Even though social media platforms take the cake in terms of digital communication, email still remains a pivotal part of the equation. No matter the scale of your business or the industry you operate in, email marketing can still make a difference for your lead generation and revenue. According to 99 Firms, over 90% average consumers use email at least once a day, while 39% of marketers never personalize their marketing emails, with 21% also neglecting segmentation. Even though the communication channel is highly relevant, most marketers fail to utilize its potential. This is where email marketing automation comes in as it will allow your marketing department to focus on sales pitch development rather than sending emails by hand. With that in mind, let’s take a look at several tips and guidelines which can help transform your email marketing efforts through automation and careful planning for higher engagement and conversion rates. Advantages of Email Marketing Automation Before we discuss how to make email marketing automation viable for your business, it’s worth discussing “why” you would do so in the first place. Automation doesn’t mean less creative input or control over your marketing campaigns – quite the opposite in fact. Automation eliminates mechanical tasks and tedium from the advertisement process, instead of allowing marketing experts to focus on what matters the most – the end user. With that said the benefits of email marketing automation extend to but are not limited to: Higher Emphasis on Content Your email’s content will always be the decisive factor in whether or not a sale is successful. With automation, your marketing department can pour their resources into writing and if needed utilize writing services to craft intricate sales pitches. An emphasis on content over email optimization due to automation will bring much better conversion rates and revenue to your company over time. Faster Turnaround Time A lot of time is spent on manual targeting, email delivery, and subsequent follow-ups without any form of automation present in the process. Email marketing automation will allow your team to create content faster and deliver it in shorter timespans than ever before. This can lead to much better engagement rates and brand awareness due to your company’s activity on the market. Streamlined Lead Nurturing Once you convert individuals into subscribers or one-time customers they effectively become leads for future nurturing. However, splitting your resources between lead generation and nurturing can lead (pun intended) to lower the quality of content on both fronts. Automation eliminates unnecessary tedium from the process and allows for much better audience management whether they belong in potential or existing lead pools. Tracking & Analysis of Opportunities Lastly, email marketing automation generally relies on a professional email marketing platform to streamline manual tasks. These platforms offer tracking and analysis opportunities for your benefit. Since no marketing campaign exists in a vacuum, this data can be used to refine your sales pitches and attract even more customers in the future. Tips for Successful Email Marketing Automation Now that we have a clearer picture of why email marketing automation is a game-changing addition to email advertisement, let’s talk about how to make the most of it. As we’ve previously mentioned, “automation” won’t take away your control over what content to send and to which B2C or B2B stakeholders. What it can do for you is that it can make the marketing process easier to manage and to offer tangible data for you to learn from. With that said, let’s dive into the ways to make your email marketing more successful via automation. 1. Start with Audience Segmentation The best way to start an email marketing campaign off is to segment your audience into different categories. There are numerous ways to do so, from gender-based segmentation to specific professional backgrounds or lifestyle choices. Audience segmentation will allow you to take full advantage of email marketing segmentation by letting you target individual groups within your customer base directly. Tech-savvy millennials will react to certain types of email content differently than the elderly stay-at-home population would. This will allow you to create unique content based on who you target and with that intent. Once your audience is segmented, you will have an easier time delivering content to individual email lists, adjust your tone and wording, as well as to offer different purchase incentives to different people for better engagement results. 2. Written Content Over Multimedia Embedding multimedia content into email marketing is not a good idea. Many people still use limited bandwidth connections or rely on slow and unreliable (pun intended) ISPs. In order to reach as many people as possible and get positive results from your email marketing automation efforts, make the content as lightweight as possible. Third-party hosting services such as YouTube and ImageShack can be used to upload and link your multimedia content into emails indirectly. This will add a sense of freedom and choice to your email’s recipient, increasing your chances at converting them into customers. Short-form, direct and informative writing will always carry more weight than flashy images or animation embedded into email marketing content for no good reason. Written content should always be sufficient for potential customers to weigh whether or not they want to give your brand a chance. 