What is email automation? Wherever you look in the email marketing world, everyone seems to talk about the importance of automated email campaigns. There are countless websites and businesses constantly collecting email addresses to nurture customers. Plus, you’ve got a huge selection of email marketing automation tools available too.
So, what does email automation actually mean?
In simple terms, email automation is exactly what it says on the tin – and opportunity to “automate” a series or single email based on specific “triggers”, or actions. With email automation you can send a welcome message as soon as someone creates an account on your website or provide clients with a “thank you” message after they make a purchase.
More than just a way to communicate with your audience, email automation gives you the opportunity to reach your leads wherever they are, and nurture them into repeat customers.
A Definition of Email Automation
The basic definition of email automation is: The use of software leveraging pre-defined rules to trigger email messages to a list of customers. In other words, you collect email addresses for the target clients you want to reach and use a special kind of software to automatically send emails whenever a specific action happens.
Email marketing tools allow you to set a multitude of “triggers” to determine when emails are sent. For instance, you might send an email whenever customers buy something from your site, when they abandon their shopping cart, and even when they haven’t connected with your company for a while.
The idea of email automation is simple. The more you connect with your target audience, the more likely you are to convert them into repeat customers. After all, it takes a relationship, built over time, to ensure your clients can actually trust your brand.
What is Email Automation Software?
Email automation software is the specific technology you’ll use to automate your email campaigns. This software can come in variety of different shapes and sizes. Most of the tools available today will allow you to design your emails using a series of themes and templates already available within the program. You’ll also get features like:
- Automation flow builders: These are drag-and-drop or customizable tools which allow you to determine which actions will trigger an email being sent. You can set up a workflow for when a customer abandons their cart, and a different workflow for welcome emails.
- Segmentation tools: Email automation software ensures you can segment your target audience by things like location, age, or product preference, so it’s easier to send more personalized content. This can improve your chances of conversions.
- Analytics: Analytical tools will allow you to examine which of your email campaigns are having the best impact on your audience. You can create custom reports, track metrics in real-time, and even examine how different emails influence different segments.
- A/B testing: These are tools which ensure you can examine the performance of one email, or email campaign, against another, so you’re sending the most effective messages to customers.
- Forms and landing pages: Some email automation software tools will also allow you to access the tools you need to collect email addresses from your leads.
The more specialist features you want from your email marketing solution, the more expensive the subscription costs are likely to be. Most solutions will also integrate with your website builder, so you can send emails based on what customers do within your website.
What are the Benefits of Email Automation?
Email automation is an excellent way to create emails capable of reaching people with the right message at just the right time. Without email automation technology, companies would need to predict when the best time to send a message was, and manually write one each time.
As an added benefit, most email automation tools come with helpful analytics systems to help you track the performance of your email campaigns. This means you can minimize your chances of spending money on strategies which don’t work.
With email automation, you can:
- Personalize customer experiences: 90% of customers say they find personalized content either somewhat or very appealing. 91% of customers also say they’re more likely to deliver their custom to businesses providing individual recommendations and offers. With segmentation, you can easily send custom and personalized emails to different clients.
- Support your marketing team: Automation can make your entire business more efficient, but it has a particularly strong influence on your marketing team. With an automated system in place, your marketing team can spend more time getting other crucial work done. When your staff members aren’t manually compiling emails, they can get more done.
- Improve customer retention ates: Email marketing isn’t just about attracting and converting customers. It’s also a key part of making sure you can maintain a relationship with your target audience. Regular newsletters and messages can keep your brand “top of mind” with your customer and improve your chances of repeat sales. You can even convince a customer to stick around if they’re thinking of swapping to a competitor.
- Increase scalability: Sending an email series manually would require a lot of time and effort. As your business grows, and you have more audience members to connect with, it would become increasingly impossible to send your emails to everyone. Automated email campaigns ensure you can scale your strategy to suit your growing audience. It’s an excellent way to keep your business evolving.
