Tags: Automation

Marketing Automation: Welcome Series

Marketing Automation: Welcome Series

Practical Marketer • December 10, 2017

Marketing Automation is not a buzzword. It’s an industry standard at this point. If you have signup forms on your website, blog, social channels or anywhere else, you should have an automation to at least welcome those new subscribers. Time is of the essence here, and when someone is showing interest in your company, it’s extremely important to engage with them ASAP. Some of you may say, “I know, I know. I need to set up Automation… but I just don’t have time! It’s too complicated” or whatever excuse you want to use. The Case for Marketing Automation The bottom line here is that creating an automation will save you time and when it comes to the idea of it being too complicated well, that’s why I am writing this blog. To demonstrate how any business can create simple automations to at least welcome new subscribers, leads, contacts, etc. The days of sending an email once a week/month to your newly added subscribers for that time are over. People want your information as soon as they sign up. If they don’t get it from you promptly … they will find someone else. Marketing Automation has proven to drive excellent ROI and experience to businesses and subscribers. A recent study by Nucleus Research shows that businesses who use marketing automation have seen an increase in sales by 14.5% and a reduction in marketing overhead of about 12.2%. Start with \"Welcome\" On top of saving you time and money while increasing sales you are also providing an excellent experience to your subscribers. Having a welcome series automation allows you to set a standard for the user experience. This means that every time a new visitor goes to your website and subscribes, you know exactly what they receive and when. This sets a clear standard and will help you identify issues when optimizing your marketing efforts. If you see your open rates are low, you can work on adjusting the send time or Subject line and From name of your automation. If you see low engagement rate, you can work on adjusting the content of the email and CTAs. Sending welcome emails manually opens up a huge issue when trying to identify where to optimize since each email is sent at a different time from the moment your subscriber signs up and may even include different text. I don’t want to hear, “I have a reminder that notifies me every day at 9:00 AM to send my welcome emails…” What if you are sick? On holiday? Or snooze the reminder to “do it later?” Save yourself time and stress, and get rid of unnecessary reminders and create a welcome email series. You have no excuse to avoid this. Marketing Automation Made Easy We have heard it all! We made sure to make your experience creating a welcome series extremely easy. With Marketing Automation Pro tool, we created a few templates to get you started right away. I clocked myself using the Welcome Series template, and I was able to create a full welcome series automation (with tips and tricks) in under 15 min. Your first time around may take a little longer than that, but trust me, you will be so proud and happy once it’s done! Get Started with Marketing Automation If you are reading this blog, you are already a step closer to getting on board with Automation. The next step is to login to your Benchmark Email account (click here if you don’t have an account) and get to work! We even created a downloadable PDF that explains our Welcome Series Template and how to use it: Welcome Your New Subscribers Final tips and thoughts on the Welcome Series Automation: Keep it simple. If you are just getting started with marketing automation, one email is enough to welcome your subscribers. You can edit your automation later on as you gain experience. Warm Welcome. Remember the purpose of the email. It’s to welcome your new subscribers. Unless you state it at the point of signup, avoid selling in a welcome email. Think of building a long-lasting relationship. The welcome email is intended to give a warm welcome and to connect with your subscribers. Calls to Action. As most, if not all emails, avoid too many calls to action but most definitely include at least one! To help build a long-lasting relationship it is important to do this from day one. Include a link to your website, social channels or a really interesting blog. This will help your subscriber get used to clicking on your emails so when you start sending promotional emails in the future, your subscriber is already familiar with engaging with your messages. It also tells your subscribers email provider (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) that they like to engage with your emails, resulting in a higher priority to ensure your emails always land in the inbox. Reporting. Once you create the welcome series, set yourself a timeframe to review the results. If it is your first automation, a 30-day window is great. That doesn’t mean you have to change anything. It’s just a time to review the automation and think of improvements. You may find that it’s working great and no changes need to be made! If that is the case, check back around in another 60 - 90 days. Don’t forget about Holidays and other events within your company. You may want to make a special welcome series depending on the time of the year. Welcome Series Per Channel or Signup Method. Start with your most influential channel or signup method. If most of your subscribers come from your blog or website, start there for your first welcome series. As you nail down the most important one, you can go on to the next one. This may be your social channels or other avenues you may have. Can you have just one welcome series for all of your channels? Sure! But I recommend giving somewhat of a custom experience based on where the subscriber came from. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just play with the wording or message to match the place they came from. BONUS: List Management. This is optional, but I highly recommend keeping your “New Subscribers” separate from your “Existing Subscribers.” This may not apply to your single email welcome automation, but it makes much more sense when you have a longer welcome series with multiple emails. Doing this allows you to separate new subscribers from the rest. Why is this important? Two main reasons: Filter freebie signups. If you are giving something away in exchange of the signup, (e.g. A free report, pdf, infographic, etc.) you will get a lot of signups looking for that free asset. But when it comes to potential buyers… you will want to filter the freebie chasers out. Having a longer welcome series can help you identify quality subscribers who may show interest in your product or service by tracking the engagement with your emails. Towards the end of the welcome automation series, you can add conditions to check who your most engaged subscribers were and automatically add these to your “Main Subscriber” list for more aggressive sales follow-ups later on. It’s a good way to weed out “junk” signups and focus on real interested signups. Promotions. Imagine it is your slow seasons and you want to send a special promotion to try to boost sales for that month. Keeping your lists separated allows you to target new subscribers with specials to earn their business and avoid sending to subscribers that may have already purchased at the full price. You can learn more about using goal-based lists for marketing automation in a post we recently published. As mentioned, marketing automation can seem intimidating, and many times you give up because you just don’t know where to start. Take it with bite-size pieces and start to automate what already works for your business. This is why we highly recommend to start your automation experience with a welcome series. Its simple, has value and its an excellent way to get your feet wet and see the power of automation. Join Us For Automation Fridays If you have a welcome series to share with us, or a success story after implementing automation for your business, please post it below in the comments or join us for Automation Friday! We meet every week to discuss automation tips, strategies and examples.


