Setting up an automated email campaign is just step one in achieving more conversions. An automated campaign will save you time and resources, but if you only think of it as the same email you would have sent manually, just on a larger scale, then you’re not really tapping into the potential of email marketing automation. It’s time to start thinking outside of the traditional email marketing box when planning your next marketing campaign.
Why Choose Marketing Automation Over Manual Marketing?
The top-of-mind answer to that question is always going to be time and scalability. Marketing automation saves marketers mountains of time and allows them to instantly reach thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of more people than manual marketing.
Marketing automation is a technology that allows people to manage marketing campaigns across channels automatically and streamline time-consuming processes faced every day by modern marketers and sales reps.
According to a three-year study by Lead Response Management Study, the odds of qualifying a lead is 21x higher if contacted within the first 5 minutes of submitting a form submission or completing an action than if they were contacted within the first 30 minutes, and 60x higher than if a sales representative waits 24 hours. The immediacy of the response can mean the difference between a sale and a lost lead in hyper competitive industries like real estate.
There is the debate that we can’t automate everything and sending emails and messages on a mass scale reduces our ability to personalize content for our users. However, year over year new strides and innovations are being made in marketing automation and specifically email marketing. We are now able to get more personalized and more targeted with our emails and automated actions than ever before.
Setting up an automated campaign takes about the same amount of time as a manual campaign, but the speed of segmentation, personalization, reach, lead scoring and lead management is significantly increased with the use of automation tools. Plus, it reduces the amount of manpower needed.
Marketing automation allows you to:
- Segment your audience
- Personalize campaigns
- Track buyer’s actions
- Automatically lead score
Reducing the time spent and the number of people required to create a successful automated campaign also means that your cost per lead and cost per sale will significantly decrease. Choosing marketing automation over manual marketing as a key component in your marketing program means a more effective use of time, higher scalability and reach, and an overall lower cost in content output.
Marketing automation increases:
- Speed in delivery
- Speed in follow up
- Amount of content delivered and published
- Effective lead management
Marketing automation decreases:
- Time spent on repetitive tasks
- Number of people per task
- Cost per lead
- Cost per sale
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing automation is much more than sending an email to a list of contacts with a single click. Sending one mass email just scratches the surface of what email marketing automation can do. When setting up your campaign, you can also set up a set of instructions (called workflows) for what should happen next after a consumer performs a specific action, such as visiting your website, submitting a form, joining an event or simply opening an email.
An Example of Email Marketing Automation
Marketer Pam sends email A to 500 contacts. Of those 500 contacts, 300 of them click link B (indicating they want more information about Product X). Those 300 people are then added to a tag or list of people that Pam now knows are interested in Product X, and they will automatically receive email C in two days with more information. They will also receive all future information about Product X until they convert and enter another workflow as a won customer.
Even this scenario is a pretty simple example of what email marketing automation and workflows can do. Every link in an email can add contacts to new lists and new workflows depending on the intention and goals of your business strategy.
Example triggers of a workflow:
- A form is submitted on your website
- A consumer visits a webpage for a particular amount of time
- A consumer subscribes for more information
- An email is opened
- A link is clicked in an email
Example actions of a workflow:
- A follow up email is sent
- A follow up text message is sent
- A consumer enters a drip campaign
- Sales is alerted to the lead
Personalization and Email Marketing Automation
Another important component of email marketing automation is personalizing your emails, which can be far more detailed than using a customer’s name in the body of your content. How targeted, segmented, and personalized you want to get with your emails really depends on your team’s creativity.
Email marketing automation is not only used to make tasks easier but to give consumers what they want, how and when they want it. It can be strenuous and time consuming to manually pinpoint what actions a consumer has already taken and what they’re already interested in.
Setting up the proper campaign workflows allows you to not overload your leads with any and all information about your company—you will not have a healthy conversion rate if you do that. Instead, it allows you to cut through all of the excess for your consumer, serving them up exactly what they were looking for and helping them recognize it in the first couple of seconds of opening your email.
