When it comes to email marketing, many brands still heavily rely on single-use broadcast campaigns (also known as batch-and-blast or spray-and-pray).
Broadcast campaigns may seem like a massive time-saver upfront, but relying solely on email in this way is actually costing you a lot more in the long term both financially and the relationship with your customers. After all, not every customer wants to be receiving the same message from you.
And while these once-off campaigns do have their time and place, there is an alternative approach: email marketing automation.
What is email marketing automation?
At its core, email marketing automation is a process that allows you to tailor emails to a subscriber to deliver more personalised, timelier messages in a way that’s automatic rather than manual. It allows marketers to send content that’s more targeted and contextual, ultimately improving its relevance and increasing engagement.
Why focus on email marketing automation?
When done well, email marketing automation stands as one of the most cost-effective ways to reach target audiences at scale, generating one of the highest ROIs (Return on Investment) for any digital channel.
But here’s the bit I think you’ll find most interesting: the ROI for each $1 spent on email marketing has continued to increase year-on-year and is now sitting at 42:1, up from 38:1 in 2018.
But why is ROI increasing?
The answer to that is simple: automation. Brands are on-board with the importance of providing personalised experiences for their customers, but they’re now focusing increasingly on automating their marketing and sales processes.
With automated emails being 133% more likely to sync with a customer’s purchase cycles than a broadcast email, it’s understandable why these automated emails get 96% higher open rates and 125% higher click-through rates.
Automation is fantastic for taking the pressure off brands. Instead of always feeling like you’re on the back foot scrambling to produce enough emails to fill this year’s marketing calendar, marketing automation allows brands to proactively set up automations that trigger at the perfect time in the customer journey. Once established, these could (almost) be considered ‘set and forget’. Although they will continue to run in the background, I recommend frequently reviewing these automations to ensure the content is still relevant, running smoothly and optimised for the highest engagement.
Okay, you say. Now I’m convinced, but where do we start?
The most simple place to start is to automate the emails you’re already sending. Think about the types of emails you’re sending on a regular basis and identify what you can automate. Here’s a couple of easy places you can start.
The welcome email
When a new subscriber signs up to your newsletter list, the first email they should receive from you should be your welcome email. This should welcome them to your brand, and reiterate the benefits of signing up.
By automating this process, you’re able to welcome them while your brand is still fresh in their mind, instead of waiting a month or more to make first contact.
You’d be surprised at how many brands are segmenting their subscriber data and manually sending out 12 x monthly campaigns, wishing their subscribers a happy birthday. Save yourself time, by setting up 1 x automation, that automatically triggers on each subscriber’s birthday. Not only will this feel more personal, but you’ll only have to update the email once per year.
Think of this one as basic manners. When someone decides they like your brand enough to make a purchase, it’s common courtesy to say “thank you.” Like a welcome email, this should be sent on the same day that they’ve made their purchase so it’s still fresh in their mind. The beauty of automating an onboarding email is that it forms an excellent first impression of your brand, showing you value their support even after they’ve committed to your brand. You can take this a step further by creating an onboarding series — this contains 2 or more emails that highlight various features and show your new customer how they can get the most value from their recent purchase.
How many times do you send a ‘newsletter’ email that contains content that can be considered “evergreen” - ie. content that continues to have relevance long past its original publication date? If your content is relevant to subscribers who sign up 6 months after you originally sent your email, why not add this to a ‘newsletter automation’ to ensure every new subscriber sees this important information?
In an ideal scenario, every brand would automate their entire marketing and sales funnel, from awareness and consideration right through to referral and advocacy. These automations can then be supplemented by broadcast campaigns such as seasonal topics, promotions and new news. This ensures that the messages you’re sending to your subscribers are contextually relevant and personalised for each individual and their intent.
So ask yourself this: “Are you relying too heavily on batch-and-blast campaigns?” If the answer is yes, how might you leverage the power of marketing automation for your business?