Email communication is now one of the standard tools that your e-commerce business should use to keep in touch with your clients.
Emails can let your customers know about upcoming promotions, answer queries that they might have during their purchase journey, and encourage them to finish their transactions.
Email automation is a way to simplify and streamline your business’s marketing strategy. And although these things may seem complicated at first, getting your email automation workflow up and running is actually pretty simple.
In this article, we’ll show you how to set up email automation in a few easy steps. After that, you and your marketing staff will have lot’s more time on your hands for the important stuff…such as going out for lunch!
The Importance of Email Automation
Collecting customer information and sending out emails to clients can be an extremely complicated and time-consuming process.
That is why it’s never too early for your company to set up email automation in order to assist with your email marketing program.
What Is Email Automation?
Email automation allows you to automatically send emails to your customers based on predefined events.
These can include:
- A welcome message to new customers
- Order confirmation and delivery time
- Suggested new products
- Purchase anniversaries
- Or even requests for customers to review your product and your service.
The Benefits of Email Automation
It costs a lot of money to attract new customers, so once you have them you want to make sure that you retain them. An automated email system will keep you front and center with your current customers, by giving them the information and advice that they need.
Customers these days are much savvier when it comes to emails, and they don’t respond well to being spammed by generic emails that have obviously been sent out by a machine.
Email automation allows you to personalize emails in such a way that it will encourage your customers to open and read them, and then to (hopefully) act on the contents and buy some of your products.
Finally, email automation allows you to gather information about your customers’ behavior, and to monitor your marketing strategy to make sure that it is performing at capacity.
In this respect, you could describe email automation as being like the Black Box flight recorder in an aircraft. It records and monitors all of the different aspects of customer behavior, and presents the resulting data in a way that you can easily understand.
How to Set up Email Automation
OK, so it’s pretty obvious that an effective email strategy will reap a ton of benefits for your business.
Now let’s run through the nuts and bolts of how to set up email automation. It is actually a very simple and straightforward process, so if you are relaxed and sitting comfortably, let’s begin…
Choose Your Email Automation Software
There are plenty of providers out there who specialize in creating versatile and user-friendly email automation software. Some of these include:
- Mailchimp. The original email marketing specialists, Mailchimp pretty much wrote the book on how to set up email automation. They have a bunch of different options for businesses starting out in email marketing, from free options all the way up to premium, three hundred bucks-per-month plans.
- Klaviyo. The “new kids on the block” for email marketing automation, the guys and girls at Klaviyo live and breathe email marketing strategies. They specialize in creating imaginative, easy-to-use, customer-focused email automation workflows, and are especially good at figuring out segmentation lists and crunching the metrics to analyze your results.
- ActiveCampaign. This is another sassy new platform run by staff who are passionate about email marketing and automation. With drag-and-drop menus that let you set up automated workflows in minutes, ActiveCampaign features a collection of other options including automated text messages and Facebook ads.
- Constant Contact. Offering an excellent combination of user-friendliness and functionality, Constant Contact keeps things simple for new users and for businesses that aren’t familiar with email automation.
- Campaign Monitor. Reviews are mixed about this platform. However, Campaign Monitor offers robust email automation software based on workflows called “journeys.” This platform uses a series of questions based on your company’s goals and sales targets, to help you set up your email automation campaign.
Figure Out Your Strategy
Every journey begins with one single step. And your email automation strategy is no different. You don’t need to have a whole bunch of different emails set up right from the kick-off. The best idea is to start with a simple email strategy and let it grow from there.
A good plan is to start out with one standard message, such as a welcome email sent out when a customer sets up a new account at your business.
You could perhaps also offer them a welcome discount or coupon. Once your email strategy is up and functioning well, and you understand the metrics that it is providing you with, you can expand your strategy to include as many triggers as you wish.
Build Your Segmented Lists
In order for an email automated marketing strategy to work at an optimum level, you need to segment your customers into lists according to their needs.
List segmentation gives you the opportunity to personalize the emails that you send out to different groups of customers, based on:
- Their preferences
- Shopping behavior.
A good first step is to focus on customers who have made the most purchases at your online business.
They will be the customers who are most receptive to receiving emails offering them discounts or encouraging them to return to make further purchases.
By using these customers to beta test an email automation workflow, you will be able to figure out the kind of stuff that works best and then apply that to other segments of your customer database.
Map Out Your Workflow
Consistency and credibility are vital in maintaining good relationships with your existing customers, and building relationships with your potential new customers.
The optimum layout, design and proofreading of your emails will make it much more likely that they will be opened by the recipient, and that they will take the action that you desire.
Your email automation platform should include project management software that will allow you to:
- Build up visual representations of every email
- Assign the appropriate staff member to each different aspect
- Create production timelines with milestones.
Monitor the Metrics
Email automation allows you could to collect a vast array of information about your customers and the best ways to interact with them.
Metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates give you extremely accurate feedback about the things that work in your email campaign, and the things that don’t work.
Most email automation software allows what is known as A/B testing, which lets you test different iterations of the same email in order to determine which one performs better.
You could, for instance, send out emails with two different subject lines, and then see which one results in the highest open rate. That way, you can model future subject lines on the one that was most successful.
That’s it. You’re done. Email automation is kind of like having an extra staff member on your team, someone who will do all of the tedious work while the rest of you head out for a long lunch.
You don’t even need to find a desk or an office for them!