Mastering the basics of email automation

Sandi Abbott – Inbound Marketing Supervisor on Feb 5, 2019

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We’ve all had those days when we’re super busy, yet have to send out countless emails to prospects, as well as publish blog posts and social media. Even the most organized marketing teams know just how stressful it can be! Why not let email automation nurture your leads and follow up with prospects for you? That way your team can focus on understanding your target audiences and can work on creating amazing content to share with your prospects, customers, and fans. Read on to learn how email marketing automation can save the day, and give you peace of mind in all of your online marketing endeavors to grow your business.

What is Email Marketing Automation?

In essence, email marketing automation is utilizing software to automate your online marketing endeavors. Automation helps you prioritize and execute your company’s marketing tasks in a more efficient manner. Using technology helps free up time and doesn’t compromise the authenticity of the content you’re sharing. Additionally, marketing automation will help your business reach its goals at a much faster rate.

The ultimate goal of your email marketing automation endeavors is to generate more revenue for your business by providing relevant content to your prospects and customers at the right time in the Customer Value Journey.

In order to generate more revenue, you must drive traffic to your website, convert visitors into leads, and turn those leads into customers. The conversion and re-engagement stages of the sales funnel are where email marketing automation can really make a big difference.



How Is Email Marketing Automation Used?

Email marketing automation serves as leverage that allows you to nurture leads and customers throughout the entire buying process by delivering extremely targeted, personalized messages, which address specific barriers to purchasing or encourage repeat purchase.

For that reason, email marketing automation workflows typically have 3 to 4 emails that are deployed based on specific actions taken (or not taken) by the recipient. 

Basically, email marketing automation provides your company with the capability to target your contacts and prospective customers and deliver content that is based on their behavior. It is important to give your contacts or prospects the information when they need or want it. By doing this, you are making it easier for them to make a choice of purchasing. This results in an increase in conversion rates and revenue.

5 Pro Tips for Email Marketing Automation

Learning about email marketing automation in theory is great, but we want to go a step further and give you some tips on how to use it when implementing your new email marketing strategy and tactics. Take a look at what you should do to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing automation endeavors.

1. Revisit Goals

As a rule of thumb, don’t implement your email marketing automation without reviewing your company’s goals. It is important to use email marketing automation wisely, and ensure that there is a clear business goal behind each email campaign. For example, if you’d like to increase referrals, you can use an email series to encourage happy customers to leave a positive review.  The key is to develop emails that optimize each stage of the Customer Value Journey and to always listen to prospects’ and customers’ needs. Also key is making sure your goals align with your business strategy.

2. Incorporate Automation with Inbound Strategy

Successful online marketing strategy incorporates email marketing automation and your inbound marketing efforts. Inbound marketing techniques strive to provide pertinent content that aligns with the interests and needs of your prospects and customers. This best practice should always be used in email marketing automation, as it enhances your communication and provides the right message to the right person at the right time.

3. Say "No" to Generic Email "Blasts"

Please don’t call your email campaigns “blasts.” Think about it. If you were getting information from a company regarding their products or services, wouldn’t you prefer getting targeted, personalized messages, rather than generic or super-salesy blasts?

The answer is “yes”! When communication feels personalized, people interact in a more engaged manner, as they feel like they can trust the company. Ultimately, people will be more responsive, and more likely to successfully complete call-to-actions and make purchases.

Email marketing automation gives you a chance to think ahead and create workflows, rather than blasts, which might be of little or no value to your prospects or customers.

If you send out blanket emails, your prospects or customers may delete - or worse, mark your communications as spam because the message is irrelevant to them.

4. Segmenting: Highly-targeted and Specific Content

Don’t underestimate the importance of sending out highly targeted or specific content to a narrowed down audience. Remember, not every contact or prospect on your list needs to receive all email marketing communications.

Divide your list into segments based on shared attributes or interests. For example, a segment can be “Past customers”, or people who replied to a specific offer. Your automation software should allow your contacts to select which communications they would like to receive, and opt-out of specific lists without unsubscribing altogether.

Share the specific content that people in a segment are searching for or need. When you provide a solution to a problem or an answer to a question, your contacts will be more likely to purchase from you or purchase from you again.



5. Customer Engagement Campaigns

Don’t forget about keeping your existing customers happy! It is important to set up customer engagement campaigns that will encourage your customers to return to your website and remain engaged with your brand.

Remember, it is way easier to sell to someone who has purchased from you before. So it is crucial to keep your existing customers engaged with content marketing to see continual growth of your company.

You can nurture existing relationships by sending out customer-only content that will encourage them to come back and purchase again. Using automation, you can set up campaigns that position you as a leader in your industry.


Automation Strategy and Tech In A Nutshell

One of the most important things to remember is that email marketing automation is not about selling; rather it is about nurturing relationships with prospects and customers.

By using personalized and relevant content, instead of a hard sell, you are offering information that prospects and customers are seeking. The email marketing automation process will make this process easier if you put together a campaign strategy that follows the steps in the Customer Value Journey.

As important as your strategy is, your choice of automation software is also critical. There are many platform choices out there, from MailChimp and SendGrid, designed to help small businesses with basic triggered emails, to full marketing automation and workflow solutions such as InfusionSoft and HubSpot.

If you don't use a fully-featured platform like HubSpot, there are some nifty tools to help you stay on top of your email game, especially if you are in sales. One newer tool we found is Hunter - a site that helps you find email addresses and connect with the people that matter. They just launched a free new tool for tracking who opens your emails on Gmail. That way you will know right away when to best follow up.

Email marketing automation can be one of your strongest tactics for helping you achieve your business goals. We’ve covered how vital automation can be in the conversion and re-engagement stages, but it’s fair to mention that it is also significant in the engage, excite and advocate stages as part of a full-funnel inbound approach.

There’s so much that can be done, but, where to start? Consider hiring a marketing agency that specializes in email automation. The right professional can help you leverage email marketing by creating relevant and useful content, creating workflows, then monitoring and measuring the performance of your campaigns.

Are you currently using email marketing automation or thinking about getting started?
Use these tips and best practices to make the most out of your campaigns.

Sandi Abbott – Inbound Marketing Supervisor

Sandi Abbott – Inbound Marketing Supervisor

From optimizing lead acquisition to increasing margins and frequency of purchase, there’s nothing Sandi can’t achieve for our clients. With over 25 years of experience – including leading the marketing team for Hertz – she’s a respected voice in the field with industry certifications from Hubspot, Constant Contact and Digital Marketer. Outside the office, Sandi is happiest reading Austen or Dickens on the beach, but she’s proud to say she’s crossed tea in London and swimming with dolphins in Key Largo off her bucket list — next, she’s off to explore Big Sur and go whale-watching.

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