Email Automation Series - How to Streamline Campaigns & Increase Profit
Savvy marketers are always keen to become more efficient. We’re busy people with lots of campaigns to run - so how do we save precious time and improve results simultaneously?
Email automation is the key.
Marketing rule 101 is always consider your audience. What better way to connect with your audience than to deliver personalised messages to your customers?
Sending content that is relevant, tailored and of interest to your audience, builds a solid relationship and in turn streamlines campaigns and increases profit.
When it’s used correctly, email automation can help you to reach your specific goals far more effectively. Once the original setup is complete, your campaigns run smoothly and improve results - with no extra effort from you or your team!
In this blog, we take a look at the principles of email automation and the strategies to action right now.
What is email automation / email marketing automation?
The simple version is that when an action takes place, this triggers an automatic email to send.
Rather than setting up a mass email to your whole list, email marketing automation uses software to automatically send an email to an individual, depending on their behaviour or their situation. The technology also enables you to measure the results and optimise based on these.
Certain automations require web developer knowledge to utilise the API of the platform that you choose. However, there are still plenty of ways to use automation without a developer’s input.
Timing is at the heart of email automation. Reaching a person at the right time with the right message is the key. Let’s take a newsletter sign up as an example; they’re interested in your brand and want to hear more - but might be yet to buy anything. Here is the optimum time to encourage a first purchase and send them a discount code.
Creating and sending an individual email for each new sign up would be a logistical, time-consuming nightmare. Instead, set up an automated email, triggered by the sign up and this will be sent to every new subscriber.
Why use email automation?
The ability to personalise emails is a huge benefit for your marketing.
Research by Pure360 revealed that “almost half of consumers would be likely to engage more with retailers that send offers that are relevant and interesting to them.”
Not only does engagement increase with personalisation, but so does profit. Marketing Land reported on a study by Experian, finding that “personalized promotional emails were shown to lift transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails”.
Automated email sending is efficient and saves you a significant amount of time. Sending emails manually to each contact is a labour intensive task and quite frankly unrealistic when you have a decent sized list. While marketing team members focus elsewhere, a marketing automation tool can handle the repetitive work that goes into personalising messages.
Here are some more email automation benefits:
- Deep relationships - build strong relationships with your consumers, increasing their lifetime value.
- Guide customers - an easy way to lead consumers through your chosen sales cycle.
- Better user experience - provide customers with a better experience and increase brand recognition.
- Robust tests - the opportunity to easily conduct A/B testing.
- Profit increase - email automation boosts ROI on campaigns. Personalised product recommendations can increase average revenue per transaction. Not only can it increase profits but it can also save on staff costs or free up their time to enable them to focus on other tasks.
- Regain potential lost sales - retrieve potential revenue loss with abandoned basket emails.
- Reduce mistakes - automation removes human error from campaigns.
- Data insights - interaction data can predict consumers’ behaviour and be used to create more strategic campaigns.
The benefits of email marketing automation for small businesses
There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding email automation. One of the most common is the belief that email marketing automation is just for big companies with large email lists.
Quite the opposite of this myth, email automation is the ideal strategy for smaller companies to implement - from solo marketers to startups. Automation is the perfect way to maximise small business budgets. Instead of hiring another team member for implementation, setting up email sequences means you can automatically improve results, without needing extra staff.
Here are the top three benefits for small businesses:
1) Develop a solid brand
Sending emails directly into the laps of your customers gives you the opportunity to cement your brand. Having a clearly identifiable brand is key and each email you send allows you to connect with your customers. Each email should have a consistent voice, style and look - cementing your brand in their minds with every message.
2) Cost efficiency
TV, cinema, out of home, direct mail - while these are all effective methods of advertising, they come with substantial costs and unfortunately are just not an option for some smaller businesses.
Email automation gives you the power to put your message directly in front of your customers or potential customers, without the cost of direct mail or TV advertising.
3) Build your reputation
So you’re in competition with the familiar, bigger brands in your industry. How do you stand out and win business? There’s an opportunity here to develop unique content and build your reputation as experts in the field.
With email automation, you can put this specialist content directly in front of your subscribers with regular newsletters. Not every email in your series needs to be sales-led. Establish your expert position with informative content too.
What triggers an automated email?
When you set up email automation, you specify what factors (or non-action) will activate an email to your contact. For example:
- An unopened previous campaign.
- A stage in the purchasing process.
- A previous interaction on your website.
- A past purchase.
- A significant date.
- A newsletter sign up.
What are the best email marketing automation platforms?
There are plenty of email marketing platforms on the market to send out emails for you, but the one you choose needs to be have an automation function.
Here are some of the best email automation platforms out there:
Campaign Monitor: a full analytics suite to view performance and features such as, smart segments, interest tailoring and unique visual journeys.
Mailchimp: a simple tool with many automated features such as: product recommendations and re-targeting, date based automations and welcome automations.
Drip: provides exportable data sets and automation elements such as: purchase intent marketing, product recommendations and abandoned cart messages.
