Marketing / Business marketing

Email automation: marketing for those who are too busy for marketing

Email marketing is highly effective, but it can be time consuming. By using email automation for your marketing emails, you can free up time while still enjoying great results.

19 August 2015 by

Time is of the essence when you’re running your own business, especially when it comes to your marketing. When you’re first getting started (and even once you’re established) it’s easy to feel pulled in a dozen different directions at once (in fact, seven years later that can still happen on most days!), and marketing can be a bit of a time suck, especially if you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Luckily for busy business owners like myself and many of the clients I work with, email automation has more recently come on the marketing scene in a major way. In my experience, email automation is the perfect set and forget marketing strategy for soloists who are looking to get great results from their marketing while still putting their primary focus into running their business.

What is email automation?

Email marketing can be fiddly and time consuming. Email automation takes care of the process for me by automatically triggering emails to be sent when a subscriber performs a certain action.

Instead of setting time each week to create and send regular emails, I can spend a small block of time (usually a couple of hours here and there) creating a few automated emails that can then be set to send indefinitely to whoever triggers them (with no further intervention from me). The trick is though, the content has to be good, highly relevant and engaging.

How to use automated emails for the best marketing results

If you’re using one of the main email marketing platforms you should be able to create and set automated emails with ease. Most email marketing platforms (I use Campaign Monitor, some of my clients use Mail Chimp) also let you track the results so you can see how well your automated emails are working for you while you’re off doing other things.

"In my experience e-mail automation is the perfect set and forget marketing strategy for soloists."

While you’re probably familiar with the automated “welcome to my list” email (which I am not such a fan of but can work out well if the content is engaging and interesting), there are a myriad of other uses for email automation that you might not have thought about. Here are three of my favourites.

1. To deliver a course

Offering a course (on your area of expertise for example), is a great way to bring in new subscribers, boost your credibility and authority and start to build a relationship with your target audience. Pick a topic your subscribers are likely to be interested in, break it down into five or six emails and set them to send at regular intervals. (I would recommend sending the emails at least five days apart).

This may seem like a bit of work at the beginning, but you only have to write them once and they will continue to bring in new subscribers for as long as you like with no further effort on your part.

2. To encourage new subscribers to become customers

One easy way I’ve found to boost the effectiveness of that welcome email is with a special introductory offer or discount, especially relevant for B2C and e-commerce businesses. Triggered whenever anyone new signs up to your mailing list, introductory offers can help you get new subscribers over the line from interested follower to paying customer faster.

3. To nurture your leads

Most people who sign up to your email list are not automatically going to become customers. It takes a bit of hard work and relationship building to encourage your subscribers to make that transition and email automation can really help.

To get this right you will need to have an in depth understanding of your customers, and the barriers they face to purchasing from you, so you can create a series of six to eight emails that address these issues without being overly pushy.

I would recommend using a mixture of case studies (especially for B2B audiences), problem solving guides and stories of how other customers have been successful using your products or services.

These are my three favourite ways to use email automation for my business, but there are plenty more ways you can use automated emails to boost your marketing and grow your business without having to spend all your time creating individual campaigns and newsletters.

What do you think of email automation? Has it helped your business grow?

Jo Macdermott

from Next Marketing works with Marketing Managers who need a safe pair of executional hands, Entrepreneurs in funded startups and small and medium businesses with $50K plus annual marketing budgets. You can also connect with Jo on LinkedIn.


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