Whether you’re familiar with marketing or not, you’ll no doubt know about email marketing. It fills your inbox and can be annoying if it’s not done well (we get it). But did you know it’s actually one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s box? It’s direct marketing in its truest form – giving you the opportunity to target your audience with relevant offers, inform them about your business and increase their brand loyalty. If done right, of course.
Email automation takes this to the next level, giving you the ability to send out segmented emails at different stages of your customers’ sales lifecycle. And all with just a few clicks of a button and hardly any budget needed.
However, email automation isn’t the act of simply sending a blanket email to a list of email addresses you’ve collected. Like we’ve said and we’re sure you’ve experienced, there’s nothing more annoying than an email that speaks to the masses and has no relation to anything you’re interested in. The key here is relevancy – featuring products, services and offers that relate to your buying habits and buyer stage. So, to help you to get on the right track, we’ve broken down exactly what email automation is and five ways to use it to maximise your time and results.
What is email automation?
Email automation is when a predefined trigger initiates emails to be sent to customers who undertake certain actions. This might be an email sign up, an abandoned cart, post-purchase or even browsing a specific page of your website. Therefore the automated emails that you send out have to match up with these actions, giving the customer what they need before they even ask for it.
Your email automation system could be linked to your CRM, e-com store backend or just a simple lead-capturing form. There is a huge range of tech that can deliver this service, but our favourites are Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign & Hubspot.
When it comes to email automation you want to follow the RAT principle
- RELEVANT: providing relevant information that is attuned to the customer’s position in your sales lifecycle and that they would find interesting.
- ACCURATE: if the automation includes details about them (their name, purchase, when they signed up to your membership etc.) ensure it is all accurate. The biggest turn off for customers is when a merge tag or information isn’t correct.
- TIMELY: make sure you’re not bombarding your customers with automated emails. This will just lead to high unsubscribe rates.
- Abandon Cart Sequence
Abandon cart email automation refers to when a potential customer gets part way through an order but exits the website (or app) before completing their purchase. To get to their shopping cart, the customer will have had to already enter their email address.
Since you have their email address, you’re able to contact the customer directly. The key here is to not be too pushy, but instead, position your email as a help to them. You’re of course reminding them about their purchase, however, you can also use this opportunity to add a relevant offer for them. It might be the nudge they need to commit to booking your service or purchasing your product.
Just don’t make an offer on the first email of the sequence! If you do you run the risk of diminishing your profits with an early offer when they would have ordered at full price but just got distracted. Your first email should always be a reminder that something has been left in the cart and check in to see if they need any assistance finalising the order.
Then, follow up with a second email the next day offering an incentive to buy if they have not completed the purchase by then.
- Welcome Sequences
Welcome sequences are automated emails that are sent to customers who have just signed up to your email list. This strategy aims to build on the momentum that the customer is – at this moment – interested in your product or service. It is in this sequence that you can include key information about your business, answer common FAQs and seek to break down any potential barriers to converting.
Planning is essential with welcome sequences, looking to spread relevant information over a series of days or weeks that will help to convince and warm up your customer. Typically, the bigger the investment, the longer the sequence. Whereas, if you’re selling a pretty low investment product or service, strike while the iron is hot.
Here are some pointers on how to plan out a killer welcome sequence that is guaranteed to turn your leads into sales.
- Plan out the sequence – no more than 6 emails, but more than 2.
- Be sure to remove them from the sequence as soon as they purchase or invest in your service. This can also be automated.
- Make sure the information is actually relevant and/or useful. Include your unique selling points, social proof and some brand personality.
- Post Purchase Follow Up
A post-purchase follow up will take into consideration what the customer purchased and suggest similar products that may be of interest or advise them on another action to take such as signing up for a membership, for example. A post purchase follow up email will be automatically triggered to send shortly after the purchase is made, helping to drive customer loyalty and potentially more sales too.
Let’s run through an example. You run a cycling store and your customer has purchased a new bike. Your post purchase follow up would include relevant bike accessories – a helmet and tyre pump with a 10% discount. This encourages further purchases, makes the customer feel valued with customised product recommendations and a relevant offer.
Post purchase sequences are also a great opportunity to request a review, or refer a friend or join a VIP club.
- Nurturing Emails
Put simply, nurturing email automations help to encourage a lead to take action – whether that be to purchase or another call to action. It is a great place to offer an incentive or more information to guide them towards the desired action.
Your nurture campaign should consist of a string of at least 3 emails, with each email fulfilling a different benefit for the potential customer. For example, a series of nurturing lead emails could look like the following:
- Welcome email
- Informational email
- FAQ email
- Engagement email
- Promotional email
- Abandoned cart email
- Loyalty program email
- Offer email
These emails can be automatically sent out gradually over a few days following the potential customer’s initial sign up.
- Loyalty Program
Ever heard of the saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”? Well, that sentiment rings true when it comes to loyalty programs. While loyalty programs are hugely common in sales – it’s because they have a very high success rate.
Loyalty program emails may seem mundane, but statistics show that they boost sales significantly and increase brand loyalty by 83%. Your loyalty program emails should be triggered after a customer makes a purchase and also periodically after purchase to encourage brand loyalty.
There are several ways to run a loyalty program through email, including:
- Offering perks on customer birthdays
- Incentivising purchases with reward points
- Encouraging referrals through discounts
When it comes to rewarding loyalty there are countless ideas you can offer – and basic programs that include incentives and discounts for referrals are a great place to start.
Ready to boost sales and engagement with email automation?
If you’re looking for ways to improve your customer experience, whilst boosting profitability and retention then talk to one of our email automation experts today!