Throughout our industrial history we have learned that greater automation has meant greater operational efficiency, greater output, greater propensity to reach a larger audience and (at least potentially) greater profits.
If your run your own Small to Medium Sized Business you know that anything you can do to boost efficiency and thus increase productivity is an avenue worth exploring. Especially when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. Yet, while you may apply automation to your social media feeds, scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts for optimal impact, you’ve yet to consider interacting with your target audience through their inboxes with email automation.
Perhaps you’re not convinced that customers and prospects still read outbound emails. Maybe you aren’t sure how to leverage email automation for optimal results. Or perhaps you simply have absolutely no idea how to start and need someone to demystify the steps to automated email marketing for you.
If this is the case, your day is about to get a whole lot better!
Here, we’ll look at how SMBs just like yours can benefit by effectively leveraging email marketing automation. We’ll also break it down into easy-to-follow steps to ensure that you can hit the ground running. By reading this post you’ll be able to take the guesswork out of email automation and lay the foundations for a campaign that’s successful from day one…
How SMBs can leverage email marketing automation
Still not convinced about the potential benefits of email marketing automation? That’s okay. Prudence is an admirable quality in an entrepreneur. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your business can benefit from, and should be using email automation…
It’s cost and time efficient
Arguably the biggest selling point for email automation is its cost efficiency relative to other forms of marketing. You don’t have to pay for costly TV or radio air time or PPC ad campaigns which (depending on which keywords you use) can get very expensive. Even direct mail campaigns come with pretty significant overheads in terms of printing and distribution costs. What’s more, email content is relatively time efficient to produce, especially when compared to something like a video ad.
And you can send emails to thousands of subscribers in seconds for no cost whatsoever. All this combines to make automated emails one of the most time and cost efficient forms of marketing there is.
It keeps you at the forefront of a customer’s mind
In an era where consumers have more choice than ever, it’s imperative to position yourself at the forefront of a customer’s mind if you hope to retain them at the expense of your competitors. Automated emails allow you to do exactly that in an extremely cost effective way. You can keep customers abreast of what’s going on with you via automated email newsletters or give them exclusive special offers and promo codes via email thereby building value in your brand. Speaking of which…
It strengthens your brand and your relationship with customers
Why do you think coffee lovers flock to Starbucks and McDonalds gets long lines whenever people are going on their lunch break? Is it because they have the best product? No, it’s because the legions of customers already trust and have a good relationship with the brand. They know that even if their experience doesn’t rock their world, they likely won’t get any unpleasant surprises either.
Automated email marketing helps you to become a more known and trusted commodity in the eyes of the customer. You can use it to send vouchers and discounts so they are assured that they’re getting peak value from their brand. You can use it to show how much their custom means to you and help them get to know the people that make your business great. It can also be a great way to disseminate blog posts, infographics, tutorials and other forms of thought leadership. This can build more value and trust in you and your brand.
A good job requires the right tools
Hopefully, we’ve explored some of the reasons why email automation is a definite win for your business. But how do you go about making it work for the unique needs of your business. While we’ll get into the steps to automated email marketing shortly, it’s worth talking about some of the tools that can make integrating automated email marketing into your operations easy and seamless.
- iContact: makes it quick and easy to compose mass emails by customizing ready made templates.
- Mailchimp: Does all of the above as well as allowing you to compose new emails from scratch. Also has A/B testing so you can try out multiple variants to see which gets the most traction.
- Get Response: Great for list management, allowing you to create different tiers of outgoing emails. Also has sophisticated tracking features.
- Vertical Response: Makes it quick and easy to compose compelling email copy. Also boasts social sharing, tracking and over 98% deliverability.
Steps to automate email marketing
Now we know some of the benefits of automated email marketing and the tools that can help to facilitate it, let’s break down the steps to automated email marketing. Whether you want to send out a regular newsletter, disseminate vouchers and coupons or inform subscribers of special events, the same steps apply…
Step 1: Grow your email list with attractive incentives
You want your email copy to have as broad an audience as possible, right? So let’s start by beefing up that email subscribers list. A good way to do this is with a free piece of cornerstone content like an eBook or whitepaper. This adds value for the prospect at the tiny cost of their email address. Alternatively incentivize subscriptions with special offers or “one time only” discounts. Use a form builder to create a landing page with a compelling Call To Action and watch those numbers grow.
Step 2: Segment your audience
If you’re to get meaningful engagement with your target audience, they need to feel like the emails you send out are of benefit to them. You can do this by separating email newsletter copy into discrete topics and using different sign up sheets for each topic. That way you can ensure that email copy is always relevant to the recipient.
Step 3: Use an appropriate email sequence
You wouldn’t want to bore readers by sending the same copy month in and month out, would you? Use an appropriate email sequence to ensure that the recipient gets maximum value and thus gives you more chance of meaningful engagement. A good email sequence might look something like this;
- Welcome email (a bit about you, your business and how you can benefit them).
- Popular blog posts or social content (building value through content).
- Social proof (providing value by sharing happy customers’ ratings and testimonials).
- Offer a targeted discount or special offer in line with their purchase or browsing history.
- Offer of a free trial or discount code for first-time customers.
Automated email marketing can be a powerful tool in your ongoing efforts to achieve genuine customer engagement and build value in your brand for new prospects. However, like any tool it needs to be wielded appropriately for peak efficiency.
Use the tools and strategies provided here and you’ll be sure to create an email marketing campaign that hits the ground running and results in a continuously robust ROI.