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A quick guide to email automation for your business

It’s very likely that you’d like to continue to be connected to your customers as a marketer or business owner. Email automation is a powerful tool for marketing automation that helps you to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time, using automated workflows that are super successful for lead management and, eventually, to drive sales from both potential and current customers.

What is email automation?

Email automation is a way to produce emails that target the right people with ideal content at the perfect times, sending automated messages using a marketing automation tool without having to do lots of fiddly work.  

You can target individuals based on actions, interests and previous sales when you connect your website analytics with your email marketing platform. You can then personalise the experience of each customer and improve the relevance of your digital campaigns. 

Why should your business invest in email automation?

It builds credibility

It’s a fact that people are more likely to do business with companies and brands they’ve purchased from before, especially if they’ve had a pleasant experience whilst doing so. Email marketing gives you the ability to stay in touch with previous customers and provide them with current news and offers.

It strengthens your relationships

Having a strong relationship with your customers is imperative, and using email automation allows you to communicate effectively with your customers. Sending regular emails helps keep people engaged and prevents you from becoming a distant memory. Stats speak for themselves – 91% of customers are more likely to do business with a brand they recognise and remember, and one that provides them with relevant personalised offers and recommendations. 

It helps you to build your brand

Having a strong brand identity is extremely important for any business. Email automation can help lay your brand image in concrete and build it up further when customers share your newsletter with a friend or family member. 

It boosts your sales

Arguably the most important reason for using email automation for your business is the chance to boost sales. You can use it during slower parts of the year to bring in more customers, or even utilise it during your busier periods to keep the sales flowing. Automated emails drive conversion rates 180% higher than batch emails, which are likely to turn into sales. When a consumer opens an email, you have a few seconds to gain their full attention. If they decide to click through to your website, you’ve piqued their interest in your product or service.

You’re able to reach people on any device

No matter whether your customers have Apple, Android, Windows or any other device, you can still reach them wherever they are in the world. Mobile devices now carry the ability to connect your email accounts, meaning you can connect with your subscriber list in any location at any time of day.

You get immediate results (almost)

Using email automation can provide immediate results. If your business is lacking in sales you can simply send an automated email to your customers with a great deal for them to take advantage of and simply watch the sales roll in.

Personalised marketing

You may have a range of audiences to reach with your business, and with email automation, you can tailor each email to the target audience. Appealing to your audience is essential and the beauty of email automation is that you can chop and change whenever you need to.

There are many other benefits of email automation such as:

  • Utilising your marketing team’s time and effort will give them a higher chance of placing their focus on other tasks at hand.
  • Improve your customer retention rate. It’s generally much easier to provoke a sale from an existing customer rather than gaining a new one. They’ve dealt with you before and know what they’re getting. Using email automation is an effective way of staying in touch and giving them your latest news and promotions.
  • It’s much easier to manage a sudden growth spurt in customers. Sending emails manually works well, but what if you suddenly gained double the customers? You’d need more manpower and other operations within your business would suffer. 

What types of email automation are out there?

Welcome email

When someone subscribes to your business, a nice touch is to send an automatic welcome email to thank them for their interest. It’s always useful to include contact information and to introduce yourself personally. You may also want to consider including your latest deals relevant to that particular customer.

Hidden features email

This type of email is often well-received, and it’s most commonly used after the customer has made a purchase. Businesses use these to send useful information, “how-to” 

blog posts and even hidden features of the products they have recently purchased. This also helps build up a trusting relationship between the customer and your business.

Follow up emails based on previous interaction

Sometimes you may find an email you’ve sent out doesn’t have many opens or click-throughs. You can use this as a learning experience by improving the look of your email, rewording it to make it more appealing or even changing the subject line. Did you know that [First Name] emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened – data provided by Campaign Monitor?

Shopping abandonment emails

You may find from time to time that customers have begun putting items into their shopping basket and then left your site. Provided they were logged in, you can then send a helpful reminder that they have left some items behind. In fact, SaleCycle reports that over one-third of cart abandonment emails result in a purchase!

Event invitations

When you’re hosting an event, you want as many customers to be there as possible to drive more sales. Creating an e-invitation to send to your customers (using that first-name basis in the subject line and beginning of the email) gives the impression you want them to personally attend.

Special offer emails

Creating an email packed full of your current special offers is something you should endeavor to do on a regular basis. After all, how do you expect your products or services to sell when nobody knows about them?

How to get started with email automation 

Build an email marketing list

First and foremost, you’ll need a list of people to send your news and updates to – but where do you begin? Don’t get frustrated if you’re creating an email list entirely from scratch! Consider placing a paper sign-up sheet near your cash register, adding a newsletter sign-up form to your website and encouraging your followers on social media and customer base to register online.

Pick a service that suits your business needs

Think about what you’ll need from an automated email service. Do you need a B2B software or one that’s geared for B2C? Will you need space to store multiple contact lists? Do you need a built-in email designing software, or will you need ready-made templates to work from? How many emails can you send in one go, and is it cost-effective to do so? Can your automated email provider offer a CRM with marketing automation? Ask yourself relevant questions and ensure you’ve ticked off everything before choosing an automated email provider.

Highly rated providers include email tools like Constant Contact, Your Mailing List Provider (YMLP), Mailchimp, and iContact. There are, of course, thousands of other providers you could and should explore before making your decision. 

Trigger emails by actions

As touched upon earlier, you can trigger automated email responses by your customers’ actions; when they abandon their shopping basket, download an infographic, complete a purchase, the list goes on. All are extremely useful in keeping up regular contact with your valued customers.

Don’t automate absolutely everything

Don’t make the mistake of automating everything in one place. As mentioned earlier, you may find that you want multiple contact lists to tailor content for particular target audiences. You may also want to separate loyal and regular customers to give them a first look at your deals and new products. Another way to make things easier for your sales team is to use a shared inbox – something that will make email collaboration easier and more transparent. 

Create a reusable email template

Creating a reusable template will save you lots of time and effort. However, it’s important to put time and testing into your email template to ensure it works correctly and displays well for end-users. Once you’ve perfected it, simply save it as a template, and each email from there on out will be a much faster process.

Explore persuasive writing

The content within your emails needs to be bang on. When a consumer opens an email, you have a mere second or two to truly capture their attention. Try to create short, informative and conversational emails that will pique their interest. 

Focus on the why, what, where, when and how and keep it as short as possible because people don’t want to read reams of content in their email inbox! You can include a “full version” on your website or blog and include a “read more” button at the bottom of your email.

Email automation should be an essential part of your business. It delivers results, and quickly. Just find the software that works for you, set up your workflows and you’re good to go. 

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