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By Megan Smith

Best Practices and Strategies for Email Automation

I’m allergic to busy work.

This is a problem — both the pollen that triggers my seasonal allergies and busy work are occasionally unavoidable.

But this article is about the best automated email campaigns, workflows that act like busy-work antihistamines, helping you save your time and sanity.

These strategies further empower you to deliver personalized, impactful messages at scale. That means you can foster customer loyalty while growing your business. Sending individually relevant messages used to require an army of PAs. Now, you just need the right email automation platform.

This comprehensive guide covers basic definitions, effective tools, best practices, and case studies. Let’s learn how to leverage the latest email marketing for your brand.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Automated Email Campaigns

Email may play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy, but there’s no reason for you to do everything yourself. That’s where automated email campaigns come into play.

The Evolution of Email Automation

Sending out mass emails used to be a tedious, time-consuming task. Then came the email list, a quick way to send the same message to a large audience at the same time. Email newsletter services followed, allowing people to use templates and schedule communications.

Email automation takes things to the next step. Now, brands can send personalized messages to their audiences at personalized times.

Instead of manually sending out individual emails, you can set up workflows to shape and send messages based on specific actions or events.

Email automation helps save time and improve engagement rates. By delivering relevant content at the right time, you can connect with audiences more effectively than ever.

Businesses have embraced new channels in the past few years, but the popularity of email has also increased. It’s the best way to get your message to those who want it when they want it.

Defining Automated Email Campaigns

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

In a nutshell, automated email campaigns are emails or a series of emails that are sent out automatically, based on certain triggers or schedules.

Common examples include welcome emails, cart abandonment reminders, and post-purchase follow-ups.

The Importance of Email Automation in Marketing

Email automation can make a significant impact on your marketing efforts, driving the engagement and conversions necessary for growth.

  • To streamline marketing and sales efforts (35%)
  • To improve customer engagement (34%)
  • To improve customer experience (34%)
  • To minimize manual tasks (30%)

In other words, people want to save time and improve customer relationships. Email automation is particularly suited to accomplish both of these objectives.

Enhancing Customer Engagement

Maintaining an engaged list is email marketers’ top challenge. One of email automation’s key benefits is its ability to enhance engagement and build relationships.

By using data about your subscribers, such as their browsing behaviour or purchase history, you can tailor each email to the individual recipient. This level of personalization leads to higher open rates, more conversions, and ultimately, stronger brand loyalty.

Automation also allows you to send timely and relevant content such as birthday wishes, reminders to resubscribe, and other messages that require prompt delivery. Ensure that your brand stays on the minds of  your customers — when they’re most open to engagement.

Email is also the surest way of connecting. By 2026, there will likely be 4.73 billion email users who are largely receptive to contact. In one study, 70% of all consumers liked being emailed by brands. Compare that to the 34% who want social media messaging.

Streamlining Communication Processes

Another major advantage of email automation is the way it streamlines your communication processes.

By automating routine tasks like sending follow-up messages after a purchase, you can free up your time to focus on developing your product or strategy.

Automation also ensures consistency without requiring additional effort. You want each customer to receive the same high-quality experience, regardless of when and where they interact with your brand.

Brand consistency improves brand awareness and credibility. It can even help you generate an additional 10-20% of revenue.

Types of Automated Email Campaigns

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

That’s why automation matters generally. But what emails should you automate?

Marketers commonly automate several types of emails. Here are the four most popular automated email campaigns:

  • Welcome emails for new subscribers (83%)
  • Onboarding or post-purchase (68%)
  • Subscriber re-engagement (40%)
  • Cart or browse abandonment (38%)

They’re popular because they work, helping brands grow and attract repeat business.

Welcome Email Series

First impressions count. Welcome emails have substantially higher open and click-through rates than your average newsletter.

Welcome emails are typically triggered when a new subscriber joins your mailing list, introducing them to your brand and setting expectations for future communications.

Add a strong welcome email to your campaigns. You can send a single message saying hello or create a full welcome series showcasing valuable content and special offers.

Abandoned Cart Reminders

I’m personally responsible for more than one cart’s abandonment issues. It’s easy to get distracted or second-guess one’s choices when shopping online.

I’m not alone. The average cart abandonment rate across multiple studies is 70.19%. That’s a significant source of lost revenue for brands.

Abandoned cart reminders are an opportunity to reclaim those dollars. With an automated reminder, you can nudge potential customers to complete their purchases and boost your conversion rate.

Note: A lot of cart abandonment happens because e-shoppers are just browsing. Consider including an additional discount to incentivize people to commit or send along relevant reviews, helping them with the research that’s increasingly integral to online shopping.

Re-Engagement Campaigns

Sometimes relationships go stale, but you shouldn’t give up. Keep your subscribers engaged and reach out when their interest flags.

Re-engagement campaigns aim to reignite the spark, reinvesting them in their relationship with your brand.

These campaigns typically involve sending targeted content or special offers to inactive subscribers. With a well-crafted re-engagement campaign, you can win back subscribers and maintain a healthy, engaged email list.

Post-Purchase Follow-Ups

Automated follow-up emails are a good idea after significant customer interactions such as a purchase.

