Email Automation: Why You Need to Automate and How to Use It

From onboarding new subscribers and nurturing leads to creating deeper and ongoing conversations with your long-term loyal audience, email automation is ripe with benefits.

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By Tony D’anna

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Marketers need to make personal connections with consumers in order to produce revenue and email is one of the best options for doing so, as it continues to be the largest driver of ROI among digital-marketing channels.

But it can be tedious. Automated email offers the perfect way to drive conversions at scale, while not taking up too much time. Email-automation programs allow marketers to create personalized experiences based on how customers interact with their brand. There is nothing more effective than targeting a customer with the right message. While it may take a bit of effort to get up and running, creating an automated-email program can help marketers save time and increase revenue, making it worth the effort. Automation allows marketers to send messages based on a customer's behavior, speed up the production of recurring emails and effectively target messages in real time. Since automation not only makes life easier but also delivers a high return on investment, the question is not should you automate, but rather how do you get started?

Related: Email: 5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time and Start Increasing Productivity

From baby steps to advanced programs, these steps are designed to help you get your automated-email program off the ground so you can reach the right audience at well-timed moments, as well as increase traffic and revenue.

Set up your automated program.

As with implementing any new program, getting email automation up and running requires some setup on the front end. For instance, marketers will need to integrate their site management tools with their email marketing provider's platform, enabling these two databases to connect. This will help marketers connect a customer's browse behavior with a follow up email, for instance. So what does this look like? When a magazine publisher sees that a customer has just read a feature story about hotels in Mexico on their site, they can then follow up by promoting their feature story on the best places to spend spring break. The publisher knows that the reader is interested in stories on travel and will likely return to the site to read about beaches in St. Lucia.

Create a welcome series.

When a customer signs up for your email program, they are expressing a solid interest in your brand. The perfect way to nurture this new relationship is by creating an automated welcome series. These emails will allow you to introduce your brand, set mailing expectations and even ask customers what kinds of messages they'd prefer to receive.

Establish automated triggers.

Triggered messages allow you to communicate with your customer based on how they interact Triggered messages allow you to communicate with your customer based on how they interact with your brand. For instance, if you know that it is a subscriber's birthday, you can automatically send a message curated with content around famous birthdays on that day in history. If a consumer adds items to a shopping cart but leaves the site before making the purchase, the marketer can trigger an email with an offer on the product so that the customer will remember to make the purchase. Marketers can set this up by connecting their website data with their email system and setting up rules for when these emails go out. For example, if a customer adds an item to the cart and doesn't buy within 24 hours, then they will automatically receive an email reminder. By using triggered messaging, you can connect with your audience on a personal level.

Related: Forget Inbox Zero: Focus on Reaching Inbox Zen

Automate nurturing campaigns.

Some customers take a couple of emails to respond to your call to action, which is why you should consider drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are a series of campaigns that are trickled out to promote products, services or content based on a customer's response. You can automate who receives which message in a series based on how they have responded to prior messaging. For instance, if a consumer has opened an email and clicked through to the site, they might receive a message with an offer that encourages them to close the loop and subscribe to other mailings; whereas a customer who has already subscribed wouldn't receive this message.

From on-boarding new subscribers and nurturing leads to creating deeper and ongoing conversations with your long-term loyal audience, email automation is ripe with benefits. While you may have to schedule a few hours to get this set up, automated email programs will save a lot of time in the long run, and more importantly, increase your bottom line.

Related: 5 Rude Emails You Send Every Day

Tony D’anna

CEO of PostUp

Tony D’Anna is chief executive officer of PostUp, a digital and email-marketing solution company based in Austin, Texas. Tony has led the PostUp and UnsubCentral businesses since 2008. 

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