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Users across the globe sent more than 306.4 billion emails per day in 2020, making email one of the most popular communication methods. However, it’s important to develop email campaigns that effectively engage users. Automated email sending may be the solution your business needs to connect to subscribers with little to no maintenance.

What Is Email Automation?

Email automation refers to an email marketing strategy that sends specific messages to users based on an action they take, or may not take, on your website. Automated email sending allows you to create specific user journeys and relevant messages for them to receive personalized messages that help strengthen your customer relationships. These may be transactional marketing emails to deliver personalized and important information, such as password reset instructions or a receipt for a purchase, or they may be traditional marketing emails to share announcements or information for a broader audience, such as a weekly newsletter or a weekend promotion.

However, these emails differ from email blasts. Email automation allows you to set up emails one time, just like an out of office message to reply to all of your emails while you’re on vacation. This provides an easily scalable and efficient way for you to connect with your users and encourage them to respond to you. Your website continues to attract new users who sign up for your email list, and your automation tools allow you to begin immediately building a relationship with them with no additional work.

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How Does Email Automation Work?

Email automation involves you sending your users an email based on how they interact with your website. Think about a time you were shopping online for a new pair of shoes and the department store sent you an email a few days later to remind you of the shoes you viewed but didn’t purchase. That’s automated email sending at work.

Setting up an email automation requires using an email automation or marketing automation platform, and many of these tools or platforms include templates that can be used to easily design your emails. After you choose a platform, you create unique customer journeys and designate the emails they receive based on their actions. Once you set the parameters and establish a trigger for the campaign, you’re done. Now, anytime a user performs a triggering action on your website, they will receive your chosen emails.

For example, a restaurant wants to boost their catering orders. They create an email automation campaign that targets users who browse catering menus on their website but don’t request a quote. A few days after the user views the menu, the restaurant’s campaign deploys an email encouraging the user to request a quote, and they receive a few more follow-up emails, including one with a discount code.

When Should My Company Use Automated Emails?

Your company should use automated email sending at any opportunity to generate more leads or nurture existing leads. Some specific examples of when you may use automated emails include:

  • A birthday or anniversary email to foster your customer relationship
  • A confirmation or user verification email for account security
  • A nurture email or promotion to encourage a purchase
  • A welcome email to provide new customers with instructions

The specific times when you should send automated emails varies based on the nature of the email. For example, it’s important to send welcome messages or security-related emails immediately, but you might only send nurture once a month. However, while there is not a limit to how often you should send emails, it’s important to avoid sending too many to overwhelm your customers. Monitor your campaigns and subscription rate trends to help you find your sweet spot for how many emails to send and when to do it.

Why Should My Company Send Automated Emails?

Email marketing is still an extremely powerful marketing channel. Research shows most companies earn a $42 return on investment for every $1 they invest in email marketing. That’s a 4200% ROI! Furthermore, research also shows companies earn 320% more revenue with automated emails than they do with non-automated emails. Imagine tripling your revenue by investing less time in your email marketing. Email automation makes it possible.

Automated emails allow you to drive more meaningful business results. Each email is a tailored, one-on-one interaction with the customer. This helps boost your customer engagement, building your relationship with them to increase customer retention and loyalty. These emails can also attract potential leads back in, converting them into customers.

For example, research shows 69% of online shoppers abandon their carts. However, 45% of shoppers open abandon cart emails, which is a common and effective email automation strategy. More than 20% of these shoppers click the link in the email to return to their cart, and 50% of those shoppers then make a purchase.

The Benefits of Email Automation

Email automation simplifies your email marketing processes and allows you to deploy more personalized and effective content to your users. Below are some of the benefits it offers.