3. Incentivize Fast Engagement Your goal as an email marketer should always be to incentivize conversion as quickly as possible. In order to do that, you can use numerous sales tactics in order to push your audience into conversion. Exclusive sales offers, discount coupons, limited-time offers and other marketing tactics can be implemented into scheduled, automated email marketing content. Giving your leads a sense of urgency in terms of making the purchase decision is bound to bring better engagement results to your email marketing campaign. However, you shouldn’t rely on invoking a sense of urgency too frequently. Make sure that enough time has passed between “exclusive” offers for your audience to grow expectant of another chance to save money on discounts. Integrating these engagement incentives will result in much faster conversion rates from the moment of sending the automated email marketing content to your mailing lists. 4. Calls to Action are a Must Creating email marketing content without a clear takeaway for the receiver is a wasted opportunity. Most people casually read through promotional emails without paying too much attention to minute details. Make sure that calls to action find their way into your email marketing automation efforts just as the sales offers do. Anything from “Contact Us Now” to “Subscribe to Receive Exclusive Offers” works wonders. Create calls to action which correspond with your industry and the tone of voice you adopted for email marketing. Calls to action are an important element of email marketing since they give the readers a clear direction to act on once they have read your content through and through. Never send passive email marketing content without a takeaway or a direction for potential customers to follow up on. 5. Track, Analyze & Reevaluate on the Fly Lastly, the best way to utilize email marketing automation is to extrapolate data from your campaigns on the fly. As soon as you notice a spike in engagement, ask yourself why it happened. The same goes for a lack of engagement or whenever you receive more follow-ups or subscriptions than anticipated. This can be done to ensure that your email marketing brings the best possible results to your brand for the duration of each campaign. Once each campaign is over, you can go over the data in greater detail to learn even more about what worked and didn’t work with that particular content. Professional email marketing automation platforms offer extensive tracking and report features for your benefit, so make sure to use them to your advantage. Email Marketing Automation Mistakes to Avoid Now that we have a better understanding of how to create an email marketing automation pipeline and make the most of it, it’s worth pointing out some mistakes worth avoiding. Remember that automation will only help you with technical activities which don’t involve creative writing, personalized sales and customer’s psychology. In that regard, here are some of the worst offenders in terms of email marketing automation and why you should keep them in mind going forward. Lack of Personalization Highly curated emails with clear sales pitches can make your company look professional and well-organized. They can also make your brand come off as robotic, uninspired and lacking any form of personalization. Address your recipients by their names, last names or (at the very least) proper gender to make the email more genuine. Lacking any form of personalization will quickly make your brand come off as spam and result in no engagement at all. High Sending Frequency Timing is everything with email marketing automation, so make the most out of scheduled email delivery. Think about when your target audience is most likely to check their email during the day and aim for those hours. Don’t send multiple emails containing the same ads or sales offers to the same addresses. This is also a great way for potential customers to label your brand as “spam” which is a very difficult label to take off down the line. Working with Outdated Data Trends change, and with them, audience expectations are bound to shift from time to time. It’s important for your marketing team to stay in touch with the latest customer expectations, industry trends, and innovations which may help you craft better email marketing content. There is nothing worse than to market your company as a modern industry competitor only to use outdated trends and content people have long forgotten about. Automation for the Sake of Automation Lastly, automation has to be used in a smart and deliberate way. Don’t involve email marketing automation platforms into your advertisement pipeline for the sake of keeping up with your industry. Instead, think about the ways in which you can benefit from automation platforms, what kind of content you can deliver to your audience and how you will grow as a business as a result of automation. Make the most of what automation has to offer and your leads and revenue stream will reflect those goals. In Conclusion When all is said and done, email marketing automation is all about streamlining your content production and delivery as much as possible to make room for creativity and innovation. Don’t strictly rely on automation to bring results to you – instead, look for ways to eliminate marketing bottlenecks and create the best content for your audience. What are some of your experiences with email marketing automation? Do you use it in your email marketing efforts and to what extent? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to use these tips to your advantage whenever you run into email marketing trouble down the line.
Estelle Liotard is a seasoned content writer and a blogger, with years of experience in different fields of marketing. She runs a blog called 3to5marketing and loves every second of it. Her passion is teaching people how to overcome digital marketing obstacles and help businesses communicate their messages to their customers.