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Automated Email Marketing

Amy Wilkinson —

If you’re up to speed with the basics of email marketing, automation can help you take it to the next level. Engage your customers by emailing them based on event triggers or with a sequence of emails spread over time.

What is automated email marketing?

Automated email marketing involves emailing targeted content to customers based on a schedule or a trigger (like them buying a certain product). 

Not only does it save you time, but it helps you target specific audience groups with a more personalized experience. For these reasons, automated email marketing has a greater level of success compared with standard email marketing campaigns. 

You need to have the basics of email marketing in place first. Once you have the right software, a good email marketing database, and a content plan, you can use automated email marketing to take things to the next level.

Automated emails can follow two strategies:

  • event-triggered emails
  • drip-feed emails with a schedule

You can use these strategies independently or together depending on your goals. For example, you can set an event-triggered email (like the customer signing up to your database) that then enrolls a customer in a drip-feed, that delivers following emails at set intervals.

Event-triggered emails

Event-triggered emails are a basic technique for automated email marketing. As the name suggests, emails are automatically sent to customers based on particular triggers you set. These could be: 

  • welcome emails to help users get started with a new product or service
  • abandoned-cart emails to encourage customers to complete a purchase
  • refer-a-friend emails to spread the word about your product or service to your customer’s networks
  • milestone emails about birthdays or other specific dates.

You can set your own triggers based on whatever’s important to you. For example, someone using your service might be late in re-subscribing, meaning you’re at risk of losing that customer. You could set a trigger to respond by thanking the customer for using your service and offering a discount or free extension if they re-subscribe.

Drip-feed emails

Drip-feed emails are all about giving people the right information at the right time. When you use drip-feed emails, you deliver a sequence of messages based on a time frame you specify. Perhaps the first email will go out as soon as someone signs up, another will go out three days later, and a third email will follow the next weekend.

Here’s an example. A potential customer has been hovering around your ‘premium upgrade’ page for a few weeks but hasn’t yet pulled the trigger. A drip-feed email campaign could send them a sequence of emails with:

  • five reasons to purchase the premium plan
  • testimonials from relevant customers
  • a special offer if they complete the purchase
  • a referral bonus for them if they convince someone else to subscribe.

Good drip-feed emails can be very effective at generating leads when used to guide customers towards next steps. They build interest in customers as long as you always have something click-worthy waiting for them.

Emails can help both new and existing customers and lower the chance of dissatisfaction and negative reviews. For example, you can help people learn how to get the most out of your product or service, or ask them to leave a review or complete a user-experience survey.

People reading drip emails click the links in them more than twice as often as people reading standard marketing emails, according to the makers of email-marketing suite Emma.

Success factors for automated email marketing

Ready to take the plunge with automated email marketing? Follow these recommendations to improve your chance of success.

Segment your subscribers

Email marketing platforms let you segment your subscribers based on criteria governing how likely they are to act on your personalised emails. These criteria could include their location, industry, age, or how they heard about you. Segment your subscribers so you can send each email to the specific audience that can benefit most.

Personalise your message

Sending the exact same email to everyone in your list is a bad idea that’s likely to lose you subscribers. Personalise your message by including the customer’s name or location or the products they like or own. This helps you build a relationship.

Connect your emails to customised landing pages

You’re wasting your campaign effort if a great email leads to a landing page that lacks design, content, and a call-to-action button. This is a trap many businesses fall into. Ensure your landing page is in sync with your email so it creates a smooth transition and customers feel comfortable when they click through.

Split test your emails

Many email marketing tools let you split test your emails (also known as A/B testing). This testing is very useful if you have two ideas and you want to find out which works best.

A split test divides your relevant subscribers into two similar groups, sending one email to one group and another email to the other group. You can then measure the response to both the emails and select the best-performing one for future use.

Analyse your results

Whether you’re split testing or not, analysing your results is the key to improving over time. Metrics such as bounces, click-throughs and conversions help you track performance and identify any problems. For more information read Measure Your Marketing Emails.

Need help? Get in touch!

If you have any questions or need advice, you can get in touch with the Digital Journey team at hello@digitaljourney.org. We'd love to help.