If you run a small to mid-sized business, you probably already have an email list you use to send out offers and possibly a company newsletter. And, like most businesses of this size, you probably send each email blast manually.
Recently, a slew of email platforms like MailChimp and Emma have rolled out the kinds of email automation tools that previously only larger companies were able to afford. Small businesses that take advantage of these new tools can dramatically increase customer engagement, and ultimately, their bottom line.
What is Email Automation?
At all times, your business has potential customers at various stages of the sales funnel. Some people are just finding out about your company and signing up for the email list, while at the same time repeat customers are coming back to do business with you again.
In an ideal world, at each of these stages the customer would receive customized marketing emails that help to move that person to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. But trying to manage these lists manually would result in dozens of different messages that you would have to send out every week.
Email automation enables you to pre-write a set of emails that are then sent automatically to an individual at predetermined points in the buyer’s journey.
For instance, email automation can allow you to send someone:
- A welcome message immediately after they sign up for your email list
- A series of emails with more information about your products, once a week for the 4 weeks following their email list signup
- A message about things they’ve left sitting in their shopping cart in the past 24 hours
- A survey email 2 weeks after the purchase of a product
- A monthly email to encourage first-time customers to become repeat customers
The beauty of all this is that it would happen automatically. You only have to set up the templates and messaging once, and then each customer would get their own version of the journey as if you were executing your entire marketing email funnel for them and them alone.
How to Get Started
1. The first thing you should do is to confirm that the email platform you use has the option of email automation. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to consider if it’s worth it to make the switch to a different platform with more features.
2. Carefully think about the ideal communication chain you’d want to send to each customer, from “Welcome” to “We haven’t heard from you in a while”. Map this sequence out, being careful to indicate the logic that would cause each particular message to be sent.
3. Create the email templates and write the messaging, keeping email best practices in mind.
4. Set up the automation on your email platform, and test it by going through the buyer’s journey yourself, to ensure each automated email is arriving at the correct junction.
5. Test how the emails are performing. Ok, maybe we made this process sound a little too automatic. Even though your emails will be running on autopilot, you should still be doing the usual due diligence — monitoring open and clickthrough rates and tweaking each message as needed to improve customer engagement.
Have you been thinking about giving email automation a try? We can help you set it up! Contact us today to get started!