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Free Holiday Email Templates

Free Holiday Email Templates

Practical Marketer • November 29, 2017

The season to be jolly is right around the corner! That’s right! Holiday cups are back at Starbucks, Christmas music is already playing in every store. Decorations are right around the corner, if not already here. It always feels too early to start celebrating the holidays, but it’s never too soon to plan your holiday email marketing design. Holiday Email Templates Who doesn’t enjoy spreading some holiday cheer? Benchmark Email helps you get your email marketing in the holiday spirit with dozens of festive holiday email templates. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a holiday email template: Stay true to your branding. Don’t make your logo a color your subscribers have never seen it before, just to match the holiday motif. Same goes for buttons and other colors that are consistent across your email campaigns. Dress it up for the holidays, but don’t become something unrecognizable to your subscribers. Keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the house on the block with lights covering every square inch of the exterior and lawn with lights. You can’t look at that house without sunglasses. Don’t limit it to the template. Extend the holiday cheer to your subject line as well. That way it won’t be a surprise when your subscribers open your holiday email. Templates To Automate Aside from the great holiday email templates available to you, we’ve also created strategy templates to let you automate your holiday email marketing. You can send a promotion and follow-up with your subscribers based on if they opened the email, clicked a link or visited a specific page on your website. Don’t wait for 2018 to take your email marketing to the next level. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and close out 2017 strong. We also put together some tips and ideas for your Christmas and Chanukah marketing campaigns to be automated. Share Your Tips Have you run a successful holiday email marketing campaign in the past? Or maybe a favorite one you’ve received? Share your tips in the comments. We love to hear them!


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Automation Pro Has Officially Launched