  • Building customer loyalty: Automated emails provide users with timely cues for steps to take, helping them trust you more and more likely to be loyal customers and recommend you to others.
  • Building your brand: Email automation serves as an extension of your brand to build the user’s connection with it and introduce them to other aspects of it.
  • Creating a personalized customer experience: Customers have a unique experience based on what they did or didn’t do, helping create long-term users to increase customer retention.
  • Creating measurable results: Most email automation platforms include the ability to track your results, allowing you to easily determine the ROI for your efforts.
  • Cross-promoting content: Automated emails and automation platforms often work well with other marketing channels, such as social media or SMS marketing, for a cohesive experience.
  • Distributing engaging content: Automated emails can help distribute high-quality, engaging content that informs users and encourages them to return to your website or app.
  • Increasing revenue: Email automation focuses on sending the right message to the right person at the right time, making the recipient more likely to make a purchase, return to your website or upgrade their service.
  • Providing scalability: Email automation creates scalable marketing campaigns that allow you to create additional automated campaigns to serve more people in less time.
  • Reengaging users: Using automated emails allows you to target people who previously interacted with you and are further down the sales funnel, effectively reengaging them.
  • Saving time: Automation puts your communication and email marketing on autopilot, saving you from manually setting up email campaigns or sending individual responses.
  • Sending relevant content: Users receive highly relevant content based on their action or inaction, making them more likely to open and engage with your email.

Email Automation Tips

Developing an effective email automation campaign requires careful planning and precision. Consider these tips as you delve into email automation.

  • Allow opt-outs. Empower users to establish their own preferences, such as unsubscribing or receiving only certain messages, to allow you to focus on the most engaged users.
  • Be mindful of timing. Time your automated emails based on the time of the triggering event, such as waiting a few days for a product reminder or sending a purchase confirmation immediately.
  • Be mindful of volume. Avoid sending too many emails, and, instead, focus on using the most meaningful opportunities to connect with users.
  • Design all of your emails at once. Using your company style guide, create every template or email of the campaign at the same time to save time and ensure brand consistency.
  • Establish your KPIs. Determine which metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) are most important to you when developing your emails, such as if you’re more concerned about your open rates or click-through rates.
  • Keep records of the campaign. Document the success of the campaign in a spreadsheet, and monitor trends and performance for opportunities to improve.
  • Plan ahead. Plan the entire scenario and each step of the customer journey before you create the automated email campaign.
  • Remember CAN-SPAM and CASL. Create emails with appropriate content and options based on respective CAN-SPAM rules in the United States and CASL regulations in Canada.
  • Review your campaigns. Establish a schedule for reviewing your campaigns to check for minor errors or to identify ways to improve the effectiveness of the campaigns.
  • Test your emails. Test and preview your emails before you send them, and use emails as A/B tests against each other to see what users respond to.

Image via Unsplash by Campaign Creators

Using Email Automation To Grow Your Business

Email automation allows you to more easily and quickly respond to a larger number of users while still providing each user with a personalized experience. Automated drip campaigns can help you nurture your leads and move them through the sales funnel. By providing a personalized experience and converting leads into customers, you may gain more loyal customers and attract new customers through referrals from existing customers.

Making Email Automation More Effective

One of the best ways to make your email automation more effective is to lead with strong content. It’s more beneficial for you to send fewer but higher-quality emails than it is to send numerous unfocused or low-quality emails. Begin with well-crafted, targeted and engaging content that attracts users and gives them a reason to learn more.

It’s also important to ensure you’re sending the best messages to the correct people at the right time. Narrow your segments as much as possible to pin down extremely specific target markets. Take advantage of A/B testing to learn more about user behavior. Testing can help find out what kind of subject lines users are more likely to open, what links users are less likely to click and more.

30 Best Email Marketing Automation Tools To Transform Your Business

Choosing the right email marketing automation platform and tools for your business is an important step. Here are some common types of tools and examples of services to consider.

Email List Building Tools

Email list building tools allow you to create and deploy methods of gathering leads to grow your email list. Some examples include:

  • Optimizely: Optimizely helps you optimize your website to feature better forms that capture more leads to build your email list.
  • OptinMonster: OptinMonster integrates with other email service providers to allow you to collect and segment email addresses easily based on a variety of factors and helps you identify the right time to send an email to a particular list.
  • RafflePress: RafflePress is a plugin that allows you to build and host contest and giveaways on your website or social media to drive subscribers to your email list.
  • UnbounceUnbounce allows you to build unique landing pages for each of your specific email campaigns for a streamlined experience to drive conversion rates.

