Even amid the rise of new technologies and digital tools, the dominance and relevance of email remain unwavering, especially for businesses. Today, it still consistently tops the list of best and most-preferred channels for marketing conversions.
However, admittedly, while email can be totally effective as a communication channel, it can be tedious and time-consuming. So, how do we optimize our communication strategies?
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Email automation 101
Email automation is a marketing tactic that leverages artificial intelligence and other technologies. Marketers or senders can create and send targeted messages to an individual or multiple people at a prescheduled time. Or emails can be sent when a user undertakes a specific action on a website – reads an article, fills out a form, etc.
Some important features of email automation include engaging with new customers promptly and reminding customers about your brand offerings and deals. These things are present, so they happen without your team having to lift a finger.
Automated emails eliminate the tedious and time-consuming nature of manual sending of emails to people, thus saving time and freeing up your limited personnel resources to focus elsewhere..
Guide to automating emails effectively
1. Select your email automation tool
The first step to creating automated emails that are aligned with your company’s goals is to select the right email automation platform. This is the foundation for your email automation. There is a wide selection of email automation software or tools on the market today. And since it may be hard to select what will work best for your company, take a look at their main features and benefits to see the option that can best deliver your needs.
Create a list and rate your choices based on how they perform in terms of automation, ease of use, affordability, and relevance in the industry you’re operating in. Some other critical features to look out for include:
- Email automation capabilities
- Mobile optimization ability
- Dynamic list segmenting
- Robust real-time analytics
- Easy-to-use and customizable email templates
- Ecommerce integrations for transactional emails
2. Segment your target recipients
Another critical involves understanding and segmenting your target demographics to have a better idea to whom you’re sending your messaging?
You’ll likely need to create multiple list segments based on key customer data such as gender, location, interests, devices used, or customer journey. For instance, you can utilize lifecycle stages to categorize your email recipients. If you’re pushing for an upsell campaign, you can opt to send an email to your existing customers who haven’t made a purchase in a long while or have only purchased small ticket items.
It is best if the email marketing tool you have selected helps you efficiently segment your customers using the criteria you have set. So, as you select the technology for your efforts, make sure it offers assistance with your target audience.
3. Set up automated workflows for every customer journey stage
Once your list segments are ready, start embracing the fun of creating email campaigns to target different stages of your customers’ journey.
- Nurture your leads. The easiest way to connect with potential customers is by asking for their email addresses and building rapport through an automated lead nurturing campaign. This part is about building personal relationships. Hence, it’s essential to find an email service provider (ESP) with an application programming interface (API) that can deliver highly personalized emails.
- Welcome new customers. Start showing appreciation once your lead has turned into your customer. Try providing welcoming messages that somehow help acknowledge the individuality of each customer.
- Gather feedback. To improve a product, you should leverage getting direct feedback from your customers. Shoot an email (you can add incentives, too!) seeking feedback from them.
- Increase product adoption. What better way to promote your offerings than do this? You can start showcasing your product’s value and promoting action through email marketing automation. And you can make this happen by creating personalized email content that highlights what is immediately valuable to each consumer.
4. Define your email campaign’s goal(s)
To know where you are heading, your email strategy must have a goal. Some examples are lead generation, leading existing customers to another purchase decision, promoting your new product collection, or even something small like earning a positive review online.
Generally, email marketing has six main objectives. These include:
- converting prospective and existing consumers
Once you have identified your goal(s), you can create a message that’s optimized to lead your audience down the path to conversion.
5. Determine the processes you want to automate
What would you do if you were manually emailing your contacts? Try imagining your email marketing workflows as blueprints that outline each action your tool will take for you!
For instance, some tools require you to specify which actions you would like the software to undertake. Some examples of automatable actions include sending an email, scheduling and/or delaying an email, email branching, and syncing or updating all email and contact information to your CRM.
6. Double-check your email automation setup and run a test if necessary
To make your email automation initiative seamless and fool-proof, the best step is to double-check your setup and do a test run if possible. Some things you can incorporate into your workflow process include checking your enrolled contact list for errors, ensuring that you are aware of the number of enrolled contacts, considering your workflow chart and some use cases, and looking into your “send” settings. This way, you can be at peace knowing that the automation you intend to happen is working as planned.
7. Go live with your email automation workflow and start monitoring progress
Set your workflow live once you’ve ticked off the items in your checklist. Continue monitoring it and adjusting it should there be bugs or performance improvements that need to be done. Like any other marketing strategy, this is iterative.
Keeping the best email automation practices
To create automated emails that move prospects forward in their journey, consider the tips above!
Keep in mind the best practices for email project management like sending welcome emails, scheduling them based on time zones, segmenting your contacts based on specific details, personalizing emails, ensuring seamless workflow quality by running tests, and making it easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe so processes aren’t unnecessarily hard for everyone.
Email marketing is a powerful tool. By leveraging automation your business and your marketing team can save time and seriously improve effectiveness and ROI.
Kat writes articles with the hopes of reaching out to more people. Her writing is focused on lifestyle, science, and smart hacks, that will definitely (well, hopefully) be useful to her readers.