Email automation is the way to go in 2023. But don’t just take our word for it. Take Hubspot’s. They say that 71% of B2B marketers use it to grow their business. And they are not alone. Statistica says that by 2025, there will be 4.6 billion people using email. That means a lot of opportunities for you to connect with your audience. You can also use automation to deliver your messages at the right time, increase conversions, analyze their behavior, and optimize the customer journey across different channels and touchpoints.
In this blog, we will show you how email automation can help you align your email campaigns with your customer journey-mapping strategies and how that can lead to more trust, loyalty and action from your customers.
What is Email Automation?
Email automation is like having a magic wand that lets you send emails to your customers without lifting a finger. It uses smart rules that tell your emails when, how, and to whom to go to based on what your customers do or don’t do. Plus, you can save time, make your customers happy, earn more money and customize your messaging for each point of the nurturing funnel.
Email Automation Campaigns You Ought to be Running
When it comes to email automation techniques, there are different types of campaigns or automation series that are simple to execute and very effective for virtually any industry, such as:
Welcome Email Campaign: A series of emails introducing new subscribers to your brand.
Standard Promotional Campaign: A single or multiple emails that offer discounts, deals, or incentives to your subscribers.
Seasonal Campaign: A series of emails that aligns with a specific season, holiday, or event.
Triggered Email Series: A series of emails sent based on specific actions or events your subscribers take.
Post-Purchase Drip: A series of emails that follows up with your customers after they purchase.
Connect-Via-Social Campaign: A series of emails encouraging subscribers to follow you on social media platforms.
Newsletter: A regular email that provides valuable content, updates, or news to your subscribers.
Cart Abandonment Followup: A series of emails reminding subscribers of the items they left in their shopping cart.
Re-Engagement Campaign: A series of emails that tries to reactivate inactive or unresponsive subscribers.
High Level Phases of Email Customer Journey Mapping
Before we dive into how email automation works in customer journey mapping, let’s understand what customer journey mapping means. It may sound fancy, but it’s just a way of showing how customers interact with your business. We can break this down into three steps: How they discover you, buy from you, and get your support.
To connect your email automation campaign to customer journey mapping, you need to focus on the following phases of user engagement:
Onboarding is the first step of an email automation campaign. You can “Greet and Welcome” your new customers, show them what you offer, and help them get started. For instance, if they signed up for a free trial, email them tips and resources.
Create a nurture campaign that increases trust between you and your customers and converts them from potential customers to customers. For instance, if they download a brochure, email them exclusive content and a special offer related directly to that brochures' content.
Retention is the last phase of your email automation funnel. Customer retention relies on customer satisfaction and engagement. A retention email, or series of emails, is sent to existing customers to maintain their loyalty. These emails vary in form but share the goal of enhancing education about your brand and deepening customer loyalty. Moreover, they aim to minimize effort for the customer over time and provide exceptional service with easy calls to action.
Know the Difference Between Customer Personalization and Marketer Segmentation
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, personalization and segmentation are different concepts. While segmentation is all about marketers, personalization is about the customer.
Segmentation refers to dividing your customers into smaller groups, while personalization means tailoring your messages to each customer’s needs, preferences, and behavior. Here’s how it can help you transform your email automation strategy to address both your needs as the marketer and the users' needs as the customer:
- Email automation tools can be used for personalizing triggered email sequences, cart abandonment emails, and re-engagement email series to grab your customer’s attention.
- Personalization helps you create a better customer experience and loyalty by expressing to your customers that you know, value, and care about their needs.
- With properly personalized and segmented emails, you can reduce your costs and increase your return on investment by sending your customers fewer but more effective emails.
- When emails are relevant, users engage. A majority of marketers agree that subscriber segmentation (78%), message personalization (72%), and email automation campaigns (71%) are the most effective strategies for email marketing campaigns, based on a recent Hubspot survey.
Some ways you can personalize and segment your email automation campaigns are:
Dynamic content is a game-changer for email marketing, adding a special touch and increasing conversion rates. With dynamic content, you can personalize your newsletters, delivering exclusive information tailored to specific subscribers. This customization improves click-through rates as people engage with content relevant to their interests. Additionally, by utilizing subscribers' shopping behaviors, targeted cross-sales campaigns can be created, boosting sales. Not only does dynamic content save time by consolidating multiple marketing messages into a single email, but it also enables the sending of ultra-personalized emails that drive conversions. Change the email content based on the customer’s data, such as name, gender, interests, etc.
Merge tags are placeholders that represent contact data in your CSV file. These customizable variables, such as First Name, Last Name, and Company, allow you to personalize the emails you send in your campaigns. By utilizing merge tags, you can increase customer engagement and improve email open rates. These tags are automatically created from the column headers in your CSV file, ensuring that each contact in your campaign receives a personalized email.
Create your email based on the recipient’s actions or inactions, such as clicking a link, visiting a page or opening an email, etc. Once you've collected and organized behavioral data, you can create segments of subscribers based on their behavior. Segment options include purchase behavior (frequency, recency, value, product category), website behavior (pages visited, time spent, bounce rate, conversions), and email behavior (opens, clicks, replies, unsubscribes). Utilizing this data, you can send targeted offers like loyalty programs to frequent buyers, re-engagement campaigns to inactive customers, content offers to engaged blog visitors, or win-back emails to unsubscribed subscribers. These segments provide valuable insights for improving email campaigns and informing stakeholders.
