Email marketing is still one of the most effective communication channels for your business, but it’s evolving. While traditional newsletters will always have a place in your digital marketing strategy, the companies that are getting ahead are using email automation to keep their customers both engaged and happy. These emails are clicked so often that, according to MooSend, 75% of email revenue is generated from a personalized email campaign.
What is email automation?
As a small business, you need to stay connected to your clients and even prospects. Email automation is a way to send personalized emails to your audience at the right moment, without manually putting it together and sending it every time. It can help you turn potential customers into actual ones, keep your current customers active, and get former customers to re-engage with your business. When you link your analytics to your marketing campaigns, you can segment your audience based on their preferences, actions and even user history. Then you can personalize each customer’s experience to increase the relevance of your messaging.
Popular examples of automated emails include a welcome email that is sent when a customer signs up for a mailing list, or a quick reminder that the customer placed something in their cart but never finished checking out. Email automation takes repetitive tasks off your to-do list. It can help customers learn more about your business, encourage them to keep coming back, or remind them why they purchased from you in the first place.
An automated email balances good timing and useful content to provide:
- Relevance – When a user receives an automated email, it’s because they’ve taken an action which led to an automatic reply. As a result, the message they receive is highly relevant, so they’re likely to open and engage with that specific email.
- Retention – Customers feel valued when they receive personalized and timely communication. Valued customers stay engaged with you and continue to return to you as customers.
- Customer Loyalty – Customers who’ve had a great onboarding process or who have received timely automated answers to their questions are likely to feel positive about your brand and recommend it to others.
- Action – One of the reasons automated email is powerful is that it focuses on people who have already been to your company’s website or social media page. This makes them a qualified buyer, who is more likely to complete the steps to becoming a customer than someone who hasn’t engaged with you before.
- Revenue – Customers are more likely to purchase another product, upgrade their account, or return as an active user when they’re messaged in a timely (automated) manner.
How can it benefit your business?
Email automation makes email marketing scalable for your business, no matter how small your team is. When you’ve set it up so that your platform automatically sends a welcome message out to new subscribers, you don’t need a staff member to do it manually.
Using email automation, customers are automatically sorted in your system as soon as they perform any specific type of action that you define. Their behavior tells your system what messages to send them next without any additional demands on your team.
Here are six ideas to keep in mind:
- Send a Welcome Email
A welcome email is the first contact your business makes to a new subscriber, so you want to really impress them. Your welcome email should include a warm greeting, a confirmation of subscription, and let them know what they should do next. Make sure to keep it simple and not too overwhelming. Since this email gets sent to every new contact in your list, it’s good to automate this process.
- Reminder Emails
We consume thousands of pieces of information daily, so it’s important to remain top-of-mind to your customers. Sending emails reminding customers of any special offers, promotions, or events should be a part of your marketing strategy.
- Enhance Customer Loyalty
It is simply good business practice to reward loyal customers. Create a thank you email that’s automatically sent to your customer base when they purchase a specific product or service. Include a reward, such as a coupon, discount, free trial, voucher, or anything else your business can offer.
- Re-engage Customers
While you stay connected with your existing customers, don’t forget about the inactive ones. Email marketing automation can help you re-engage with past customers. Automate a series of emails to be sent to past customers who are no longer active. The goal here is to potentially get the customer back and increase your sales. A great example would be sending an email to a customer about a new enhancement to an existing product that they have already purchased.
- Clean up your Contacts
When it comes to leads, it’s quality over quantity. While a large email list is great, make sure it doesn’t include unengaged or incorrect email addresses. Use automation to track and remove any invalid addresses or inactive subscribers. Removing inactive subscribers can increase your email deliverability rate and enhance your email sender reputation.
- Boost your Brand Awareness
Don’t send emails without a call-to-action. In the email, encourage the reader to follow your business on social media, or rate your business on Google. Insider tip: Specifically target people who have many interactions with your business, as they are more likely to leave a positive message than others who haven’t taken the time to interact with you.
How can you get started?
You need email marketing software that’s easy to use, affordable, and will turn your leads into customers, right? It sounds simple enough, but with hundreds of email marketing tools to choose from, in a rapidly changing market, and with every email marketing company’s website saying the same thing, it’s hard to make the right decision.
With that in mind, how can you get started with a system that not only sends relevant, engaging emails to your customers but also does it automatically? First, it’s worth knowing what types of automated emails you can currently send, and what you would like to send.
These emails generally fall into two camps:
- Event-based trigger emails
- Drip email campaigns
Trigger emails are exactly what they sound like – emails that are sent when a customer takes a specific action. These are the most common types of automated emails, since they remove a lot of the tedious creation and sending of everyday messages.
Drip campaign emails deliver messages in a specific order, and can be a great source of extra revenue or leads if you set them up correctly. They are frequently used to deliver things to subscribers who have signed up for a product or service to get them to take the next step in the customer journey.
Once you’ve determined what type of email marketing and automation is right for your company, you can then explore the different email marketing platforms that are available. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular email marketing software out there to help you with your search.
Active Campaign has become one of the most popular email marketing tools on the market. It has a built-in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which makes it perfect for small businesses or nonprofits looking for an easy-to-use and affordable marketing solution.
- Powerful automation features
- Affordable pricing plans
- Hundreds of integrations with other popular software
- Reporting features are somewhat lacking
HubSpot offers businesses of all sizes an all-in-one marketing, sales, and customer service platform. It has great tools and reporting features for all of your marketing channels including social media, website, and email. HubSpot offers a robust sales and customer service pipeline that integrates flawlessly with your marketing automation.
- All-in-one marketing platform
- Tracks leads through their customer journey
- Helpful online training resources
- Pricing scales rapidly for advanced features
- Steep learning curve and customization needed to unlock full potential
- Quickly moves “unengaged” readers to your “do not send” list
Constant Contact is a simple-to-use email marketing solution that’s great for helping small businesses and nonprofits build their online brand. It has a built-in website creator, social media manager, and event management tools.
- Affordable pricing plans
- High deliverability rates
- Doesn’t offer advanced automation
- Email templates don’t offer much flexibility
Mailchimp is the perfect tool for businesses of all sizes looking to design, automate and manage marketing campaigns across various platforms. It has a free plan, which is great for individuals or small businesses looking to grow their marketing strategy.
- Free plan can have up to 2,000 contacts
- Has limited advanced email automation features
No matter which platform you choose, you’ll need a good marketing strategy to succeed in growing your business. Become a free member of SWFL Inc. today to stay up-to-date on all things business. To hear from local experts on a wide variety of business topics (including email marketing!), RSVP for one of our upcoming events!