Automation Pro Has Officially Launched

Beyond • November 3, 2017

It’s called “Beta,” because there’s going to be a better (said with a Boston accent) version when all is said and done. At least that’s the case with Automation Pro. We’ve tested and retested, listened to your feedback and are thrilled to see Automation Pro operating in its full glory. What Is Automation Pro? It’s our powerfully simple and simply powerful tool that lets you easily send automated a series of emails that are triggered by website and email engagement. The best way to succeed with email marketing is to cater to the needs of each and everyone one of your subscribers. The best way to do that is to make them feel like you understand their interests and that you’re paying attention to what they want from you. With Automation Pro, it’s incredibly easy to map out paths for your contacts to be sent down. Actions such as subscribing to a list, opening or clicking on an email and visiting a specific webpage can trigger emails to send, subscribers to move lists, etc., making your marketing more efficient as you convert leads to sales and subscribers to loyal customers. What Improved During the Beta Period? Here are some of the improvements that have been made during the Automation Pro beta period: Improved Email Editor speed Automatically add a delay after the Send Email node to ensure your subscribers have time to engage with your campaigns before the next action is triggered The Automation Pro coach is live to guide you through your automation creation experience New strategy templates to help you get started quickly and effectively Bug fixes and updates to ensure the best possible user experience Every Marketer Needs at Least One Automation Email marketing automation will save you time and help you earn more … while you do less. There’s no excuse for not creating at least one automation. A Welcome Series is triggered when a new subscriber is added to your list. It creates a unified experience for all new subscribers. It lets you provide the same warm welcome to each subscriber. It is as easy to understand as it is to build (which is very). Strategy Templates to Get You Started Aside from the aforementioned Welcome Series, we’ve created a template for that strategy and several others to help you get started with ease. Check out these strategy templates: Follow-up Series This easy-to-use template lets you follow up with subscribers based on their engagement with an email campaign. It’s the next step for when your subscribers have been sorted to a goal-based list. Promote and Target Opens This template allows you to promote your business and send automated follow-ups to your most interested subscribers that opened the first email in your automation. Promote and Target Clicks This template allows you to automate follow-ups to your most engaged subscribers within a promotion. Those that have both opened and clicked on a link in the first email in your automation. Promote and Target Opens, Clicks and Website Engagement This template allows you to send personalized followups to your subscribers based on the type of engagement with your email campaigns. Abandoned Cart This template helps you make sure you’re not leaving leads in the shopping cart. Automate follow-ups with your hottest leads. Subscribers have placed items in your shopping cart but did not complete the purchase. Feedback Request Your subscribers are a wealth of valuable information. Use this template to request their feedback. Review Request Your happy customers will be thrilled to sing your praises. All you have to do is ask. This template helps you do that. #FOMA Fear Of Marketing Automation is real. It’s also unnecessary when a tool like Automation Pro is available to you. As you can see, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you with our strategy templates. So, don’t let a fear of a lack of expertise or know-how get in your way. You may also fear that you don’t have the manpower to use marketing automation. However, once you set up each automation the rest of the work is done for you. Spend less time, accomplishing more. Automation Pro is included in all paid accounts, so there’s no reason to worry about budget restrictions either. Automation Fridays We’re hosting Automation Fridays every single Friday at noon PST. Do you have questions about email automation? It could be about how to get started with automation or perhaps you have questions about a current automation you are trying to execute. Join us and have your questions answered by our Director of Marketing, Daniel Miller. He may even jump right into an account and show you how to build it himself! Get Started Today If this post has you inspired to become and Automation Pro, signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Or login and put what you’ve learned to use.


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What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

Beyond • October 25, 2017

By now, you must have heard about marketing automation. Some may see it as a buzz-word of the moment, and some others may be taking it very seriously, but what is it and why does it matter? Marketing Automation refers to a piece of software that allows you to (as its name says) automate sales and marketing actions or processes. The scope of actions can range from: welcoming your new subscribers to even retargeting leads that may have gone cold. How far you go with it will usually depend on the nature of your business, and your creativity. What is true is that Marketing Automation makes repetitive marketing and sales tasks be performed with little effort. A statement that marketers agree with, according to VB insight, Three-quarters of marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. Other benefits include increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%) and increased opportunities such as upselling (58%). What can you do with it? I use this phrase more than I’d like to, but: The possibilities are endless. Nurturing your customers helps them be more engaged with your business or product and Offering them what you know is needed to convert them at the right time can be a game changer for your business or product. Actions like turning a one-time customer into a repeat customer, upselling, cross-selling, cycle-based selling, etc. Are strategies that if automated will not only give you more time to focus on getting new leads but always keep the machine going. Are you In need of customer feedback? You can take your marketing game to the next level by giving users that completed your survey a special ‘thank you’ offer, and even think of a reward program if they share your content. Conducting awesome strategies like these without automation would require a large amount of time and leave other important strategies neglected in the background. FOMA Fear of Marketing Automation in some marketers is very real and sometimes understandably so. Usually, when you hear of all the great things you can do with MA it can be very exciting, but for some, it can quickly get intimidating especially once they start thinking of the time they have to set aside to define things such as content and customer flows. Overcoming this fear is actually very simple, once you find out that: Four in five users increased their leads by using marketing automation software and almost as many (77%) saw an increase in conversions. That is a lot of saved time for sales and marketing. So, this fear may be depriving you of reaping great benefits that you could be in need of. Should you invest in Marketing Automation? Can Marketing Automation be beneficial to your business? In very simple terms: yes it can. Now, Should you invest in marketing automation? That’s for you to answer, but ask yourself before you decide: Do you see an opportunity to grow indicators such as the number of qualified leads you generate? Do you think you can get more from your customers by engaging in a smarter way with them? Do you see steps of your sales funnel that are neglected and need nurturing? A smart thing to do is to calculate your Customer Lifetime Value to help you understand how much you should invest in acquiring new customers and retaining them, our friends at Shopify did a great job on making a step by step guide on how to figure that number out. At Benchmark, if you already use Benchmark Email Pro you will have access to our automation platform: Automation Pro at no extra cost, all templates, all actions. We believe in how much it will benefit our customers that we have created a series of live weekly webinars where we answer all questions you may have about Automation Pro and marketing automation in general. Want to waste no time? You can chat with a specialist today.


