However, in order to run a time-efficient and effective email marketing campaign, you need to rely on automation in one form or another. Still, automation encompasses a lot of things, up to the point where it gets confusing for some people.
Luckily for you, our focus today is going to be on adopting an effective email marketing automation strategy. The thing is, there is not a single ultimate strategy but many. So, we will take a look at some of the best email marketing automation practices. And once implemented together, these practices can help you produce the ideal email marketing automation strategy for you. Stay tuned.
What is email marketing automation?
Before we get into the idea of adopting an email marketing automation strategy, let’s first take a look at what email automation is.
At its core, email marketing automation is simply a series of triggers that get set off by the customer throughout their journey. Once one of these triggers is set off, the customer will be sent a personalised email.
Each and every one of these emails is made specifically for the point reached by the customer. The purpose of this is to help the customer move through the sales funnel.
In 2021, about 51% of companies all over the world were using marketing automation in some capacity, and that included email marketing. Such a number ought to tell you something about the benefits of automation in email marketing.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into how to create the ideal email marketing automation strategy for your business.
Creating an email marketing automation strategy
Putting together a functional email marketing automation strategy is no easy feat. There are a lot of steps that every digital marketer should go through, including:
Choosing the right email marketing automation tool
A simple Google search of “email marketing automation tool” will yield hundreds of different results about what people consider to be the best tool.
Email marketing automation is near impossible to pull off without a great automation tool. This is because these tools can be used for a plethora of things, such as emailing your customers based on their behaviour, prioritising certain prospects over others, and more.
These uses will translate to better implementation of marketing emails, an increase in leads and eventually sales. Still, with hundreds of marketing automation tools available in the market, choosing the right one for your business can be overwhelming.
Some tools are easier than others to use. Others might come with richer sets of features than the rest and more. So, in such an overcrowded and competitive market, how can one find the right tool for their needs?
Well, it depends on the set of features that the tool comes with, how good their customer support and feedback is, and of course, the costs attached to them. You should also get an idea of a tool’s credibility, reliability as well as ongoing professionalism.
If such traits are questionable in a tool that you are interested in, avoid using it. Why? Because using the wrong tool can very much cause your emails to land in spam. That would be a complete waste of your time and money now, wouldn’t it?
Email marketing tools that we here at Rockstar Marketing recommend
- HubSpot: There are well over 48,000 small businesses currently using HubSpot, making it one of the most popular email marketing tools on the market. Not only does the platform offer top-level marketing automation but it also comes with a landing page builder
- ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign is yet another great email marketing automation tool that allows users to create drip emails to help boost their subscriber count, interactions, and more
- Drip: As the name already suggests, Drip allows you to easily set up email drip campaigns. This tool is especially great if you run an e-commerce company because of its different features
- MailChimp: Yet another good email marketing automation tool, MailChimp allows users to easily customise their emails. It allows users to send welcome sequences to new subscribers for instance. It can also be used to send out cart abandonment emails based on user behaviour
- Mailjet: This email marketing automation solution is the perfect choice for fast-moving teams. It allows users to easily create and send emails through a drag and drop editor
Planning out your email automation campaign
You must have an idea of what outcome you’re trying to achieve with your email marketing automation campaign if you want it to succeed. Try to list your specific goals as well as any measurable outcome you might have.
Additionally, try to determine who your target audience is. This is done by listing the demographics, criteria and online behaviour of past interactions that people made with your business.
Once you take the time to know who your customers are, then you will be set to create an effective email marketing automation campaign. You see, automation software does not function out of thin air. It usually needs data about your current or preferred target audience in order to work properly.
It’s common knowledge that your customers and subscribers cannot be grouped under one label. So, sending them the same automated emails in their customer journey is somewhat counter-productive.
Instead, you should aim to identify and separate your existing customers and subscribers into different clear-cut segments. Once that’s done, you lead them into different customer journeys that contain information and offerings that are relevant to them.
Say, for example, you want to get in touch with inactive customers. You can simply create a segment containing all customers who haven’t bought from your business in the last 60 to 90 days.
Out of all the points that we will discuss today, email segmentation is perhaps the main reason why email as a marketing tool is so effective. Not only does it help you to deliver the proper experience to your customers, but it also helps to easily track who is opening your messages.
Personalise your messages
In 2021, the average number of sent and received emails per day around the world was 319.6 billion. And a big percentage of those emails are marketing messages. So, in order for you to succeed in this highly-competitive domain, you need your messages to stand out.
