How many emails do you get a day? 10, 20, 100? How many are junk or advertisements? How many emails do you open and how many emails have value to you? That is a lot of questions about your inbox. But if you stop and ask “why do I get these emails?” you will find that the answer is because, in most cases, you signed up for them and because the business who is sending them is getting results from their email marketing.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective techniques available for a digital marketing campaign. Even though it does not get all of the attention, it is a reliable strategy. Your digital marketing should contain some form of email automation for a more effective marketing effort. Here’s everything that you need to know about email marketing, email automation and how to implement them into your business.
What is Email Automation?
You are probably using an email client (gmail, outlook, mac mail, thunderbird, etc) to send emails. This is an easy way to access your email server to read and send emails. This type of software is generally set up to provide you the ability to send email to people one at a time. Sometimes you can send up to 50 at one time but sending more than that can cause issues.
Email automation is different than sending an email and the software required to send emails is also different. Email automation software (MailChimp, SharpSpring or HubSpot are some systems that we have used) enables you to send multiple emails to multiple addresses at one time, without violating spam laws. That is a big advantage when you want to send 100, 1000, 10,000 or more emails at a time.
A second and bigger difference is the ability you have to set up automatic personalized campaigns. When a trigger is fullfilled your target market recieves a personalized email. Once you have created emails and added them to the automation system, you can then set up simple or complex automation that take care of all of the email sending for you.
To understand more let’s talk about triggers or actions that your user might take on your website.
Automation works on the trigger and action system; “if this” happens “then do this”. Because of the simplicity you can create pretty complex systems of email interactions.
An Automation begins when a website visitor takes an action on your webiste, this is called a trigger. This action triggers the first email in your automation to be sent. If a customer fills out this form then send the appropriate email. OR if a user clicks this link in an email then send them the appropriate email. Triggers differ depending on the type of campaign that you are running. For instance, you might send an automated email when a prospect visits your website puts items in their cart but does not purchase. You may send a different email for a prospect who downloads a specific white paper on a landing page. You can send a different email for each action taken or not taken on your website or in other emails.
The beauty of automation is that you only have to set it up once. Every time the trigger is “set off” by a new prospect, the email is automatically sent to that person. You do not have to do anything to make sure the email gets sent – everything is done automatically. Your email marketing becomes automated.
If you want to send a large number or mass email to all of your leads and customers, automation is. If you are running a limited time promotion and have a large list of emails, bulk email sending is the solution for getting the word out efficiently and with in the rules. It is a waste of time to try typing out each individual email or sending groups of 50 emails. This is time-consuming and in-efficient. As your list grows it also becomes more difficult to send this type of email.
By sending bulk emails through an automated system, you are better positioned to avoid being penalized by spam laws. Automated systems like MailChimp, Constant Contact or SharpSpring are developed to send bulk emails within the rules. These rules include double opt in and offer the email recipient the option to unsubscribe. In addition to the rules this type of software has the proper mail routing and server setups to send bulk email.
Why should you use email marketing at all?
It may sound crazy emphasize the importance of email marketing and the importance of automation. You may wonder “why bother?” or “who wants to read my emails?”. However if your email content is valuable, people will open it, read it and take action. We know it works. Email is one of the most reliable digital marketing techniques. Check out these email marketing stats from WordStream
- Consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers.
- Email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel, according to QuickSprout.
- 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention (the next closest channel? Social media, identified by just 44% of those same professionals).
Email continues to be at the top of many marketing mixes. When used correctly it is powerful.
Why Email Automation?
There are many reasons to use automation in your email marketing campaign rather than trying to complete everything manually. First of all, there is no way that you will ever have the time to send out manual emails to all of your customers. The number of businesses that try to send out mass emails from their standard email client is surprising. The process is tedious; break your list into groups of 50; send the email; a bunch get sent back; your email gets flagged as spam, all of the email addresses are visible to all recipients and customers get upset.
This is a bad habit that starts when a business is small and continues as it and its email list grows. Start good email habits when you’re business is small and it will pay off later. It is never to late to set up email automation software.
Automation is a time saver. The initial set up does take time but once the system is running, you will only have to check in on it a few times a month. It is in your best interest to check it more often and to make continued changes and additions to increase your list and engagement.
If you pair your email automation system with a Customer Relations Software and Sales Funnel system then you can automate a lot more than just your emails. As people move through your sales funnel you can automate the emails they receive. If they have a birthday you can automate an email to be sent to them on their birthday. You don’t even have to think.
