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Email Automation: What Is It and How Can You Make It More Effective?

Thoughts by Gracija Atanasovska • Content Team Bento

Email automation, a tool that allows you to send automatic emails to your client/customers, is a vital part of an email marketing strategy. They can be sent periodically at certain intervals (like monthly newsletters), or they can be triggered by certain actions, like when customers abandon a product in the cart (cart abandonment), when they register for your site, when they make a purchase, or when they have a birthday.

Why Is Email Automation Important?

Add to it a touch of personalization, and email automation is a great and easy way to always stay in touch with your clients and chase after new leads. In fact, when asked what was their “most important strategic goal of marketing automation”, 61% of marketers answered it was lead generation, aka “the process of identifying new potential customers and getting them into your sales funnel.”

As you can see, email automation offers you a way to make email marketing strategies that are truly efficient when it comes to communicating with your existing customer base, and at the same time are super effective in drawing in potential future customers. The same goes for people, businesses, and companies who are just interested in your business and want to follow any updates on what you’re up to and how your business is growing over time.

Email automation makes email marketing campaigns more useful, attractive, and relevant for your users. So, it’s no wonder that three-quarters of companies out there use some kind of email marketing automation tool.

You can look at email automation as a great way to send targeted emails so that the right people end up with the most relevant content they need at the moment, and all of that without doing too much manual work.

For instance, someone just abandoned their cart. What do you do? Well not you, but email automation: send them an email reminding them of the lonely product waiting to be bought, and maybe even offer a discount. A second look at that cool gadget or retro garment can easily change their mind.

The key thing is to personalize your emails and segment your audience. Once you gather the necessary information on your customers’ behavior, preferences, and past purchases, then you can easily customize the emails you’re sending them in accordance with what they do online and on your site. This, in turn, will also make your email campaign much more relevant for every one of your existing or potential customers.

What Are the Benefits of Email Automation?

Email automation offers lots of benefits for your business. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to gain when you implement email automation in your email marketing strategy. Personalization: A Way to Offer Relevant Content to Your Customers Automation helps you make more personalized emails and deliver content to your customers that’ll actually be useful to them. And while personalization is clearly the prevailing trend in marketing today, it’s the personalization of emails that’s at the top of this approach.

Personalization of email marketing campaigns isn’t just using a customer’s name in the body of the text. It’s much more than that! Personalization is when you use the analytics and data you have of your customers to create and send relevant emails and product experiences that are uniquely tailored to different customers. It’s all about timing and content - reaching the right user at the right time with the right message.

A whopping 90% of consumers find personalized content to be appealing and engaging. What’s more, 91% of consumers will more likely buy products and shop at businesses that provide them with tailored recommendations and offers.

According to the Harvard Business Review, nowadays people don’t actually mind the fact that ads are targeted towards their individual interests as long as they are aware of it. Yeah, as it turns out, people have a bigger problem with their data being shared if they’re not in on the whole thing, which totally makes sense.

According to an experiment they report, when shoppers were told that an ad was based strictly on their past activity on the website, three wonderful things happened:

  1. Click-through rates grew by 11%;
  2. The time that customers spent viewing the advertised product increased by 34%;
  3. The overall revenue of that product rose by 38%.

Another statistic from 2019 says that 72% of customers answer only to messages which were targeted specifically to their interests.

Email automation gives you a lot of options. You can make a whole series of automated emails and evolve your relationship with clients.

Save Time And Resources

Email automation also has the potential to reorganize how you allocate resources in your marketing team, as well as to reorganize your team’s marketing strategy and make it way more efficient.

Automation can help a lot with tasks that you used to do manually, like compiling email lists and scheduling email messages by hand. You and your team won’t have to struggle with repetitive tasks anymore and may save as little as 6 hours per week if you delegated some of the work to email automation.

Automation allows you to do more stuff in a smaller amount of time and dedicate the rest to building a better and more nuanced relationship with your customers. And who wouldn’t want more of that?

Email Automation Can Help You Improve Your Customer Retention Rate

Email automation helps you stay connected to your existing customers in a much easier and better way than what you were previously doing.

With automation, you can easily schedule the messages you want to send to your customers, so as not to leave them too long without any contact from you. Pair that with a personalized approach and relevant, up to the point content, and you have a winner.

For example: “Hello there. How’s it going? We haven’t heard from you in some time! Why don’t you come to visit us soon?”

How does this sound? Sure, it’s vaguely friendly, but it’s not much more than that. Compare it to the next one:

“Dear Sophie, we’re sad we haven’t heard from you in a while. Just wanted to make sure you know about our new offer. Why don’t you pair the record player you bought a month ago with a bunch of new records that have just arrived? Besides, all records, new and old, are 20% off for the entire month ahead! Come check us out whenever you can!”

See the difference? The second message is much more personalized and actually delivers valuable information to an existing customer.

Automation Makes a Sudden Expansion of Your Business Easier to Manage

If you don’t use email automation, the number of customers you reach will depend on the number of your staff. And what if your business suddenly expands? How can you keep up with the increasing demand?

If you set up email automation, your team won’t have to send manual messages every time someone signs up or abandons their cart (for example). You will save their expertise and allocate their resources for something else that might need immediate attention.

The great thing about email automation is that it easily integrates new or established customers into your email marketing system. All they need is to take some sort of action - the system learns and then responds according to the action. What they do and how they behave basically tells the email marketing system what to do in order to complement their actions.

How Can You Make Email Automation More Effective?

Okay, so next I want to show you how you can use email automation to make the best out of your email campaign. Let’s take a look at some of these tweaks!