Post-purchase emails go out after a customer makes a purchase, offering thanks, asking for feedback, or suggesting other products they might like.

Post-purchase follow-ups are a great way to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. By providing value even after the transaction, you can foster a long-term relationship with your customers.

Other Automated Email Ideas

You don’t need to stop there. Email campaigns are the most popular marketing automation. Take full advantage of it with these ideas:

  • Birthday or anniversary emails: Send a message to mark the occasion and show your customers how much you appreciate them.
  • Transactional emails: Help customers track their purchases with order and shipping confirmations.
  • Inventory updates: Let subscribers know when an item they were interested in is back in stock.
  • New product recommendations: Use data from previous purchases to send targeted emails with tailored recommendations for the new season.
  • Loyalty program updates: Keep customers informed about their loyalty reward status and offer incentives or discounts to encourage continued engagement and purchases.

Automated emails are also great for nurturing leads. When a lead heats up, take advantage with an email or a drip campaign convincing them to buy.

Planning Your Automated Email Strategy

How do I automate my email campaign?

Start with a clear strategy. With so many possibilities, a strong, guiding strategy makes the difference between modest improvement and wild success. To that end, don’t forget the following elements as you make your plans for the month or year ahead.

Setting Clear Objectives

Identify your goals. What do you hope to achieve with your email campaigns? Whether it’s boosting conversions, reducing cart abandonment rates, or re-engaging inactive subscribers, having clear goals can guide your strategy and help measure your success.

It’s also important to ensure that your email objectives align with your overall marketing strategy. All of your marketing efforts should work together towards

achieving your business goals.

Segmenting Your Audience

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

Audience segmentation is an essential step in email automation.

Not all of your subscribers are the same. They may have different interests or be at different stages in the customer journey.

Email segmentation involves categorizing your email subscribers into smaller, more targeted groups based on specific criteria such as demographics, purchase history, or behaviour. This strategy allows you to tailor your messages to their unique needs and interests.

Create targeted content that resonates with each group, and automate email campaigns to send these messages to the right people at the right time, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

Personalization Techniques

Almost a third of marketers personalize their email messages and offers. In addition to addressing people by name, they use data about their subscribers to shape their content.

Start by addressing the recipient by name. Using the recipient’s name in your email, especially in the subject line and greeting, instantly adds a personal touch. It makes your communication feel more like a conversation than a sales pitch.

Dynamic content can also personalize mass messages. These blocks of content in an email change based on the characteristics of the recipient. A common example is an e-commerce message with product recommendations based on customer history.

Creating Content for Automated Emails

The best strategy won’t help much without the follow-through of strong automated content.

Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first thing your subscribers see and makes the difference between an opened email and one that’s sent straight to the trash bin.

Craft a compelling subject line — keep it short, descriptive, and enticing. Personalization, such as including the subscriber’s name or referencing their past behaviour, can also boost open rates.

Designing Engaging Email Bodies

good email design blends attractive visuals and compelling text. Make sure that your copy is easy to read and holds subscriber interest.

Keep It Simple

The first rule of effective email design is simplicity. Overly complicated designs can confuse your audience and detract from your message.

Stick to a clean, minimalist design with a clear hierarchy of information. Use white space effectively to separate different sections and make your email easier to read.

Use a Responsive Design

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

With more people checking their emails on mobile devices, responsive design is no longer optional — it’s a necessity. Your emails should look great and be easy to navigate, whether they’re viewed on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Use Compelling Imagery

Images can significantly enhance your email’s appeal. However, they should be used judiciously—not every email needs an image, and too many can distract from your message.

Abide by image best practices for email. Make sure they’re high-quality, relevant, and optimized for quick loading.

Be Consistent With Branding

Your emails should reflect your brand’s visual identity. This includes your logo, color scheme, typography, and overall style. Consistent branding helps build recognition and trust among your subscribers.

Calls-to-Action that Convert

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

The call-to-action (CTA) prompts subscribers to take a specific action, often providing a big email button for them to click.

A good CTA is clear, concise, and compelling. It should tell subscribers exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s visiting your website, making a purchase, or downloading a resource.

Creating a sense of urgency can also encourage subscribers to take immediate action. Let people know why they should buy now with phrases that highlight scarcity, limited-time offers, or key selling points.

Best Practices for Automated Email Workflows

The best practices for setting up your workflows include tips about timing, testing, and deliverability.

Timing and Frequency

Too many emails can annoy your subscribers and lead to unsubscribes, while too few can mean missed opportunities. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.

The optimal timing and frequency can vary depending on your audience and the type of emails you’re sending. Use your data to understand when your subscribers are most likely to engage and how often they prefer to hear from you.

Find the right days and times to send messages, too. Try to catch readers when they’re likely to be at their computers.

A/B Testing for Optimization

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

Email A/B testing involves sending two versions of an email to different segments of your subscribers to see which performs better. You could test elements like subject lines, email design, or CTAs.

By analysing the results, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your future campaigns. Remember, even small changes can lead to significant improvements in engagement and conversions.

