As of 2020, there were 3.9 billion daily email users, a number expected to climb to 4.3 billion by 2023. At the same time, 73% of millennials report that email is their preferred way to communicate with businesses. Email marketing has an average ROI of $38 for every dollar spent. Despite all these incredibly promising statistics, though, it sometimes seems like email marketing is dead. Some email campaigns are unsuccessful, with unexpectedly low open rates and abysmal ROIs, and when that happens, it is convenient to blame the medium. But it is often not the marketing channel that is the problem, but the message delivery.
Here's why email marketing and automation should be an essential part of your overall marketing strategy, and how to get it right.
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses email as its channel. It involves the use of emails to promote a business, its products, and its services to prospects and existing customers. Effective email marketing campaigns are capable of converting prospects into customers and one-time buyers into loyal fans of a brand.
Email automation is a technique that makes email marketing easier, more efficient, and more personalized while taking less effort. It is a way to send time or action-triggered emails to the right people with the right message at the right moment, leveraging a marketing automation tool. Automated emails could be anything from a welcome series when your customer signs up to your email list, a quick reminder that they placed something in their cart but didn't check out, or even a special discount offered on their birthday.
Email automation offers several benefits. Here are just a few highlights.
Your emails will interest more people and help effectively nurture leads if they are relevant to the recipient and personalized. In fact, research shows that 91% of customers are more likely to patronize businesses that provide personalized recommendations and offers, and 72% of customers only respond to messaging that targets their interests. This shows that personalization is the way to go, and the best way to do it with less effort is through email automation technology. You can target your prospects and existing customers using the data gathered from their digital footprint, from their name to their online shopping preferences. Automation tools help you dynamically tailor your emails based on customer data, thus sending them only what interests them.
It costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain your existing customers. If your customers go too long without hearing from you, they might forget about you and move on. So, it's imperative that you keep in touch with them, regularly sending them relevant messages that educate them about your brand, encourage them to keep coming back, or remind them of why they bought from you at all. With email automation, you can schedule your messages to go out regularly so that they don't forget about you. Automation also helps you target your customers based on their demographics and interests so that the messages are relevant and the customers don't ignore or delete them.
Sending out emails manually takes time, effort, and manpower. So, the size of your team limits the number of customers you can reach. If your customer base were to double or triple in size, you would have to hire several more people to just send emails. This could prove an expensive endeavor and make you think twice about scaling your business. Instead, if you use email automation, you can scale without worrying about hiring new employees. All you need to do is set up the email automation tool to send messages to the increased number of subscribers. Customers can automatically be integrated into your marketing efforts when they perform an action you track. Their behavior tells the automation tool what messages to send without any additional demands on your resources.
Another major benefit of automation is that it frees your team up to do more important tasks that require their expertise and human ingenuity, like answering complex customer questions, engaging in in-depth relationship building, and creating new strategies for promotion. In a 2017 survey of information workers, 59% of respondents said that they could save at least six hours a week if the repetitive aspects of email marketing were automated, and 72% said that they would use this saved time to focus on higher-value work.
A crucial advantage of email automation, especially for e-commerce businesses, is the automation of transactional emails triggered by specific actions visitors take on your website. The action could be subscribing to your newsletter, downloading an ebook, making a purchase, or even leaving some items in the cart without making the purchase. These emails usually include basic information the recipient expects (like a confirmation of a purchase or a link for a free download), but they don't have to stop with that. You can use these emails to encourage customers to take another step. For example, you can include a "similar products" section at the bottom of an order confirmation email, or a discount coupon while thanking a customer for subscribing. It has been shown that businesses can generate up to six times more ROI from such emails.
While email marketing is not dead, some email marketing practices are certainly outdated and can make you regret even investing in emails. However, when this happens, it is often the content or the messaging that is to blame, rather than the channel itself. Here's how to use email automation effectively.
Automating your emails doesn't mean that you can neglect the quality of your content. No matter how personalized or timely your messages are, if the content is not valuable, the customer won't act. So, make sure your content is relevant and provides value to the customer, and make regular tweaks based on what's working and what is not.
Automating every aspect of your email communications without knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish will probably harm your marketing efforts more than helping them. So, make sure the messages you send are timely and relevant, and let customers know what to expect from you. For example, it's natural to send your customers a welcome email or series when they first subscribe to your email list. You can also choose triggers like specific festivals and events on which to send them special offers. Another effective trigger for e-commerce businesses is when customers leave your website without making a purchase or place something in their cart without purchasing it. A short reminder email in such cases might nudge them toward a purchase.
Once you've set up your email workflows, your work is not over. Some emails will work while some might not. Monitor your automations regularly and make tweaks based on the types of content, subject lines, offers, and so on that best convert customers or elicit a response from them. This is the most important step, because if you set up your email sequences and forget about them, there is always the risk that your customer won't like what you're sending.
If you've never automated your emails before, getting started can seem like a daunting task. You need to understand how the tool works, set up the automation workflows and triggers, create the content, and optimize regularly. If you don't have experts on your team to do so or the resources to hire a full-time employee for these tasks, you can always outsource the work to a freelancer. Fiverr's email automation freelancers can help you do everything from setting up the tools and helping you with workflows and triggers to creating content tailored to suit your needs. Visit the "Email Marketing Automation" section on Fiverr and browse through the freelancers on the page to find one who best suits your needs.