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Automating email marketing customer journeys

Posted by: Jaine Bolton

Categories: Marketing, Digital,

Wed, 09 Nov 2016

Automated email marketing lets you create a series of targeted and personalised emails delivering information to your customers right when they need it.

This works based on unique actions or triggers your customers take. Triggers can be things like a new subscriber, clicking a certain link, a date or even an interaction with your website.

Planning and creating customer journeys within your email marketing offers great opportunities for personalisation, making automated emails more effective than a one-off campaign. Plus companies who send automated emails are 133% more likely to send relevant messages that correspond with a customer’s purchase cycle.

When should you use email marketing automation?

If you have any content that you want to deliver at a specific time or following a certain action, then automation can certainly streamline the process.  But, keep in mind that the more targeted your messaging gets, the longer it might take to plan, test, and develop new content. A few basic workflows can still be powerful and far more manageable if you are starting out in automation.

Here are 5 ways you can use marketing automation emails as part of your customer journeys:

  1. A welcome series
  2. Educational content
  3. Events and reminders
  4. Re-engagement campaigns
  5. Feedback and loyalty

A welcome series
Automatically start converting website signups into paying customers by sending a series of welcome emails helping them get to know your company and your brand. Strike while interest is high with vouchers, discounts off their first order or a free trial. Tell them what types of content you will be sending them in future or offer tips on how to get the most out of the products or services you offer.

Educational Content
Do you offer online courses, e-books or webinars? Break that information into a series of emails that can be sent over days, weeks, or months. Educational content is also great for lead nurturing taking place over a longer period of time. Emailing automated content primarily focused on adding value or solving your prospects problems also offers consistent touchpoints for your sales team. Consider sending content like blog posts, white papers, videos, webinars, infographics, and relevant industry news.

Events and reminders
Use what customer data you have such as birthdays, anniversaries, seasonal events and sign-up dates as a great way to send a reminder based on a date and deliver a timely, personalised message to your customer.

Re-engagement campaigns
Losing existing customers can cost your business lots of money. It can be challenging to develop a series of win-back emails, but re-engaging customers by just 5% can increase a company’s profitability by 75% according to Bain & Co.

Feedback and loyalty
Research suggests it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Customers who purchase from you on a regular basis are important to your business, so make them feel valued. Set up a series of automated emails that make your VIP customers feel special and encourage spending.
And, don’t underestimate the importance of feedback in making your customers feel valued and in gauging how you are doing against expectations. Send out surveys, product reviews or provide early access email promotions to customers who actively engage with your products and services.

So now you know how email marketing automation works and the types of customer journeys you can create to send emails, let’s look at how you can approach setting these up for your business.

Defining your goals.
What is it that you actually want to achieve? A simple enough question but one that you must have clear in your mind before you even begin designing an email or creating content. Your marketing automation campaigns must add value to your business. The key to this is to align your email marketing efforts with your company’s wider marketing goals & KPIs.

Are you looking to attract—and sell to—new customers?
Then consider focussing on building your subscriber list and sending campaigns that encourage action.

Do you need to keep your existing customers happy and coming back for more?
Find out what works and what doesn’t, what sells and what doesn’t and make more of the good stuff that is relevant and works to your customers and just keep improving this with every email you send.

Are you fresh as a daisy and just starting out?
You may need to focus on building brand loyalty and getting your name out there. Create great content that is valuable to your audience and tells a great story through your email marketing.

Get your data ready.
You probably have a lot of data ready to use. See what customer data is available from your CRM system or ecommerce data from your website. Good email marketing platforms allow integration with all of these, enabling you to bring together your data and use it to create email triggers.

Defining your triggers and rules.
Triggers start the automated customer journey and your rules will define what happens along the way. Triggers could be list, segment or time based and the rules associated with these could be time sensitive. For example the trigger could be the customer’s birthday and the rule is to send the email 5 days before with a discount code. Or signing up for a webinar is the trigger and sending a reminder 1 day before is the rule.

Creating your content and offers
To ensure you create focused emails that generate results, you must keep in mind the goals of organisation when planning out your offers & content. For example if you are on boarding a new customer you may want to create a welcoming first impression, but also help them get started on their own and reduce the amount of support a customer service agent has to provide. Content like; what they can expect, next steps, training resources and FAQ’s can all be useful content that you can craft an educational email series around.

In conclusion, automating your email marketing, by defining customer journeys is an effective and time saving way to grow your business.
There are a number of platforms out there to let you manage this process, but if you need help getting started or to improve the results you are already seeing, we would be happy to help.

Sources: Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and www.pardot.com/resources/resource-library/Pardot



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