Track Customer Responses to Collect Valuable Information

When you send an automated email, you always have a chance to get valuable information from your customers about the way they engage with your email campaign.

For example, you can learn stuff like:

  • Whether your subscribers open the email or not.
  • Whether they click the links and whether they go through your site.
  • Whether they take advantage of an offer you’ve made them.
  • Whether they buy a product you’ve suggested.
  • Whether they continue to browse your products once they land on your site.

When you track automated emails like this, all the info you gather about your customers’ habits and shopping behavior on your site is valuable and can help you figure out your next email marketing campaign move.

For example, if you see your clients not opening their emails or not buying in on your offers, then you should try some tactics to change this.

Make Discount Offers Strategically

Did you know that among the top reasons why people abandon their shopping carts is the high cost of shipping?

Of course, it’s unsustainable to get rid of shipping fees, but what you can do is send reluctant potential customers discounts or promotional codes, coupons, and the like in order to buy them over.

As with any strategy, you should be careful not to overuse it. Offer too many coupons or discounts and you risk making your customers expect them more often.

Create Automated Drip Campaigns

Some of your customers may need to be in touch with your company a couple of times before they actually make a purchase. So, in order to make them interact and lead them slowly into your business, you should use drip campaigns. They’re called this way because they slowly “drip” content that your potential customers may find relevant and useful about a certain service or product, or about some element of your company or the industry you’re in.

Of course, in order for them to work, these drip campaigns need to be oriented towards the right people and only people who have shown actual interest in your business.

Include a Call-to-Action Button

According to CampaignMonitor, adding a CTA (call to action) button in the automated emails actually increased conversions (in their case it was by 28%).

So, instead of putting only text links, next time you work on your automated email campaign, try to include a CTA button as well. This can increase the chances of people clicking on it and actually following through with your conversion proposal.

Of course, this also means that you’ll have to properly optimize your CTA button(s) according to the kind of automated email you’re sending and your email lists, as well as the personalization techniques you’re using for it.

Write Good Subject Lines

Good subject lines are crucial for any kind of well-conceived email marketing strategy, and the element of automated emails isn’t an exception here.

Sure, automated emails are based on triggers which are themselves based on your customers’ actions. However, they still need to get opened, don’t they? Which means that your emails still need to have good, attractive subject lines for your audience.

If you’re interested in the overall importance of subject lines, and if you want to see a bunch of examples of good subject lines, then feel free to check out our special article on email subject lines.

What Can You Use Email Automation For?

Email automation can be used in several key aspects of email marketing.

Build Better Customer Relations

Email automation allows you to establish solid connections with your audience and build lasting relations. It allows you to do other high priority tasks while it does its job in the background.

Automation allows you to send personalized emails to your new buyers, potential customers, regular customers, and subscribers. Email automation combined with analytics gathered from customers is the ultimate combo.

Gather Feedback On Your Business and Products

The products and services you offer won’t be any good if you don’t also consider the people who use them, right?

If you want people to use the products and services you offer, you should know what your customers want in order to improve and refine them further.

Well, that’s the basic point of email automation for customer feedback.

And what’s the best way to get this feedback? It’s easy - just ask them either through a direct email reply or by creating a short poll or survey.

One of the best ways to know what your customers think and want is to ask them directly. This way, you can get info on which features to prioritize, and which attract new or potential customers.

Welcome New Subscribers

According to the same CampaignMonitor statistics I mentioned earlier, 96% of site visitors aren’t actually prepared to make a purchase. But, the important thing here is that they’re interested in your products or services, which makes them perfectly eligible for future conversion.

How can you do this?

Well, the only thing you need to do is to keep communicating with them. Offer them the option to subscribe to your email list, and send your automated drip campaigns afterwards.

Depending on your ecommerce platform and business goals, you can even include a discount code and offer it to your new subscribers, or include a special offer as a way to change their minds about actually making a purchase.

Send Reminders to Your Customers

Repeat customers are the backbone of your customer body. They spend more money, you can more easily sell them something, they cost you less than new customers, and they can do a great job at promoting your business.

So-called “repeat business” is what businesses are, in fact, consisted of. Most businesses can’t survive without repeat customers. By increasing customer retention, even by just 5%, you can end up increasing your company’s profits by an average of a whopping 75%! Also, another interesting statistic is that 80% of your company’s future profits come, in fact, from 20% of your current customers.

And one of the best ways to keep customers is to send them regular emails in which you remind them about stuff. Whether it’s appointments or subscriptions that are about to expire, these kinds of emails are vital for maintaining or boosting your customer retention rate.

This is an especially convenient way to keep customers for businesses that offer services that people need to use regularly, such as dentists, mechanics, but also every day cosmetic utilities such as razors, body washes, food box subscriptions, and the like.

Promote New Blog Posts on Your Site

Using email automation to promote your new blog posts is a great idea for growing your audience.

According to CampaignMonitor’s statistics, email generates almost half of a blog’s traffic. Moreover, email subscribers are actually three times more likely to share a blog’s content on social media platforms than visitors who see the same posts by other means.

So, next time you click the publish button for a new post on your blog, don’t forget to also send emails informing your subscribers that there is a new post waiting for them to read it. Of course, you don’t have to send this to all your subscribers. Stick to email segmentation and send it to the ones who’ll find it most relevant and most valuable according to their own interests and needs.

Final Thoughts

As you were able to see from this article, email automation is an important part of email marketing. Every marketer’s number one resource is, of course, time, and everyone struggles to prioritize one thing over another.

As you now know, email automation allows you to focus on the things you deem important, while it does its own job in the background without causing much disturbance, so make sure to include it in your email marketing strategy to engage with your audience and increase your chances for success.