Email is still the most efficient way for businesses to reach out to their customers. You can decide which email you want to send, at what time and to whom. That, in a nutshell, is what Email Marketing Automation is all about.
If you’re the owner of a small business, you might not always have the time and resources to keep track of when your customers have their birthdays, or which of the 700+ customers you have is a dog owner. By incorporating automated email marketing into your communication strategy, you know exactly when to send, what to send and to whom to send.
Many of these email marketing automation tools are available right within your Constant Contact email marketing account.
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But this sounds too simple. Does it have a catch? Does it really work?
Let’s take some time to learn more about email marketing automation, how it can benefit you and why you should consider trying it right away.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email Marketing Automation is a way for you to create timely, relevant, personalized emails for individual contacts to be sent when they take a specific action.
For example, when you sign up for Constant Contact, the action of signing up for our service triggers a welcome email. This email introduces you to Constant Contact, asks you to verify your email address, tells you how to set-up your account and get started with building your brand.
With email marketing automation, you can deliver the same great experience to your first email subscriber and your 10,000th. It saves you time because you only have to do the work to plan out your email once and the automation keeps it going.
But doesn’t automation seem robotic?
As a small business owner, you already have enough on your plate. And as your business grows and more leads start flooding in, it becomes even more challenging for your sales team to offer incredible experiences to everyone that interacts with your business.
Email automation helps you take care of your existing customers as well as new leads which are added to your database. If executed correctly, email automation delivers highly personalized and timely experiences that will convert prospects into customers. Or first-time customers into loyal repeat business.
A recent Raab Report found that 60 percent of businesses with revenues exceeding $500 million have already implemented marketing automation, but just 3 percent of small businesses with fewer than $5 million in revenue have invested in it.
This is where automation comes in.
Automation is a tool that lets you create a series of personalized, automated follow-up emails that are sent to a contact after they are added to a list.
You choose the order, frequency, and targeted content of the message. Once the sequence is set up, the emails send automatically.
The only challenge with email marketing automation is it often requires a little work and planning upfront. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of four automated email ideas you can incorporate into your email marketing strategy that will help grow your business.
1. Automated Welcome Emails
In a competitive market, first impressions are everything. If someone signs up for your email list, it’s up to you to delight them right away with interesting and helpful content and enticing offers.
The easiest way to do this is with an engaging welcome email. A welcome email should do three things:
- Thank your customers for signing up
- Tell new customers what they can expect to receive from you (and how often)
- Offer immediate value (maybe a 15% discount on their first purchase or some free resources they can use)
Setting up a Welcome Email is easy in Constant Contact’s marketing automation platform. Head over to the “Campaigns” tab, hit the “Create” button and select “Email Automation” to get started.
Automated welcome emails reach new subscribers when they’re new to your list and highly engaged.
A welcome email is a great way to start nurturing leads through the customer journey. However, it’s just the beginning. Why not go a step further with your automation by creating a simple three-part welcome series to really give new subscribers a warm welcome after they fill out your sign-up form?
You can do this right within that “Email Automation” section we talked about. This time create an automated email series that will automatically send to new subscribers at the frequency you desire.
2. Birthdays and Anniversary Emails
Everybody likes to get something special for their birthday or anniversary. With email automation, it is easy to treat your customers on their special days. You can keep your customers engaged and let them know they’re important to your business.
Start collecting birthday information whenever a new subscriber joins your list. Then, head back to that handy ‘Email Automation’ section in your Constant Contact account to create an automated email that sends on a subscriber’s birthday or anniversary
No matter how much someone cares about your business, it’s natural for them to lose some interest after they’ve been on your email list for a while. This is a great opportunity to thank them for their continued support and offer them a special birthday gift — whether it’s a small freebie or helpful guide.
Tip: This two-minute video tutorial walks you through how to create an automated Birthday or Anniversary Email.
3. Newsletters and blog updates
If you’ve been updating your company blog regularly, you may have a lot of great, timeless content out there that doesn’t get the views it once did. Consider repurposing this content in automated drip campaigns for newer customers who haven’t seen this content yet.
Some ideas to keep in mind:
- Go through and make sure your posts are still relevant and up-to-date
- Make sure the sequence builds upon ideas and that there’s enough variety to be as engaging as possible.
Ditto for newsletters. Your newsletter content could be anything – right from key feature updates to announcing the launch of a new product to encouraging customers to participate in your Facebook contest.
Make sure you schedule your newsletter to be sent out at least once a month. You could use this as an opportunity to promote a new blog post, introduce a new (or old) member of your team and even give out a free, downloadable resource which would benefit your customers.
4. Promote events and webinars
Email marketing campaigns are perfect for promoting events, meet-ups or webinars that your business is investing in.
After all, your subscribers should already be interested in what you have to say, and a succession of emails is an ideal strategy for getting people excited as your webinar draws nearer (and making sure they don’t forget about it!).
Whenever a person signs-up for a Constant Contact webinar, we send them the below email thanking them for registering, giving a little detail on what to expect from the webinar and how to join the webinar.
Closer to the actual date, we send out another couple of reminder emails, encouraging customers to block their calendars and spread the word. Then, after the webinar has concluded, they automatically get sent the slides and access to the on-demand version of the webinar.
Given that most marketers host webinars and events for marketing purposes, sending automated emails like these can help grow your business by ensuring the maximum number of people either attend the event live or see the recording, helping return the highest ROI possible.
Okay, so I now understand. Email Marketing Automation is extremely helpful and is the way to go!
In addition to the four examples mentioned above, there are a host of automated emails you could send to your customers. It’s completely alright if you don’t wish to go all out right at the start. You could start small – maybe a three-part automated email series to welcome new customers to your email list.
As a small business that is growing quickly, you are likely to have more and more things competing for your time and attention.
However, out of all the opportunities available to grow your business, email marketing is one of the most impactful and simple. Setting up automated lead nurturing campaigns can help you and your marketing team drive traffic to your website and increase conversions without having to spend too much time and effort in recreating them for every new customer you add to your growing subscriber list.
Want to see how it’s done, step-by-step? We’ll show you just that it in our free recorded webinar: How to Create a Welcome Series to Increase Sales and Engagement.
Ready to do more business with email marketing?
Start your free 60-day trial today.