brand wants to tell them at this stage.
Now, why do you need this trigger in the first place? Why do welcome emails matter? And what impact does it have?
Well, let’s see at the statistics :
- Welcome emails get four times more read than standard marketing emails.
- 74% of new subscribers expect to get a welcome email.
- Welcome emails get five times more read than standard marketing emails.
- Welcome emails generate 320% more income per email as compared to other marketing emails.
Welcome emails act as follow-up emails to a person who’s just signed up for your email list.
It can be about guiding them and giving them a headstart on where to begin or what to do after signing up.
These emails, in fact, can help you get the new leads to conversion without any extra effort further.
Or you can redirect them again to your website by giving them product suggestions or listing blogs etc.
In any case, it helps in the following:
- Increasing engagement with the subscriber
- Converting them into sales
- Generating leads to future sales
- Developing a long-term relationship with a potential customer
- Setting up expectations for new subscribers regarding what kind of emails they will receive.
Example 2: New Product/Updates Trigger
Trigger: Whenever new products or services are added to your inventory/website Or any new update regarding your product offering and company.
Email Type: Updates/Promotional Email
Subject Line Example: “Something Special For You Here”
Message: The email will consist of a message regarding the recently added or updated products or services in the inventory/website. It also is news or updates about your company or product.
Such emails are ideal for remaining in communication with the subscriber and also keeping them updated about your products and company.
It can also depend upon whether the particular subscriber is also a customer or a previous customer.
Generally, it will be about the addition or restocking information of a product. When you want to announce a newly launched product or inform about the product release date, this type of email trigger gets activated automatically.
The trigger can be multiple and customized as per the segmentation as well. You can also send personalized recommendations of products periodically through this trigger.
Example 3: Cart Abandonment Trigger
Trigger: When a potential buyer abandoned the cart with possible products that he or she was going to buy
Email Type: Cart Abandonment Email
Subject Line Example: “Forget Something?”
Message: Since a potential customer left the cart, giving up the idea of purchasing for some reason, you need to remind them to purchase and motivate them enough to go through the transaction.
About 70% of potential buyers or shoppers online abandoned the carts for some reason.
A lot of potential purchases couldn’t get through as the customer abandons the cart for one or two of the following reasons :
- There are too many or too many additional costs, such as taxes, shipping, and other fees.
- They are forced to create an account before going through the transaction.
- The whole check-out process is complicated and time-consuming, with multiple steps and form fields to fill.
- They are unable to calculate total costs upfront and assume something in their mind only to find out something else at the checkout.
- They are concerned with the security of the transaction.
- You might be offering very slow delivery or/and limited shipping options.
- Your website lacks flexibility in payment methods.
- There can be other reasons, such as inadequate return policy, major website performance issues, excessive upselling, etc.
- Since these potential customers are already interested so much that they are about to make the purchase, targeting them will get you a higher conversion rate.
The list of users who abandoned the carts is easier, faster, and cost-efficient to convert into a sale as compared to others.
They only need the right motivation, more profit, or sometimes just a mere push or reminder.
Hence, abandonment cart emails are highly effective when they are sent at the right time to the right person.
Email automation helps you retrieve those abandoned cart potential customers by re-targeting them with different strategies like :
- Reminding them why they should buy the product
- Highlighting the benefits of the product
- Putting testimonials and reviews of other customers as social proof
- Providing them with special discount
- Suggesting them similar products
- Crafting a personal recommendation list of products for them
Tips & Strategies To Make Your Email Automation More Effective
Consistency Is The Key To Marketing Success
It might be obvious but still, the most overlooked practice that people fail to do – is maintain consistency in sending emails.
Consistency is, in fact, the most important aspect of marketing strategy, and in email marketing campaigns, it is crucial.
Consistency isn’t just about sending emails on time but also strategically optimizing the time period and quality.
It should reflect in your branding and quality as well. The idea of consistency is to build a reputation and help them when they can expect you.
Collect More Information By Tracking Responses
Information is the name of the game. The more you know about your potential customers, the better you will be able to target them, hence more likely to convert them into sales.
So, getting more information on your subscriber is never enough, and you need to look for every chance to get so.