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Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • October 20, 2017

Marketing automation is all about organization. As you dive into Marketing Automation with email, you will find yourself with some automations that work together and connect with one another and some automations that work as stand-alone or that are parallel to the rest of your marketing efforts. The bottom line is that you don’t want to mix things up. Keep a fluid experience for your subscribers in mind. In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to properly organize your lists by creating “Goal-Based Lists” and “Established Lists” to keep your automations under control and to have the ability to connect one with another. Avoid Spaghetti Automation We have so many channels of communication and so many layers of leads, subscribers, potentials, customers, etc. You don’t want to mix things up and confuse yourself with your own automations. As I’ve helped build automations for Benchmark and some of our customers, I have found two important things to keep in mind at all times: Keep your automations short and to the point Learn to connect multiple automations by moving subscribers from one list to another. These two tips are the starting points of email and Marketing Automation and will help you understand how to build out your automation strategy. Simple Automation is in Your Lists With Automation Pro, you can start an automation based on someone being added to a list. For example, when a website visitor completes your signup form and becomes a new subscriber, they are added to your “Leads List” and you can trigger a welcome series automation to welcome those new subscribers. When organizing your subscribers, contacts, leads, etc. in your Benchmark Email account, we recommend focussing on two kinds of lists: Established Lists Goal Based Lists Established Lists are your main lists. These lists are the heartbeat of your email marketing efforts. Some examples of Established Lists are: Subscribers Leads Prospects Contacts/Customers Lost Customers Goal-Based Lists are lists focused on subscribers achieving a goal throughout your automations. For example, if you send an email to your prospects, you may want to create two separate lists: 1) EmailNameOpens 2) EmailNameUnopens. Based on the opens and unopens of the email, both lists will automatically populate with the appropriate subscribes. Other examples of Goal-Based lists: HasClicked/HasNotClicked HasVisitedWebsite/HasNotVisitedWebsite Completed Transaction Abandoned Cart Goal-based lists will help you stay organized by separating your subscribers based on the actions and behaviors throughout your automations. Let\'s take a look at a live example where we use Established Lists and Goal-Based Lists. Say you own a clothing store. You just got a new shipment with all of the new clothes for the upcoming season. You’ll want to create a special sale focused on your old inventory to make room for your new clothes. One of the channels you may use is email! Let’s see how marketing automation can help you. Targeting the Established List For this example, let’s say the clothing store has an Established list called: “VIP - Customers.\" The people in this list are customers who have spent more than X amount of dollars with the store. They want to give these customers a priority on the sale so they target this list as the trigger to the automation. Sending A Promotional Email Now that we have our targeted Established List, we want to send an email to promote the sale. The email will include the sale details along with a link to the online store. The next step will be to track who click on the link in the email vs. those who didn’t. (REMINDER: Don’t forget to add a delay before your condition) Setting a Click Condition (Click vs. Did Not Click) Once the email is delivered and you’ve given enough time for your subscriber to engage with the email (That’s why they previously mentioned delay is so important), it\'s time to check who performed the desired action: “CLICK.” When we set up this condition in Automation Pro, you will see two paths on your automation: Has Clicked Has Not Clicked Now, is when the Goal-Based Lists come into play for proper organization. Goal-Based Lists In Action From this example, we see that after the email is delivered, Automation Pro will wait 24 hours before checking to see who clicked on the email or not. Once the 24 hours us up, the condition will check for this action and will split up the people who clicked vs. the ones who didn’t down their respective paths. What to do next? You could continue each path on the same automation and send another email… but from experience, this can get out of hand. You may find yourself creating an automation that looks something like this: The example from above may be exaggerated, but it is a real example from a real user that decided to continue the whole sequence on one automation. Instead of creating a confusing mess, we highly recommend to end this automation after the condition by creating two Goal Based lists, one for each path (Has Clicked / Has Not Clicked). Name your Goal Based Lists something like this: “EmailNameHasClicked” & EmailNameHasNotClicked.” Doing this will allow you to then create a separate automation that is focused on each Goal Based List. This may sound like extra work at first… but trust me! It is extremely helpful to organize your automations and if you ever need to modify something in the future, you can just modify one piece of the automation instead of having to deactivate the whole thing to make a small change. In Conclusion Getting used to the idea of Goal-Based List will really help you stay organized. Especially as you create tons of automations that work with each other. Start by using Goal Based Lists in simple automations like in the example in this blog post. As you become more familiar with your automation strategy, you’ll have the practice to create mind-bending automations with simple list movements. Feedback We hope this blog helps you understand how to better organize your lists and subscribers for best practices related to your marketing automation. We came up with this list idea from helping our customers and building our own automations as well. Please share with us in the comments examples of how you organize your automations and lists so we can try to share these ideas with the rest of our users as well.


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