Think You're Cut Out for Email Automation?

Chris Delany

Partner

Let’s not bother with the discussion of whether or not email automation works. It works. End of story. What keeps marketers in limbo is that many still think that email automation is only good for sending a welcome greeting or thank you note. Email automation is so much more than that, and once you see it for its total potential, you’ll never ask yourself if it’s worth it again.

Great Marketers Think Alike

If you’re reading this blog, then we will assume that you are a great marketer. No, you may not do everything perfectly (what marketer does?), but taking the time to further develop your skills and marketing efforts is what makes the difference.

Keeping yourself open to new ideas, even when they may not be endorsed by your marketer friends, is also a way to separate yourself from the competition. So, it’s safe to assume that you are cut out for marketing automation. Once you learn the ropes, it won’t be difficult to master. And once you see the benefits, you won’t mind putting the effort into a strong email automation program.

Why Email Marketing is Vital

With all that aside, there is something else we would like to clear up before moving forward. That something is email marketing and why it should be a core part of your marketing strategy. Some marketers underestimate the power of email marketing, but you shouldn’t be one of them. Email is an excellent way to generate new business and increase sales in your existing customer base.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that email marketing brings to the table.

  • Less time and effort compared to print mailings and other campaigns.
  • Real-time messaging, perfect for bringing in immediate traffic, increasing sales for limited stock items and rewarding customers on birthdays and anniversaries.

  • Personalized messages that contain the customer’s name, location, purchase history and other information.

  • Segment audiences so certain messages go to certain groups of people based on age, location, interests, purchase history, etc.

  • Regular communication between your brand and your customers. Even if your customers aren’t interested in all of your offers or emails, it’s nice to know that you are there.

  • A/B testing for your emails is a quick and easy way to see which marketing tactics work best for your audience. Experiment with different colors, graphics, headlines and message tones.

  • Track sales and engagement with tracking software. It will tell you how many people opened the email, how many people clicked on the links, which specific links were clicked and if you had any complaints of spam.

In order to use marketing automation efficiently, you must appreciate email marketing. Don’t let others fool you into thinking that social media is the whole show. Email marketing has its place.

Maintaining 1:1 Interaction with Customers

Now let’s move onto email automation and why you are definitely prepared to use it. How do we know? Well, if you’re not using marketing automation, how have you been maintaining one-on-one relationships with your customers?

You can usually maintain good relationships when your company is small, but as it starts to grow, it gets more difficult. Your marketing program may be at the point where you have tons of customers and prospects to manage on Outlook, Word and Excel spreadsheets.

Now imagine all the different interactions your customers have with your company. From new customers to repeat purchases to birthdays, you’re going to waste time performing redundant communication tasks. Marketing automation helps streamline these tasks so that you can operate more efficiently and grow revenue faster. It’s also an excellent customer service tool that strengthens relationships with your customers.

Isn’t Automation Robotic and Impersonal? Hardly.

Another great myth among marketers is that automation is just another word for spam. When used the way it’s supposed to be, marketing automation is far from cold or impersonal. Sure, if you don’t take the time to change the messaging to fit your brand or personalize the email with the customer’s name, the message will sound robotic. But if you make these adjustments, you’ll see that automation makes communication stronger.

In fact, you have complete control over the content you send out to your customers. You may add more content based on the user, change headlines and personalize keywords based on your recipients’ geographic location or interests. You may also segment your customers or perform A/B testing to see which messages are most effective.

Creating Messages with Purpose

Don’t lose sight of the fact that your messages should have a purpose as well. They should nurture leads and guide them through the buying funnel to increase conversions and sales. If your company sells vacation packages and you want to boost sales over spring break, use the content in the emails to get people thinking about traveling over break.

Cover the top 10 ways to save money, fun facts about popular spring break destinations and either things to do for families or college students (depending on your audience). As you create the right content and send it out to your recipients at the right time, you can help them stay on track with choosing one of your vacation packages.

Who Can Benefit from Email Automation?

Email automation is for anyone really, particularly small businesses with limited marketing resources. These same companies tend to have smaller IT staffs that don’t have the time to manage databases. Luckily, many email automation providers offer flexible, tiered pricing structures so that you pay only for the services you use.

Two of the biggest factors to look for is the targeting features that are available and the analytics capabilities. The software should also allow you to implement your own customizations to make each message sound as personal as possible. Many companies allow you to try out their automation software for free for 30 days, so explore your options.

Marketing automation is not a replacement for human interaction. But as your company grows, you will find that it’s impossible to maintain strong rapports on a large scale. This is where email automation becomes a significant advantage that helps you streamline certain tasks, communicate effectively with customers and connect with other marketing channels such as social media and content marketing.

About the Author: Chris Delany
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