Integrated Email Marketing Automation Tools

Integrated email marketing automation tools seamlessly integrate with other platforms to help you send the right message to the right audience at the perfect time. Some examples include:

  • Act-On: Act-On allows you to create unique customer journeys and schedule transactional event-triggered emails based on customer actions.
  • BenchmarkONE: BenchmarkONE is a CRM software that allows you to tag and categorize customers to send them more tailored emails to build stronger relationships.
  • Contactually: Contactually is a CRM platform specifically created for real estate brokers that allows you to you to vet contacts by gathering contacts from various platforms and information about them to influence your messaging.
  • HubSpot: HubSpot is a CRM platform that streamlines your email marketing and easily integrates with other marketing, sales, and help desk tools.
  • Intercom: Intercom helps you build stronger customer relationships by sending automated email messages or live chat responses.
  • LeadSquared: LeadSquared combines sales activities with email marketing services for a streamlined, efficient process, and customer experience.
  • Marketo: Marketo offers you the ability to create a vast number of campaigns based on specific customer behaviors to provide highly targeted messaging.
  • SAP Sales Cloud: SAP Sales Cloud automates the lead qualifying process to help you identify the potentially most profitable leads to pursue.

Tracking and Monitoring Tools for Email

Tracking and monitoring tools for email provide you with critical insights about your email recipients and their behaviors. Some examples include:

  • Campaign Monitor: Campaign Monitor features an interactive dashboard that allows you to analyze your performance and compare campaigns.
  • GetNotify: GetNotify notifies you when recipients open and read your emails and shares important data about your recipients.
  • GoViral: GoViral encourages your users to share your email with their social media followers and allows you to monitor your traffic.

Email Testing Tools

Email testing tools allow you to preview your emails to ensure they appear and send properly and gather insight about your readers to improve your emails. Some examples include:

  • Cakemail: Cakemail includes automated A/B testing tools to help you improve open rates and features to prevent emails from going to spam.
  • Litmus: Litmus lets you test emails for different devices and provides you with data to help you better segment and tailor future emails.
  • ReachMail: ReachMail allows you to run A/B test of emails and generates data to determine what your audiences interact with the most.

Email Marketing Services with Automation

Email marketing services with automation are specific platforms that allow you to build and send email campaigns. Some examples include:

  • ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign allows you to create automated drip campaigns triggered by subscriber interactions, allowing you to automate the complete customer life cycle.
  • AWeber: AWeber features tools to send up-to-date emails to new subscribers, allowing you to share new blog posts as email and integrates with other tools.
  • BombBomb: BombBomb empowers you to send video-centric drip campaigns and receive data about things like each time users open and watch your videos.
  • Constant Contact: Constant Contact offers a variety of email marketing and general marketing services, and it allows you to set up automated segmented campaigns.
  • ConvertKit: ConvertKit enables you to send targeted autoresponders and helps you to build your subscriber list.
  • Drip: Drip streamlines the process of creating and sending automated emails with tools to help you build your list and customer relationships.
  • Emma: Emma gathers sales and CRM data to help you personalize your emails for subscribers with built-in approval processes for high-quality emails.
  • GetResponse: GetResponse features a newsletter calendar manager and autoresponder options for an integrated and easy way to update subscribers.
  • Gumroad: Gumroad allows you to gather and store potential and existing customers alike and further segment them to send tailored emails.
  • Mailchimp: Mailchimp integrates with several other tools and allows you to send automated drip campaigns triggered by customer behaviors.
  • MailerLite: MailerLite offers advanced segmentation and optimization features to ensure you send tailored messages to the right people at the right times.
  • Sendinblue: Sendinblue includes a range of automated marketing services and allows the ability to integrate with select other automation tools.

List of the Types of Automated Emails You Could Be Sending

Automated email sending can be beneficial for businesses and industries of all types and businesses of all sizes. Each organization can use automation tools to promote their product or service and guide the customer through the sales funnel. Check out the list below for some examples of types of automated emails you could send to better connect with your audiences.

