Communication is key for your small business.
With the help of email, you can talk directly to your customers. But as your business grows, it becomes difficult to speak to every single consumer individually.
That’s where email marketing automation steps in. It gives your team the opportunity to communicate with specific customers without the time-consuming aspect.
Plus, email is evolving with technology and consumer behavior.
“What is dead are those random email blasts you used to send to your entire customer list. In these days of social – personalization, customization and automation are king. Your email marketing needs to keep up,” writes Krista Bunskoek, a digital PR and content marketing consultant.
Save your team time by targeting the right customer. Let’s master email marketing automation together.
Benefits of Email Marketing
People receive several emails throughout the day. Their inboxes are swamped with messages from family, friends, and businesses.
Despite the increase in messages, email marketing still offers one of the best ROIs.
Direct Marketing Association revealed that “email marketing brings in about $40 for every $1 you spend.” It’s cost-effective and benefits your bottom line.
An Econsultancy study found that companies attribute 23% of their total sales to email marketing.
Over the years, email has become a staple in eCommerce culture. Social networks and mobile apps all require an email address to unlock online experiences.
That’s good news for you. As the number of consumer email accounts grows, your team will have access to more diverse segments of the population.
Another advantage of email marketing is the ability to target audiences right in their homes.
“People are liable to ignore billboards, throw away print newsletters, and turn over the page without even glancing at newspaper ads. However, they are more likely to pay attention to an innovative, creative, and effective email, and to end up becoming customers,” says Travis Balinas, Product Marketing Manager at OutboundEngine.
Lastly, email is accessible almost everywhere. Hubspot reports that “53% of people read email on their mobile devices.” This allows your team to create personalized messages for the mobile consumer.
From sales to audience reach, email marketing is an essential strategy for your small business.
Email + Automation
Automation transforms the email marketing process. According to Silverpop, “automated email campaigns have a 15% higher open rate than regular emails and 79% higher click through rates.”
Automated email workflows offer you the convenience of reaching more people in less time. Each workflow uses a series of “if this, then that” triggers to match each customer with the correct email campaign. Therefore, the customer’s behavior determines your next interaction.
Simple workflows may include one email after a customer registers for an online store account. Or they can become complex sequences as seen in the example below from Online Marketing Institute.
When creating workflows, think like your customers. Be mindful of their habits and whether the email content is relevant to their lives.
Damian Trzebunia, Product Marketing Manager at Bronto Software, recounts a bad experience with email marketing automation:
“For the first time, [my favorite clothing retailer] asked for my email address at checkout. In the following 10 days, I received 9 emails (two on the same day). None of them were personalized. Most of them promoted women’s items. Only one was remotely interesting – 10% off and free shipping on your next order.”
Always improve your workflows. A/B test them. You want to create a highly optimized system that will impress customers and build your business.
“Marketing automation is all about nurturing not selling. We avoid the hard-sell approach in favor of content that is personalized, relevant, and aligns with what our customers and prospects are looking for,” states, Alyssa Rimmer, Director of Marketing at New Breed Marketing.
Email and automation belong in your marketing toolkit. But always consider the customer’s needs first.
Types of Campaigns
Email marketing automation provides the functionality to execute a good communications strategy. Try different workflows to achieve your desired results. Here are four workflows:
1. Welcome Workflow
Set up a series of welcome emails when a prospect converts into a customer. It’s a practical way to start the customer relationship.
If your product requires training, use this workflow from Social Media Today to introduce helpful resources.
Jordan Lore, Content Marketing Specialist at Wishpond, offers a few more suggestions:
- Tell customers the next step in the sales process.
- Show them popular content that may interest them.
- Direct customers to your social media channels.
- Prompt them to answer a survey.
2. Topic Workflow
Work with your team to create gated lead magnets, like ebooks, guides, and checklists. Once a website visitor signs up for the resource, supply the individual with more topic-related content via email.
For example, someone downloads a 20-minute dinner recipe guide. Follow up with emails about cooking on a tight schedule or how to make simple lunch meals. As the person continues down the conversion funnel, you’ll send a sales message about your new cooking product.
3. Abandon Shopping Cart Workflow
The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%. To decrease shopping cart abandonment, John McIntyre from ReEngager advises sending reminder emails to your shoppers.
After the shopper leaves your site, you can send them a personalized offer—free shipping or a 10% discount—to persuade them to return and complete the transaction.
4. Product Review After Purchase Workflow
Use Net Promoter Scores as a tool to trigger workflows. Then, set an ideal customer happiness score.
When a customer meets the criteria, send an email asking the individual to provide a product review or leave a comment on Yelp. Reward the happy customer with exclusive content or a swag bag.
For your dissatisfied customers, ask them about how your team can improve the experience. Send them targeted workflows aimed at addressing those issues.
Email Automation Do’s & Don’ts
The rules of email marketing automation aren’t etched in stone. But experienced marketers offer some best practices to make your business better. Follow these simple rules:
- Do purge your database. Set a criteria that models inactive behavior. Remove emails with high bounce rates.
- Do segment your customers. Use rich behavioral data to create focused campaigns.
- Don’t use automation to spam customers with unwanted emails. Make sure your team is complying with all CAN-SPAM policies.
- Don’t operate on autopilot. Email automation requires monitoring. Your campaigns will need to be measured and recalibrated as your business expands.
No Substitute for Human Contact
Email marketing automation is an effective strategy to implement in your small business. It allows your team can interact with more customers while also removing the administrative stresses from your company’s operations.
However, automating your email systems isn’t a substitution for human contact. To build better relationships with your customers, you must build a personal connection. And the best way to achieve that is face-to-face or via a phone call.
Tony Zambito, a leading authority in buyer insights and buyer personas, says:
“Businesses today risk, in using new digital technologies fervently, losing the human connection with their customers and potential buyers. Through such fervent activities related to automating marketing, organizations can unintentionally create the opposite of what they had hoped to accomplish.”
Automation only opens the door to communication. To continue the relationship, your team must engage with buyers one-on-one. It’s the only way to really understand how to serve them better.
Automate for Growth
Email marketing helps your small business connect with more customers. With automation, your team can efficiently deliver targeted messages.
Use email marketing to generate leads or foster brand loyalty. Experiment with different workflows to fit your consumers’ needs. And remember that email is no substitution for real human contact.
Email. Automate. Grow your small business.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.