Order history provides valuable insights for boosting sales and making informed decisions. By analyzing data and trends, you can accurately manage inventory, ensuring stocked shelves and avoiding missed sales opportunities. Understanding what sells well allows you to plan promotions and feature popular products both in-store and online, while discontinuing less popular items. Additionally, order history enables targeted marketing campaigns by allowing you to send relevant messages and offers to specific customer groups based on their past purchases. Segment and personalize your email based on the recipient’s previous purchases, such as product category, price range, frequency, and more.
Location-based email marketing utilizes customer location data to send targeted and personalized emails. While mobile marketing focuses on real-time location using GPS, email marketing relies on broader location information such as zip codes. Location-based email marketing takes advantage of static data points like city, state, country, and zip code to create region-specific content, zip code-centric emails, and city-based emails. These emails can provide personalized experiences based on the customer's location and can be combined with location-based mobile marketing for a seamless customer journey. By leveraging available location data creatively, marketers can deliver highly relevant and engaging location-based email marketing messages that enhance the customer experience.
Why Timing and Triggers are Essential for Successful Email Automation Campaigns
“#1 — TIMING. Timing is everything when it comes to email marketing. If you send too many promotional emails or run too many sales…..You’ll burn out your list.” ~ Vlad| Direct Response on Twitter.
Timing and trigger-based automated emails are sent to your customers at the right time and based on the right action or event. According to SmartInsights, general trends indicate that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most popular days for trigger emails, and one should send them at 10 AM and 2 PM for the best results.
To measure the effectiveness of your email automation triggers, and the timing thereof, several metrics can be used. Take a look at the total number of emails sent, open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribing rate, site traffic, and conversion.
Common mistakes marketers make when executing email automation triggers include buying third-party email lists, not syncing the right triggers, sending too many emails, and not analyzing performance metrics continually over time.
If you want to do it the right way, and we assume you do, utilize opt-in forms to collect interested users' emails, add value to messages, provide clear call-to-action buttons, keep messages personalized and humanized, and check triggered email performance against set metrics that align with company objectives.
How to Measure and Optimize Performance for Email
The phrase "Data is King" holds true, emphasizing the importance of measurement and optimization for your email campaigns. To ensure success, it's essential to analyze email performance effectively. Here are some compelling reasons why measurement and optimization matter and how you can approach them with excellence.
- You can track how your clients interact with your emails. Use Google Analytics to measure email traffic, bounce rate, and conversions.
- It is easy to find out the loopholes in your customer journey. For instance, surveys, feedback tools, or heat maps can help you find pain points and opportunities to keep contacts moving through the sales funnel.
- The use of interactive email marketing tools can help you assess how campaigns affect consumer behavior, loyalty, and satisfaction.
- You can use data analysis to experiment with different email elements over time, such as design, content, and personalization. For instance, use multivariate testing to find the best design version of an email.
The right blend of all these steps can help you enhance the customer experience and boost your email revenue. Many email automation providers, like MailModo, have templates available for email design, automation funnels, and common audience segments to help you get started. Customize these elements for your company in a few clicks and you'll have boosted conversions and retention in no time at all.
How to Craft the Ideal Email
Email automation campaigns are some of the best ways to deliver personalized and timely messages to your customers based on their actions and preferences. Here's how you can create great email funnels that nurture and convert:
Pay Attention to the Structure
Crafting a perfect email requires attention to various elements. Starting with the "from" name, it's crucial to choose a familiar and recognizable name for better open rates. Creating an engaging subject line that focuses on the benefits and has around 28-39 characters can significantly improve open and click-through rates. Utilizing a cohesive preheader that complements the subject line adds value and provides a snippet of the email's content. Clearly explaining the purpose of the email establishes trust and helps readers decide whether to continue reading. Keeping the email short, concise, and visually appealing is important to capture and maintain readers' attention.
Visualize and personalize your audience
Design and write your email with a picture of your target audience in mind. Use catchy subject lines, compelling copy, strong Calls-to-Action(CTA), and attractive images. DemandSage claims that emails with personalized subject lines increase open rates by 35%. Personalized subject lines show that you care about your audience and their interests, and they can help you stand out from the crowd.
Test your email campaigns regularly
A/B testing is a crucial practice in email marketing to improve campaign performance. It involves sending two different variants (A and B) to your email list and analyzing which one performs better. A/B testing allows you to make evidence-based decisions. Common elements to test include subject lines, preview text, sender name, email timing, call-to-action text, landing pages, email length, design, subscriber greetings, and new ideas. By consistently testing your campaigns, you can maximize engagement and drive better results. With user-friendly email apps available, conducting A/B tests is convenient and highly recommended.
Despite being the oldest digital marketing channel with a long history, email marketing is going strong and continues to deliver great performance for marketing teams across the globe. With the right email marketing strategy, companies are improving their customer journey mapping and getting the best ROI on all their omnichannel efforts. To sum it up, here’s a reminder of how you can leverage email automation to improve your customer journey mapping:
- Segment your customer based on their behavior and interests.
- Create personalized and interactive email campaigns for each audience segment you have.
- Measure and optimize your email performance.
- Use customer feedback, heatmapping, and unsubscribe rates to know if you're on the right track.
- Execute proper implementation of different types of campaigns to build rapport, satisfaction, loyalty, and business amongst your customer base.
Email automation can be complex and challenging, with multiple campaigns needed to nurture contacts throughout the customer journey. Simplify this process with the right combination of AI assistance, best practices as outlined in this guide, and content that captures your target audience. This combination has the potential to grow your business exponentially.
The right email strategy is an important part of any company's omnichannel marketing efforts, but we know you have much more than just email to worry about. Work with MarinOne today to streamline your advertising and make sure all your marketing channels are working together effectively.
Aquibur Rahman is a guest contributor to Marin Software.