When you’re looking for ways to offer a more personalized experience for your email subscribers, you need to look at your marketing automation strategy. Email marketing—especially an automated process—may not be the first solution that comes to mind when planning for personal experiences. But you don’t need a human to click the “send” button in order to make subscribers feel like you understand them as individuals. So, what is marketing automation? Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. It’s a powerful way to deliver the right message at the right time with consistent (and frequent) email communications. In fact, automated emails typically receive a 70.5% higher open rate, a 152% increase in click-through rates, and even produce 320% more revenue than traditional emails. With an integrated automated system, you have the opportunity to deliver personal and relevant emails to your subscribers to enhance their customer experience. When it comes to email marketing, certain types of emails can be fully automated and connect with your audience in a way that helps you foster brand loyalty. Imagine being able to deliver emails based on interests, actions, purchase history, and more. With marketing automation, that’s all possible. Your subscribers will notice this high level of personalization and will be more likely to open future emails and even convert into customers. While 49% of companies have currently adopted some sort of marketing automation strategy, many struggle to use it effectively to produce results. If that stat makes you nervous, don’t worry—we’re here to help cut through the noise. But before we dive any deeper, you need to do one thing: You need to determine what will make your marketing automation strategy successful. The successful elements of an automated journey include:
- Updated, relevant data
- Rules that define parameters
- Compelling content that drives action
Let’s look at how you can build an effective marketing automation strategy.
Marketing automation strategy
- All marketing automation strategies should result in increased:
- Marketing qualified leads
- Sales qualified leads
- Sales accepted leads
- Sales opportunities
- Won opportunities
They should also result in:
- A shorter sales cycle
- Fewer lost sales opportunities
- Decreased marketing overhead
- Reduced repetitive tasks
- Decreased human error
Defining Your Marketing Automation Strategy
Emails that just outline anything related to your products or services may not earn you the results you may expect. Adopt the following to leverage your marketing automation strategy efforts:
- Effective lead management
- Establish your lead stages
- Create a lead scoring system
Additionally, you need to strongly consider the following before diving into your strategy:
Define a goal
Before you launch your marketing campaign, you should define your goal and establish metrics for measuring your success. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, consider the following questions:
- What’s the dollar amount—or percentage increase—you hope to achieve?
- What’s the timeline for your goal?
- How will you determine whether an increase in sales is a result of your marketing campaign?
That last question is an easy one to answer. You can track how customers reach your website. So if they’re opening a link from one of your marketing emails, that’s a good indicator your campaign is working. And if you’re not seeing many customers reaching your website that way, you may need to retool the content you’re sending to subscribers.
Tailor your content
The mistake some companies make is treating all of their customers as if they’re the same person. In order to create content in your marketing automation strategy that really connects with consumers, you need to understand the demographics of your mailing list. This requires analyzing your email database through your platform. This could also include sending emails utilizing dynamic content. Your email provider should be able to guide you on how to best use this information to develop a segmentation list. You can then segment your mailing list, and tailor content to appeal to different groups. That means you may need to invest more time in creating compelling copy for your email marketing campaign. However, the extra effort can significantly improve your open and click-through rates. Regardless of how you tweak content to appeal to specific groups, make sure all of your marketing emails contain a clear call-to-action, such as “Click here for a special offer.”
You should use your email messages to develop a relationship with your customers. When a customer opts-in for product information, you can send a welcome message that includes detailed information about your products, a history of your company or some other news about your brand. Send a thank-you email after a customer makes a purchase and offer discounts for the next purchase. And remember to include links to your social media profiles, so customers can easily find you on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
An example implementation plan
Are you thinking about implementing marketing automation, or switching to a new email automation platform? Don’t do it just yet. Sure, it can prove to deliver positive ROI, but the difference is planning. Your marketing automation strategy needs a blueprint for implementing marketing tools like automation software. And a home builder doesn’t just start laying bricks without going over the design plans, right? Here’s a list of things you need to have set in stone before any marketing automation implementation can take place:
- Identifying the admins, users and rules for governance
- Working with sales to define what constitutes a qualified lead
- Determining if/how the platform will integrate with other systems
- Migration of contacts, opt-outs and hard bounce list from current email platform
- Integrating contact forms/subscription forms/lead gen forms on your website
- Setting up subscription management
- Adding visitor tracking code to your website
- Designing email and landing page templates to match your brand
- Email marketing automation templates
Get a load of this stat: Compared to open rates for regular email newsletters, triggered emails have an open rate that’s roughly 45 to 55 percent higher. Use these other types of triggered emails in your marketing automation strategy for other behaviors, such as:
Automated welcome email campaign
When guests come to your home, do you just open the front door and go sit on the couch? No. You likely smile, ask your guests to come in and thank them for coming, offer them a drink, hang up their coats—you make them feel welcome. And that’s the point of a triggered welcome message, too. As soon as someone registers on your website or signs up for a newsletter, that should trigger your welcome message. It’s a keystone campaign to any marketing automation strategy. It should not just say, “Hello. Your username is [your name here].” It should be conversational and include details such as how to customize email preferences, tips for navigating your website, links to your social media profiles—basically, you want to be helpful, pleasant and informative.
