Email marketing is a tried and true method of online marketing. It is usually fit into an inbound marketing framework by acting as an extension of a website or blog, delivering content to customers that will draw them back to the site.
Some believe that email marketing is not worth the effort and will eventually be phased out, especially when it comes to mobile marketing, but a recent survey by iContact shows otherwise. The average small to midsize business spends 15% of their marketing budget on email; 91% of respondents said that email marketing was either helpful or very helpful; and 56% said that they plan to use email marketing more in the coming year.
So what’s next for email marketing? Will it continue on in pretty much the same way it has been going? Well, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if that were true.
Automation – The Rise of the Machines
Automation is a hot concept in the business world – it’s become widely accepted that a well-programmed automated system can save a company time and resources while delivering great results, and email marketing is no exception.
This is no joke – a business making use of marketing automation to nurture prospective customers sees an average 451% increase in qualified leads, and those with automated lead management have found at least a 10% boost in revenue over 6 to 9 months.
A report released by Marketo has defined marketing automation in the context of email quite succinctly – “[It] uses technology to help you determine which stage of the buying process your customers are in, and to guide them to the next stage until they eventually buy your product. Instead of a marketing campaign with a single email, you can design campaigns with a series of emails and other customer engagements.”
The automation system is able to pick out particular cues given by customers (demographics, online activity, birthdays) and respond to them appropriately. This is a big deal, because emails with personalised subject lines are more than 20% more likely to be opened. Basically, you get a robot to do this for you, and robots are smart so it works out well.
HubSpot, a marketing blog and service, has provided several handy recipes for email automation. Here’s one designed to nurture leads after a conversion, preparing them to speak with a sales representative.
Part 1 – Begin this particular workflow after a customer converts on a particular item.
Part 2 – After about 7 days, send the customer a follow-up email with some interesting and useful content related to their conversion.
Part 3 – A few days later, send them another conversion opportunity based on some aspect of what your company does. This should also include some important information about the services offered your company.
Part 4 – If the customer goes for the conversion, they can become a marketing qualified lead and should be unsubscribed from this workflow.
Part 5 – The sales team is notified that this customer has become a marketing qualified lead and is ready to be contacted.
Finding the Right tool for the Job
There are a number of online marketing agencies providing email marketing automation tools.
HubSpot runs a popular and effective automated marketing tool, integrating email marketing with all other aspects of ecommerce. Their software begins by using email and social media to interact with potential customers and nurture leads, with an automatic response system sending emails and messages to leads when they perform certain actions.
Leads are intelligently segmented into lists based on their individual attributes, placing them in the most effective marketing campaigns and driving them to the target website. Campaigns are completely customisable, with as many individual steps and lasting as long as you want.
HubSpot also offers a number of useful tools to create many types of content, such as perfectly optimised emails.
Email marketing automation helps companies effectively reach out to a wider number of leads, sending them relevant content instead of just blasting out some spam buck-shot. An intelligent automated system can give customers a sense of interaction, providing them with personally interesting information at the proper time. Businesses today need to implement email marketing automation soon, or they risk a bit of embarrassment as their mail is increasingly relegated to the junk box. Why not download the complete marketing software comparison to discover which tool is best for you.
Now it’s your turn
What’s your favourite aspect of automated email marketing? Tell us about it in the comments below!