Overall email automation saves you time.
Another advantage of email automation is the ability to personalize your communications. I don’t mean personalized as in adding a persons name to the email. I mean personalize the email to their interest. For example you are a business coach, and somebody downloads your short e-book about leadership, you can then send that person emails about the leadership blogs, products and courses you might offer on leadership. If the user clicks a different topic or a specific course you can then tailor subsequent emails to that interest.
Email lists can be broken down into segments. People will move from segment to segment based on their interest and then you can personalize their emails to them. After they have opened some emails you can trigger an alert in your system to call them about a specific product. With all of the automation human interaction is still important.
It takes some time but once set up email automation can be very powerful.
Get Started with Email Marketing and Automation
If you are going to implement an email marketing campaign, you need to set up a system to handle it properly. Here is what you need to know about how to set up an automated email marketing campaign.
To get started with email marketing you need an email list. Your email list should be generated organically from a list of your current customers or prospects. You want a list of people who know you and expect to receive emails from you. If you are doing business in Canada or in the European Union, you may also face additional rules from spam laws.
In addition to compiling your list you should segment or sort your list. You list can be segmented by industry, how they are related to your business, or how they signed up. Segments allow you to send specific emails to specific groups. This is important to do from the start because as your list grows it becomes more difficult.
A First Email
What are you going to send? After you have compiled and sorted your list you need to decide what information you are going to email. If this is the first mass email you are sending to your list, then let them know the purpose of your email and provide a way for them to opt out. The people on your list need to know that you have their email. Then keep in contact with your list by sending valuable information.
But for now you need to grow your list. To do this you will need a compelling and valuable offer for your website visitors – also known as a lead magnet. Then you can create a landing page for your lead magnet and finally an opt-in form to collect new emails . We will talk about how to get people to your landing page using Inbound Marketing, Pay Per Click ads, SEO and a call to action.
Let’s look first at your opt-in form.
What makes a good opt-in form?
A good opt in form gets to the point quickly and does not waste time with a lot of extra language. You are not trying to get every piece of information about your customer from this one form. It provides an introduction of you to your customer, and your customer to you.
The most important piece of information that you want to collect is the visitors email address. However, you should also get some additional information so that you can better personalize future emails. Asking for information such as name and business title can help. For example if a CEO fills out your form, the language will be different than if a human resource manager fills out your form. Most automated email systems allow for custom forms fields or “personnas”. After you have created your opt-in form, you will need to grow your email list.
Growing Your Email Marketing List
You need a strategy to grow your email list. Remember that you are not using third-party lists that you purchase, nor are you adding everyone who you come into contact with to your list. Only people who specifically opt-in using your form or agree to be added to your email list are part of your email list. This will be the basis upon which your growth strategy should be founded. So how do you get people to fill in your opt-in form?
Create a lead magnet. The part of your marketing that attracts people to your opt-in page is known as a “lead magnet. (how do I use a lead magnet). Just like a magnet, your information attracts prospects to your website. In most cases, your lead magnet will be a free giveaway that you will exchange for the information you ask for in the opt in form. Lead magnets do not have to be expensive to create. Many companies write an e-book, a checklist, guide, or create a short how to series of videos. The lead magnet you create should be relevant to your target market.
When a website visitors lands on your landing page, completes your opt-in form your lead magnet is delivered, through automation to the visitors email. At the same time their email is added to your list and you can now send them more emails in the future.
Other examples of lead magnets include a consultation an experts, a coupon for one of your products, a quiz that is relevant to your prospect, a webinar, a case study, a white paper, or a cheat sheet of resources that your prospect may be interested in. A lead magnet should provide value and be something that the person downloading can use to improve thier life or business immediately.
A Good Lead Magnet
A good lead magnet has a few characteristics that are the same for every industry. First, a lead magnet should be easy to read and implement. Not only does this save your company time in producing it, but it also makes the lead magnet much more valuable for the person downloading it.
Secondly, lead magnets are usually action driven products. They provide prospects useful information that can be used immediately. Lead magnets create immediate improvement in the lives of your prospects.
Relevance is also very important. You need to create your lead magnet around things that are useful to your target audience. Be very specific when you do this. Even something free will not keep prospects interested for long if it is not useful and relevant to them immediately.
Landing Page and Opt In Form
Your landing page with opt in form must be compelling. You need a headline that entices your prospects and describes the number one benefit of your lead magnet to your audience. Having a helpful description that is brief and clear will also help your customers recognize value. You need to tell your prospects, what you do, the prblem you solve for them and provide a clear way for them to get the solution from you.
