The responsibilities of a marketer are not what they used to be. Emails that used to require complex coding, lots of time, and a high price tag are now commonplace, quick, and easy to produce. This is great news for both marketing agencies and clients; not only can clients get more bang for their buck, but marketers are able to produce robust, thoughtful emails relatively quickly and easily. And of course, the ultimate benefit is that clients’ customers are more readily accessible than ever.
However, while the fast-paced world of email marketing provides obvious benefits, one hurdle many marketers face when implementing email marketing campaigns is keeping up with the many moving cogs involved.
Luckily, email marketing automation has become a prevalent, widely-used tool for email marketers. Not only do automated email campaigns make complicated email programs more manageable, they allow marketers’ imaginations to run wild with many multifaceted email options that could never be handled with manually sent emails alone.
One hurdle for many marketers when considering implementation of automated email marketing is the setup process for such campaigns. When you’re planning 6 emails that will all be sent based on specific triggers, it can be a bit overwhelming to know how to get started. However, just like any other complicated marketing campaign, considering a few key elements at the beginning of your work can help facilitate a smoother automated campaign.
We use automated emails for a number of our email campaigns, and have picked up a few tips that we find helpful with every campaign we deploy. Here are our favorite pieces of email marketing automation advice:
1. Map out your entire email campaign
It may seem like a no brainer, but one of the most important things you can do to avoid snags in your automated email campaign is to map out the entire program very clearly–and we do mean map! For each of our campaigns, our team creates flowcharts or similarly styled spreadsheets to show exactly where our contacts will come from, how they are segmented, the schedule of our email sends, and more. Providing an email program flowchart or spreadsheet gives you the ability to confirm whether or not plans are communicated clearly across a project team, and can help avoid confusion or missed updates.
Not only does this type of preparation help point out any pitfalls in your plan, it sets the plan in stone for all the parties who are working on the campaign. When a client or team member wants to stray from the originally laid out email automation plan, it can cause real trouble. Complicated programs that are changed halfway through are bound to be riddled with errors, as it’s tough to make adjustments to intricate campaigns. When you have a map as a project reference, there’s no forgetting how the plan is meant to go.
2. Consider what happens if your audience buys in or opts out throughout the program
Automated email marketing campaigns include multiple emails for a reason, especially when the goal of the campaign is to win new customers: it’s because we think it will take several touches before that contact converts. But what if a contact converts into a customer halfway through the campaign’s life cycle? Do you have a plan of how to remove them from the campaign?
This question is one that many marketers forget to ask themselves while setting up an automated email campaign. Take some time to consider all the reasons your contacts should be removed from the campaign, and create a plan for each of these scenarios.
3. Broaden the limits on your automation program
If you’re already using automated email marketing, look back over your campaigns and try to find a trend in the number of emails you send per campaign. Have you ever considered sending more? There’s virtually no limit on how many emails you can have in an automated campaign. If you aren’t seeing the conversion rate you’d hoped for, try adding additional touches to your next campaign. Adjusting the number of emails in automated marketing campaigns is a great test you can perform as a marketer.
4. Be willing to put in the effort on the front end
If you can’t tell from our advice so far, preparation is key in automated email marketing. Once you’ve created your flowchart of the program and considered what to do if contacts buy in or opt out, you should still be cautious and considerate as you build your campaign. Shorter automation programs are easier to proof for errors, but complicated campaigns with lots of logic and validations leave much room for potential mistakes. If you do find yourself in the midst of creating a complex automated email campaign, it is absolutely worth the time to triple-check to ensure that your emails are sending to the right contacts at the right time.
5. Find the right marketing automation program for you
If you’ve tried email marketing automation and haven’t ever felt comfortable with the process or the results, have you considered that the problem may lie with your automation program? While there are loads of great email automation programs available today, not all of them accommodate everyone’s marketing needs. If you’re having trouble with email marketing automation and you think it may be your program’s fault, try first reaching out to your account representative to see if they’re able to come up with an automation solution to solve your issues. If not, consider doing some research for a program that falls more in line with your needs.
Are you looking for help with your email marketing automation? Talk to us.