We all love efficiency, don’t we? Efficient processes help us do more with less, without compromising results. Thankfully, we have automation to help us streamline our processes and \produce better results than we could have achieved without the help of technology.
Email automation, in particular, helps drive leads, conversions, and retention, significantly affecting your bottom line. So, get excited! In this article, we are going to talk about our top tips for creating email automations that not only perform, but make your day to day a lot more simple.
What is email automation?
Email automation specifically refers to automation in relation to the emails you send out to your contact lists. It is based on contact behavior and demographic data rather than just sending out a mass broadcast to an entire database. It uses triggers and data to segment, personalize, and automate your email communication.
Email automation is not email marketing
Email marketing is simply the approach of using email to reach contacts within your database. Email marketing requires a lot of manual work. Email automation, on the other hand, lets you automate your emails, streamlining communication.
Examples of email marketing would be monthly newsletter and one-off campaigns. While still important, incorporating email marketing alongside automation fires up your communication. You are then able to drive a more personalized customer experience.
Why use email automation?
Email automation helps you send timely and relevant content to your leads and customers based on their action or inaction. So, instead of sending out an email broadcast and hoping for engagement, automation lets you strike while the iron is hot. Automated emails are sent to your contacts when they are currently engaging (or haven’t engaged in a while) with your brand. This is a strategic way of reaching your contacts when it is most befitting.
Here are some of the latest stats in a blog by EmailMonday highlighting the benefits of automation as experienced by marketers.
As you can see, when deployed properly, automaton significantly boosts your bottom line resulting in more growth and a higher ROI.
If you are new to automation, or looking for advice on the best ways to set it up, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top 8 pieces of advice, including some basic automations we recommend, to help you get started with email automation.
Understand your business process
You can’t automate a process if you don’t know what it is. The first step is to outline your business process, and get an idea of how leads and customers engage with your brand. To help define your process and identify key touchpoints, here are some critical questions to ask yourself:
These are just a few of the very important questions you need to answer before diving into automating you process.
Identify repetitive tasks
Now that you have defined your process, you can get a better idea of which tasks you are able and wanting to automate. The first tasks you should automate include repetitive tasks. These could be email follow ups to your prospects or clients, lead nurturing, and CRM activities to name a few.
Follow up emails are always a good place to start. Manually sending follow ups to each and every one of your leads can be tedious. Create customizable templates that you can automatically send out to check-in with hot prospects or new clients. This will save you a lot of time each day.
Don’t forget to create the content
Setting up automation is great, but in order to do so, you need content! Content is the lifeblood behind a lot of automation, and especially email automation. Before automating your messages, you first need to create them.
For example, create different templates for each message you’d like to automate. Use dynamic placeholders and/or merge fields to automatically input custom data from your CRM into your email message for more personalization and relevance.
Automate initial contact requests
When someone submits an inquiry on your website, what happens? To help save time and ensure every inquiry gets addressed right away, automate this initial email. These are oftentimes called ‘auto-responders’. This automated email can be as simple as a “Thank you for reaching out. We will be in touch soon.” Simple touches like this go a long way in building initial trust with the contact. They get confirmation on their inquiry being received and now also have a set expectation of what happens next.
If you were to send these manually, the email response would be inconsistent and you run the risk of missing an email or letting a lead slip through the cracks.
Personalize your messages using CRM data
Personalized experiences lead to higher conversion rates and an increase in repeat business according to these statistics. Use the data collected in your CRM to personalize the content of your messages. Basic personalization might include a name, location, and age. However, with so many marketers using basic personalization, it is becoming harder to stand out with just simple data point alone.
To take this a step further, use dynamic content to personalize messages in realtime based on rules you set up. For example, you can use purchase history, job titles, years as a client, or interests to completely customize the experience and deliver relevant content that is specifically tailored to the recipient. Not only does this increase your open rates, but lead to higher conversion as well.
Activate lead scoring & automatically qualify leads
Qualifying leads by attaching a score to their action or inaction is a great way to focus your efforts on your hottest prospects. You can automatically give a lead or client a score when they take (or do not take) the desired action. For example, let’s say a new lead opens your follow-up email and clicks on a link to contact you directly. Both of these actions indicate interest in your product or service. Assigning a score to these actions allows you to seamlessly, and automatically, track engagement and interest.
Segment your email messages
Don’t just send the same email to your entire list. This will not always lead to the results you are looking for. Segmentation is the process of splitting your audience into groups. Each group should be comprised of contacts with similar needs, demographics, and purchase behavior.
But, what if you don’t know what your segments are? First, you need to identify these segments. Building out buyer personas help. Make sure to use the data within your CRM to find key trends in your database.
For example, you could segment a contact list by job function, such as sales or marketing. That way, when you send out an email it is much more relevant to their specific needs.
Supplement automation with human interaction
Don’t forget, whether you are B2B or B2C, we are all really just P2P (person to person). Remember, it’s important to build real human touch points into your automated sequences. For example, if a contact clicks on an email you sent, use workflows to trigger a personal follow up, and reach out with a phone call to develop a real human connection. Automation requires balance in order for it to not seem so robotic.
Conclusion and key takeaways
Email automation is something that any business, big and small, can employ to help them streamline day-to-day efforts and help achieve sustainable growth. Setting up automation correctly can transform your business into an efficient, revenue generating machine. The key here is to first understand your process, and then invest in a platform that is right for your team. Successful automation is fueled by data. It is not enough to just have an email marketing system. You need CRM, website data tracking, signup forms and landing pages all built-in to get the best results from automation. .