Account Expiration

Remind users that their subscription is ending soon. Most people procrastinate until they realize they could lose something they value. Emails highlighting the benefits of renewing now can help prevent losing customers. This type of email may be beneficial for industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Education
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Sports
  • Technology

Activity Update

Update users about their own performance or what’s new on the platform. For example, a fitness app may send users emails to recap how many hours they exercised using the app in a week. Activity updates may be useful in industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Birthday or Anniversary

Send subscribers a special message on their birthday or the anniversary of when they subscribed to or purchased from you. It’s often a good idea to provide them with a special deal to use. Industries that may benefit from these emails include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Sports

Blog Updates

Let subscribers know about the new content on your website. This helps you leverage the powerful content on your website to educate customers and provide them with useful information. Blog update emails may be beneficial in all industries.

Cart Abandonment

Follow up with a user who fills their online shopping cart but does not complete their purchase. These gentle reminders are timely and capable of improving your conversion rates and revenue. Industries that may benefit from cart abandonment emails include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • Retail
  • Sports

Discount Expiration Reminder

Nudge customers to use the coupons you previously sent. They help your offers stay on their mind and help prevent them becoming lost in the sea of offers from your competitors. These emails may benefit industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Sports

Download Reminder

Let users know you also offer an app and encourage them to download it. These emails can be critical during onboarding or welcoming phases, and it’s important to emphasize the app helps them stay up to date with the latest news from your organization. Download reminders may be good for industries like:

  • E-commerce
  • Retail
  • SaaS
  • Technology

Event Reminders

Ensure your subscribers don’t miss out on upcoming events and know how to access them so they receive something uniquely valuable from you. Consider sending reminders for online events the day of but reminders for in-person events a few days early. Industries that may benefit from event reminders include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Arts
  • Automotive
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Feedback Request

Ask your audience for their thoughts. These emails often include a survey to help you learn more about your customers. These emails provide an effective way to gain insight about your audiences’ goals, needs, preferences, and struggles to better tailor your products, services, and communication. Asking for feedback is beneficial for all industries.

Goodbye

Confirm the end of your relationship with a customer. These emails allow you to end your relationship on a positive note and thank the customer for their years of business with you. Industries that may benefit from these emails include:

  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • SaaS
  • Technology

Join the Community

Encourage users to connect with others like them and strengthen their relationship with you. These emails may drive them to your website or suggest users follow you on your social media accounts. Community invitations may benefit industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Sports

Loyalty Program Updates

Encourage users to interact with and take advantage of your loyalty program. You may send them special offers, encourage them to open your app for a secret promotion, an updated recap of their point status, or any similar update. Industries that may benefit from these emails include:

  • Beauty
  • Health
  • Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Travel

Meet the Team

Show the human side of your business. These emails can help reinforce your brand identity and foster a connection with your subscribers. Meet the team emails may benefit any type of agency as well as businesses in industries like:

  • Advertising or marketing
  • Non-profit
  • SaaS
  • Technology

Opt-in Confirmation

Verify a user wants to subscribe to your email list. It’s important to send this email right away, and this type of email helps ensure you do not violate any spam laws. All industries could benefit from these emails.

Order Updates

Update users with notifications to confirm their purchase, let them know their product shipped, or similar matters. These emails reaffirm the buyer’s decision to purchase from you, and they can help customers feel excited about their incoming package. You can also use this as an opportunity to share useful content about things like product care or what to expect when the product arrives. Order updates can be useful for the e-commerce and retail industries.

Post-Event Follow-Up

Check in with people who attended your recent online or virtual event. Start by thanking them, and ask for their feedback about their experience. Some industries that could benefit from these emails include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Arts
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • Real estate
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Post-Website Visit Follow-Up

Leverage marketing tools that track users who spend time on your website. Consider sending them a related message based on the pages they visited. Examples of industries that could benefit from these emails include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • Retail
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Product Highlights

Encourage subscribers to browse your inventory by highlighting your best-rated products. These emails leverage social proof to move customers through the sales funnel, encouraging them to make a purchase. Product highlights may benefit businesses in industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Sports

Reactivation

Update your email list efficiently. Send emails to users who’ve stopped opening your messages to invite them to update their preferences and verify they want to stay on your email list. Consider including a promotion or other highlights to remind them why they signed up for your emails in the first place. Reactivation emails can benefit organizations in all industries.