Send in Blue: out-of-the-box automation workflow templates such as: welcome emails and abandoned cart reminders.
ActiveCampaign: simple split testing, plus segmentation and dynamic content features.
Get Response: provides a wide range of automation features such as: abandoned cart emails and reactions to completed purchases.
5 powerful email automation strategies to implement now
1) Email drip campaigns
An email drip campaign sends content out based on someone’s point in the journey, rather than to the whole list simultaneously.
Without manually writing and sending out an email for each person, you can create an automated schedule - maintaining steady engagement and ensuring consumers receive the right message at the right time.
This type of automation takes action based on a customer’s behaviour, making sure your customers receive the information they need or want.
Let’s take a basic welcome email automation as an example, using Campaign Monitor.
Welcome journeys trigger automatic emails to new subscribers or customers. You can either:
- Set up a form with Campaign Monitor
- Set up integration between your website and Campaign Monitor using their API. A web developer can sort this for you.
Once you’ve got your subscriber method set up, follow these simple automation steps to build your journey:
Step 1: Create a new journey.
Step 2: Name your journey. Select the type of journey and which of your segmented lists this applies to.
Step 3: Start building your journey. Choose from 3 options - add an email into the journey, add a time delay, or define a condition based on a range of options such as, campaign activity or subscriber details.
Step 4: Add email content. (In this case, we chose a time delay of 2 days before adding a welcome email with a 10% discount).
It’s as simple as that. Once someone subscribes to the newsletter on the site, 2 days later they receive an email offering a discount.
For the next step, you may want to utilise the condition function - if someone opened the email with the discount, send them an email with product recommendations.
Drip campaigns are a fantastic opportunity to nurture your customers and potential customers into making a purchase with a personalised journey based on their actions.
2) A/B testing
Superior marketing campaigns are often robustly tested. Testing one email one week vs another the following week doesn’t give you a fair test and allows for external variables to affect your results.
The trick is to come up with a few good ideas and split test them simultaneously. Automated email platforms take the hassle out of this, sending the test to a small proportion of the list and then sending out the winning email to the remaining percentage.
Here are some A/B testing ideas to try now:
- Email length
- Discount variations
- Subject lines
- Video vs images
- Price variations
- Hard vs soft sales pitch
- Testimonials and reviews
- Call to action variations
- Adding a sense of urgency
- Exclusive elements
A/B split testing in emails is the easiest way to optimise your campaigns, allowing you to pinpoint which idea is the most effective for your audience.
3) Data segmentation
Firstly, establish your goals and objectives. You can divide your lists based on metrics that are important to you, choosing to segment by criteria such as, engagement, interests, demographics, past purchasing history, and much more.
You can automatically segment your lists, allowing you to send highly targeted messages. Tools such as MailChimp, Customer.io, Aweber and ActiveCampaign all enable you to easily segment lists.
Creating these smaller, more targeted lists allows you to speak to your customers more intelligently. Tailoring your messages can reduce unsubscribes and increase open rates, click-through-rates and conversions.
MailChimp reports unprecedented success with list segmentation - opens were 14.06% higher than non-segmented campaigns, clicks were 54.79% higher than non-segmented campaigns and unsubscribes were 7.19% lower than non-segmented campaigns.
4) Dynamic content
Keeping users engaged with your content requires plenty of work. Since dynamic content can now be applied in emails, we can personalise emails to a unique individual - without being too intrusive, and with minimal effort from the marketer.
Avoid a one-size-fits-all message and choose to customise your email content. Here are just some of the ways you can personalise your emails based on the above factors:
- Subject line
- From name
- Product recommendations
- Custom offers and discounts
- Custom pricing
Dynamic content for this customisation can be shown based on various factors such as age, gender, name, past purchases, past responses, interests and much more.
Here are some of the best email systems enabling simple dynamic personalisation:
5) Abandoned shopping cart emails
Abandoned cart emails are an automatic follow-up email, reminding a customer that they have an item left in their shopping cart but haven’t completed the purchase.
These automations are crucial for recovering sales losses and can be automatically sent from the majority of email automation platforms, re-engaging those customers you might be about to lose.
The reminder email needs to work to entice them back. Gaining their attention again is integral to getting that customer to complete their purchase.
Here are a few abandoned cart email strategies to help you beat the competition:
- Discount codes.
- Create a sense of urgency with cart expiry warnings or messages reminding them the items aren’t reserved so may sell out.
- Fun CTAs such as, ‘Take me back’, ‘I could never leave you’ and ‘I still want you’.
- Free delivery offer.
- Offer the option to reserve their items a little longer… but only for a limited time.
Email marketing will make you a better marketer
Whether you’re part of a large or small business, with email marketing automation, you’ll become a better marketer. You’ll become more efficient and improve results - all without extra effort and giving you more time to spend on other tasks.
At Evoluted, we can help you to set up your automated email campaigns or provide development assistance with APIs and integration. Get in touch using our enquiry form or call 0114 272 9753.