To build trust you must make your ad headlines and text match your landing page headline and text. This way visitors know they are on the right page and are getting what they came for. Another key to turst is to incorporate well designed visuals. Your visuals should accompany an easy form to fill out and a colourful subscribe button. Make your button enticing enough that a kindergartner would want to click it.
The best places to put an opt-in form include, blog posts, the header on your site (as a call to action section), sidebar, on the contact page or a timed lightbox pop-up. Experiment with different locations to compare conversion rates of each location.
Email List Segmentation
As your list starts to grow it is important to segment your list. Segmenting your email list is an important step in creating a good automation strategy.
In order to personalize your automation, you need to separate your customers into groups of like-minded individuals. For example, all CEO’s in one segment or all people who like the colour orange in a segment. You do not want to send the same email to you your first time prospects as to your loyal customers.
Proper segmentation improves the open rate of your emails and will improve your click through rates as well. Additionally, your unsubscribe rates will be lower. In order to use this technique effectively, you should understand the concept of the buyer’s profile. The buyer’s profile is a simple explanation of the customer types that you attract to your business.
Consider segmenting your audience based on the open rate of your emails, their geographic location, their interests, their marketing preferences, new subscribers versus old subscribers, and certain behavioral markers. For instance, prospects that abandoned their shopping cart at the end of the process should receive a different email from everyone else on your list. Another way to differentiate between customers is to have more than one lead magnet. You can send different email marketing based on the lead magnet that your segmented audience chooses.
Once you have segmented your audience properly, then you can send out email auto responders. This is one of the most effective techniques in all of automation. This is a series of emails that are triggered when certain conditions are met. Auto responders allow you to create drip campaigns, lead nurturing campaigns and many others.
For example consider on of our automations. A prospect clicks a facebook ad for our advertised lead magnet – 5 things your website should include,. They are redirected to our landing page with the same name and information. After they complete theopt-in form, they are redirected to a thank you page where they can download the pdf. The prospect is also sent an email with a download link. The next day they will recieve an email checking that they got the previous email and providing them with another link. The next day another email is sent asking the prospect how they liked the content, followed by several more emails sent at various times over the next 6 weeks. Each email has different content in it relating to the pdf they downloaded as well as other calls to action for other lead magnets and services we offer.
Getting the Open
Governments around the world are doing their best to keep citizens from receiving spam emails. You need to be sure that you are using the proper software and be aware of the rules in your country.
Your first hurdle is the spam filter. If your email is getting sent to the spam folder of your subscriber base, then you are doing yourself very little good. Sometimes your email going to the spam or junk folder may be a mistake. Many people set their email preferences to deliver new addresses to the spam folder automatically. You should not feel bad about telling your audience to check their spam folder. However, the best tactic for this hurdle is to obtain opt-in permission from your audience at the very start of the process.
You should also make sure that you are sending your automated emails from a good IP address. Most Automation software takes care of this. Additionally, make sure that your emails are being sent through a verified domain.
The language that you use in subject lines and the email body is incredibly important. If a phrase sounds like too much of an infomercial sales pitch, then you should not use it. For instance, the overuse of the word “free,” “clearance,” “cash,” “discount” and even “buy” may trigger spam filters. It is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to the language that is in your emails. Many automation programs will walk you through the proper language during the set up of your emails. The more emails you write and send the better you will get at it as well.
Other Tips for a Great Email Marketing Campaign
No matter how many people your automated campaign may reach, you should never use any bait and switch tactics. Your subject line should detail exactly what your email is going to talk about.
Never try to hide your location when you send out an email. You are running and honest business and using an honest marketing strategy. Everything that you do should reflect this.
Allowing your customers to easily opt-out of your email campaign is a great way to build trust. If people see that you are providing options, they are much more likely to give you a chance. You are demonstrating confidence in your business when you give people a way out and provide an opportunity for them to leave.
You should also look to remove subscribers that are inactive from your list. This will help your automation program deliver the best results for you. It will also keep your emails from triggering spam filters in certain email clients. Make sure that you keep up with your customer base so you know if they change email addresses. You can also automate these updates within good automation programs giving you one less thing to worry about.
Email marketing is a very effective tool in your digital marketing tool box. Automation and planning should be incorporated in your Email Marketing. This will aid in keeping you from going crazy and provide stepping stones for email marketing success. If you are interested in setting up an email marketing campaign give us a call we would be happy to help.