Best Practices for Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing helps companies engage with their customers and grow brand awareness, but the process can be time-consuming. Learn how to streamline the process using email marketing automation. 

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What is Email Marketing Automation? 

Email marketing automation is the strategic approach of customizing and scheduling your email communication using automation. Rather than manually sending emails, automation saves marketers time, allowing them to reach a broader audience in their campaigns. 

As a result, email marketing automation can help companies generate leads and grow their brand awareness online. 

Learn how to get the most out of your email marketing campaign by following these best practices and trends. 

Looking for a digital marketing expert to lead your email marketing efforts? Connect with top-rated digital marketing companies on Top Design Firms to find the perfect partner for your project. 

The Email Marketing Automation Process

Marketers use email marketing automation to create email routines that send emails to readers autonomously when certain triggers are met. 

To create the most personalized and appropriate email message, these processes take into account both the behavior that acts as a prompt and data about the customer behind the email address.

Email marketing automation cycle

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Triggers for a B2B company include:

  • When a visitor to a website sees a landing page but does not complete the form
  • When a lead downloads multiple pieces of content but does not make inquiries directly
  • When a prospective customer has begun following the company's social media profiles

Triggers for a B2C brand could be:

  • When a viewer has looked at several items but has not added any to their shopping cart
  • If a customer adds items to their shopping cart but does not complete the transaction,
  • When a customer buys something

Email marketing workflows aren't just for prospective consumers. Workflows can help brands improve relationships with existing customers and inspire the purchase of additional products or services. 

Effective email automation is highly dependent on a well-segmented list. Turn to your data once again, and make sure you've created thorough segments from your email list so that you can provide personalized messages to your customers. You might want to segment your list in the following ways:

  • Demographic trends include time, location, occupation/industry, gender/age, and so on.
  • Customer or user type: new customer, frequent user, free trial subscriber, and so on.
  • Engagement metrics include target openers, open rates, interest levels, and unresponsive users.
  • Recent activities: which pages of the website do they visit?

Email Marketing Automation Best Practices

Some businesses may be hesitant to use automated email marketing because they are concerned that their communication will become less personalized and thus less productive. 

In fact, email automation systems can assist you in collecting more information about your viewers and making your communication more personalized and thus more efficient — as long as you use that data properly.

To make sure your email marketing campaigns are effective, follow these best practices. 

7 Email Automation Best Practices 

  1. Add CTAs to your website that allow users to opt into your emails 
  2. Plan your email automation workflows ahead of time 
  3. Use automation tools to personalize email content 
  4. Use eye-catching CTAs to increase click through rates 
  5. Plan static vs. automatic triggers 
  6. Set up a regular cadence for emails that won’t spam inboxes
  7. Allow customers to opt out 

Content Ideas for Automated Emails 

Here are a few different types of emails that you can automate to improve your customer relationships. 

  1. Welcome emails
  2. Feedback request emails
  3. Re-engagement emails

Welcome emails 

When an individual first joins your mailing list — for example, after buying a product or signing up an account on your website — they are most interested in hearing from you. 

A personalized welcome email is an excellent way to make a strong first impression. Include a relevant piece of information in the email if your company is B2B. Alternatively, if you're a B2C brand, send the registered user a special offer or discount codes.

Headspace example of a welcome email

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If they don't receive a welcome email, they may not even notice, and may even ignore you. At worst, they may be perplexed or saddened by the lack of communication to greet them to your customer list. According to research, the typical open rate for greeting emails is 50%, making them 86% more effective than mailing lists.

Feedback request emails 

A feedback request email is a standard practice among businesses that sell goods and services.

Feedback  emails allow them to learn what their customers like best about the brand as well as what needs to be improved — a win-win situation for everyone.

Furthermore, no need to study your competitors' offers to know the benefits  they are offering because all you have to do is to ask the customers.  They will be delighted to assist you and will feel happy that you care about their choices.

Shopify example of a feedback email

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There are two kinds of feedback emails. 

One that is triggered by something negative, such as an app logout or an email unsubscribe, and those that are prompted by a specific time. In other words, they are sent after a certain time has passed after a specific action, such as a buy. 

While your communication will vary based on which behavior stimulated the feedback request, these emails are highly valuable because they demonstrate to your subscriptions that you value their feedback and also allow you to see where you can start improving.

Re-engagement emails

Re-engagement emails must be sent to subscribers who haven't interacted with your emails in a long time. You can schedule emails to be sent after a long time of inactivity (say, 90 days) to convince the customer to begin re-engaging with your company by providing a discount coupon or access to your latest eBook or checking out the new website.

Once you've determined which automated email experiences will best help you achieve your targets, keep the following best practice points in mind to ensure you're getting the most out of email automation:

To get started, follow these steps:

1. Don't take the quality of the content for granted.

Automated email only distributes your content. It does not eliminate the time and cost needed to create that content. Email automation allows more time for tasks that involve human intervention in order to stand out in the inbox. If your content isn't valuable, no matter how timely it is, the user will ignore it. Continuous improvement of existing content flows is critical for long-term success. Make a statement in your inbox.

Word sequence

The order of the words in your email subject line can affect how people read and interpret them, potentially affecting your email open rate.

