By Liviu Tanase
Companies use email for marketing because it's an effective way to reach their customer base through a channel they use most often. People spend a lot of time checking email — to the tune of 143 minutes every weekday — making email one of the most direct lines of communication. Can you think of a better channel to nurture and guide customers down your sales funnel? By 2023, email is estimated to generate almost $11 billion in revenue, so if you're ignoring email, you're dampening profit.
Email marketing is a beast of a topic that can require a lot of maintenance work without the right tools. Fortunately, there is some great automation out there that will make your email campaigns more effective and all-around easier. You don't have to do everything yourself when technology can help you drive results. Email marketing automation does the work for you and not only saves you time but also helps drive sales.
Plan to use automation for your email marketing from the start
Planning your email strategies is a prerequisite for getting anywhere. Think you can just take a shot in the dark or wing it? That's a recipe for failure. Successful email marketers believe in the six P's: Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.
Here are four things you can automate in your email marketing and make your life easier from the start:
1. Set up your sign-up forms with an email validation API
Growing your email list isn't easy, so make sure you have several places where you collect email addresses. A rookie move is to have an email sign-up that's buried away in a place people have to really dig and search. Instead, consider putting up multiple sign-up forms in prominent places.
One automation you don't want to forget is to connect a real-time email checker that will work in the background on all of those forms. If someone tries to sign up with invalid, disposable, or abusive emails, they won't infect your list.
An email validation API not only detects those bad emails but also lets the person know if they've mistyped their email address. Furthermore, it will prompt them to enter it correctly so that you don't lose any leads.
Keep in mind that it's necessary to bulk verify your entire list a few times a year, even if you use an API on your sign-up forms. Find a good email validation service and upload your whole list to identify contacts that have gone bad. A good service can also let you know about the activity of your subscribers. If people aren't opening your emails, continuing to send them emails only hurts your email deliverability.
2. Set up automated double opt-in emails to increase engagement
It's a very simple action that can keep all of the lukewarm or half-hearted people off of your list. It also stops someone from signing up with someone else's email.
Double opt-in means that an email is automatically sent to every valid sign-up. The email can welcome and thank the new subscriber, then let them know that they need to confirm their interest. All they have to do is click the unique link they receive via email.
Spammers are known to target email lists that use the increasingly obsolete single opt-in method and are therefore easier targets. Protect yourself against these risks by using double opt-in automation. You don't want half-hearted readers. If they don't care enough about your emails to click a link, it's perhaps worth asking: What are the chances of converting someone who is already that uncommitted?
3. Set up trigger emails to save time
Suppose a customer gets on the chatbot or phone support to ask a question, troubleshoot or make a purchasing decision. You could set up an automated trigger email that asks them if they were satisfied with the experience. First, this lets you know how your support or sales team is doing. Also, it gives you a chance to fix a situation that didn't go the way the customer hoped it would.
Think about all of the potential for trigger emails. Let's say you ship items to a client throughout the month before the invoice goes out. You could automate monthly email invoices. Also, you could send receipts of purchases or monthly donations to nonprofits.
Chances are there is email automation you can set up for most things at your business. It takes some work to activate them but will save lots of time in the long run.
4. Set up drip campaigns to get the desired result
Drip marketing campaigns are a series of emails that target specific customers based on where they are in their various buying journeys. You can set these up automatically based on an action they take (or don't take) or a change in their status.
Let's say someone starts to make a purchase at your online store but abandons the cart without completing the purchase. What if they received a steady "drip" of short emails that would get them to return to the cart and check out?
If the customer completes the desired action, they're taken out of the drip campaign.
You could use these drip emails to target someone who took advantage of a freebie you offered, such as a white paper, audio download, or pictographic. If someone signed up for a webinar or live stream, you could automate some steady emails to solidify the relationship or suggest complementary products.
This kind of automation saves your mental and time resources. Just write these drip campaigns cleverly and strategically. You should also arrange the emails in a sequence that makes the most sense. That way, you can use your drip campaigns indefinitely with an occasional tweak.
Put in the work to make email automation work for you
All of these automation take time to plan and put together. As the saying goes: "haste makes waste." So setting up your email automation should be careful and well thought-out. If you have to go back and rewrite or rethink a great deal of it, you'll be frustrated and waste a lot of time in the long run. The key to using email marketing automation is to be meticulous and get it right the first time. From then on, a great deal of the work is taken care of for you. You'll have more time to look at your metrics and think about how to make things better.