What is email marketing automation?
(Cue classical music with a Joanna Lumley voice over) ‘Email Automation is the finely tuned orchestra of beautifully designed emails containing snippets of information that are strategically placed within workflows and/or triggered by the behaviours and engagement of your website visitors. Thus, creating a personalised and targeted customer journey whilst reducing the time your team spend following up with potential leads all while still maintaining a personalised experience.’
Have you switched off yet? Did you fall asleep?
I promise I won’t be pompous throughout the rest of this blog and before you get distracted and leave me to go and watch funny videos on Tik Tok, read this blog to discover what you’ve been missing out on by not using automation and I promise you, you’ll be on the phone to us before your next coffee break.
My experience of automation so far in my career in email marketing has been an interesting journey. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs (I’m assuming you’re an avid follower) automation wasn’t widely used when I started out (but neither were mobile phones, and look how they have progressed).
Anyway, I think that’s what makes me the perfect candidate to tell you about the benefits in laymans terms and how you need this in your marketing strategy, more than you think you do. I can promise you that there’ll be no jargon and no tech talk – mostly because I don’t talk tech or understand jargon.
The benefits of email marketing automation
When all is running smoothly, the return you get from email automation far outweighs the effort that you need to put in. With a 70.5% higher open rate and 152% higher click-through rate than generic email newsletters, the power of automated email marketing speaks for itself.
Benefits include boosting sales, turning leads into customers and keeping in touch with your audience while you’re busy running your business. There is also the added bonus of annoying your customers a lot less (therefore resulting in fewer unsubscribes). We’ve all had those annoying email campaigns from a clueless marketing department that seem to be ‘just chucking emails out’ and flooding your inbox with irrelevant information. I tend to unsubscribe from those as they don’t hold my interest.
Don’t make the same mistake as those companies: be a bit more considerate with your recipients by taking those few simple steps to automate and segment your emails.
Why? Well… your business doesn’t just sell one product or sell a ‘one-size-fits-all’ t-shirt that’s available only in one colour, does it? If you did, then sending one email out with one type of content to all your subscribers would be a perfectly acceptable strategy.
But I’m guessing you sell an amazing array of products and/or services with more new products and/or services on the way. Some of your customers will want to hear about certain products or services, but they’ll have no interest in others. You’d be wasting your (and their) time trying to engage with them about things they’re not interested in. So by making your emails work a little smarter and by using automation to tailor your message to the right audience, you’ll get a better result than you’d ever thought possible.
It can also be as simple or as complicated as you want – or need – it to be. From triggered welcome emails to nurturing sequences to full on drip campaigns, the complexity of the sequence is totally up to you.
In this blog I’d like to start with the most simple form of automation but perhaps the most important: the welcome sequence.
The welcome/opt-in confirmation sequence
The welcome sequence is a very much needed ‘Hey there’, and hype-builder for anyone who has decided to join your mailing list. Maybe that was by filling in a form on your website, or opting in when chatting with a sales rep. Either way, the fact they have chosen to join your mailing list is the marketer’s version of finding gold dust, so getting in touch with your new subscriber and building that relationship right from the get go is vital to helping convince them to become a paying (or returning) customer.
It’s like you’re hosting a party – you wouldn’t just ignore a guest arriving, would you? You greet them at the door, take their coat and ask them if they want a drink. The welcome sequence works in a similar way – it sets off your relationship with your new subscriber on the right foot by making them feel… well… welcomed!
Have a look through some welcome emails we’ve hand picked to show you some examples of how the big companies treat new found followers.
So how do I set this up?
The perfect place to start is your website. If we are going to create a seamless integration and capture information straight from your new subscribers to your email service provider (ESP), you’ll need to have data capture forms. Most often, you’ll probably call this a sign-up form, and in an ideal world it should automatically send your new subscriber information to your ESP.
If you already have forms that capture information but don’t automatically link to your ESP – that’s fine, so long as you know where that information goes and you can get it into your ESP manually in a way that will trigger your welcome sequence.
Using automation in mmunicMail
These days building forms for your website doesn’t need to be a complicated process either. You need a good Email Service Provider which allows you to easily build forms without the need for any coding. Know of any? Well you’re in luck because I may just have the answer!
The mmunicMail system is perfect for this. It’s easy to use, cost-effective and if you are a little unsure of what you are doing then mmunicMail also comes with a team of experienced email marketers to start you on your journey. Yes, actual people to talk to as and when you need them – over the phone, email or through video call. We can even share screens and walk you through every stage of the process.
When building your website form in mmunicMail, you can collect as much or as little information as you want in your forms but we recommend that you keep it short and sweet, you don’t want to lose their interest by asking for their cat’s name or what they last ate.
In mmunicMail you have a range of different options for your forms – they can be landing pages, popups or embedded forms. Creating a form with any of these options, happily, are quite beginner-friendly. You design the form using a drag and drop editor and control. Alternatively, you can just set up the actions of what you want your form to do (i.e. when someone fills this form in, add them to this list and start this welcome sequence), and then hand the basic code over to a web designer to make your form look all snazzy on your website.
(Psst… if you’re a mmunicMail user and you’ve not tried out our Form builder features yet, or you need some help with it, just get in touch with us!)
Once you’ve got your mmunicMail form set up, it will automatically integrate with the mmunicMail platform. As soon as a website visitor fills it in and clicks the submit button, that person’s info is added to a list or lists that you’ve selected in your mmunicMail account. It’s like magic.
From there, you can now make it so that this new subscriber becomes the equivalent of a new person arriving at your party. This basically means offering them the welcome you want them to experience – whether that’s an email with a welcome discount, an email with a get-to-know-you survey, or an email with an exclusive offer. You can do all three and more still if you like! The comforting thing to know here though is that, once again, you control this all within mmunicMail’s drag and drop Automation builder.
But… I’m scared to go into the Automation screen!
The diagram below shows you just how easy and uncomplicated mmunicMail’s Automation builder looks like – this, for instance, is an example of a double opt-in email automation, where we send one email asking a new subscriber to confirm their email address, and then once they’ve done that, we send a follow up email to thank them and welcome them to the gang!
So, now you know how to set up a simple automation sequence that integrates with your website and captures data. The next step is to put your recipients into a nurture sequence where they can start receiving a series of marketing emails from you but that’s for part two of my automation series of blogs!
If this process interests you and you’d like to know more, just get in touch with us. We gladly give all our customers a helping hand getting their automation journey started. Fear not though if you’re not a current customer – you can still get in touch with us and talk to a real human. We’d be delighted to get to know you and your business, help you out and give you a personalisation introduction to mmunicMail.