Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Automating email marketing

Automate your email marketing and increase profits!

Automating email marketing is all about “doing more with less”. It’s like having a private “virtual assistant” working for you so you can focus on growing your business. You’ll profit by saving time and increasing sales and customer retention. And higher sales bring higher profits, so you see, this game really is a “win-win”.

Just like newsletters and product promotions, automated email messages play an important role in your marketing mix. Whether it’s a one-time “triggered” email or a lengthy series, all you need to do is create your list, compose your message(s), set the delivery intervals, schedule and forget about it! And of course, you can always tweak anything you need to at any time. But most importantly, automated email messages have the power to keep your audiences engaged and informed instantly, or over a period of weeks, even months − without investing an extra minute (or dime) of your time!

To simplify email message automation for you, we’ve highlighted some common uses so you can get measurable results right from the start.

Welcome messages
Say ‘Hello!’ to your new customers and stay in touch by sending timed emails designed to introduce them to the benefits of your product, brand and company, and how to get the most benefit from their purchase or subscription. These emails, called autoresponder or follow-up campaigns, usually include 2-4 emails sent over a period of 2-4 weeks, but, of course, it varies depending on your audience profile, timing, etc. These welcome and follow-up messages will get your subscribers revved up and ready for more!

Drip campaigns
We all know it take 5 or more contacts to make a sale, so most successful campaigns contain an element of automation called a “drip campaign”. Much like the welcome messages, these emails include a series of emails sent over a period of days or weeks, but they are much more focused on bringing the customer along the sales cycle and to the point of purchase. The messages should be informative, targeted, and carefully choreographed to answer their objections and build interest in your product or service. This type of campaign is probably the most powerful revenue generating tool you have in your email arsenal!

Trial tips
Your Free Trial subscribers are like a vein of gold waiting to be mined! Don’t miss your chance to convince subscribers who are already using your product or service of the benefits of upgrading to the real deal! Send them automated messages with value-added materials, tutorials, and testimonials from other enthusiastic customers, etc. This type of autoresponder campaign is a “power tool” for sales and sign ups!

Event/webinar campaign
Don’t let your clients miss the event they signed up for! It could mean lost sales or worse, lost customers! Use email automation to send them some or all of the following to get them back on track: event information, invitation, schedule, potential benefits, or everything summarized in an eye-catching template. Make it easy for them to remember why they signed up in the first place. Let them know you encourage their participation because it will help their business!

Birthday and anniversary greetings
Show your customers that you remember the important milestones in their lives! Whenever a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary draws close, choose the perfect template for the event or business, and personalize it with a message just for them. If possible, include a special coupon or small gift to let them know you value their loyalty. Remember, you can do all this ahead of time, and it will go out on time − automatically!

Know your customer! It’s really important to monitor customer satisfaction with your products, company, support and service, etc. – and not just once in a blue moon! There are many ways you can do this and some involve…you guessed it – email automation! For example, you can set up a “triggered” email message to automatically ask recipients for feedback every time they consult Customer Service. Or you could schedule a short survey to go out to every customer that purchases a certain product or service. There are a million good reasons to find out what your customers are thinking…and doing. Remember, customer satisfaction is the key to your success, and email automation can help!

Transactional messages
The traditional goal of these automated messages is to confirm an action. While some have broadened the definition to include anything that confirms OR requires and action, we think that just confuses. Automated transactional messages are usually sent when a recipient signs up for a newsletter, downloads an e-book, makes a reservation, wins an online auction, buys a product in an e-shop, etc. They provide a record of the transaction and an e-bookmark to easily find the document at a later date, but − that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. It never hurts to add a tasteful ad or special offer in one corner of the document!

Educational campaigns
These automated campaigns help to keep your Value Proposition in the recipient’s mind. Subscribers really appreciate information that helps them gain more benefits from using a product or service. For example, if you run a job portal, you could schedule an educational series on how to create a stand-out CV; another one might be on how to deal with stress, and so forth. Everyone appreciates receiving helpful and useful guides and tips – especially when they’re free! Remember, helping customers succeed helps your brand succeed.

Inactive lead campaign
What if recipients stop responding to your emails? Even if it seems like they’ve forgotten about you, you shouldn’t give up! Most subscribes live busy lives and deal with a lot of inbox clutter. To renew their interest, you’ll want to develop an email automation campaign similar to your Welcome and drip email series, except this time target recipients who have been inactive for say, the last 6 months. The purpose of these messages is to remind them of the value of remaining a subscriber and “sweeten the pot” with some special offers to motivate them to action!

Renewal reminders
Most customers appreciate it when you remind them with an automated email that their subscription-based contract is about to expire. It spares them the trouble of an unexpected termination notification, and lets them know you value them as a subscriber.

We hope we’ve provided you with enough automation options to start with, or perhaps to update what you’re currently doing. How and when you use the power of automation depends completely on your knowledge of your business and your customers. Of course, having the right email marketing tools is essential…but we’ve got you covered there!

Good luck and please send us any stories or tips you’d like to share about email automation!

By hAng keBun with No comments


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