We’ve come a really long way since a guy went online and plugged in his credit card info on a computer screen to buy Sting’s “Ten Summoner’s Tales.” That album purchase 25 years ago marked the first item to be sold online. Now we’re buying prescription eyeglasses, Adidas shoes and all of the ingredients for tonight’s dinner through an online experience. And, we’re signing up for software solutions, legal advice and psychological therapy—totally online. Apparently, there’s no limit to what consumers and businesses are willing to purchase online. And surveys show that Americans are more satisfied with their overall online shopping experience (85%) than their in-store shopping experience (65%), according to Statista. It’s clear that you have a lot to gain by scaling your marketing efforts to increase online sales and engagement. But it’s also increasingly clear that you have a lot to lose if you don’t distinguish yourself in a growing field of competitors. Why you need to scale a 1:1 consumer experience—now more than ever Consumer expectations are high. They’re familiar with how seamless an online shopping experience can be. Sites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy and Target deliver to those expectations with every interaction. Consumers also understand the benefits of user-friendly interfaces that streamline their business processes. It doesn’t matter the size of your company or the limitations of your staff. If you’re in the digital space, you’re expected to deliver what is now considered standard—a 1:1 personalized experience that takes into account each of your consumer’s specific needs—at just the right time they’re seeking answers. Anything less will be considered a nuisance. With email marketing automation and integration with platforms like your CRM, you have the tools to deliver the personalization that consumers demand while executing it at scale—a prospect that’s impossible if you’re simply relying on manpower. Take a look at 12 of the ways email automation can help you scale your marketing efforts so that you can deliver a personalized experience that consumers will respond to.
1. Gather data about your subscribers.
How do you manage to deliver a personalized experience unless you get to know your subscribers? Through email automation, you can go much further in gathering information about your subscribers than the basics—name, gender, geographical location, etc. Email automation, through a combination of integrations with other software and tracking through cookies, enables you to collect data based on your subscribers’ activities. With the ability to pull in more information, you can quickly develop a truly customized experience for each of your subscribers that engages them.
2. Segment your audiences.
No matter what you call it, audience segmentation or consumer segmentation, dividing your audiences into smaller groups has always been considered an effective strategy in modern marketing. However, in recent years, marketing automation has opened the door to even further segmentation—hyper-segmentation. You can decide how far you want to go in segmenting your audiences based on their preferences, experiences, and behaviors. With segmentation getting more refined, you’re better equipped to deliver the content subscribers want to consume.
3. Deliver the right message on the right platform.
Using the data you’re collecting from your marketing automation, you can be assured you have the correct insights to deliver the right content and promotions to your audience segments. It also should help you determine the type of your content your audience would prefer to consume. Newsletters? Videos? Q&As? With the right type of execution, you can take steps toward increasing your open and click-through rates, as well as other factors of engagement.
4. Ensure timely delivery.
With email automation, you can determine the best times of day—and, of course, which days—drive the most engagement. You also can use automation to set up A/B testing that helps you figure out delivery characteristics, ensuring that you get more results from your efforts. But that’s just a starting point. Email marketing automation can help you further engage your audience through special campaigns.
5. Engage through email drip campaigns.
One of the major flaws of most email newsletter campaigns of the past is that they were an awkward fit for about half of your audience. The one-size-fits-all approach often left the new subscribers behind, putting them at risk for getting disengaged from the start. And, on the other hand, you ran the risk of alienating your most loyal subscribers by keeping the content too generic. Email drip campaigns are designed to meet your subscribers with the right message—depending upon where they are in the buyer’s journey with you. Each message in the campaign also can be released based on the specific actions taken by your subscribers. Even new subscribers differ from each other. Some may be more aggressive about finding out more information about your solution. Therefore, subscribers who are downloading content and viewing videos on your site can receive more advanced materials more quickly than those who aren’t quite there yet. With an email drip campaign, you can be more strategic about how you approach each audience segment.
6. Run nurturing campaigns.
When you need better sales leads, automation can be an invaluable partner to have on your team. Unless you scale by hiring dozens of new staff members, you won’t have the ability to engage with every single new lead, especially if you’re being aggressive about generating more leads. With a nurturing campaign, you can send a progression of messages designed to nurture each lead—providing them with new information about your product and/or services to encourage them to gain more confidence in your brand—and, eventually, purchase your product or service.
7. Identify warm leads.
Of course, not all subscribers are alike. Some want to buy in a week or two. Some are just “thinking about it” or “browsing.” Depending upon the cost of the item, whether it’s a $450,000 software solution, a $45,000 vehicle or a $4,500 consulting fee, the time span from the first engagement to the final sale could be weeks or even years. In the interest of maximizing the use of your marketing and sales efforts, you need a way to score leads to determine how to approach each one. Email automation delivers the insights that can help you determine which leads need to be followed up with immediately—your warm leads. And, more importantly, they can be set up to send immediate alerts once a customer requests a follow-up.
8. Respond like a human.
While you and most of your employees will work 8 to 10 hours a day (maybe more, if you’re superhuman), your subscribers will be browsing and engaging with your messages and site 24/7. You can’t be expected to respond to every situation, can you? Sure, you can. With email autoresponders, you can reply to every query with a human-like, engaging response. Consumers will appreciate the quick response, whether or not it’s directly from a human. With each CTA (call to action) you create (request a demo, sign up for email, learn more), you can develop a series of email messages to create an engaging response.
9. Set up a triggered marketing campaign.
With the ability to segment your audiences, you can do a much better job of delivering relevant messages. But with a triggered marketing campaign, you can greatly increase your ability to send the right message to each subscriber—with perfect timing. Triggered campaigns can be designed to interact with consumers based on their actions. It’s one of the most effective ways to deliver a personalized experience.
10. Develop a multi-channel campaign.
Your average subscriber will be engaging with you from than one channel. One study shows that people switch between devices—smartphones, laptops, and tablets—about 21 times within one hour. That means that you need to explore numerous channels for getting your message across. With a mix of email, SMS texting and social media, you have an even more powerful strategy for reaching your prospects and consumers. And automation can fuel the right experience for each method of delivery.
11. Optimize the mobile experience.
Not surprisingly, that 2017 survey about shoppers’ online experiences revealed that the mobile experience didn’t rank as well as the laptop/desktop experience. Consumer satisfaction was 73% for the smartphone, compared to 86% for laptop/desktop. Those results likely point to the slow progress companies have made in delivering an optimized experience on mobile devices. Some companies were quick to optimize; many others were not. With the right email marketing automation solution, messages are automatically optimized to deliver the best experience for your subscriber based on the device they’re using at the time.
12. Remember the simple things.
With all that’s going on with your marketing campaigns, it can be easy to forget the simple things—like birthdays and anniversaries. Special promotions, freebies and offers timed to be redeemed during these special times are a great way to show your appreciation for your subscribers. Make sure the email is genuine and that any offers or promotions are tailored to your subscriber. When used effectively, email marketing automation is the tool that can significantly scale your marketing efforts. This list of 12 advantages is only a start. Learn more about automation with a demo of Delivra’s automation solution. We’re looking forward to talking to you!