As any small business owner knows, email is an essential tool for marketing your business. You use it to keep your customers updated on events and promotions and to create sales momentum for new products and services. Among all of your marketing tools, it has the potential to be the most direct and specific to individual customers.
The thing is, it can be pretty labor-intensive to draft and send emails every time you want to send a marketing email. And, there definitely aren’t enough hours in the day to send every kind of email that could be profitable. If only there was an easier way to put the power of email to work to market your business.
In fact, there is. It’s called “email marketing automation.” It solves the problem of not having the personal bandwidth to send every marketing email that you should be sending. In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of email marketing automation — what it is, how to get started, and how I can help.
Autopilot for Your Marketing Emails
Think of email marketing automation as putting your marketing emails on autopilot. Instead of creating and sending a new email every time a customer should be receiving one, specialty software tools let you create email marketing campaigns that distribute emails automatically to all or any portion of your target market whenever certain criteria for “pressing send” are met.
For example, with automation, you can send a thank-you note automatically to every customer who places an order. Or maybe a follow-up email to any potential customer who leaves items in an online shopping basket.
Email automation makes it easy to plan marketing campaigns ahead and set them to launch at specific times. This can be great before the holidays or when an inventory runs low. You can send emails containing promotions or discounts to repeat customers. And you can send reminders to customers who have gone a certain period of time without making a purchase.
In other words, email automation allows you to micro-target your emails according to virtually any pre-chosen combination of conditions, characteristics, or customer behaviors. It doesn’t just save you time. It creates marketing opportunities that just wouldn’t exist if you sent your emails manually.
How to Get Started
To get started with email marketing automation, you will need to select an email marketing software service. Here are two recent reviews of providers for you to consider. The more user-friendly providers make it easy to sign up and connect your email to the service, and they offer pre-constructed automations for the most popular types of campaigns.
But, to get the most out of email marketing automation tools, you should also spend time analyzing your business. Figure out which of your customers you would most like to target, and when, and for what reason.
Then, figure out what characteristics define this particular market segment. For example, buyers from a certain zip code, with a certain annual spend on your site, who typically buy after 8 p.m., and so on. With most email automation services, you can take those characteristics and set up an email marketing campaign. It’ll send an email only to those customers who match those very particular characteristics.
With some practice and the right service provider, you can also track how well your campaign performed. You can then funnel that insight back into designing your next email marketing campaign.
If you want to know more about automating email marketing campaigns check out my Electrified Email Marketing Ebook.