Such a feat can only be achieved through personalisation. And funnily enough, personalisation is near impossible to pull off if not for segmentation. Indeed, you need to have records of interactions that people had with your business. And using that data, you can then modify your email marketing strategy to the point of perfection.
Look at Target for example; they have an assigned “Guest ID” number for every one of their customers. This number is attached to a person the moment they make their first interaction with the brand. It contains their demographic information and can be used to track their buying behaviour.
Such an approach to personalisation allows Target to create some of the best marketing emails out there. And while we’re not asking you to do this since it requires a lot of resources, try to at least mimic the efficacy of such an approach.
At last, personalising your messages is the best way to grasp the attention of your subscribers and create a legitimate bond with them. People like to feel special and somewhat targeted when receiving your messages.
Test, test, then test again. The path to achieving the perfect email marketing automation campaign is regular and consistent testing.
Of course, we wouldn’t recommend that you try out one idea at a time. Instead, set up your automation tool so that it sends out two versions of the same marketing message simultaneously.
You can try out different variations of your email’s subject lines, content, CTA (call to action) buttons, the automated trigger, frequency, etc. You should test and analyse the results from these tests over a set period of time.
While A/B testing, be sure to always track your KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, including:
- View rate
- Delivery rate
- Open rate
- Sales conversion
- Unsubscribe rate
Once you measure these metrics and analyse the results, you’ll then be able to optimise your email marketing automation workflow for the future.
One of the greatest things about email marketing is the fact that you can easily adjust your campaign on an ongoing basis. Plus, you’ll be able to change any element of your marketing message, even while your campaign is live.
Only when you feel like you’ve properly optimised your emails can you let them continue running on their own. This will help you save some time as well as money that you else could have wasted.
However, in order for your optimisation efforts to work properly, you need to monitor the results of your attempts on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).
Email marketing automation strategy – Things to avoid
Email marketing engulfs a lot of areas, and its automation is no different. So, in your attempt to grow your business, you need to avoid doing certain things, such as:
Only using one channel
When your subscribers and customers think of your brand, they don’t just think of your emails and how good they are, but they also consider your other mediums of communication.
So, try not to limit yourself to one channel. The whole point of email marketing automation is to set up triggers or actions that result in messages being sent out, right?
Well, you can make it so that triggers also result in SMS marketing messages too.
Look at Apple, for instance. Their products can be easily identified across a number of different channels. Why? Because they have well-established advertising on TV, well-designed social media pages, and a brilliant store experience.
You can also retarget people that have received your marketing emails on Facebook and other social media platforms too. That way, you can ensure that users feel your presence on many platforms at once.
Not paying enough attention to new customers
Yes, it’s true that one of the prime goals of having an email marketing automation strategy is to gain sales. However, this doesn’t mean that you should shift your focus away from someone once they have made a sale.
Quite the opposite actually, once someone buys from you, you should try your best to make them a loyal customer. Indeed, that’s where the real money is. It’s in the people who will buy from you over and over again.
So, you should try your best to make your email marketing automation strategy centred around making people stick for long. Additionally, you could optimise your automation workflow in a way as to attract people who bought from you once but didn’t do it again.
The most common example of such a process is sending automatic “reactivation” emails to customers who haven’t bought from you in a while (60 days, 90 days). These emails ensure that you reel any potential customers back in.
Not focusing on the customer journey
Yes, trying to rack up as many sales as possible is a fair goal to have as a business. However, you’re probably better off with a long-term strategy that focuses on perfecting the customer journey and building your brand.
Indeed, the more a customer knows about your brand, the more they will trust you, which, of course, leads to more sales.
What we’re trying to say is that you can function well as a business without relying on super discounts, free shipping, or other great perks that aim to attract a few new customers on the fly.
Here are some email marketing automation strategies that you can rely on to turn people into loyal customers:
- Welcome series: an automated series of emails that aim to introduce new customers to your brand
- Cart recovery series: a series of automated emails that get sent out to cart abandoners with the aim of incentivising them to finally make that purchase
- Order and shipping confirmation emails: these sorts of emails can be automatically sent out to individuals once they make a purchase. And although these seem like they don’t have much use outside of their intended one. They can actually lead people to come back to your website and potentially buy another product/service
- Birthday series: a birthday series can be a number of automated emails that get sent out to individuals on their special day. You can offer them a one-time discount as a means of celebration, for example
Let us help you with email marketing automation
Setting up your automated email marketing campaigns can be a challenging task. Worry not, though, as we can help. Book a discovery call with us today, and one of our email marketing experts will get in touch shortly.