Newbies with the courage to take a deep dive into email marketing automation are almost certain to find the topic more complex than they initially imagined. On the surface it seems simple. Create a sequence of emails to go out automatically at predetermined intervals to customers or potential customers who have turned over their email address. But once you get into it, keeping everything straight seems like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube while being assaulted by a giant squid. In a sincere effort to prevent your brain from imploding, here’s a dead simple beginner’s guide to automating your email marketing.
What is Automated Marketing?
In essence, we’re talking about how one employs software to deliver personalized email messages. As we mentioned, the first step is to create a series or several series of messages that are meant to intercept a customer or potential customer at whichever point they are in the process, determined by their previous interactions with your website, and provide encouragement to take a certain action.The more closely you can tailor your emails to a customer’s interests, the better chance you have of eventually making a sale to them.
What Do You Want to Do With It?
Before you head off into the wilderness and start composing dozens of different email messages, it would be a good idea to sit down with an old-fashioned pencil and paper and diagram out what exactly you want to accomplish with an email series. Jot down the types of format each message might take: welcome message, product retargeting, abandoned cart reminder, personalized product recommendations. There are many, many more. Just keep in mind that a little bit of organization up front might keep you from disappearing down a rabbit hole of frustrated work from which you never emerge.
Along with defining what you want to accomplish, think about who you want to target and map out the best user flow to get them from where they are to where you want them to be. The big concept to recognize here is that you will eventually have hundreds, maybe thousands of people at various stages in your marketing strategy. For example, you’re going to need one flow for a person who has viewed a pricing page, because that’s a hot lead. Compare this person to one who has simply read a blog on the website - not so hot.
At this point, your brain might be begging for mercy. You can always retain an affordable email marketing agency to do the heavy lifting for you. They are skilled in the ins and outs of email automation but, of course, cost money. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to develop the appropriate skills on your own or pay for help.
Here’s the Most Important Point
Guess what? No matter how perfectly you schedule and deliver a flawless series of emails, the ultimate chance for success is only as good as the quality of the copy and how you format your messages. Listen up because this is important.
- Write clearly and get to the point fast
- Encourage readers to take a specific action
- Familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act and DON’T violate it
Additionally, don’t make the mistake of thinking this kind of marketing is a set if and forget it affair. Nothing could be further from the truth. True, you don’t have to reach out and punch ‘send’ for every single message that goes out - your software platform will do that - but if you want to make this thing ultimately result in more sales, your constant task will be to study what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
You should be testing different headlines, content, fonts, length of message, and even the call-to-action. Honestly, only part of email marketing is automated. The rest requires the mind of a marketer. Another thing to consider before you pony up big bucks for the latest and greatest email marketing platform is whether your business has developed to the point that you need an automated solution. For some, it’s absolutely critical. For others with simple emailing needs, maybe later. Good luck out there!