Email Automation: What is it?

Email Automation is exactly what it sounds like – automated marketing emails that you set up in advance and then configure to ‘trigger’ when a certain event is met like a date, an email signup, a spending limit or a document download.

Most major email marketing platforms like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp have email automation capabilities, plus there are heeeeaaaps of plugins available for all major website platforms like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. The exact configuration of your email automation system will depend on what platform you are collecting the data from and how it feeds through to your email marketing platform, but there are a lot of different options out there; if you need help selecting the best one for your business and getting it all set up, then holla at us, we’d be more than happy to help.

Once you’ve got everything set up an running, that is when the fun begins! We’ve outlined ten great campaign ideas below to help get you started. If you have any questions or have a campaign that’s worked really well for your business then please leave us a comment – sharing is caring!

Ten Totally Awesome Automated Emails to Send Your Audience

10. Birthday Gift Email

This is probably the most commonly used automatic email and is a great one to start with if you are new to automated emails. The idea is that you send your customers something a little special on their birthday like a gift voucher or a discount code.

The exact set-up of the email will vary depending on your brand and product – for example if you are a clothing brand you might send it two weeks before their birthday so that they can get themselves some new threads for the big day, but if you are a restaurant you might send it on the actual day so that they get a free piece of cake with any lunch order.

9. Reminder to Repurchase

The Reminder to Repurchase EDM is a great way to encourage repeat sales. The premise is pretty simple – if someone purchases a product from your website and you know that the product lasts the average person 10 weeks before it runs out, then you set up an automated email to remind them to repurchase the product at 9 weeks so that it arrives before they completely run out.

This EDM is a great way to upsell as well, because you can introduce them to complimentary products that they may not have considered in their first sale.

8. Review Request

Customer reviews are an important brand-building exercise; not only do they assist you in convincing new customers to try your products, but if left on the correct platforms (Facebook, Google+, review websites), then they can also help your website’s organic rankings. Therefore, a Review Request email that gets sent automatically to anyone who has purchased from your website two weeks after their purchase (so that they have had enough time to receive and try the product) can be a great way to encourage additional reviews.

7. Welcome Email

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A well-planned welcome email can help turn potential customers into actual customers. It can include a special offer like free shipping or 10% off their first order to help push them over the line (Tuscan Tan do this really well in their welcome email), as well as educational information about your brand and services – remember, a user may have signed up to your email comms because they are interested in your hand-made cat booties; they have no idea that you also make baby booties, so this is your opportunity to tell them about the breadth of your product offering.
Also consider adding in links to important digital assets like an app download, social media accounts or store locator.

6. Related Content

If you offer downloadable e-books, white papers or other downloadable resources, then an automated email campaign that links to other related content can be a great way to increase engagement levels with your content. For example, if someone visits your website and downloads your hugely popular e-book title ‘How to Train Your Cat to do Push-ups’ then you could set up an automated email that sends them links to related titles such as ‘What to Do When Your Cat is Fitter Than You’.

5. Re-Engagement

The trigger for the re-engagement email is absence – when someone hasn’t purchased from your website in over 12 months or has stopped commenting on your forum, then it may be time to send them an email telling them that you miss them and you’d really love it if they’d be your friend again.

The re-engagement email is also a great way to ‘spring clean’ your database – you give them one last chance to opt in before removing them from the list. A clean list of active and engaged users will perform better and cost less to maintain.

4. Wish List or Abandoned Cart EDM

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 1.34.29 PMAnother pretty simple one – if someone adds products to their wish list or cart but then doesn’t follow through with the purchase then you shoot them a quick email reminding them the product is selling out quickly and they better jump online and grab it before someone else does.

For abandoned cart EDMs, it may help to do some additional research into why people are abandoning their cart so that you can address the issue. For example, if you discover that a lot of people are dropping off after shipping costs are calculated and added to the final sale cost then a ‘free shipping when you spend over $X’ offer may entice them to come back and finalise the sale. The Iconic does a great job of this in their email, pointing out why you need to act fast as well as some of the benefits of shopping with them.

For Wish List EDMs, it may be a good idea to include additional complimentary items in the email – for example if you sell clothing, you may want to add some accessory ideas that go well with that dress.

3. Offer About to Expire

Another simple one; if someone is sent a voucher and they haven’t used it, send them a reminder to use it. This can be a part of your ‘welcome’ or ‘birthday’ email campaign.

2. Anniversary or Loyalty Campaigns

Everyone loves being appreciated for their loyalty. If someone has been a customer for a year or has consistently made purchases from your website then reward them with something a little bit special – the trigger for this email could be the date they made their first purchase, or their when they make their 10th purchase or reach a spend limit.

1. Nurture

‘Nurture’ campaigns take a bit of planning and require you to have a good understanding of your sales funnel to work correctly. The general idea is that when someone first signs up to your email database, they are showing some interest in your brand or product but may not be ready to commit to making a sale yet. A nurture campaign consists of a series of email communications that lead the user through the sales funnel for your product, and it may include a combination of the campaign emails that we have already listed above.

Rideshare company Uber does a great job of this – they start with a welcome email that encourages you to download the app to use your free ride. This is the first point of contact with the user and is focused on ensuring that the customer has the tools that they require to use their service.

The second email educates the user about one of the great benefits of using Uber and the final email focuses on teaching the user about the service – it drives traffic to a page on the website that teaches the user exactly how Uber operates in their city (a nice bit of email personalisation there!) – an important lesson for the user in the case of Uber because they function slightly differently in different cities all over the world.
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PN Digital are a team of marketing professionals who really really REALLY love developing email campaigns, coming up with great automation ideas and testing new platforms and features. If you are missing this passion for email marketing and would like to hand these tasks over to a skilled and capable team, then contact us at us on 1300 131 932! Other communication options such as email, web form, direct mail, carrier pigeon and smoke signals can be found here.