Email Marketing Automation: What It Is and Why You Need It

|by Laura Middlebrook

Everyone knows that email marketing helps bring in new customers. But that doesn’t mean everyone has the time to give it the attention that’s needed to do it well.

Maybe you have a killer promotion starting soon or a blog post that’s packed with viral potential. But if your overworked marketing exec doesn’t send out the email in time, that’s a missed opportunity.

And this is why email marketing automation has become a needed piece of a marketer’s toolkit. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about email marketing automation tools and why you need to use them.

What is email marketing automation?

So, first up, what even IS email marketing automation? It’s a way of automating the simple email marketing processes that businesses rely on to keep in contact with their customers and, more importantly, keep those customers engaged.

This could mean the email that gets sent automatically when a customer subscribes to your newsletter, sign-ups for your service or when a user purchases a product. But these are just the basics of what email marketing automation has to offer.

Emails can also form part of a wider marketing automation strategy across multiple channels. The more seamlessly you can automate your activities in this way, (while tailoring them for each specific channel, of course) the more time you can save and the faster you can achieve your goals.

How can email marketing automation support growth?

Having an email marketing strategy isn’t just about saving you time on sending out routine emails. It can help you with lead generation, nurturing and scoring, making it an essential tool for your sales team, as well as being a great way to measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

Here are some ways that automation can support your growth:

  • Simplify complicated tasks: Using a tool like a workflow builder means you can quickly build intelligent email marketing workflows to send campaigns. These emails will be based on important information such as behaviour, data profiles and custom segments. While that might sound complicated, it can be as simple as dragging and dropping segments with no HTML knowledge needed.
  • Lead nurturing: Running lead nurturing campaigns requires a drip feed of strategically timed emails sent at specific intervals. So, it goes without saying that email automation can help ensure this runs smoothly.
  • Time-saving: We’ve mentioned that automation saves you time, but it’s such an important point, we’re including it again. Best of all, it doesn’t save you time by limiting your activities, it actually enhances them while still keeping you and your team free for tasks that really need your efforts. All it requires is the initial set-up time and then monitoring and optimisation based on the results it produces.
  • Personalisation: When we talk about personalisation, we don’t just mean that your email marketing platform will automatically insert the customer’s name at the top of the email. The right tool will also help you segment your list based on the criteria you choose, whether that’s demographics, purchase history or level of engagement. You can then target people more effectively, delivering them exactly the right content to get them to convert, instead of a scattershot, one-size-fits-all strategy that will only deliver mediocre results.
  • Engagement: Customers don’t want to receive emails that don’t feel relevant to them. A strategy like that will result in them either disengaging from your emails or unsubscribing altogether. Automation can ensure they are receiving relevant emails, triggered by their actions, preferences and any other data you have on them. This gives you a better chance of keeping them engaged and not annoying them.
  • Re-engagement: But what about when a customer does become disengaged? Email automation can help with that too! By creating a segment for customers who haven’t interacted with your emails for a certain period of time, you can automatically send them exclusive offers, promotions or content to try to re-engage them.
  • Insights: Any good quality email marketing automation package will come with analytics and reporting tools that you can use to analyse performance based on metrics like open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates, etc. Using these to measure and compare campaigns can help you optimise your marketing, learning what didn’t work and doing more of what did.

All of these benefits can help your business optimise its marketing through emails, engaging customers, boosting sales and maximising growth opportunities.

Why you should think about automating some of your marketing activities…

Those are just some of the ways that email marketing automation can support your business growth plans. But let’s take a moment to consider some of the more practical applications where automation can play a huge role in marketing.

Here are some examples of marketing activities that can use automated emails:

  • Calendar-based emails: These kinds of ‘surprise and delight’ campaigns can be based around a customer’s birthday or the anniversary of their subscription or first purchase. Sending out special offers for these events can keep a customer engaged as well as potentially prompt them to make a new purchase.
  • Newsletters: A marketing newsletter doesn’t have to be a lot of work. If you regularly update your blog or have lots of great historic content, you can use email automation tools to set up an automated newsletter and get this content in front of your customers on a drip-feed basis.
  • Event promotion: When you have an event coming up, you can promote it with a series of automated emails to the relevant people in your database. When they sign up for the event, they can be switched to a list receiving specific emails for attendees to give them all the information they need ahead of the event.
  • Upselling/cross-selling: When a customer has purchased a certain item or service from you, you can use automation and your CRM tools to identify complementary products or services that may also interest them. These can either be included in automated order confirmation emails or follow-up emails to be sent after a specific time period has elapsed. With the right data-based logic behind these recommendations, you can increase your average order value and customer lifetime value.
  • Onboarding: Email automation is a great tool for taking new customers on an onboarding journey without needing manual intervention from staff each time. Providing useful, practical tips, instructions and resources to new customers can help increase their satisfaction and reduce your churn rates.
  • Gathering feedback: Email automation is a great tool for requesting feedback from your customers, whether it’s an automated follow-up email after an order asking for a product rating or one sent after an event asking for comments. The feedback you receive can be either for promotional purposes or to help improve services, products and events. However you choose to use it, the easiest way to collect feedback is through email marketing automation.

How to get started with email marketing automation

Now for the important part - how do you get started with email marketing automation? Perhaps you’ve tried it before and had mixed results because the platform wasn’t right for your objectives. Or maybe you didn’t get the necessary support to make the most of the opportunities.

Whatever your troubles, we can help. Conesso is an email marketing agency with the tools, knowledge and team to help you build email marketing workflows that deliver results. Freeing up your time to focus on other areas of your business, we can support you with whatever challenges you’re facing. Our team can train your team through our Conesso Consultancy services to ensure your email marketing is working for you.

Why not get in touch with us and find out how we can help you?

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