Email Automation. You know a lot of businesses use it but you’re not entirely sure what it is, and what the heck are the benefits of email automation anyway?
Well strap yourself in ladies and gents, we’ve put together an expert’s guide to email automation that will explain all and help take your email marketing from novice to ninja.
What is email automation?
Email automation. Automated email marketing. Email workflows. Email series. Email sequences. Drip campaign. Drip email. Drip marketing. Mailchimp automation. You’ve probably heard some, if not all, of these terms thrown around in some place or another. Well, guess what? They all mean the same thing.
Email automation uses a time- or action-based trigger to send an email (or multiple emails) to your subscribers.
For example: You might want someone to receive a welcome email when they sign up to your newsletter. So, you could setup an email automation that sends your welcome email to new subscribers as soon as they join your email list.
Just. Like. Magic. ✨
What are the benefits of email automation?
Why does this matter? Well, there are a number of really good reasons:
1. Email automation saves you time
The beauty of email automation is that it is just that – automated. Forget about creating manually sending email on the daily and get some of that precious time back.
Once you’ve set up your email automations, can pretty much sit back and let the automation do the rest – almost.
We would recommend regularly conducting a health check. Just like almost anything in life, in order to get the most out of it, you need to take good care of it.
For example: You might realise people are receiving emails at weird times of the day or night – this might mean you need to adjust your automation criteria to only send emails at a certain time of the day (i.e. between 8:00AM and 8:00PM) to avoid unhappy customers being woken up by your email campaigns.
2. Email automation improves your lead and client nurturing
Small business leads don’t turn into customers easily. It takes clever content, delivered at the right moment to guide a lead down your marketing funnel from consideration to intent and then conversion.
And nurture funnels are a crucial cog in the machine that guides a lead into a customer.
Think of a nurturing email campaign as you online store’s sales assistant. It is a sale assistant’s job to help you find what you need, convince you that what you’re being offered is the right option, explain how it will benefit you, and ultimately get you to purchase. A nurturing email campaign does the same thing.
How does a nurture funnel look? Usually consisting of 3-7 emails, you want to ensure each email has a purpose, and exists to achieve the same goal: to educate and persuade your customers to convert.
3. Email automation improves your customer experience
Another great thing about email automation is that it allows for a personalised experience for your leads and customers. People respond well to thoughtful touches from others and the same goes for emails.
How do you personalise your emails? Like this!
NAME: use customer data to pull through the customer’s name into the greeting of your email e.g. “Hi, Sam!”
PRODUCT: use website data to pull through a product a customer has added to their cart e.g. “These fluffy pink socks could be yours, Sam!”
CUSTOMER JOURNEY STAGE: use CRM data to pull through the stage a customer is at in their application / sign up process e.g. “We just need your date of birth to complete your application!”
4. Email automation forces you to consider your wider marketing strategy
Setting up email automations is beneficial for a number of reasons, however having visibility over what, how and when you are communicating with your customers is one of the most valuable.
If you’re an online business, and the majority of the touchpoints you have with your customers are online, email automation should play a significant role in your marketing strategy.
You can effectively pre-plan how you want to communicate with your customers by mapping out all of the various points of contact you want to have with your customer, what these emails will look like, what your objectives are for each campaign, what copy you’ll include, and when you’ll choose to communicate.
Being able to visualise the entire communication strategy you have with your customers is key to thoughtfully nurturing your customers and maintaining good relationships.
These are the different types of email automations
There are multiple types of email automation, which all serve their own purpose.
The three core email automations we would recommend starting with are:
- New customer onboarding
- Nurturing new business leads
- Upselling to your existing customer
1. Onboarding email automation
An onboarding email automation serves a very important purpose – not only does it contain a welcome email that let a new subscriber know that you’re tickled pink to have them on your mailing list, it also provides an awesome opportunity to build a positive relationship between your business and the customer.
A good onboarding automation encompasses everything from familiarising new customers with your product, service, or brand – from getting started, to mastering the basics (and the not-so-basics), to providing support throughout the duration of the customer lifetime.
Within an onboarding automation you might choose to include emails that cover some or all of the below:
- About us / Why choose us
- Information about a key product/service
- Interesting blog posts / articles
2. Lead nurture email automation
Lead nurture automations are fundamental to building and maintaining customer relationships. They allow you to nurture leads into customers by presenting them with your best selling points, support and guidance. Most importantly, it provides a low cost method for turning leads into customers.
Sometimes all a potential customer needs to get them across the line is a gentle push in the right direction like: “click here to book your discovery call” or “did you forget these items in your cart?”
While lead nurture automations can be a great money-saving technique, it can also allow you to be seen as a trusted source of information to your potential customers.
By prospecting useful and personalised information to leads throughout their consideration process, you are presenting your brand as trustworthy and credible.
3. Upsell email automation
Upselling is a sales technique that encourages a customer to buy an additional product or upgrade their current product with your business.
We’re all familiar with the classic upsell — “would you like fries with that?” — but how does an upsell email automation work?
The most effective way to utilise an upsell email automation is to trigger your email when a customer shows interest in purchasing something e.g. when they view a certain services page or add something to their cart.
Generally, customers will go for the cheapest, easiest option or package that meets their needs because they don’t yet see value in adding all the bells and whistles.
So, an upselling email is the perfect technique to educate the customer as to why a more premium/expensive product or service is better for them. You can offer them useful and persuasive information in order to enter the consideration phase for the more expensive option.
And there we have it. An expert’s guide to email automation.