Email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for marketing your business today, but it’s evolving.
Newsletters and one-off campaigns will always have their place in your email marketing strategy, but companies are starting to set up more and more automated email campaigns that trigger off of a user’s actions.
Why? Because these automatic emails are timely, personalized and highly relevant to the reader. As a result, they are opened and clicked more frequently and more effectively drive visits and revenue for your business.
What is email automation?
Unlike newsletters and one-off campaigns, which are sent to lots of people in one go, an automated email campaign is set up once and then is automatically sent to a particular individual when that person meets a certain trigger.
For example you could set up a series of emails to go to a user who has signed up for a free trial. The first email going out immediately with a thank you message and key set up information. Then you could follow this at intervals over the subsequent week’s with emails giving advice and key pointers on how to get the most from the software. Making their onboarding as smooth as possible and maximising the chances of them converting to paying customers when their trial period comes to an end.
Once you have set up a series like this as more people hit the trigger, in this case signing up for a free trial, the email series will continue to be sent to them without you having to lift a finger. It is all automated and running smoothly in the background whilst you work on other priorities.
Because email automation works on a basic trigger and action system (i.e., when a specific trigger happens, send this specific email or set of emails) you are really only limited in what you can do by your creativity and business needs. Here are some popular examples
Welcome new subscribers
The majority of people that visit your website aren’t ready to buy from you yet. However they have shown interest and are the perfect candidates for nurture communications to encourage them to purchase later on.
A great way to start the communication is through a newsletter sign up. Subscribing to an email list is a much smaller conversion than making a purchase, and therefore people are more likely to do it. Once they have subscribed you can use an automated campaign to welcome and thank them for their interest and even offer them special subscriber only offers to help convince them to buy.
Most online applications have some sort of free trial period to get potential customers to try the product and ultimately become a paying customer.
Before someone will convert into a paying customer though, they need to realize the value of your product during the trial period, otherwise, why would they start paying for it?
Looking back to our earlier example, a short series of emails to ensuring that the user is getting maximum benefit from the software from the outset should ultimately lead to them converting to a full-paying customer when the trial period comes to an end.
One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t lose a customer is to send them a campaign informing them when their subscription or account is about to run out.
GoDaddy do this very well. They send frequent email campaigns in the lead up to the expiration date reminding customers to renew their domain name, and even provide a discount offer and a simple call to action to entice people to renew straight away.
Repeat business is crucial to drive growth for many companies. According to research is can cost 5 times more to acquire new customers compared to retaining existing customers.
One of the best ways to get repeat business from your existing contacts is to send them regular reminder emails. This works particularly well for businesses that provide a service to people on a recurring basis like mechanics, vets, dentists or hairdressers.
This kind of email helps to grow your business by automatically reminding your customers to come back for another appointment, and helps increase revenue from your existing customer base.
Birthday emails are one of the most common types of automated emails you can send, and they can be extremely effective when done right.
This kind of email is super easy to set up if you have your customer’s date of birth. Hint: If you are offering a restaurant voucher or something the recipient might be likely to use on their birthday as part of the celebrations, best to send it a few days earlier so they can adequately plan ahead.
Promote your new blog posts
When you publish a new post on your blog, make sure you send your subscribers an email alerting them of the new post and enticing them to click through and read it. According to popular blogger Neil Patel email subscribers are 3x more likely to share your content over social media than visitors from other sources.
This kind of campaign helps to grow your business by attracting subscribers back to your website to consume and share your content, keeping your business front of mind for when they are ready to purchase.
Promote an event or webinar
If your business uses events as part of its marketing strategy then getting people to attend is paramount. Quite often though a large proportion of the people who sign up then don’t attend. To minimise this, use reminder emails to make sure there is no forgetting before the event and then a series of emails after the event to reinforce the message and keep your brand front of mind.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer's journey. It's a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren't ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready..
You simply need to send a series of automated email messages over time that educates your audience on the benefits of your product and why they should use it.
Popular marketing blogger Patrick McKenzie recommends you start with a simple series of 6 emails that goes out over 30 days, and increases in “‘salesiness”’ as time goes on.
Only once they have been sufficiently educated on the problems of their existing approach and the benefits of replacing it with a product like yours do you introduce your product and make an offer, at which point they are much more likely to sign up or purchase.
This kind of automated email series, when sent to the leads your business generates through your website and other marketing channels, can be a very effective way to nurture potential customers through to purchase, and help grow your business.
This is just 8 examples of great automated campaigns that you can easily get started with. Automation is an efficient and effective way to communicate with both customers and prospects with the right message at the right time. Engagement rates tend to be higher with these kinds of campaign as the timing and relevancy of the campaign is increased compared to batch and blast email strategies.
Our team of email experts are always on hand to help you create your automated series email campaigns to ensure you maximise their effectiveness from the outset.
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If you would like to learn more about email marketing automation and get some help setting up your first automated campaign - we run a free series of workshops, our Marketing Automation Accelerator Programme
We are confident that we can help you, which is why we offer a free healthcheck to identify potential issues with your current programme and free advice on things that could be done to improve it.