The word “automation” conjures visions of cyborgs, machines, AI, robots — in other words, pretty much the opposite of organic or human.
And in the world of email marketing where personalized, customer-centric messaging is a must, the idea of using automation seems rather counterintuitive. In reality, using automation in email marketing enables you to create campaigns that speak to your audience on an even more personal level.
Find out the basics of email marketing automation and why every marketer should use it.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing automation is a robotic-sounding term for the strategy of making your messaging more personalized and timely — two of the most important aspects of any successful email marketing campaign. Email automation is simply converting the dispatch of email messages from a manual process to an automatic one.
How Does Email Marketing Automation Work?
Within email marketing automation, marketers create email workflows that automatically send emails to subscribers once certain triggers have been activated. These workflows consider both the behavior that acts as a trigger along with data about the user behind the email address to create the most relevant and personalized email message. Examples of triggers for a B2B company are …
- If a website visitor views a landing page but doesn’t submit the form
- When a lead has downloaded several pieces of content but has not contacted the business directly
- If a potential client has started following the company’s social media accounts
For a B2C brand, triggers might be …
- When a website visitor has viewed several items but not added any to their cart
- If a consumer has placed items in their shopping cart but not purchased
- When a consumer makes a purchase
Marketing automation workflows aren’t just for prospective customers, either. Brands can use workflows to enhance existing customer relationships and encourage the purchase of additional products or services. There also are a few workflows that work well for both B2B and B2C businesses. Here are some examples:
- Welcome emails. Right after someone joins your subscriber list — for example, after making a purchase or registering an account on your site — is when they’re most receptive to hearing from you. This is a great opportunity to make a positive first impression with a personalized welcome email. If your company is B2B, include a relevant content piece in the email. Or, if you’re a B2C brand, send the subscriber an exclusive offer or promo code.
- Feedback request emails. There are two different types of feedback emails: those that are triggered by something negative, such as an app uninstall or an unsubscribe, and those that are time-based — in other words, they are sent after a certain amount of time has passed following a particular action, such as a purchase. While your messaging will be different depending on which behavior triggered the feedback request, these emails are extremely valuable as they show your subscribers you care about your opinion and also give you the chance to see where you can improve.
- Re-engagement emails. Re-engagement emails should be used to reconnect with subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails in a while. You can schedule emails to be sent after a predetermined length of inactivity (say, 90 days) that incentivizes the subscriber to begin re-engaging with your brand by offering a special discount or access to your latest eBook.
Almost any action an individual takes when engaging with your brand can be tracked and utilized. With this insight, brands can create the kinds of triggers that will deliver the most relevant and meaningful messages with the highest chance of success. Keep in mind that how you set up your triggers should be based on the behavior of your own users. It doesn’t make sense to have a trigger for an action that no one in your database will ever complete.
Pro Tip: You also can create workflows that automatically send emails based on dates, such as holidays and other special occasions like the subscriber’s birthday.
Why Should I Use Email Marketing Automation?
There are five primary reasons every email marketer should use email marketing automation:
- 1. Create highly segmented email lists that are automatically updated based on user data
- 2. More quickly convert potential customers into actual customers
- 3. More easily continue engaging with potential and existing customers
- 4. Increase efficiency by automating the repetitive tasks associated with customer relationship management
- 5. Improve engagement by delivering subscribers more relevant, personalized and timely messages
Some brands may hesitate to use automated marketing emails for fear their messaging will become less personalized and thus less effective. In reality, email automation software can help you gather more information about your subscribers and actually make your messaging more personalized and thus more effective — as long as you’re using that data the right way, of course.