Consider the following two subject lines for the same email:

  • Use this coupon code to save 25% on your next purchase.
  • Avail 25% off your next buy using this coupon code

The advantage of opening the email (availing 25% off the next buy) is placed at the beginning of the subject line in the second variation. Given that English-speaking subscribers read from left to right, emphasizing the advantage of opening the email can possibly increase open rates.

What exactly is A/B testing, and why should marketers be concerned?

Use  email analytics to understand the open rates, bounce rates, click rates, and bounce rates of the emails. Without monitoring, it is impossible to ascertain how well the campaign performed and where the future email marketing efforts can be improved. The first step in optimizing your email marketing campaigns is to understand email analytics. Key performance indicators (KPI) are the metrics that you consider important in determining the success of your campaigns.

The automation and the analytics together will help you focus on the analytical part of the campaign and focus better on them. 

In the context of email, A/B testing is the process of sending one variation of your campaign to a small segment of your subscribers and another alternative to a different subset of your users, with the final goal of determining which variation of the campaign yields the best outcomes.

Simple A/B tests may include sending various subject lines to see which one generates the most opens, whereas more advanced A/B testing may include testing entirely different email templates against each other to see which one yields the most click-throughs.

A/B testing your campaigns is a great way to boost your email open and click-through rates. To cite an example, Campaign Monitor had tested everything from subject lines to the copy on their call-to-action buttons to find the correct template for their business. So, they tested different templates against each other to see which one performs best for them. And as a result, they saw a 127% increase in click-throughs.

Don't automate emails just for the sake of automating.

Although it may appear counterproductive, simply automating every aspect of your email service will not fix all of your email marketing issues. Begin by automating one aspect of your program.

As you gain experience and become more comfortable, you can always add more automated email messages. Begin with the basics.

Unlike newsletters and one-time advertisements, which are created and sent to a wide audience all at once, an automatic email campaign is created once and then sent to a specific individual when a certain trigger is met.

It would be a complete waste of time to send emails to every person who signs up. Therefore instead, set up an automated welcome email that is sent whenever a new subscriber joins your "Signups" list.

This is the advantage of email automation. Once you've set up an email, you'll keep sending it as more people meet the defined triggers. It automates your marketing and promotion and takes out the monotonous mechanical aspect of it. 

For example, BuzzFeed has created more than 20 types of email newsletters based on customer interests, such as Fashion and Fitness, Pet owners and animals, and BuzzFeed News. Email is one of the top five website traffic referrers. Email subscribers are also very engaged. Email visitors stay on their website longer than customers from other channels. Many components of these mailings are automated, but one of our favorite uses of automation by BuzzFeed is their learning courses.

email automation process

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Set up a system for consistent engagement and performance analysis

As your email program becomes more advanced through automation, it becomes even more essential to carefully monitor your performance measures.

For example, if you use UTM tracking for digital campaigns and find that your open rates are beginning to gradually decline due to automation, it may be time to rethink your sending recurrence. Ironically, automated emails should not feel like they were created by a machine.

4 Email Marketing Trends

The following are some suggestions to ensure that your emails are extremely interactive and convert well:

  1. User-generated content
  2. Audience segmentation
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  4. Optimization for mobile devices

User-generated content

Companies can use user-generated content, such as client reviews, ratings, and customer photos in their email campaigns. 

Positive feedback from a varied set of customers will help to make a good first impression if a potential customer sees it on a routine basis. As a result, the chances of conversion increase.

Audience Segmentation

Segmentation and micro-segmentation allows companies to gather more detailed information about their customers and target them based on their interests. 

This entails delving deeply into customers' behavioral data, preferences, location, personality, and so on before categorizing them in specific email list classifications.

This means that your client lists must be revised on a routine basis, and possibly renewed based on their new behavioral patterns. 

One method is to include a survey in your email to keep yourself up to date on the changing demands and wants of your audiences.

Application of artificial intelligence (AI)

Despite the fact that AI is a relative newcomer to the marketing world, the enormous benefits it has the potential to produce are already making marketers think.

Every digital communication generates a huge amount of data, whether it's an online buy or an abandoned cart. With the power of AI and Big Data, trillions of sets of data can be evaluated in seconds and measurable results can be obtained.

AI helps marketers to segment their audience and create emails accordingly. It predicts future behavior of your clients by analyzing customer data trends and previous behaviors through machine learning. That helps to curate personalized emails for clients. Not only that, AI can update the numbers of your existing clients to increase the efficiency of your marketing attempts and also create a list of inactive contacts and remove them.

Optimization for mobile devices

We live in a smartphone-dominated era. Cellphones are now used for everything from basic shopping for groceries to conducting important meetings. 

Needless to say, your email marketing strategy should include mobile optimization techniques in order to reach the viewers where they are most likely to be found

Automate Your Emails to Streamline Your Marketing Campaigns

Email automation accounts for a small portion of total email volume. Even with a low volume, well-designed campaigns have a significant effect on sales generated by email campaigns. 

Automated emails can be set to run on autopilot, boosting sales over time. Emails that are thoughtfully planned can break new ground, increase sales, and provide better customer experience. 

Now that we have listed the best practices of email automation for you, try implementing them in your business. Do the A/B testing to find out the template that brings you the highest CTRs and sales eventually.

Additional reading

Need help selecting a company?

Based on your budget, timeline, and specifications we can help you build a shortlist of companies that perfectly matches your project needs. Schedule a free consultation with an analyst.

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