2017 is all about marketing automation.
It’s been around for a few years but it’s now more powerful and accessible than ever before. Being able to automatically nurture customers through a sophisticated email marketing programme or serve up personalised responses based upon customer preferences, improves both engagement and conversion rates.
They do so because they deliver the right content to the right people at the right time, creating a more powerful message, a compelling proposition and a better customer experience.
If you’re serious about creating an email marketing automation program that works and delivers the results you’re looking for, there are three key components you need to get right: data, rules and content.
For me, the future of email marketing revolves around automation and a brand’s ability to harness the power of data then combine it with creativity and commerciality to deliver results. This is where the best automated email journeys come from.
Here’s what you need to know about each component:
Data is everything. Without the right data there are no ‘triggers’ to send an automated email. Take for instance a simple email wishing a customer happy birthday where you include a special promotion. In order for this email to be sent, you need to know the customer’s date of birth. It’s for this reason data collection forms (whether online or offline) and the ability for email marketing software to integrate with third party systems, are so important. Email marketing driven by data and customer behaviours stands a far greater chance of converting to a sale.
Having great data is one thing but it’s meaningless unless you map out the journey you want your customers to go on and establish the rules to define this journey. Put simply, the rules you use for your automated email journey will define what is sent, when it’s sent and who it is sent to. For example, if you’re nurturing contacts with an automated email programme, once they convert to a sale you’ll want to stop sending them nurturing emails and potentially enter them into a ‘welcome series’ of emails instead.
And of course you need great content. Great content inspires people to act. The nature of this content will change depending on the type of automated journey you have in place. The most important aspects are to make it engaging, inspiring, educating, relevant and valuable. Give people something they didn’t have before and enrich their lives by creating awesome content.
Here are some examples of where automated email marketing can be used:
- A welcome series. This is a series of emails triggered when someone signs up to your mailing list or purchases a product for the first time.
- Shopping cart abandonment. These are the emails triggered when a customer places items into their shopping cart but then fails to complete the purchase. Automated email marketing is invaluable for ecommerce stores. You can find more information on it here.
- Pre and post-stay emails. These are emails sent out by hotels and accommodation providers before and after a guest stays with them.
- Event follow ups. If you’re collecting data at an event, sending out a follow-up series of emails is a great way to keep your business fresh in the mind once the event has ended.
- Re-engagement. We recently wrote about the best ways to re-engage your customers and automating this means you have a bulletproof process in place to ensure existing customers become repeat customers.
Once you’ve setup your automated journey it’s important to continually monitor its performance. Make sure you check regularly to see how it’s performing and identify ways you can fine tune it to deliver even better results.
There’s all kinds of email marketing software out there that allows you to setup automated journeys for yourself. What we’ve found is it’s not always easy for people to get it right. And that’s where we come in.