Earlier this year we talked about the impact artificial intelligence (AI) will have on email marketing and, while we don’t ever expect AI to replace people in email marketing, it will definitely supplement the role of the email marketer as it becomes widely used by the underlying technology we engage with on a daily basis.
In the meantime though, we can leverage the more logical form of email marketing assistance by using marketing automation technology, which is available to all of us right now and is still under-utilised by even the biggest brands.
Many businesses are only tentatively dipping their toes into the waters of email marketing automation and, as a result, missing out on the benefits they can gain from having an effective, efficient and engaging marketing automation programme in place.
The good news is it’s easier than ever before to set up automated email marketing campaigns - no matter what email marketing platform you use. Not only can this help your business grow, it can also help you give more to your customers and provide them with a better experience.
As inspiration to get you started - or to help you take your automation campaigns to the next level - here’s a selection of some of the best types of automated emails you can send…
1. The Welcome & The Thank You
Often one and the same, these emails are ‘triggered’ when someone signs up to your email marketing list. It’s an incredibly simple (yet incredibly effective) way of starting off the relationship with your customer on the right foot. This is your first opportunity to ‘wow’ your customers. Do you really want to just send them an email that says: “Thanks for signing up to our list!” Surely you can do better than that? And the big trick here is not to stop. You should have a welcome series of emails set to send after the first email your subscriber receives, triggered by the amount of time that passes after they receive it.
2. Transactional Emails
As soon as someone has made a transaction (be that making a booking, buying something or even signing up to an event) an email should be triggered and sent to them confirming their transaction. This email doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be dull. It’s a prime opportunity to cross-sell related products and begin further engagement. In fact, they are 8x more likely to be opened and 6x more likely to generate revenue than any other type of emails (Experian).
One of the most powerful examples of a transactional email is shopping cart abandonment emails. These are the emails triggered when a customer adds items to their shopping cart, but leaves the site without purchasing them. They are so successful that when they are sent, 64% of customers then go on to complete a purchase.
3. “How did we do?”
Emails after your customers have made a purchase are just as important as everything that’s happened presale. For example, post-delivery emails are a great way of kicking-in after sales support and generating repeat business. The same is true for post-stay emails in the hospitality industry, even a simple: “We hope you enjoyed your stay,” goes a long way to building strong relationships with your customers.
These types of emails are also a prime opportunity for you to ask for reviews and feedback. Retailers typically see a 10%-12.5% increase in conversion rates for products with reviews when compared to those without, this leaps up to 80% for products with 20 or more reviews (Shopify). Put simply, the more positive reviews you get, the more you’ll sell and email is a great way of encouraging people to leave reviews, especially if it’s incentivised.
4. The Friendly Reminders
Similar to the above, reminders are particularly useful for keeping a regular flow of communication with your customers. Reminders are great for bookings, appointments, and events and a great chance for you to give your customers any extra information the might need.
5. The Special Date
Whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, if you have date-specific information from your customers, you can use this to send highly personalised automated email campaigns. A great example is retailers who send out discount codes with happy birthday emails or restaurants who offer a free bottle of bubbles if you join them for a birthday meal. You don’t have to give anything away either, you can use it as an opportunity to stay in touch and show your customers you care.
6. Nurture Campaigns
Nurture track emails are very much the domain of B2B (business-to-business) sales and are what we like to call the ‘Silent Salesforce.’ These emails take place before any transaction between you and the customer has taken place. They’re designed to nurture your contacts and prospects, bringing them to the point they agree to a face-to-face meeting or to purchase your product.
Nurture track emails can last anywhere from a month to a year, are set up in advance and are triggered when a set period of time has passed.
It happens, sometimes your customers will stop buying from you and stop engaging with your content. An email list will experience a 25% ‘decay’ each year. Whether it’s a hook, like a deep discount, or a simple ‘We miss you’ email, you can re-engage up to 45% of your customers with an effective re-activation email programme (MarketingSherpa).
And this can all be automated; you can set rules for when these emails are triggered. If someone hasn’t opened one of your emails for 6 months, you can create a rule which means they’ll then automatically receive a re-engagement email.
The future of email marketing revolves around automation and a brand’s ability to harness the power of data, then combine it with creativity and commerciality to deliver results. This is where the best automated email journeys come from. But beyond all this, the biggest reason for using marketing automation is to build brilliant relationships with your customers and make them feel loved. Because when your customers love you, they’ll stay with you, they’ll tell others how great you are and they will be the catalyst to your growth.