99% of consumers check their email every day. Since email is the preferred method of communication from brands, email marketing strategies must continue to grow in order to be successful. Email automation is one of marketing’s most effective processes, but it takes strategic planning and an investment in content development. Learn about the basics of email automation, and how it can best work for your company or institution.
What Is Email Automation & Why Should You Use It?
Email automation is a strategy that allows marketers to reconnect with prospects and customers through targeted emails that are designed to re-engage and convert. When set up in advance, these marketing emails can be sent automatically at an ideal time based on a previous interaction, threshold, or other defined trigger. This makes ongoing email maintenance and management easier and more convenient.
Marketers don’t need to worry about sending individual emails within a specific timeframe that may not align with business hours or be attainable with other responsibilities. Email marketing automation software takes care of the work by automatically identifying leads and sending out emails to develop those leads into customers. This way you can cut back on time evaluating potential prospects and nurturing those relationships, and in turn have more time for your customers and better grow connections with them along the way.
Another way marketing automation can help businesses build long-lasting relationships is with the ability to personalize your emails with their name or other collected information. A HubSpot survey found that 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention. And when you link your website and/or CMS analytics with your email marketing automation software, you can further customize these emails based on information you gather about your prospects, like their past behavior and shopping preferences, so you can best tailor emails to meet their needs.
Email Marketing Automation Examples
There are an unlimited number of ways that businesses can leverage email marketing automation to achieve a different goal. That said, there are some common (and successful) strategies to consider if you're going to start this journey. Depending on which buying stage your customer is currently in, it's essential to understand that your email marketing automation strategy may be unique from one customer to another. The following are email marketing strategies personalized according to the buying stage your customer is currently in:
1. New website visitors
One common email automation tactic is to send out an email to new visitors who weren't ready to purchase a product or service at the time of first entering your site, but instead signed up for your newsletter. Now that you have their email address, make sure to welcome them and thank them for subscribing. As part of your marketing automation process, send a follow up email after a certain number of days that showcases products/services they may be interested in, along with current sales or offers to encourage action.
2. One-time purchasers
When a visitor purchases an item from your website or signs up for one of your services, make sure to always send out an email following the actual purchase email to thank them for being a customer. In this email, explain the advantages of registering for a free account with your company or signing up to receive continued emails, so they can receive benefits (for example, discounts during their birthday month). This will make them more inclined to come back and become a repeat customer. Email automation can repeat this process on a designated time frame to keep your brand fresh in their memory.
3. Repeat customers
You can set up another email marketing automation process for customers who have bought products or services in the past and that visit your website frequently. Use landing pages when marketing to these customers to increase the chance of sharing them with friends and family. Email marketing can be a great way to nurture this customer to maintain an ongoing and profitable relationship with you.
Setting Up Your Email Marketing Automation Strategy
Simply setting up an email marketing automation process doesn't automatically mean it will generate results. To see the best results, it’s essential to audit your available content and email templates and create an effective strategy using marketing automation best practices. For a high-level look at what this can mean for your company, consider the steps below:
1. Segment your email audiences
Email marketing is only effective if you are targeting the right audience. Segmenting your visitors allows you to better tailor your messages to customers and increase conversion. For instance, segmenting your list based on a customer’s buying stage is a common way to tailor your emails according to a past interaction with your company or institution. You can also segment your list based on their location, industry, job position, etc. Whichever way fits best with your company, it’s crucial when setting up your email marketing automation strategy that you start with the right lists.
2. Plan email content ahead of time - but leave room for personalization
Now that you have segmented groups, there are additional opportunities to personalize your messages. Use your tools to set up effective email marketing content, and personalize it based on distinct characteristics of your segmented groups. Many email marketing or marketing automation resources allow you to add macros like “insert first name here” or “insert location here”, which will enable the recipient to feel more connected to the email when they receive it, and thus, more inclined to read and interact with it.
3. Create meaningful landing pages
Linking to targeted landing pages from marketing automation emails can help to support increased conversions. Reinforcing brand, email messaging, and highlighting key features with strong calls to action, landing pages create a seamless a transition for your visitors and guide them along the consumer journey.
4. A/B test emails
To create the most effective marketing automation emails, use A/B testing - a popular feature in most email platforms. Using a small sample of your contacts, A/B testing allows you to monitor the success of your emails based off different send times, list segments, content, and more. A/B testing then analyzes the results. Make sure to look for KPIs like email delivery rates, click-through-rates, and conversion rates, to understand which email performed best so you can send that to your larger list.
ZAG Interactive can help set up strategic marketing emails and automation processes to help you achieve your specific goals. Contact us to start your email marketing automation journey.