Every time you send an automated email to your subscriber, you have an apt opportunity to retrieve key information from each of your customers.
It allows you to learn about the subscriber whether they :
- Opens your emails
- How often do they open your emails
- Uses the offer you send them
- Buy your recommended products
- Clicks through to your website
- Continues to browse further once they reach to your website
Automated emails can help you to get as much information on your subscribers over time without really pushing too much.
It helps you further to strategize your next move, sometimes or mostly even much more personalized moves.
For example, if you learn that your subscriber is simply not opening your emails, you would know what tactic or strategy to use to encounter this specific problem.
Gathering Product Feedback
Your product needs to meet the expectations of the customer, not just once but over time. So that’s the need for brands to keep up with what customers actually want.
It becomes impossible to know if you do not keep tabs on your customers. It requires a deep understanding of what your customers really want.
So you have to get information from your customer post-purchase. Gathering product feedback from customers over time will help you update it in the right direction.
If you can clearly see some of the points coming across multiple times, you can certainly take that into account.
Product feedback emails usually are about asking questions, and such emails have high response rates.
This customer feedback is extremely valuable for a company because it is the customer directly telling what you can do to make them buy the product.
It is also something that can put you ahead of the competition since you know how to up the game as regards your competitor.
Offering Discounts Personalized & Strategically
Offering discounts is one of the best ways to lure potential customers in, and that works in different scenarios, whether they are :
- New customers
- Abandoned cart potential customers
- Previous customers
And others. The mistake is to send the same discounts or offers to all of them or treat them the same.
Not all kinds of discounts work for all kinds of users. Also, you wouldn’t want to overuse the discount offers where it is not needed.
So, it all boils down to customizing the discounts for the right potential customer for maximum conversion.
One of the biggest reasons people abandon carts is the high shipping cost.
But since you cannot just simply remove the shipping fee or cut your product pricing significantly.
There are other ways to make believe the offers are highly tempting for the customers.
One of the ways to send them promo codes that will attract reluctant spenders.
Offering discounts need a strategy, customization, and segmentation of your email list as well.
Create Automated Drip Campaigns
The first interaction with your company isn’t the last one or the one they made a purchase with you.
Before buying from you, a potential customer interacts or engages with a brand multiple times or for a long-time as well.
Drip campaigns regularly but gradually ‘drips’ useful and relevant information about the company, product, and industry to the subscribers.
It helps make subscribers familiar with the brand. It instills confidence in the company by providing relevant information.
If done well, it can even be considered to be a kind of ‘slow selling’ as these emails build trust and the reputation of the company to the subscriber.
Inform Your Customers Regarding Upcoming Expirations
The worst thing to a business is losing customers, and you have to seek out every opportunity to prevent it.
If you have a business with a subscription-based model where customers need to renew from time to time, you need to make sure to remind them before the expiration date.
Reminding them and encouraging them to renew or update their subscription, plan, or package from time to time help you retain customers for longer.
And according to Brain & Co, a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%
Image Source: CampaignMonitor
For Example, GoDaddy runs frequent email campaigns that lead up to the expiration dates reminding customers to renew their domain name.
They even encourage them to do so as soon as possible by providing them with a discount offer with a simple call-to-action button right in the email.
This becomes enticing enough for their customers to click through to their website and at least try for the renewal.
Such email automation campaigns are highly effective in increasing customer retention by getting people to renew their subscriptions or plans.
Giving Your Customers A Birthday Surprise
Birthday emails are one of the most popular automated emails you can send to your customers. If done well, it can be really effective in getting more sales conversions.
On the other hand, at least, it can help build relationships with the customers.
These emails stir engagement between the brand and customers and encourage further business in between.
Some businesses really excel at this by offering their customers a very special customized and personalized discount on their products as a birthday surprise.
Even if that’s not the case, merely wishing the birthday to customers makes them feel that brands care for their customers.
If you are sending them a voucher or coupon for their birthday celebration, it is better to send them a few days prior to their birthday so they can make the purchase on time.
Make Sure Your Include A CTA
You need to make sure that every email you send has a call to action integrated.
A call to action is telling the audience what they need to or should do after consuming the given content.
