Email marketing is all about striking the perfect chord with your subscribers by sending them the relevant email at the right time with appropriate personalization. Yet for an email marketer, sending personalized emails based on a subscriber’s buyer journey to thousands of subscribers is not practically possible. Thanks to a ‘machine’ – EMAIL AUTOMATION that processes a fresh load of prospects (with personalized email) into a fine lot of loyal customers with significantly low waste (unsubscribes).
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Email automation is basically a marketing tool that sends emails to the prospects automatically through an ESP. These are time and behavior-based emails sent to subscribers when they meet a pre-defined criteria or trigger.
Good deliverability score
workflow for trigger identification
Clear Expectation/KPI at each stage of buyer / sale cycle
Real-time website activity analysis
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA FOR SEGMENTATION
Recommendation engine (for e-commerce)
Lead Capture forms & Landing pages
Making the first contact with your prospects who shared their email addresses
Here the prospects are ‘Polished’ & Nurtured with valuable information about your Brand, ‘Treated’ with discount coupon emails and ‘Categorized’ with emails like 'Complete your profile' emails.
On exiting this stage of the process, the prospects now become Marketing qualified Leads.
In this stage, the subscriber needs to be felt welcomed, measured for inclination & interest level, and be motivated to provide relevant information for personalization.
The challenge that any email marketer can face here is identifying the different demographics to be collected, how to collect them if the subscriber chooses not to answer and how to show their products without being pushy.
tip:Welcoming your subscriber, asking for permission and asking them to complete their profile can either be sent separately or clubbed into a single welcome email.
The average email open rate is 20.81%, whereas the average open rate for a welcome email is 82%.
The prospects who subscribed just for the sake of getting the discount coupan or one-time offer will be weeded out in this stage as soon as they unsubscribe. While this might sound catastrophic, this in turn helps in maintaining a healthy email list and good sender reputation.
The list of prospects entering this stage are not going to be all interested or inclined what services you are offering and may have subscribed for the one-time incentive/offer.
Those who are showing low engagement at this stage itself have less chance of converting and so, should be separated here and sent minimal emails.
The marketing qualified leads are “nurtured” here with emails
The leads are ‘exposed’ to different products / services that your Brand offers, ‘reinforced’ with frequent industry-related news using newsletters and ‘strengthened’ to make a purchase decision.
The lead nurturing stage turns marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads.
You can optionally add a testimonial in your lead nurturing emails to build trust with your subscribers. For service-oriented brands, you can go a step ahead by showcasing your capability at relevant points.
In this and the next stage, the engagement level of your subscriber may be lowered owing to multiple factors. The dormant and disengaged leads are separated and forwarded to the “Re-engagement Stage”
Email marketers need to ensure constant engagement rates at this stage as sending the same type of communication may become disinteresting in longer run. Measure the open rate and observe any sharp dips in the open rates. You can also split your subscribers into two sections by measuring the interest they expressed.
For those subscribers who have expressed interest in any way, send them product specific emails and educational emails. For those who are yet indecisive, send them nurturing emails on a broader level. Gauge the capability of your subscribers to make judgement about purchasing your product / services by checking how many of them are going to order page from your newsletter.
Make your leads informed enough to make a purchase
Your leads, while entering this stage, are in an unstable state. Any wrong step can make them unsubscribe or bring all efforts to waste.
The leads are ‘remolded’ into Customers, by ‘enriching’ them with promotional offers and ‘tempered’ with limited time offers.
In this stage, the lead needs to be gently nudged to make the purchase by showing the advantages or by providing a lucrative deal. You can also show testimonials and perform other trust building activities at this stage.
The challenge that any email marketer can face here is the number of emails that needs to be sent in this workflow before tagging them as inactive or irrelevant lead and what needs to be done once a lead completes receiving all the emails in the workflow but not converted.
At this stage, you may receive requests for products/services that are aligned to the industry but not being provided by you. In such a situation, you cannot convert them for that specific request but can educate them for it. Monitor the click rate to analyze the actionability of your CTA button and the unsubscribes.
Engaging your customers after they have made a purchase
Congratulations! Your subscribers are nearing the final stage.
This is the time to improve the ‘durability’ of the relationship between your brand and the customers.
Now, the customers are ‘processed’ with triggered emails (explained in the next section) and transactional emails to build trust and only pure gold “marketing success” exits this stage.
This stage can be nicknamed as the nurture stage for customers and the goal of this stage is to build loyalty in your customers about your brand. The only challenge that any email marketer can face here is maintaining the engagement rate of the customer.
The goal of this stage is to yield evangelists for your brand. This is a stage where you can separate your one-time customers and also weigh the lifetime value of your customer based on the engagement rate.
For those customers with high lifetime value, you can send educational emails specific to the product/service they have purchased and a bit of cross-selling. For those with low engagement and lifetime value, you can reduce the email frequency.
Based on the Triggers from the Subscriber’s end
All the emails listed here need to be sent as soon as the prospect takes a particular action.
Activity and lifecycle-based triggers produce 22% of total email marketing revenue.
As the emails in this stage are triggered based on user interaction, you need to be extra careful about what parameters should trigger the email. Additionally, you should also monitor the response rate of these emails and tweak the subject lines if your open rates are dwindling.
Based on the inactivity of the subscribers
Dormant subscribers don’t mean they are lost cause. By adding them to a re-engagement automation, you can revive them and make them re-engage with your brand. Depending upon the reason for dormancy, you can set your email automation to provide appropriate incentive such as a discount, what they are missing, option to change their content preferences, etc. to motivate them.