An Automated Conveyor Belt to drive Email Marketing Success

the email automation conveyor belt

How to Engage your Subscribers at Every Stage of the Buyers Journey

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.

The success of your email automation rests on following tools and factors:

Customer
journey

Capable ESP

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

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different divine stages in email automation

The Assembly Process of Email marketing Success

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.

What is expected in this stage

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.

Machinery involved

  • (Immediately) Consent emails
  • Ask for permission & measure the inclination.
  • (within 1 day) Getting Started / User Guide emails
  • Highlight different features of your products.
  • (within 1 day) Content preference emails
  • For subscribers who are interested in a specific topic.
  • (Immediately) Welcome Emails
  • Greet the subscriber, preferably with a 3-email series.
  • (within 1 day) Complete your profile emails
  • Collect specific information that aids segmentation.

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.

What you should monitor in this stage

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.

Machinery involved

  • (Within 1 day) Introduction to features emails
  • Build awareness and address challenges.
  • (Occasionally) Industry update emails
  • Keep the subscriber abreast with the industry.
  • (Weekly or bi-monthly) Newsletter emails
  • Share the brand’s current & upcoming updates.
  • (Immediately) New blog post reminder
  • Offer daily dose of information with a reminder email.

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”

What you should monitor in this 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.

What is expected in this stage

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.

Machinery involved

  • (1 month before holiday) Holiday offer emails
  • Plan your holiday promotions early.
  • (1 week prior) Event invitation emails
  • Invite your lead by creating exclusivity.
  • (1 day before) Event /Sale annoucement emails
  • Inspire the prospect to alive the offer
  • Product Suggestion / Recommendation emails
  • Promote relevant product and cross-sell.

What you should monitor in this stage

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.

What is expected in 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.

Machinery involved

  • (1 month after purchase) Review Feedback email
  • Make the customer feel valued.
  • Order receipt email
  • Notify the customer about the order.
  • (Regular interval if online retailer) Cross-sell/referral email
  • Cross-sell once in a while
  • Customer Loyalty emails
  • Express gratitude &reward the customer.

What should you measure in this stage

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.

Machinery involved

  • Customer Loyalty emails
  • Delight the loyal customers with an incentive.
  • Password reset emails
  • Sent immediately when someone request for password resets.
  • Birthday / anniversary emails
  • Show your love by sending a discount coupon.

Activity and lifecycle-based triggers produce 22% of total email marketing revenue.

What should you measure in this stage

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.

Machinery involved

  • (After 4-5 unopened emails) Miss you email
  • Make the dormant subscriber feel special.
  • Final notice email
  • Request the subscriber to unsubscribe, if they no longer wish to recieve any communications.
  • (After 1 week of previous email) Follow-up email
  • Ask whether they still wish to be a part of the mailing list.
  • Order receipt email
  • Acknowledge the purchase.
  • Subscription renewal / Product replenish email
  • Renewal of a subscription-based service or replenishment a consumable product.
  • Shipping confirmation email
  • Provide tracking information to the subscriber.
  • Cart abandonment email
  • Recover the cart abandoners with a reminder email.
For a cart-abandonment series, the workflow needs to end within 48 hrs.

The 10 Mantras to Keep your Email Automation Conveyor Belt Lubricated

1
An automation workflow is incomplete without proper segmentation.
2
Timing of an email is crucial for any email automation. A cart abandonment email must be sent within first hour of abandonment and the series must end within 48 hours.
3
Maintain consistency across each of your automated emails. This means similar tone, design, and layout.
4
Every word counts. Email copy needs to be within 50 words as a subscriber spends only 11 seconds on your email.
5
Each email has a job. The CTA button in each email needs to perform the job.
6
Test your workflow logic periodically and email rendering every month.
7
Add social sharing buttons for subscribers to share.
8
Always have a plain text counterpart for every HTML email.
9
Keep an eye on the industry trends.
10
Even though the email is automated, always have a recognizable FROM name.

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