It redirects them toward the required action that a brand or business wants- it can be visiting your website, sign-up, downloading, purchasing, etc.
However, you also need to understand that a call to action doesn’t necessarily mean to direct them toward buying something.
CTA can be for different purposes, even asking your subscribers to give responses, follow you on social media or leave reviews.
In fact, selling too hard is the problem with a lot of emails these days, where CTA is heavily used to compel audiences to make purchase.
Nurturing Your Leads
According to Marketo research, 50% of leads that organizations generate are qualified but not yet to buy.
The challenge for businesses is to encourage those leads along the way to purchase without spending too much time on time.
Also, you have to make sure when they get ready to purchase; your business comes top of their mind right away.
Hence, automation comes along where you can set up a series of emails focussing on nurturing leads.
If you’re using a CRM system such as Highrise or Salesforce to manage your leads and sales, you can tag certain leads that require nurturing.
Then, you can further use tools such as Zapier to integrate those leads with your email marketing campaign.
According to the popular marketing blogger Patrick McKenzie, businesses need to start with a simple series of six emails that needs to reach customers over 30 days.
The idea is to increase the possibility of sales as time goes on. Here are the six emails that he recommends :
The Problem Email
With this email, you will propose various possibilities for replacing the existing process that the customer is using with your product.
You will state the obvious as since their process or the product they’re currently using is failing to resolve their issues or is not competent enough.
The focus of the email must be on educating the subscriber on the problems that come along with their current method or default product ( without naming).
The idea is to barely mention your product name, far from simply selling it on the way. It is about accepting the thought that they need better than what they have.
The Benefit Email
Once you send them the ‘The Problem Email,’ the next obvious to send them is the ‘benefit email.’
It is because you’ve already established how ineffective and incompetent their methodology is.
Now, you focus on what can work for them. Hence, comes the ‘benefit’ email, where you share the advantages of using your products.
The highlight of the email needs to be the benefits of using your products rather than what they traditionally use or work with by default.
Make sure you outline how these benefits will improve their lives or make things easy for them.
The Transition Email
Businesses need to assume that every potential customer is currently using some kind of system in their place, doing what your product could do for them.
So, this transition email is about making them realize that your product can do way better than their existing method or product.
Here you encourage them to switch from their process to your product. That’s the most important barrier you need to overcome.
Outline the very simple and easiest steps or ways how they can make this switch from their existing system to your product.
Make sure you make it sound as easy and smooth as possible because if switching is too much work, they won’t go for it.
The Tools Email
After your transition email, the next in the queue should be the ‘The Tools Email”. Here you will define the tools available for what your product offers.
You need to give them an overview like a buyer’s guide, introducing your product for the very first time in detailed outlines.
It shouldn’t be too complicated or too much of a learning curve for them. Otherwise, it will contradict the ‘The Transition Email”.
With an introduction to your product, you will also demonstrate why your product is superior to the competition, as well as their default process.
Make sure you integrate a call to action to buy or sign-up for the product in this email for the first time.
The Case Study Email
The next email suggested in the streamline is ‘The Case Study Email,” where clearly you will present a case study of how your customer uses your product and benefits from it.
The case study helps them to practically understand how your product is helping people just like them.
The more data points they have regarding the product and its success, the more confident they become about buying it.
You also need to make sure here to outline how those problems are solved, which was mentioned in the first email.
Then, also show how they achieve the benefits through the products which were outlined in the second email.
Add the testimonial of your customer, their experience, and other reviews from multiple customers.
Don’t forget to add a call to action for the sign-up for a free trial or the free plan in this email.
The Resources Email
The last email you will send in this series is ‘The Resources Email,’ and it is about enclosing this stream of emails with something valuable.
You can suggest more free resources, other ebooks, templates, blogs, kits, and so much more.
The idea is to educate them in their pursuit or the problem-solving of what your product does.
You can also try adding a discount code or special offer exclusive for them to give them more reasons to buy.
Again, make sure you add Call to Action here to purchase the product or at least go to the trials.
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I am certified and awarded Email marketing expert. I’ve spent the last decade reading and writing marketing books and blogs as well as my articles helps people to start their Email Campaign from scratch or boost their existing business.