If you haven’t automated your email marketing, you may be behind the curve. Marketing technology is developing rapidly, providing companies with tools that reduce staffing costs, increase revenue and refine the promotion process. Although 80 percent of marketing automation users experience an increase in the number of leads that they generate, 27 percent of companies say that marketing automation technology is still new to them. If you use marketing automation effectively for your business, you can jump ahead of the competition, secure more leads and increase conversions.
Marketing Automation 101
At the most basic level, automating your email marketing frees up your personnel. When potential customers provide you with their email addresses, software pushes out your email newsletter.
The potential of email marketing doesn’t stop there, though. To develop an effective promotional strategy, you should continue to send out emails that are targeted to your audience’s needs. These can be automated based on actions that your readers take.
Automated emails can be sent out when someone:
- Abandons their shopping cart
- Requests a free offering
- Registers for a webinar
- Opens an email
- Reads a blog post
- Clicks on a link in your newsletter
The series of subsequent emails that follows should narrow down the focus and guide the prospect down a path toward a conversion.
Below are five steps that you can use to create the ideal automated marketing funnel for every segment.
1. Identify Your Audience
Although you can probably describe your ideal customer, your potential clients come from a variety of backgrounds. They may have different pain points and budgets, and you likely have distinct products and services for each of these segments.
For example, a clothing retailer may sell to women, men and children. A sporting goods supplier might offer golf, hunting and camping gear. Understand which customer is liable to purchase from each category, and create a separate strategy for each one.
You can also segment your audience by budget. If your products and services are on different price tiers, create a funnel for each one.
Some leads may be more familiar with you than others. Dividing your strategy based on a prospect’s experience with your brand can also help you address each group with the right messaging.
2. Give Them Something They Want
Most people are hesitant to open their wallets the first time that they interact with you. Your initial correspondence should speak to your customers’ needs and offer something of value.
To determine what your prospects are seeking, ask yourself two questions:
- What do they dream about?
- What do they dread?
You can use the answers in your messaging. Some phrases that you could use to address these points include:
- Have you ever thought about …?
- What if you could …?
- Are you struggling with …?
- Are you stumped on how to …?
Fill in the blanks. These expressions will bring your leads’ problems or desires to the surface, prepping them for your next message, which can be a story, an article with valuable information or a free product or service that offers a solution.
Using anecdotes and narratives can help you dredge up emotion in your readers. Sharing a blog post with tips and tricks, hacks or resources can set you up as an authority. Providing a free white paper or e-book can play on the persuasive principle of reciprocity, which says that people will want to return the favour when you do something nice for them.
3. Set an Intention for Every Email
Now that you have your audience in your pocket, escort them down your sales funnel by appealing to each segment with additional value. Make sure that you have a specific goal in mind as you do this.
If your objective is to get people to register for an online course, your marketing automation funnel may look like this:
- Create an opt-in offer, such as a free webinar.
- Create a launch page for the webinar with an email capture form, and promote it via email, social media and blog posts.
- After your target signs up for the webinar, automate a thank-you email.
- Subsequent reminder emails can be automated and include encouragements to share or print out preparatory items for the webinar, such as worksheets.
- After the webinar, automate follow-up emails for leads that showed up. These may include resources for furthering their knowledge. Introduce your online course here.
- Automate emails to leads that didn’t attend the webinar. Speak to pain points and offer your online course as a solution.
- Automate reminder emails that nudge prospects into buying the online course, using principles of urgency and fear of missing out. You could offer early-bird pricing for those who register within 24 hours or include a counter that shows how many others have already signed up.
4. Consider an Upsell
At any point in the automated marketing process, you can add an upsell option. When your audience downloads an e-book, your thank-you email could offer a checklist or audio file that goes with it for a small fee. When leads register for a webinar, you can offer them an invitation to a paid membership site where they can get support or feedback.
5. Track and Analyse
You’ll never know if your marketing automation is working if you don’t track, measure and analyse it. Keep an eye on the emails that are getting opened and the verbiage that’s encouraging more conversions.
Most marketing automation software lets you experiment with headlines, call-to-action buttons and design elements. Understand what works for you so that you can repeat it to maximise conversions.
Marketing automation software won’t write your content for you, but it will free you up to get more creative with your messaging. Then, it can launch your emails based on audience-driven triggers. Email automation improves the customer experience by increasing their education, sending reminders or surprising them with messages that correspond to their interactions with you. After you have converted your leads with one email marketing funnel, consider how to secure them as repeat buyers with additional marketing automation strategies.