Email automation is the smartest and most effective way to engage in email marketing today.
The best email campaigns are the ones most relevant to subscribed readers, and the most important to your business.
When emails are sent automatically, scheduled for the best times, and personalized to appeal to specific segmented email lists, they can help your business make big gains in engagement and revenue.
In this guide, we’ll hit on the basics to automation, the astronomical benefits it can have on your business, some example automation campaigns you can start building, and common mistakes to avoid.
Ready? Let’s go!
What is email automation?
Email automation allows you to send various campaign messages at specific times to any segmented email lists you have for your business.
With automated emails, your team can spend more time crafting the right emails to convey information that is most relevant and intriguing to your subscribers and loyal customers.
As opposed to traditional newsletter campaigns, automated emails can be set to send for specific reasons. These specific reasons are known as “triggers” because the emails are sent once a subscriber completes a designated action, such as signing up for VIP membership. Once they’ve completed the signup process, they trigger the automated thank you or welcome campaign that your team has already set up.
These automated email campaigns could range from subscribers with abandoned shopping carts to new subscribers that may need an additional push or discount to come back to your site in the future.
One example of an automated email includes visiting your favorite brand’s website and signing up for their email list after being offered a 10% discount on your first order.
You then receive an email with the discount code that is likely not available to individuals who are already registered subscribers.
This instant email sent to users is a way to keep their attention and encourages a purchase on the site due to the discounted prices.
Another automated email example may occur if you have purchased from a website in the past, but it has been weeks, months, or even a year since you last visited the website.
You may send an updated email to a segmented group within your email list reminding them to revisit your website. These emails typically come with a special incentive, such as discount codes or special promotional offers, which encourage these inactive subscribers to return.
Why your business can’t do without automation
Email automation offers marketing teams several great benefits. From automating your team’s day to day workflow to engaging with your customers, this is one tool your team simply can’t do without.
It does the work for you
Once email automation has been set up, it will automatically send emails based on various triggers, allowing you to focus more on generating additional leads.
It also allows you to worry less about having to sit and manually send out messages and having to monitor each and every one.
Instead, simply use tracking software to monitor the results of each campaign you send.
Simplifying emails with automation allows you to show your customers you truly care about them without having to sort through each individual message you want to send out.
It is much easier to spend time growing your business in other facets and working to ensure customer satisfaction when you have properly implemented automation into your business model.
It nurtures your leads
With email automation, send relevant messages with subject lines suitable for each segmented group within your email list.
The more relatable your content is, the easier it becomes to attract loyal customers.
Creating segmented email lists is highly advisable to reach your target demographics and previous customers on a more personal level, assuring them you truly care about what they are looking for from your company and brand.
Segmented email lists can be broken down into hundreds of different lists, including:
- By geography
- Age of your audience members
- Your audience member’s gender
- Education level
- Job type
- Past purchases
- Search history
- Purchasing frequency
- Preferred content type
- In-store visitors
- Online visitor
- Event attendance
- It engages with your customers
Although social media has become popular throughout the world, it is often impossible to gauge whether or not your posts are genuinely working.
While you can monitor each post’s visibility and general engagement through various analytic tools, social media still takes a backseat when it comes to customer preferences as 61% of consumers actually prefer that brands contact them through email.
With 91% of email users checking their inboxes daily, sending regularly scheduled email messages can drastically increase engagement with your customers.
Avoid missing potential sales by sending a message directly to your readers’ inbox instead of solely posting to social media platforms.
It makes segmenting easy
Having multiple automation campaigns running allows you to send specific emails to demographics of your choice, ranging from interests to customer lifecycle, sales cycle, and location.
Have a sale relevant to a specific city?
Segmented lists can help you target just those users!
Want to offer a discount to loyal customers who have made purchases in the past year?
Send emails only to those with a history on file.
Segmenting your email lists is a highly effective method of developing messages that are specific, personalized, and most importantly, relevant.
It streamlines your sales funnel
With email automation, your sales team can worry less about moving potential customers through the sales cycle and focus their efforts on additional leads and closers who have already made it towards the bottom of the sales cycle.
Having your sales team focus on other aspects of gaining leads and closing deals ultimately helps to save time, money and allows you to build your brand at a much faster rate.
It keeps your business top of mind
Email automation allows you to stay connected with potential customers and subscribers at all times.
You have the option to set email cycles to daily, weekly, or even monthly depending on the frequency your audience prefers, which can be determined through A/B testing.
You can also send emails that have been triggered by certain events such as a new subscriber, abandoned carts, or customers who usually purchase from you but have not in the past month or year, also known as inactive subscribers.
It reaches customers on mobile
With individuals using mobile phones to browse online and check emails now more than ever, ensure your messages are adequately delivered on all devices, which helps to increase your chance of conversions.
With over half of consumers using smartphones and mobile devices to browse through their inboxes and make purchases, it is more important than ever before that your website and email communications are mobile friendly.
Again, always test your emails to ensure they load and appear properly on all mobile devices to avoid having your content trashed or ignored.
Email is inexpensive and next to nothing in cost, compared to direct mail.
With automated emails, receive a higher return on investment without overspending. When comparing multiple marketing channels for the best return on investment, email marketing takes the cake.
Those who utilize this channel often see an average return of $33 for every $1 spent. When paired with email automation, this return is made even simpler, as your team doesn’t have to focus too much of their time and resources to revisiting it each and every day.
Emails are often much easier to track in terms of conversion rates as opposed to using multiple social media sites and platforms to get your message out and across to potential customers and readers.
