Email automation is a crucial tool in any company’s kit.
Automating your emails saves you some serious time when it comes to connecting with customers. At the same time, a good automation strategy helps to strengthen audience engagement, and reduce your risk of losing possible clients.
Unfortunately, only around 49% of companies use marketing automation today. That includes more than half of all B2B brands.
If you haven’t discovered the benefits of automation for yourself yet – don’t worry. We’re going to start you on the right path with some top tips to make your efforts more effective.
Here is a series of tricks and tips you can use to improve your automated email campaigns’ performance and make your messages feel a little less robotic.
Let’s get started.
1. Get Branded
First, your audience needs to know straight away that every message you send comes from you. That means you need a consistent brand template you can use to connect with your customers. A solid branded email will include the following things:
- Consistent colors: Get these from your brand guidelines. Stick with the same colors in every marketing campaign, whether you’re posting on Instagram, or sending an email.
- Logos and images: Your logo needs to be evident in every email you send. Make sure that any emails included in your messages look like they belong to your brand too. Avoid stock photos that don’t seem authentic.
- A template: Using your email marketing software, you can create a template that provides the same visual experience with every email. That’s what Game does, by creating emails that look exactly the same as its website.
Don’t forget that a good brand also includes a personalized voice.
The tone you use in your messages needs to sound the same every time. Don’t switch between using emojis and slang one week, then only professional and sophisticated language the next. Customers will lose faith in the consistency of your brand if you do.
2. Be Accessible
When you automate your emails, you need to ensure that everyone can enjoy them. Think about how people are going to be reading your emails. Will they be tuning in from their smartphone? If so, you’ll need to ensure that your text is still readable on a smaller screen.
Are your customers going to need help reading your content if they have a disability? Can you use more white space and segments in your content to make things feel a little easier?
Designing emails with your users in mind can be tough – particularly if you’re focusing on accessibility. However, with a little practice, you can ensure that you’re able to reach all of your customers in the same way. Think about things like audiences using screen readers, people with dyslexia, and low visibility issues.
There’s even a contrast checker here that you can use to test the readability of your buttons, texts, and links on different backgrounds.
3. Personalize Your Messaging
Personalization is one of the most important things to include in any email campaign. If you want to build a relationship with your customers, then you need to make them feel special. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of thinking that just because they’ve “automated” their campaigns, then can ignore customization.
Instead, you should be doubling down on your efforts to connect with customers on a deeper level here. Show your audience that you’re not just another robotic presence in their inbox by segmenting them and sending messages relevant to their needs.
You can segment your audience based on what kind of products they might be interested in, like Apple does here:
Or you can add personalization in the form of first names, and references to previous products your customer has bought. Another way to add a human touch to your emails is to change the “from” name so it looks like your messages are coming from a person on your team. For instance, instead email@example.com, try Paul@Company.com.
4. Make Your Emails Shareable
Email automation is great because it allows your email marketing software to do a lot of the hard work of promotion on your behalf. However, you can also take your email strategy to the next level by letting your audience do some of the work too.
Adding social sharing buttons to your emails means that customers can spread the word about any messages you send with one click of a button:
Many of the email marketing software solutions available today come with pre-built templates that include social sharing buttons to make your life a little easier. You can also add an email forwarding option, too if you want to let your customers share coupons and discount codes.
The team at Litmus found that the most forwarded emails were 13 times more likely to include calls-to-action that invited users to share them with their network.
5. Perform Regular Routine Maintenance
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that email automation is a set-and-forget-it process. While automating some of your email campaigns can take a lot of pressure off you and your marketing team, there’s still work to do if you want your campaigns to be successful.
Start by scheduling times for routine maintenance, where you can go back and A/B test different parts of your campaign. Remember, as rules and trends in email marketing evolve, there’s always a chance that a new call to action button or subject line will lead to more conversions.
While you’re checking your emails, make sure that you’re also abiding by all of the latest rules and regulations in customer contact. For instance, is your latest campaign abiding by CAN-SPAM rules? These guidelines state that you need to:
- Include a physical address on every email
- Ensure that your recipients always have a clear way to opt out of your email list
- Use clear “To” and “From” language that reflects who you are
- Avoid sender names with the “no-reply” option
- Avoid selling or using any email addresses in an unethical manner
6. Check Your Emails Before You Send Them
Aside from regularly updating and maintaining your email campaigns, you’ll also need to ensure that everything works exactly as it should. The last thing you want is to start sending an automated email campaign and notice three months later that a vital image in your message won’t load properly.
Since automating your emails will save you a decent amount of time in the long-term, make sure that you don’t cut corners when it comes to testing your campaigns. Your email marketing software should let you check out what the email is going to look like before you send. Active Campaign allows you to choose between an email client preview, or a desktop preview:
It may also be a good idea to test the email marketing campaign by sending it to a member of staff before you begin issuing it to the people on your email list. Sending yourself or your team an email first will allow you to ensure that every link and image works exactly as it should.
Remember to double-check the performance of your automated campaigns every once in a while, to ensure that things are still working properly.
7. Remember to Monitor and Update
Some email marketing campaigns will stay in your automation roster longer than others. There’s a good chance that you’ll stick with the same welcome campaign for a while, for instance. On the other hand, automated campaigns promoting certain products and services may change every few months.
Whether you’re working on a long-term campaign or not, don’t forget to regularly check and enhance your emails. What’s working for your campaigns this month might not make the right impact three months’ from now. Using your email marketing software analytics, make sure that you check important metrics on a routine basis.
Check that your open rates are still good after a significant amount of time and look for ways to make changes if they begin to drop. Could you try a new offer, or consider sending your messages at a different time, for instance? The reporting features in your software are there for a reason.
You might even decide to completely scrap one campaign after a while and replace it with something new, to test different features like video embedding or showcase a new sale:
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of regular testing.
Making the Most of Email Automation
Email automation is one of the best things you can use in your marketing strategy – because it gives you a fantastic way to consistently engage your audience. With an email automation strategy, you can connect with clients through everything from regular sales messages, to welcome emails. However, there’s no such thing as a set-and-forget-it strategy for email – even with automation.
Using the tricks and tips above, you can improve your chances of making the right impression, even when a piece of software is connecting with your customers on your behalf.