Six Email Campaigns You Should Be Automating

By EJ McGowan, General Manager of Campaigner

Email automation may be daunting to some, but it's an efficient and effective approach that can provide customers with helpful info while saving time and effort for marketers in the long run.

The benefits of automation for marketing administrators (email senders) are numerous: It cuts down on tedious manual tasks, reduces human error and increases consistency. It also helps establish a regular message "cadence" (the pace at which emails are sent) with recipients and provides marketers a regular baseline upon which to build metrics and improve measurements. Automation is not ideal for every campaign, however.

To most effectively leverage this approach, view it as the first step in a broader event-based marketing initiative. The more marketers can tie emails back to a trigger point - an easily identifiable time stamp such as an event, specific date or customer action point - the more customers will anticipate receiving the message, creating a higher likelihood of interaction. Event-based campaigns to consider might include:

1. Renewals & Reminders

If contacts subscribe to a company's products or services it's likely that those subscriptions are set to expire. Marketers are pressed for time, so it's nearly impossible to get a firm grasp on which subscribers are within a 30-day, or other, renewal window at any given time. This is where automation comes in.

Marketers should use subscription deadlines to set triggers for reminder email campaigns. This kind of campaign can be used for many different types of businesses or subscribers. For instance, those who have audiences with contracts or subscriptions expiring, previous buyers who have purchased a product that is usually consumed or expired within an average span of time or even contacts who have received a time-sensitive promotion from a specific brand, all stand to benefit from these automated emails.

2. Welcome Messages

Welcome emails are an important way for brands to establish a relationship with new subscribers and are some of the most easily automated. The trigger is clear - senders need to set their emails to be sent after a certain amount of time has passed from the time a contact first subscribes to their mailing list. The aim should be to have these welcome emails delivered within the first 24 hours of sign-up. Internal data suggests that the ideal time frame to send welcome emails is between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

3. Transactional Emails

Similar to welcome emails, brands can also leverage automation for their transactional emails - the messages that are sent when a customer interacts with a brand in a direct and meaningful way. For triggers, companies use certain actions (or inactions) such as purchases or password changes as an example. Businesses can distinguish their transactional messages from other email deliveries by refraining from using sales language and including critical information exclusively that the customer is expecting, such as purchase confirmation, shipping information or new password verification. By doing so, brands can leverage recipient anticipation around these emails to increase overall campaign open rates.

4. Helpful Hints

Rather than trying to sell something, companies will want to use some campaigns to promote usage of a previous purchase/service. For example, if a B2B marketer notices that many customers are not utilizing a service included in their package, a helpful reminder will assist them in using the product to its fullest, while building a trusting relationship between brand and customer. In this case, use the absence of certain events (e.g., no download) as the campaign trigger.

5. Feedback Requests

In the same way that marketers like to help their customers, some customers might want to help them. Companies can use recent purchases and subscriptions as triggers to automate emails asking for product reviews, service feedback or survey participation. Senders should set parameters within the automation so that only the company's most active contacts receive these emails, as they're most likely to participate and provide valuable feedback.

6. Reactivation Campaigns

Companies can also rely on automation to help boost interaction with inactive email recipients - sending final, friendly emails with incentives to interact. If these messages don't work, senders should remove these email addresses from their contact lists once and for all.

Senders may also want to designate a specific time period from last interaction as the trigger for these type of campaigns. For instance, set it up so that contacts who have not interacted in 60 or 90 days automatically receive a series of reactivation emails.