If you’re planning your digital marketing strategy, chances are, you’ve already thought about email marketing. In fact, you might spend a great deal of time thinking about it as you plan for when to send each email, write copy, create a design, and blast it out to your contacts.
But while one-off emails are certainly an important part of any digital marketing campaign, it doesn’t have to be the only tool in your box. Automated emails can be a huge time saver, and while you can spend years learning all of the advanced tools, it’s not hard to get started and take advantage of some low hanging fruit.
Here are some easy ways to get started with email automation, even if you’re not working with a digital marketing agency.
What are automated emails?
First things first: What is email automation?
Email automation is essentially exactly what it sounds like: Emails are triggered to automatically go out to a specific audience at a specific time.
With a manual email, you work to put together a one-off send. This might be for a sale, a special, or a monthly newsletter. You email might still go to a specific list, and you might even schedule it to go out “automatically,” but it isn’t triggered to go out on its own.
With automated emails, you create an email and set your parameters—then you can essentially “set it and forget it” (but we don’t fully recommend that, as you’ll see below).
Why use email automation?
There’s a time and a place for both manual emails and automated emails, but if you’re not drawing on automated emails, you might be missing out on opportunities. Indeed, automated emails have many great benefits.
For one, they’re automatic. Once your system is set up, you don’t have to worry about dropping the ball and going radio silent on your targets.
Automated emails also allow for more personalization. Whether that is acknowledgement of a customer’s birthday or the ability to speak more accurately to the person’s position in the sales funnel, automation allows you to build warmer leads, as well as build awareness and educate.
How to start an email automation program
1. Define your goals.
Just like with any marketing program, you need to know what you’re shooting for before you start. Are you looking to drive leads for the sales team? Are you looking to retarget existing customers, or gain new ones? Even if you just want to give your customers a few more rewards with simple automation, knowing your goal is key.
2. Collect your contacts.
Even the best written, most beautiful, highly strategic email marketing plan will fail if you don’t consider this step. Your emails are only as strong as your list. If you don’t have an email list or you want to add to it, consider adding a form to your website. (Most email platforms make this easy!). If you’re working with an existing list, work on segmenting your contacts into the appropriate categories.
3. Map your plan.
This is the big step—creating your plan. With email automation, you can go as far as you want to as you pick up new skills—but it doesn’t have to be complicated to start. Consider easy automation with birthday or anniversary emails, a bounceback coupon or a cart abandonment play. (Many email platforms have these worked in.) Or, set up a simple drip campaign with triggers over the course of six months or a year. Think about your clients’ pain points and what’s worked at different points in the sales cycle before. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and your email platform might even walk you through the steps.
4. Create your assets.
Now, make it happen. Write needed content and design your emails. It’s good to spend a fair amount of energy on these emails, because they’re going to be around for a while. And, don’t forget about assets you already have. Maybe you created an awesome brochure that has gone over well in the past, or you have a video that always moves your speaking audiences to tears. Incorporate these pieces into your campaign. Finally, don’t leave landing pages as afterthoughts. These are often critical in getting your target across the finish line.
5. Monitor success.
As with most any marketing plan, the final step is to watch and learn. See which emails are performing well and where you have opportunities. Be sure to remove targets who have unsubscribed or who have converted, and keep your lists clean and updated.
With these steps, you’ll be rolling out your first automated campaigns in no time—and hopefully reaping the benefits.
Need some advice on automated emails or an overall digital marketing strategy? Our Orlando marketing agency has a suite of services to help. Give Will a call at 407-462-2718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.