Today’s post is a guest entry from AMZScout Amazon Expert Team, a software company that helps sellers maximize growth and revenue.
Email automation has become an essential tool, especially for small and medium-scale businesses. But a lot of marketing managers aren’t sure how to get going. Here is a primer on email automation.
Every email sent to customers, current or potential, can be considered email marketing in its broadest sense. What sets email automation apart is that an automated email campaign is set up once and then automatically sent to a particular individual or email address when it meets a predetermined trigger.
Email automation is different from newsletters and one-off campaigns created and sent to a whole group of people in one go.
Automated emails can give businesses valuable insights into their customers. The technology is not necessarily new. You have no doubt received a welcome email or message when you signed up for a subscription or other service online.
Email automation allows you to connect with your customers long after he or she has left your website. It will enable you to personalize your message based on essential factors. For example, an automated email may be triggered or automatically sent to a customer who might have left a comment on your business website.
eCommerce sites and online stores often send automated emails to customers who might have left their virtual shopping carts without checking out. This is a crafty way to promote your brand and keep in touch with your customers.
How Email Automation Helps Grow Your Business
One of the most important uses of email automation is to get customer reviews, which will help grow your business.
Say that you have a great website and now have a steady stream of visitors. These visitors leave their email addresses on your page. Wondering how this benefits you? You have what is called in business jargon as a data bank — invaluable information that your email automation system can use to keep in touch with your customers.
User experience (customer interactions with your website) can help you determine your customer’s preferences. These might include their preferred products, the information they might want, which sections they clicked and stayed on, etc.
Armed with this information, you can now craft an automated email to send to these customers. The good thing about email automation is that you can personalize the email based on your customer’s behaviors.
If you see that a customer is mainly interested in a particular service or product, you can craft your automated email to address those interests. This personalization is valuable, as many customers find it appealing.
How does this impact your business?
A customer is likely to make a return visit to a website if he or she sees that the website has suggestions aligned with their interests.
One of your goals is to generate feedback or reviews from your customers. Effective and personalized emails will result in customers going back to your website or directly giving feedback. Feedback or reviews give you that much-needed insight into improving your customers’ experiences further when they next visit your website.
Many email automation software or systems are advanced enough to allow your business to execute complex email transactions, including sending a series of automated emails to maintain — and grow — business relationships with different customers.
How Reviews Trigger Sales
The more feedback or reviews you get, the better you can determine which of your products or services is a hit among customers. Reviews will allow you to determine the top-selling product from your roster of products.
Here’s an example of how you can use an automated email system to get reviews on Amazon
However, bear in mind that email automation does not stop with just one email. In many cases, particularly for online stores, you will need to set up a series of automated emails that you will send to your customers at predetermined times.
Say a customer has ordered from your site. Your automation will then send an email confirming the order. After the customer has paid for the order, you might send another email confirming the payment. Once the order is dispatched, your system can send a tracking email showing the estimated delivery time. This chain is just a simple example to illustrate how a series of emails work.
Knowing the What and the When of Email Automation
You have to consider a few things when sending out automated emails and triggers. Triggers go hand-in-hand with email automation. One typical example of a trigger is the new subscriber trigger. Once a new subscriber signs up to your website, the email automation system releases an email for that user.
The most common is a simple “Welcome email.” If you intend to show appreciation to the user, perhaps you can craft an automated email with a few more words, such as “Thank you for visiting, and we hope you had a great experience visiting our website.”
Another popular trigger is for the discarded online shopping cart. An automated email may recognize that a customer visiting your online store, for instance, has forgotten his or her cart. The automated email then sends the response in the form of a reminder.
Many users find this a convenient way to go back to their shopping. A smart move would be to incorporate a link in the email, bringing back the customer to your website’s checkout page.
There is also a new product reminder trigger. If you have a unique offering, say a new product, your automated email system may send reminders of the new product or new service to all your customers or those you have searched for similar products in the recent past.
However, no matter how many emails you send, it is the content that matters. If your email establishes that connection or rapport with the customer, then the outcome is that he or she will go back to your website, click on the new item to find out more about it, and hopefully buy.
Email Automation Tips
Now that you have a steady stream of customers and an email automation system, what next? There are a few critical points that need to be kept in mind when sending out emails.
Timing is everything, even in email automation, and you may have to do a bit of research to determine the best timing. By “timing,” we mean your emails should not be reaching customers at unholy hours. You also need to figure out the best day or time to send an email.
When it comes to reviews, sending an email asking for a review can be tricky, and there might be no magic formula to determine the perfect time to send that automated email. Did your customer buy a gadget from your website? When will be the right time to send an email asking for a review? Some will say a day, or a few hours, to give the customer a chance to try out the product.
Follow CAN-SPAM and CASL Laws
The CAN-SPAM Act lays down some basic “dos and don’ts” when sending emails to customers. You might want to check it out.
Track Emails (Opens, Clicks, etc.)
Don’t forget to keep track of your emails, which can further help you understand their effectiveness. One good thing about tracking your emails is that you can determine if anyone is reading them. If they are not, you need to discover why and also ensure they are providing valuable content.
Don’t Forget About Unsubscribes
Always remember to include opt-outs. An opt-out is a way for customers to remove themselves from your email list. While customers opting out doesn’t feel good for you, it sends out a signal that you respect their choices and that they matter. You are legally required to include an “unsubscribe” button in the email. Most people include it in the footer, and if you are using email software such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, iContact, or similar, it will help you with this process.
Optimize Your Emails for Scanners
Most people usually scan through automated emails, looking for elements that grab their interest. So, make it a habit to optimize your emails. Include bucket lists that summarize your strong points, relevant CTAs, etc.
Automated emails are now considered an important marketing tool rather than just a fancy way to welcome, send information, or acknowledge customers. Learn to use and optimize your email automation system to grow your business.