3 Email Automation Techniques and How the Top Tools Stack Up

email marketing automation techniques
There are close to 3.7 billion email users worldwide. That means that there is absolutely no reason a business shouldn’t use email marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.  What better way is there to reach hundreds, thousands, even millions of potential customers? Although there is a huge opportunity in email marketing, it can also be difficult to stand out in a sea of marketing emails that flood inboxes.

The key is to find ways to foster customer engagement and provide content that resonates with the viewer without expending an exorbitant amount of time and resources.  Businesses continue to find success with easy-to-use automation techniques through modern email marketing campaigns.

What is email automation?

An automated email campaign is set up once and is intuitively sent to subscribers once they meet certain triggers as defined by the company. It may seem contradictory, but email automation enables a personalized approach to reaching customers.  Obviously, as email subscriber lists grow, it is not feasible to send individual emails to each subscriber.  So how does one hone in on customer needs and wants and avoid generic mass emails?

Transactional Messages

transactional messagesIt is incredibly important to capture customer attention from the start.  Confusing information, poor design, and device incompatibility, are just a few ways businesses are failing their customers and losing sales from the get-go.  Most online retailers use the  basics when communicating with new customers. Think purchase receipt, welcome email, offer….. another offer…. and more offers. Whether a new or existing customer makes a purchase, businesses have an opportunity to engage and learn new things about that person.

This information can then be used to further personalize messaging rather than sending blanket offers that probably end up in spam folders. Integrating your email marketing platform with your eCommerce store allows for seamless marketing as soon as the purchase is made.

How they stack up:

  • Campaign Monitor: The Campaign Monitor email marketing platform integrates with eCommerce stores like Shopify and Magento to allow online retailers to dynamically send personalized messages to customers after they make a purchase. This platform goes further than sending the normal email purchase receipt and shipping tracking number after a purchase by utilizing customer journeys activated automatically once a purchase is made. These customer journeys can be used to engage with customers and learn more about them, which only furthers a business’ ability to personalize its marketing.
  • MailChimp: MailChimp is one of the largest email marketing platforms on the market in terms of total customers using it. The platform integrates with many eCommerce shopping cart platforms allowing businesses to send automatic emails when a trigger such as making a purchase is met. Where they excel in simplicity they lack in sophistication. You can use MailChimp to automatically send purchase receipts and shipment tracking numbers but creating dynamic customer journeys is not as easy.

Customer Journeys

customer journeyOnce a subscriber receives a welcome message, this prompts a series of correspondence actions that facilitates engagement through a customer journey.  Email marketing platforms allow marketers to determine a number of different triggers that start this process.  Once a customer makes a purchase, a series of emails can be pre-determined and sent based on a schedule or a recipient’s behavior.

For example, businesses can create a customer journey for all new customers that aims at creating a deeper relationship across different channels like social media. A welcome email could be sent that explains what makes your brand different along with an invitation to follow your social media channels to receive exclusive content and promotions. Subsequent emails are sent based on which links each recipient clicked on or emails they opened.

How they stack up:

  • Campaign Monitor: Campaign Monitor excels at allowing marketers to create customer journeys. The platform gives an easy-touse, drag-and-drop interface where you can create different journeys based on various parameters such as a new customer purchase, existing customer purchase, new subscriber and more. An “If This Then That” methodology is used so that if an email recipient clicks on a certain link within the first email, then a specific follow-up email is sent in a specified amount of time. This is incredibly effective at only sending emails that the recipient is interested in rather than a blanket autoresponder sequence.
  • MailChimp: Because MailChimp is more of an email marketing rather than email automation platform, it lacks more sophisticated customer journey capabilities. They are far behind more sophisticated automation tools such as Campaign Monitor.

Personalized Content

Personalized email messages experience an improvement in click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.  Customers are much more receptive to emails with personalized subject lines and content that is customized to their interests.  By collecting deeper information about subscribers at every opportunity, businesses can more effectively market to them on a 1:1 basis rather than blanket email communications. 

personalize contentStarting with the information collected at first sign up, email marketing software can segment an email list so that relevant content is sent to the recipient.  For example, if a company is promoting a new women’s swimsuit line, only the list with females will receive it.  Or it could be determined by location so that a man living in Alaska isn’t receiving a bikini promotion, thus improving open and conversion rates.

How they stack up:

  • Campaign Monitor: Campaign Monitor’s biggest advantage over other email marketing platforms is its ability to personalize messages to recipients. The platform allows users to integrate their CRM system to dynamically send personalized emails based on data points such as age, gender, geo-location, and purchase history. For example, an online apparel retailer can send the female segment of their list that’s located in California a bikini offer while males in Maine get an offer for a fleece jacket.
  • MailChimp: Personalization is difficult in MailChimp. The platform doesn’t allow you to easily combine different data parameters dynamically to send emails without manually segmenting lists.

As they say, timing is everything.  This is truly the case when it comes to email marketing campaigns.  Luckily, evolving platforms are using advanced automation techniques that guide businesses through effective processes of delivering dynamic and personalized content without wasting valuable resources.

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