Abandoned shopping cart email campaign
Shopping cart abandonment emails have become a necessity in the e-commerce business, no matter how large or small your operations may be. The statistics illustrate it best: By using a shopping cart abandonment program, you could boost “recovery rates” by 4 percent within the first 6 to 24 hours. A shopping cart abandonment campaign in your marketing automation strategy can work seamlessly by integrating two main software systems: a shopping cart platform and commerce email marketing software like that offered by Delivra. When a visitor adds items to a shopping cart on your site, more than likely they have included information such as a name, an email address, and a home address. If they should leave the site before purchasing, which can be for a number of reasons, your shopping cart abandonment program will go into action based on your predetermined specifications. The email address is captured by the email marketing software, which then sends email reminders about the items left in the cart, boosting your chance of the visitor returning to complete the purchase. You also can incorporate extra features, such as offering discounts after several emails have been sent.
Membership/subscription renewal email campaign
If your role includes motivating subscribers to renew a membership or subscription, you can automate that process with a triggered email in your marketing automation strategy. But don’t just ask them to renew—tell them what you have to offer. This message is your opportunity to explain anew your value and what subscribers get for continuing their relationship with you.
Re-engagement/Win-back email campaign
People subscribed to your emails because they expected value each time they see you arrive in their inbox. Sometimes there’s a falling out, and more times than not it has to do with this: An experience that wasn’t personalized or customized enough for them. These types of re-engagement campaigns can resurrect fading followers back from becoming dormant and can prove to be a valuable piece to any marketing automation strategy.
Reminder email campaigns
Source: Really Good Emails Reminder emails are a great way to keep your subscribers informed on upcoming software updates, dentist appointments, oil changes—you name it. These emails are highly personalized to the individual and act as a gentle nudge to take part in your services. Take this example from Felix Gray. The company utilizes marketing automation to send a reminder email for customers to use FSA dollars on a new pair of glasses. Since many people often forget to use this incentive before the year ends, the reminder was sent with a sense of urgency.
Birthday email campaigns
Source: Really Good Emails Birthday emails are a great way to appeal to the emotional side of your subscribers by celebrating their special day. In fact, birthday emails result in a huge response with a 481% higher transaction rate and a 342% higher revenue than promotional emails. You can automate these by sending an email trigger by your subscriber’s birthday month or day. We love this non-traditional email from BarkBox. Following the brand’s target audience, they send out a birthday email on the dog’s birthday, and promote a birthday cake. Not only is this adorable, but the recipient will be grateful to receive a personal touch centered on their best friend.
VIP email campaigns
Source: Really Good Emails Building a loyalty program for your customers is a great way to reward them for their business and thank them for being a brand advocate. VIP and reward emails can be automated to send when a customer reaches a certain spend amount to receive additional discounts and offers. Even better? Marketing automation can integrate with many systems, like Shopify, to capitalize on this customer data. This Starbucks email informs the customer that they qualify for a free drink after they make a purchase. It even goes so far to let the customer know how to redeem points in-store or on an app.
Successful marketing automation campaigns we love
One thing we take a lot of joy in is finding great email campaign examples. It’s one of the sure signs of a great marketing automation strategy. And that’s what we see with MovieTickets.com and their emails. To start, new subscribers are greeted with a warm welcome email with expectations set on the future relationship. Based on geographic data and movie interests entered into a preference center, tailored emails are sent out based on each unique subscriber. So, what’s next? Ready to learn more? There’s plenty you can do to work on building your marketing automation strategy:
- Reading marketing automation strategy books or blogs
- Making a Google Alert for “marketing automation strategy” to stay up-to-date with the latest news
- Sign up for different email newsletters and see what marketing automation strategy other companies, and your competitors, have implemented
- Sign up for free trials of marketing automation platforms and see the capabilities to get your gears moving
- Reading the key terms glossary below to brush up on your automation vocabulary
Key terms: Marketing automation strategy glossaryAccount (also called List name):