Why we love email automation and you should too

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools in our modern-day marketing arsenal. But if your email marketing still only consists of pumping out one-off campaigns and newsletters that go to your whole list, you could be missing out big time.

We ♥ email automation because it’s personalised, micro-targeted, timely and efficient communication that works. What’s not to love?

This article will run you through the basics of email automation, including an explanation of what it is, some killer stats on its effectiveness, what types of automated emails you could consider sending and a brief how-to guide. After reading this, you’ll be armed and dangerous.

What is email automation?

Email automation allows you to automatically send out specific, targeted emails that aim to build a personalised relationship with your contacts, whether they be prospects, current or lapsed customers.

An automated email that you are probably familiar with is your OOOM, or out of office message. When you have your OOOM set, an email is automatically sent to anyone who emails you, rubbing it in that you are on the beach while they are suffering through a cold winter. In this instance, the trigger is you receiving an email.

You can set up your marketing campaigns to be sent based on certain triggers too. The most common triggers are time and events.

Time – Drip Emailing

Sequences of emails that are sent to certain contacts with specific time intervals between them are called drip emails. They are great for educational campaigns or as a series of welcome and onboarding messages. Each email comes at a specific time after sign up or some other event.

Events – Trigger Emailing

Emails that are automatically sent in response to your customers’ actions are called trigger emails. They are useful when you want to respond quickly to something that the customer has done, like if they’ve just bought something, you can acknowledge you’ve received the order or let them know it’s being packed or shipped.

Why should you use automated emails?

The numbers do not lie. Loads of research has been conducted into the effectiveness of email marketing and it’s overwhelmingly impressive. Take a little trip down Google Lane to find out for yourself, or check out our fave stats below:

  • 99% of consumers check their email every day1
  • Email generates $38 for every $1 spent1 and is the highest performing channel for return on investment2
  • 59% say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions1
  • Marketers who use segmented campaigns report up to 760% increase in revenue1
  • 89% of marketers say email is the leading channel for lead generation3
  • 80% of retail professionals say email is the highest driver of customer acquisition and retention3

SOURCE 1: Hubspot
SOURCE 2: 2018 Email Marketing Industry Census
SOURCE 3: Big Commerce

What are the benefits of email automation?
  1. Higher open rates and better click through rates for increased revenue
  2. Builds loyalty and customer retention
  3. Helps build a consistent yet personalised brand experience
  4. More efficient use of time for your marketing resources
  5. Infinitely scalable
  6. Easy to test and track results
Our 8 Favourite Automated emails

There are a zillion ways you could incorporate automated emails into your marketing. The email platforms have some great examples to look at, and here’s a few of our faves:

  1. Welcome emails: when someone signs up, send an automated email to say hello, let them know what types of information they can expect to receive and make them feel loved. It sets the tone from day dot and don’t be afraid to ask them to say what type of info they want or don’t want, this can help you target them with pinpoint accuracy, leading to great results.
  2. Best-of emails: send people your top 5 blogs, your 10 hottest selling products – curate a list of your best things to showcase your finest things to a segment who will be interested.
  3. Order confirmation emails: don’t just send a receipt, give them peace of mind that their longed for item is on its way, and let them know when they can expect it. Show some personality and build a relationship from the outset.
  4. Trial period sequence: if you’re able to offer a free trial to customers, keep engaging with them throughout their trial period to help convert the sale. Highlight features they might not have used yet and remind them of your support availability.
  5. Lapsed customer poke: we all know that it’s much harder [and more expensive] to find new customers than to re-engage with existing customers, so use automated emails to say hello to old customers, and remind them to replenish their supplies, book in for their next appointment or check out your latest products.
  6. Special date emails: if you know your customer’s birthday, send them a promo code to celebrate. Otherwise, anniversaries of their first purchase can work too. It’s all about finding meaningful reasons to stay in touch and showcase your latest offerings.
  7. Abandoned cart emails: did they decide not to purchase, or did they just forget? A reminder of your especially amazing products that they have not yet bought might get that sale. For first time buyers, consider offering a discount on shipping or another promotional offer to entice them to click that important BUY button.
  8. Event communication: the bane of an event manager’s life is no shows. By communicating with event attendees in the lead up to the event you can build engagement and encourage attendance. At the very least you might prompt them to let you know they can no longer make it.
Things to Consider When Implementing Email Automation
  • Stay legal: email marketing is covered by the Spam Act 2003 and there’s some good info on the Australian Communication and Media Authority website. The email marketing platforms also have systems in place to help ensure you’re compliant, and if you breach their rules, they’ll suspend your account.
  • Content: Create excellent content that people want to engage with. It’s not always easy but doing anything else is pointless and may have the opposite effect that you’re seeking. Use buttons rather than text for your calls to action as they are way more effective.
  • Quantity: Don’t bombard your customers, sometimes less is more. If you overdo it, people will unsubscribe and your opportunity to communicate with them will be gone. Make sure your emails are well timed and contain super relevant info and offers that they will look forward to receiving.
  • Timing: Have a good think about when the best time to send your message is based on the event and the content. For order confirmation emails, maybe go straight away. For a request for a testimonial, perhaps 2 months after purchase. Space messages out to avoid information overload.
  • Testing: try different emails to find what works best for you and your customers. Subject lines, time of day, images and copy can have a big impact on the response you get. Compare open rates and click throughs and look for winning trends.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe: Having an unsubscribe button is required under the Spam Act, but don’t make it hard to find. You’re better off having a small group of people excited to hear from you than a large number of subscribers that you annoy.
How to Send Automated Emails

To send automated emails, you’ll need to use an email automation or marketing automation platform. The big names in the biz are Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, and they’re both excellent.

The process is basically the same no matter which tool you use, and they have extremely comprehensive tutorials and support available to help you get started.

You first need to make a plan – what emails you want to send, when you want to send them and who to send them to. Then you’ll need to create the email campaign or series of campaigns that communicates the message you want to deliver.

Next, specify the conditions that will trigger the email and put them into a workflow. Now, when someone on your list meets the conditions you’ve specified, the platform will automatically deliver the email. Cool huh?

All set?

Automated emails are personalised, targeted and timely and as a result they get better open rates, click through rates and lead to increased revenue for your business. We hope this guide to email automation has been useful. If it sounds like the thing for you but you don’t have the time, skills or inclination to DIY, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you out.