- Improve sales: Email marketing can increase the number of sales you make in a number of crucial ways. For instance, it helps you to convince your customer your product is the best on the market compared to your competition. Your email marketing strategy is also essential for helping you get a second chance at converting a customer when someone abandons your shopping cart page without buying anything.
Using Email Automation to Grow Your Business
There are various ways you can use email automation to grow your business. In general, the first step will be deciding what kind of email campaigns you want to send, and what you want the “trigger” for those campaigns to be.
For instance, one of the most common types of email automation campaigns is the “Welcome campaign.” In this campaign, the trigger would be someone signing up to your email newsletter or creating an account on your membership website.
When someone gives you their email address, this should be an automatic trigger to send a “welcome” message, letting them know what to expect from their future relationship with you. Other examples might include:
- Purchase emails: When someone makes a purchase on your store, you should automatically send them an email thanking them for buying the product. This email should also include order and shipping details, as well as any information required for tracking delivery.
- Re engagement emails: If your customer buys something from your store but doesn’t come back and check out any products for a while, you can send a re-engagement email showing them products they might like or offering a discount.
- Cart abandonment: Cart abandonment emails help to remind your audience they added something to their cart and improve your chances of them making a purchase. These emails can significantly increase your sales numbers.
- Anniversary emails: Make your subscribers feel special by sending them messages when they’ve joined your email list for a certain amount of time. This can be a great way to engage existing subscribers and improve click-through rates with your email marketing campaigns.
- Follow-up transactional emails: Send old and new subscribers update information on their ecommerce purchases. These automation workflows are excellent for improving your customer relationship by increasing trust.
When you choose a software solution for your email automation functionality, you might find that some services come with pre-existing templates for drip campaigns you can use. This is a great way to get started if you’re new. Some examples might include workflows for onboarding potential customers or sending out a coupon to loyal clients.
How to Make the Most of Email Automation
Email automation can be an excellent way to convert and nurture leads. The best way to get started with your campaigns is to choose the best email marketing tools.
There are tons of options out there for managing your email subscribers, including campaign monitor, Mailchimp, Sendinblue, and many others. While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for building a successful email campaign, there are some elements you can look for to make your automation strategy more successful, such as:
- Integration: The ability to integrate your email marketing tool with solutions like your CRM (customer relationship management), ecommerce website, and helpdesk software will help you to improve the customer journey and drive better conversions.
- Analytics: Make sure your email marketing tools allow you to track information about your customer’s journey, from the point they open each email, to when they click through to your website, use an offer, buy a suggested product or even refer a friend. The more you learn, the more you can adapt your email strategy to send more targeted messages.
- Discounts: Being able to offer discounts and coupons to new customers or loyal clients is a great way to improve your lead nurturing strategy. Strategic discounts significantly increase open rate for a lot of email marketing campaigns.
- A/B testing: The ability to test the performance of various components from your emails, like subject line content, the CTA, and even the email body content is crucial to improving conversion rates. A/B testing solutions will help you to convert more new and existing customers. Just make sure the pricing of your email tool doesn’t go up too much if you want to access these features.
- Automated campaigns: To really master email as part of your digital marketing strategy, you need to be able to build a host of automated drip campaigns. These automations could range all the way from automated confirmation email content, to drip campaigns convincing your customers not to unsubscribe from your messages.
It’s also worth looking for tools which make running your email campaigns as simple as possible too. Solutions like templates to help you build your own webinar series and tutorials for your new marketing automation software can be extremely useful. It might also be helpful to set up notifications so your small business can see whenever new leads come your way.
Start Building Customer Relationships with Emails
Upgrading your promotional strategy with an email marketing automation platform is one of the best ways to improve your chances of nurturing new leads into return customers.
Email marketing might not be the newest form of advertising, but promotional emails can still significantly improve your conversion rates, and help you build critical relationships. Once you know how to make email automation work, you can create everything from abandoned cart emails to improve conversions, to email marketing strategies for building consumer trust.
Email automation helps you to engage with your customers, collect new leads and improve your chances of purchases over time.