Examples of personalized content:
- Consumer name in subject line
- Content based on their ideal lifestyle
- Reduce pricing on a product they’ve already looked at
- Comparable items they may also like based on their website behavior
- Events similar to ones they’ve already attended
Examples of segmented lists:
- Location-based targeting
- Demographics and age (i.e. young professional vs parent with kids)
- Have they already bought or are currently using your product?
- Current job and household income
Building an Email Drip Campaign, or a Lead Nurturing Email Sequence
The key to building a lead nurturing email sequence, or drip campaign, is understanding the different touchpoints in your buyer’s journey that will make up your email sequence. Breakdown everything your customer could need or want to know throughout their buying process. Identify their pain points, and arrange the information in a way that is informative and engaging.
Utilizing the ideology behind SMART goals will help you breakdown what content to include and other important logistics for setting up an effective drip campaign. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-related.
Specific – Drip campaigns should be specific to the trigger. That is, if a consumer is interested in Product Red, don’t send them drip content on Product Green if there is no relevant correlation. Also, the more specific and personalized your content is, the better it will perform and convert.
Measurable – Setting up a drip campaign without the proper tracking of a consumer’s actions will give you no insights into success, or how to make your next drip better. Two important high-level stats to always measure in a drip campaign are where the consumer was in the drip when completing a sale/action, and where they were when they opted out. Other touchpoints and KPIs you want to measure in your drip campaigns are open rates, click-through rates, and delivered and bounce rates. Measuring these datapoints will help further your market research.
Achievable – Achievable doesn’t just refer to achievable KPIs and conversions. If you’re setting up a drip sequence properly, you’ll ask for different actions from your buyer throughout the series. Asking for the hard sale in the second email you send to a new buyer who is just starting their research isn’t a very achievable goal. Read more about how to set good OKRs (Objectives and key results).
Relevant – Relevancy is important in each of the SMART goals. Using specific consumer data and actions to personalize relevant content to them increases conversions by a median of 122%, according to eMarketer, the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association). The different metrics you measure also need to be relevant per campaign. If the goal of a campaign is awareness, then the relevant metrics will be opens and interactions versus lead generation. Setting realistic and achievable actions you want consumers to take throughout the drip series will be determined by your specific consumer’s journey.
Time-related – Timing can be everything in an effective lead nurturing email sequence. From the timing of the trigger to each email and that email’s content throughout. Your drip content needs to touch on each phase of your customer’s journey to sale in an organic way that sets your company up as the expert and the best choice.
Choosing a Platform for Marketing Automation
No marketing automation software is going to be a one-size fits all solution, no matter how hard some try to be. When choosing the right marketing automation platform for your company, you need to look at your consumer.
Every marketing automation platform out there can send mass emails, trigger workflows, gather lead scoring and segmenting information, and track email opens and clicks. Where they differ, is in mobile functionalities, social media capabilities and the CRM component.
- Most consumer groups are steering more towards mobile, especially for email marketing. If your campaigns can’t be sent and optimized for customers checking email on their smartphones, then you’re going to miss out on a huge chunk of conversions because consumers will get frustrated and delete the email.
- Automated follow-up SMS texts can also be big engagement drivers as text messages to consumers are opened 98% of the time, according to Mobile Marketing Watch, compared to the 22% of email opens.
- Social media publishing, monitoring, and analytics is an added bonus if you do heavy social media marketing and helps you keep all of your marketing in one place and within one platform. Don’t have a social profile yet? Learn how to create an online presence for your business.
- As for the CRM component, most automation systems combine customer relationship management for sales with the automated efforts of marketing. Therefore, you should also put a huge emphasis on whether or not the platform is right for your sales team, as every industry and company’s sales process is different.
When choosing the right marketing automation platform for you company, look at these four differentiators in terms of needs for you consumer
- Are they mostly mobile users?
- Are your consumers heavily influenced by social media?
- What functionalities does your sales team need in their CRM in order to effectively check off relevant tasks and communicate with consumers?
Setting up your first or 50th automated email campaign can be a daunting task with many moving parts. If you made the decision to automate, then you obviously understand the importance of using the best tools at your disposal to help your team market effectively. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that will help your team ensure they’ve set their campaigns up correctly and continue to monitor success with tools like Kanban boards and a real-time dashboard. Try it today with this 30-day free trial.