Nobody is perfect.
We all make mistakes. We also strive for continuous improvement.
It’s a universal truth.
And sure, part of the allure of marketing automation is its “set it and forget it” nature.
However, letting an automation run without looking for opportunities to improve is a mistake.
So, what should you be looking out for?
Here are three places where you can strive for the continuous improvement of marketing automation:
It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve sent out an email campaign only to notice a typo in it later.
You quickly fly through the five stages of grief when it happens:
- Denial. Rubbing your eyes and hoping you’re not seeing what you’re seeing.
- Anger. You beat yourself up. Tell yourself you should have proofread it one more time. Blame a coworker you sent a test email to.
- Bargaining. Sitting there wishing a feature existed to unsend an email.
- Depression. We’ve all been there. Hiding in our office or cubicle. Deciding it’s the worst thing we could have done.
- Acceptance. It is what it is. You can’t change it. You’ll be better next time.
That’s all in the past with marketing automation.
Thankfully, you can update any email in your sequence, without interrupting the customer experience.
You won’t be able to change the ones who have already hit the inbox. We’ll pour one out for those fallen homies.
However, you don’t have to create a whole new automation or risk losing the customers who are already further into the sequence of emails.
Update emails when needed to fix typos, broken links or other errors and do your marketing automation with confidence.
Get Better Open Rates
It’s important to track the success of your marketing automation.
If you look at your reports and see that the open rate isn’t what you’d hoped it would be, you’ve found yourself another opportunity for improvement.
Adjusting your subject line can help you see better open rates for the emails in your automation.
Here’s what makes up a great subject line:
- It feels urgent. It won’t work if you do it with every subject line, but making your subscribers feel like they have to act now is a helpful tactic to get your emails opened.
- It makes you want to know more. Craft the perfect teaser that leaves your subscriber wanting to know more. The allure will get them to open the email.
- It delivers value. Make an offer in your subject line that cannot be refused by your subscribers. If they see the benefit right in their inbox, then they’ll surely open the email.
- It’s personal. Feeling like you’re being marketed to is not a pleasant experience for anyone. If you can make your subscriber feel like you’ve reached out to just them, rather than sending something that feels like a blast to a large number of people, they’ll be far more likely to engage.
- It tells a story. We’re all told stories from an early age. It’s wired into us. If you begin your “once upon a time” in the subject line, your subscribers will open your email to discover the happy ending.
It’s one thing to know what is considered a good subject line. It’s another to be able to write one.
Here are some tips on crafting great subject lines:
- Quick and to the point. You only get 50-60 characters in a mobile device. Make the most of it.
- Tell them what to expect. Let them know what they’ll find when they open your email.
- Use action-oriented verbs. After all, a subject line really is just a Call To Action (CTA) to open your email. Inspire your subscribers to take action by using the right action verbs.
- Use flattery. Make your subscribers feel special by offering a “private invite” to an exclusive event or an “offer just for you.”
- Numbers help. If it’s a list of resources for them or tips for success, tell your subscriber how many tips there are. It helps to set expectations.
- Questions work. Ask something that your subscribers will want to seek out the answer to. It goes back to leave them wanting to know more.
- Don’t use ALL CAPS or too much punctuation. Your subscribers don’t want to feel like you’re yelling at them. A subject line in all caps and with a whole bunch of exclamation points will do just that. Don’t do it.
Aside from improving your subject line to increase your open rate, you may also want to consider your From Name.
It’s important to have a From Name that is familiar and recognizable to your subscribers.
If there is a sales team or support member they’ve been working with the entire time, it might help to have “Their Name from Your Business” as the From Name.
Improve Your Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Say you’ve solved the issue with your open rates, but your subscribers aren’t clicking on the links in your emails. That’s your next opportunity to improve.
After all, you’re not selling anything directly in your emails. You need them to click-through to your site.
There are a few factors that may come into play:
Is what you’re sending relevant to your subscribers?
If they’re not clicking-through to your website, the answer to that question is very likely a resounding “no.”
They’re simply not going to engage with an email that is of no interest to them.
How can you know what they want?
The links that are being clicked on are one clue.
However, you don’t need to play a guessing game to determine the rest.
Create a survey and send it to your subscribers. Let them tell you what they want to hear about from you.
Is your customer support team receiving the same questions over and over again? Use that to inspire your email content. If you’re more proactive about answering customer questions, you’ll both be providing relevant content and maybe even relieving your support team a bit.
Even if the content of your email campaigns is high quality, it’s possible the design is what’s keeping your subscribers from clicking.
Here are a few things you can do to optimize the design of your email campaigns to help improve CTR:
- Consider your image to text ratio. Your emails should contain 80% text and 20% images. Image heavy emails that don’t go to the spam folder will be slow to load or turned off. That won’t bode well for creating engagement with your emails.
- Include captions with your images. Some subscribers may have images turned off. A caption will help them get the gist of the email even without seeing the image.
- Add a clear CTA. Don’t make it hard for your subscribers to click-through to your site. Your design should not distract from the CTA. Some email marketers see success with both having a text link and a button. That way, you increase your chances of getting a click and cover your bases with how subscribers interact with your emails. Also, make sure any buttons or links you use are mobile friendly and easily clicked on from any device.
The design of your email when it comes to CTAs is important. It’s not the only part of creating effective CTAs.
The ability to write a great CTA is just as important as the design of it.
The way to do it is very similar to crafting a subject line. After all, I did tell you your subject line acts as a CTA to open your email.
So, I’ll reiterate some points and add some new ones:
- Begin with a command verb. Words like “buy,” “shop” or “order.” It can also be “download” or “subscribe.
- Elicit emotion. If you can make your subscribers feel something, they’re far more likely to engage.
- Include your value proposition. Tell them why taking action will be worth their time. Something like “Schedule a time for your free demo” tells a subscriber what action you want them to take and why.
- The FOMO is real. Create a sense of urgency where your subscribers will fear missing out if they don’t act.
Now that you know where you look for opportunities to improve your marketing automation and how to improve them, I want to take a moment to discuss how you can do this with Benchmark Email.
Update An Active Automation in Automation Pro
If you’re already a Benchmark Email user and you’re ready to improve automation, you can log in and get started.
Any thoughts or suggestions on opportunities for improvement in marketing automation? Please share them in the comments below!