Why You Need Email Marketing Automation and How to Use It by @donnaamos

by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

There are 3.2 billion email accounts in the world, and 91% of email users check their accounts every day. It’s likely that your customers and target audiences are part of that number. As marketers seek to make personal connections with consumers to generate income, email is one of the best options for doing it. In fact, email marketing automation is the largest driver of ROI among digital-marketing channels.

Automating your email is the perfect way to drive conversions while not taking up too much time. Email-automation programs allow you to create personalized email interactions based on how customers respond to your advertising, website, products, or services. Targeting the customer or potential customer with the right message at the right time is an extremely effective tool in your marketing and sales arsenal.

Investing the initial time to create an automated-email program helps you save time and increase revenue; it is well worth the effort and expenditure. Email marketing automation makes it possible for you to send messages based on an internet user’s behavior and effectively target messages in real time. Automating email responses to customer interactions delivers a high ROI and takes a load of effort off of you. So, how do you get started?

What is Email Marketing Automation?

Email automation is also sometimes called “email drip campaigns” or “marketing automation.” Automating email marketing is about building relationships with customers and target audiences. By automating the email response process, you combine customer data and your marketing channels to enhance the relationship with consumers. Email automation, if designed correctly, can become an extremely personal channel of communication.

Automated email campaigns can be simple or complex, depending on what you what to accomplish and the time and resources you can invest.

  • A simple email automation campaign can begin with just a few emails timed as a response to a single interaction, like when a user joins your email list.
  • A complex email automation campaign can consist of varied email messages that stem from a user’s interaction that nurtures another response over time. I can include reminders of items left in a shopping cart, specials on items previously viewed, further enticements to convince a sale after downloading an eBook, and more. The campaign is complex because various emails are triggered by numerous different user responses.

How Does Email Marketing Automation Work?

Email marketing automation allows you to create email workflows that automatically send email messages to subscribers once certain actions are taken. These workflows are initiated by the behavior that acts as a trigger, combined with the user’s data. Personalized, relevant emails are created and sent to nurture positive responses and move the user along the sales funnel.

Example triggers for a B2B company:

  • A visitor views a landing page but doesn’t submit the form
  • A lead downloads several content items but has not contacted you directly
  • A potential client starts following your social mediaaccounts

Example triggers for a B2C company:

  • A visitor views several products but didn’t add any to their shopping cart
  • A consumer places products in their shopping cart but doesn’t buy them
  • A consumer makes a purchase

Email marketing automation workflows can be used for a host of different purposes. Companies can create workflows to nurture existing customer relationships that encourage making additional purchases. Some workflows work well for both B2B and B2C companies:

  • Welcome emails – These are best sent immediately after someone joins your subscriber list — either by registering their email or making a purchase — when they’re most receptive to hearing from you. B2B companies should include a link to a relevant content piece; B2C companies should include an exclusive offer or coupon code.
  • Feedback request emails – Show subscribers that their opinion matters to you with these emails. 1. Negative Trigger – When someone unsubscribes, send a message asking for their reasoning and feedback.
  • Positive Trigger – After a brief time interval following a purchase.
  • Re-engagement emails – These messages aim to reconnect you with subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails over a set time (say, 60 days). Offer the subscriber an incentive to re-engage, such as a free eBook or special discount for purchases.

Practically any action a user takes when engaging with your company can be tracked and used for email marketing. Using website visitor information, create triggers that will deliver the most relevant and meaningful email messages to your responders.

Why Should I Use Email Marketing Automation?

  1. Create segmented email lists that are automatically updated based on user data
  2. Quickly convert website users into customers
  3. Easily continue your engagement with existing and potential customers
  4. Increase efficiency by automating repetitive customer relationship management tasks
  5. Improve engagement by delivering subscribers timely, relevant, and personalized email messages

Some companies may fear that email marketing automation may make their messages seem impersonal. The opposite is actually the case. By automating your email responses to consumer actions, your business will seem more personal. Therefore, your messages will become more effective and in turn, increase engagement and ROI for your business.

How do you use email marketing automation in your small business? How did you begin? What have you learned from it? What are your most effective email automation practices? We’d love for you to share your experiences and lessons with our readers. Enter your comments in the box below.



Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.

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