It makes measuring results simple
Measuring the results of an automated email campaign has never been easier thanks to reporting dashboards found in email marketing software. These dashboards help track your messages and give you important email metrics to compare against your industry’s benchmarks.
Tracking basic email marketing metrics along with KPIs such as revenue per email or recovered revenue from cart abandonment, can quickly inform you which campaigns work the best for your audience and customers.
No more manually entering in who responded to your emails and how many clicks you receive from each campaign.
Instead, track all of the metrics you need with a simplified dashboard, so you are able to quickly analyze the data while improving new campaigns you have in mind for the future.
How to integrate automation to run your business more smoothly
Automated emails are most powerful when you connect and share data to use within your email campaigns themselves.
By integrating applications that you use to run your business, such as your CRM, ticketing platform, or e-commerce platform, in combination with your email marketing software ensures all of the information you need to send is always available and up to date.
Keeping a few methods of email integration in mind while also tracking metrics is a way for you to stay on top of your brand’s reputation while delivering the content, promotions, and deals your readers and customers are looking for.
Example email automation integration
A few examples of email automation integration can help to develop the right marketing messages for everyone in your email lists.
Any time a new contact is added into your CRM, add the user into an email list.
With email marketing tools often providing an API, easily connect and sync customer data to keep your email lists updated and fresh at all times.
Email automation best practices to follow
When it comes to implementing email automation into your marketing practices, there are a few key best practices to keep in mind.
Write captivating subject lines
Writing subject lines that are captivating and relevant to your users is essential to increase conversion rates and keep the interest of those who are subscribed to your newsletter or the emails you send.
Grab the attention of individuals who may be reading your emails with enticing offers, promotions, and specials.
Always be sure to incorporate personalization, such as implementing the first name of the recipient, to connect with readers and customers while also keeping your emails from getting marked as trash right away.
Test various subject lines with multiple segmented lists you have available to determine the type of header that works best. This is especially helpful if most of your subscribers and customers fall within the same demographic and age group.
The more appealing a subject line is, the easier it is to relay your message while maintaining the interest of the recipient.
Design your emails for mobile
Ensuring your emails are mobile-friendly is crucial with today’s society and the increased usage of smartphones.
Create and test various templates that are responsive and will load properly on everything from mobile phones to tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
Structure each of your individual emails for scanner readers, keeping the “less is more” concept in mind when crafting new content and messages you want to share.
Utilize A/B testing when developing new layouts and designs for your emails to test which output works the best for your audience and the demographic you want to reach.
The more testing that is done, the easier it becomes to craft and execute marketing campaigns that simply “work” for your business model.
Make your call-to-action clear
Always make your call-to-action as clear as possible within each email you send.
Testing email calls-to-action can help to inform you of the best wording and method to increase conversions and click-throughs within your messages.
A button within your emails helps to boost the odds of conversion over a text link—especially if the button is colored and streamlined with the branding colors of your company logo or website).
Test each email you plan to send out to verify that any button you place within your messages is easy to see and you are able to properly click it on all devices before sending a mass message to all users in your contact lists.
Measure results and adjust
Although email automation is extremely beneficial, it is still imperative to conduct your own testing to determine the best methods of reaching your readers and potential customers.
Additionally, it is also important to track other metrics such as web traffic, when customers are most likely to make a purchase, and even revenue generated (based on specific dates or times).
Using tools such as Google Analytics can greatly assist you with gaining insight into the wants and needs of your visitors, along with loyal customers.
Common mistakes for automated emails
Marketing teams can save a lot of time by using software that automates some of their processes.
However, automation isn’t a substitute for actively managing campaigns.
To get the most out of automation, you may need to make adjustments along the way.
Mistake 1: Sending for the sake of sending
Let’s assume that some email marketer somewhere with good intentions decides he wants to email their subscribers every Tuesday at 4 p.m.
That seems like a good plan because subscribers appreciate consistency.
But what happens when next Tuesday rolls around, and this marketer has nothing worthwhile to say?
Chances are, he sends some not-so-relevant content, because those emails are on a schedule, and they’re going out Tuesday, with or without words that matter to subscribers.
The “when” of automation should be a concern that follows the “why.”
Sending emails with quality content less frequently is preferable to sending weekly emails that don’t have much to say.
Mistake 2: Failing to tweak reporting
Most marketing automation software allows people to schedule automated reporting.
That’s a handy, time-saving feature, but automated reporting doesn’t evolve or adapt to a business’s changing needs.
For this scenario, we’ll assume a marketer wants to generate automated reports about email open rates among subscribers age 25 to 30.
She specifies the parameters of the report and reviews the results regularly.
But those reports don’t account for the way results might be skewed as people age into or out of that 25-to-30 segment.
Automated reports also don’t know about new competitors that could be winning the attention of these subscribers.
Humans provide the kind of context to reporting that automation lacks.
Yes, it’s good to automate reporting, but the parameters of reports should be checked and refined frequently.
Mistake 3: Choosing the wrong software
Email marketing software runs the gamut – from basic editions with limited functions, to complex systems with lots of nifty features.
Those features can be enticing, but they may not be worth the extra cost.
Moreover, if automation software is overly complex, marketing team members may need to sit through hours of training to understand how to use it, which seems problematic for a tool that’s supposed to save time.
Start building automated email campaigns
With email marketing automation, proper email designs, and plenty of useful tracking tools available for use, your marketing team can help take your business to the next level of success.
Combining useful tools such as email automation along with tracking software is a way for you to ensure you are always sending the right messages while maintaining communication with your readers and potential future customers.
By sending messages automatically to your subscribers, you can spend more time focusing on the products and services you have to offer to ensure the best experience possible for anyone who has an interest in your brand.
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