Ensuring Deliverability and Compliance

Take care of your list hygiene with regular cleaning and proper compliance.

To ensure that your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes, you need to maintain a healthy sender reputation. Proper protocols and list maintenance will help your emails stick to reader inboxes instead of spam or promotion folders.

On the compliance side, you must adhere to email marketing laws like the CAN-SPAM Act or GDPR. Provide a clear way for subscribers to opt out, include your physical address in your emails, and obtain permission to contact people by email.

Tools and Technologies for Email Automation

The right tools and technologies make it easy to create content and run automated campaigns.

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Platform

What is the best email automation software? The right platform for you depends on your budget and needs, as well as the size of your email list.

Create a list of the features that matter most to your brand such as:

  • Segmenting capabilities
  • A user-friendly interface
  • Robust analytics
  • Personalization features
  • A/B testing tools
  • Responsive templates

Take a look at the top email newsletter services and find an option that provides the suite of tools you need.

You should also take the platform out for a spin before committing. Many services offer free trials, which allow you to find software you find intuitive.

Integration With CRM Systems

Many brands need to choose email automation platforms that integrate with their customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

By integrating your email platform with your CRM system, you can streamline your marketing efforts, gain a more holistic view of your customers, and provide a more personalized experience across multiple touchpoints.

Analysing the Success of Your Email Campaigns

Now that you’ve set up your strategy, crafted your content, and chosen your tools, it’s time to measure the success of your efforts.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) on your analytics dashboard.

KPIs are vital in understanding how well your email campaigns are performing. Pick yours with an eye to your main marketing objectives. Do you want to focus on conversions, customer lifetime value, customer engagement, etc.?

Common email marketing KPIs include open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Learning from Data: Metrics that Matter

Each number tells you different things about your current email performance. Use industry averages as benchmarks in your evaluation.

For example, high open rates suggest that you have a gift for compelling subject lines, and high click-through rates testify to the strength of your body content.

On the other hand, high unsubscribe rates could signal that your content isn’t resonating with your audience, and high bounce rates indicate issues with your email list or deliverability.

Pay attention to numbers that indicate larger patterns in customer lifecycles, too, such as engagement over time. Which type of email results in the highest engagement? Is there a point where subscriber interest starts to decline, and how can you combat this fatigue?

Case Studies: Successful Automated Email Campaigns

Enough theory. Let’s look at some real-world examples of successful automated email campaigns.

Industry Leaders and Their Strategies

Industry giants use automated emails to engage their audience and boost conversions.

Amazon is a prime example of successful email automation (pun intended). It sends personalized product recommendations based on each customer’s browsing and purchasing history. This strategy helps Amazon increase engagement and drive repeat purchases.

Other major retailers also make good use of automated personalization and reminders, particularly when it comes to abandoned cart emails.

Small Business Success Stories

Small businesses, too, can see significant benefits from automated email campaigns. For example, many Etsy stores send offers, generally coupons for additional discounts, to people who mark their items as favourites.

Automations are also helping brands in the newsletter world.

Richard Patey uses automation to sell digital products through his newsletter Digital Asset Investor. He appreciates the way beehiiv allows him to customize workflows and “create a funnel”:

“I have low-cost “tripwire” products on the thank you page within the welcome email. So a certain percentage of people are buying that, which helps with the acquisition cost. Then I have sponsorship, affiliate, and higher-ticket products.”

Saeed Ezzati of Superpower Daily uses beehiiv’s latest automation upgrades to automate reengagement campaigns and list maintenance. This saves him time each week now that he no longer has to tackle these tasks manually.

This is a fast-changing field, and new trends in email automation are rapidly emerging.

The Role of AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning are playing an increasingly important role in email marketing. In 2022, top marketing uses for AI included paid advertising, email messages and subject lines, product recommendations, and predictive analytics.

In addition to analysing customer data and personalizing content, some AI-powered email tools can analyse initial campaign results more quickly so that brands can refine them.

Interactive and Dynamic Email Content

Another trend shaping the future of email marketing is the use of interactive and dynamic content.

Interactive emails, such as those featuring quizzes or surveys, can increase engagement and provide valuable insights about your audience.

You can even ask people directly about the content they want to read. Just ask Matt Grey of The Soulful Entrepreneur. He’s leveraged beehiiv’s one-click polls to achieve impressive engagement and growth.

Revolutionize Your Marketing With Automated Email Campaigns

Maximizing ROI With Automated Email Campaigns

There you have it. Automated emails are a key tool for marketers of all sizes, and the future will only increase their centrality to the field.

By leveraging the right email platform and automation best practices, brands can personalize their approach, engage their audience on a deeper level, and ultimately, maximize their returns.

Get started by identifying the campaigns that would most benefit your business and selecting a platform with the automation features you need.

If you already have your tools, go ahead and set up your first automated email campaign. Craft a welcome email or cart reminder. Then, let your software do the rest.

Why Trust Us?

beehiiv is the most exciting new player in the email game, building off years of practical newsletter experience. As for me, I regularly write by-lined articles about digital marketing, particularly focusing on email and long-form content.

By Megan Smith

Sourced from beehiiv Blog

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