Email automation can seem cold and impersonal – but we think it’s just an image problem.
Actually, if it’s done the right way, with some creative thought behind it, it’s the exact opposite.
Email automation can give your prospects and customers exactly the information they need – quicker than you could ever provide it manually. It can provide a tailored experience, and show your audience you understand them and their needs.
Here’s how I discovered the human side of email automation.
First: the platform
I first realised the possibilities that email automation held for business owners when my mentor at the time, Susan Jones from Ready Set Start Up, suggested I trial Active Campaign. You’ve probably heard of it.
There are other great platforms out there too, including Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, but I tried Active Campaign and liked it – so it’s been my tool of choice ever since. I love the user interface and how easy it is for ‘non-techies’ to understand. And simplicity is crucial for business owners because we’re so busy wearing multiple hats.
So what are the benefits you can see from email automation?
Six quick benefits of email automation
1. You can show your customers that they’re important. You can do that by using separate automations with targeted content for different audience segments. This way, you’ll show your customers and prospects that you really do understand them, rather than just lumping them all in the same “monthly newsletter” bucket.
Example: don’t just send a monthly newsletter to EVERYONE in your mailing list. Create a few separate emails for your different segments (whatever they may be). You might change, for example, the introduction, the first piece of content or the subject line. You don’t have to create a whole new email – even a little effort to set it up will be well worth it.
2. Through email automation, you can get clear data on who downloads your content so you can nurture your prospects with the information they want. If you’re someone that loves stats and figures, you’ll be able to report on who downloads what and who clicks on what links. Over time, this will enable you to create clearer customer profiles.
Example: you might want to show your content on a spectrum from top of funnel to bottom. You can then overlay your data to determine exactly how far down the sales cycle your prospects are. Your sales team will love it!
3. Email automation saves time in the long run. I’m not going to argue – it takes time and effort to get successful automations up and running. But the thing is, once they’re done, they’re nurturing your prospects and customers for you with little input needed.
Example: you could ‘outsource’ your onboarding cycle for new customers with a well-crafted automation sequence. It might take you a week to set up, but it’ll save you months in the long-term. And you don’t have to lose the human touch with some effort on your tone of voice.
4. It can shorten your sales and marketing cycle and help you make the most of the resources you have. Instead of a continued “just following up” email or call, your sales team (or you – if you’re a solopreneur) can instead focus on adding value to your prospects through the use of targeted and informative content.
Example: prospects suffering from a bit of inertia could be delivered your killer piece of sales content; while those who have just signed up can keep the good vibes flowing with a feel-good video or personal story.
5. You can sort the valuable leads from the not-so-valuable. By monitoring the interaction your contacts have with your email automation, over time you can provide contacts with a score as to how valuable a lead they are. And with a clever addition or two you can get the whole company involved.
Example: most CRM systems that do lead scoring will let you set notifications and actions based on score changes. So if a lead’s score jumps over the weekend, your sales team will have a reminder waiting for them on Monday morning to get in touch.
6. You’ll increase customer retention. We all know the saying “it’s cheaper to maintain an existing customer than win a new one”. Automated campaigns that are created using targeted and valuable content; can go a long way to demonstrating to your existing customers why they should stay with you.
Example: Regular emails are a great way to stay top of mind. As you develop your sequences, you can subtly communicate what’s relevant to long-term customers – like, say, how good your service is, or that you have an exciting new product or feature.
When it comes down to it, as small business owners, we generally get a lot of emails every day. So the one thing you want to ensure your email automations do is to set you apart from other companies or contacts.
Be creative, but also ensure you choose the right audience for the right topic. Email automation doesn’t have to make you cringe and it can, in fact, be extremely beneficial to both you – and your intended target. Go about it the right way, and you’re further on your path to marketing success.