Recommendations

Recommend a product or service based on the user’s activity or previous purchases. These emails curate a personalized experience for the customer and demonstrate how well you understand them, offering unique value. Recommendations may be useful in industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Internet marketing
  • Retail
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Replenishment Reminders

Alert customers of when it’s time to order more of or replace a product. This helps prevent customers from running out of your products and reminds them to purchase from you rather than one of your competitors. These emails may be beneficial for industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Beauty
  • E-commerce
  • Health
  • Retail
  • Sports

Review Request

Ask customers how satisfied they are with your product or service. This helps strengthen your customer relationships and may reveal ways to update your content to better market it to new customers. Review requests may be beneficial for industries like:

  • E-commerce
  • Retail
  • SaaS
  • Technology

Stock Updates

Let users know about changes to an item they’re interested in and may have added to a wish list. These emails may alert users of pricing changes or that a product is available again. Industries that may benefit from these emails include:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • Retail
  • Sports

Thank-You

Thank your subscribers for taking a certain action, such as completing a survey, signing up for your newsletter or leaving a review. Including a promotion or discount code may entice them to return to your website, too. These emails are beneficial for all industries.

Upselling

Encourage users to spend more time on your website or purchase additional products or services. They may include recommendations based on your previous purchases or suggestions for upgrading your existing services. Upselling automated emails may benefit industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • Retail
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Webinar Invitations

Alert subscribers of your upcoming webinars. These emails help you strengthen your relationships with customers and help ensure the success of your webinar by attracting the largest audience possible. Webinar invitations may be beneficial for industries like:

  • Activities or entertainment
  • Education
  • Internet marketing
  • SaaS
  • Sports
  • Technology

Welcome

Introduce subscribers to your email list. Start by thanking them for signing up, and include some information about what they could expect from your emails. These emails can benefit organizations in all industries.

Image via Unsplash by Stephen Phillips

How To Set Up Automated Emails

Exact steps for setting up automated email sending will vary based on the platform you choose. However, follow these general steps to begin using email automation.

  1. Select a platform. Research your options for email automation platforms and tools, and select the one that best fits your business needs.
  2. Determine the scenario. Determine the exact scenario a user may experience on your website, and define the specific triggering actions for them to receive emails.
  3. Define your audience. Define your target audience for the email, and be as specific as possible when segmenting your subscriber list.
  4. Design your emails. Design and personalize all emails your subscribers will receive based on this specific scenario, and ensure they are cohesive.
  5. Finalize your emails. Finalize your emails, and set them to begin sending, which will now happen every time the triggering action occurs.

Ways To Make Your Automated Emails Stick Out from Your Competition

Research shows emails have an average of an 18% open rate. That’s some stiff competition. Review the tips below for some ways for your emails to stand out from your competitors.

  • Choose a unique subject. Craft a subject line that effectively captures subscribers’ attention and stands out from the sea of other subject lines.
  • Determine the best time. Be mindful about the timing of your message, including the time of day and where the user is in the sales funnel.
  • Find the right frequency. Avoid sending too many emails, but effectively segmenting audiences and sending valuable information may allow you to send a minimum of daily emails.
  • Have fun. Use unique holidays as a way to connect with users, and test using different graphics or emojis in subject lines to see what subscribers respond to.
  • Leverage technology. Take advantage of technology to monitor user behavior and send targeted emails based on their behavior and previous engagements.
  • Personalize your messages. Tailor your emails to satisfy unique things about each subscriber, such as their habits, interests, locations, preferences, or purchase history.
  • Remember mobile. Think about different devices when designing your emails, and ensure all emails are mobile friendly and mobile ready.
  • Segment carefully. Segment your subscribers into specific audiences to ensure you send the most relevant information to the right people.
  • Use a strong CTA. Include a strong call to action (CTA) that captures the reader’s attention and motivates them to take action.

When it comes to your email marketing strategy, if you’re looking for a way to work more efficiently and make the best use of your resources. automated email sending may be the solution for you. Take advantage of email automation to save time while strengthening your relationships with leads and moving them through the sales funnel.

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