Implement and Improve Automation Strategies for Email Marketing

Neil Berman
by Neil Berman 19 Aug, 2016

Automation is becoming increasingly important for email marketers, and for good reason. It is one of the most valuable tools for the modern day marketer, as it improves customer retention, builds ROI and saves marketing teams time in the email sending process. And marketers are making automation a priority.

According to the Email Marketing Industry Census 2016, 34 percent of the 1,150 in-house and agency email marketers surveyed cited automated campaigns as their main focus for 2016. When asked how they planned to innovate with email this year, 66 percent of respondents chose the answer, "More creative uses of behavioral triggers."

Here are some tips for implementing and improving automation strategies to strengthen email campaigns and increase close rates.  

Create creative triggers 

The key to a successful automation implementation is creating the right behavioral triggers. A trigger says, "If an email subscriber does X, they receive Y email." Or "if a subscriber does nothing, they receive Z email."

The most basic trigger, and one many marketers have down, is the welcome message sent to subscribers after signing up for a newsletter. This is a great place to start with automation, but should not be the only automation trigger sent out by marketers.   

To come up with more creative behavioral triggers, think about the subscriber/customer lifecycle, and how triggers can be set up based on lifecycle-based behavior. For example, first, a customer may sign up for emails. Next, they may make a purchase. If this is the case, in addition to welcoming a new email subscriber, send an automated "thank you" message to them after they make their first purchase, or a confirmation email with purchase details. 

To take it a step further, create automated messages that suggest items or products to go along with their new purchase. For example, if a customer purchases a pair of shoes, an automated follow-up email can showcase handbags and other accessories to go along. 

Keep in mind that triggers aren't limited to existing customers. In fact, triggers can be a powerful tool to convert potential customers into new ones. For example, once someone visits a website, marketers can trigger a personalized email acknowledging their site visit, providing additional information on the company and its services or products, and include a link back to the company website. Or, perhaps a website visitor went as far as to place a few items in a shopping cart, but never followed through with the purchase. This is a great opportunity to send an automated cart abandonment message reminding the visitor of the items left in their cart. 

Another great use of automated emails is to re-engage with past clients or customers who have had little to no interaction with your business in a while. These emails can be sent in the form of reminders of upcoming deals or sales, or a discount code or coupon to celebrate a subscriber's birthday or customer anniversary.

Use exit-intent messages 

Automated triggers are not limited to email marketing campaigns. Another great way to keep website visitors engaged is through exit-intent messages. These popup messages are triggered when a person browsing a website moves their cursor to close the window or switch to a new window. 

Think of exit-intent popups as a final effort to stimulate conversion, such as getting someone to sign up for a newsletter or prompting them to complete a purchase in their online shopping cart. 

The results 

Automated triggers will allow for more targeted and effective marketing to prospects and clients, and while it may seem cumbersome to set up triggers, the time it takes to create them is a fraction of the time it will save marketing teams going forward.  About the Author

Neil Berman is the founder and CEO of Delivra, an email marketing service provider and strategic consultancy. With nearly 20 years in the software industry, Berman continues to be driven by a passion to find innovative solutions that help clients win in their industries.