Smart Ways to Use Email Automation to Win Customers and Successfully Retain Them

It seems like social media has eclipsed email these days, especially in driving businesses. However, recent studies show that emails are still the more preferred channel for customers who would want to receive news from companies. In fact, 72% of adults in the US favor emails from companies over social media, phone calls, and text messages combined.

Email does remain to be a flexible means of messaging. Its approach is straightforward and simple, and it continues to adapt to the ever-evolving marketplace. This is why your business should always have a good email marketing strategy to send targeted messages to customers and leads – wherever they may be situated in the lifecycle of buying.

However, it does not mean you will have to create emails for your hundreds or thousands of customers and subscribers. It is not only tiring and time-consuming but also impossible. You have other things to do, and you cannot keep track of all your prospects and customers every day, all the time. This is where email automation enters the picture.

Email Automation: What Is It Exactly?

Email automation is a part of your email marketing strategy where, as the name implies, you send emails automatically. These emails are sent out based on triggers or a schedule you have defined.

It does sound like it’s so simple and for the most part, it actually is. However, it is a marketing skill that needs your time and devotion to it, so that you will learn how to do email automation correctly. You have to keep testing it and based on the results, improve or maintain your strategies.

Before we delve further into email automation, you should be aware that it is not the same as the transactional emails that you have probably sent out. Emails like “Thank you for your order” and “We have shipped your product” are examples of these transactional emails that you send automatically to your customers.

Although these can also help expand your business, they differ in purpose from automated email marketing. Transactional emails’ goal is to merely notify whereas automated emails are created to engage your customers.

How to Set Up Email Automation

To start with email automation, you should have a system that sends relevant and engaging emails, and at the same time, it does so automatically. There are two main types of automated emails that you can create. First, you’ll need a service for your email automation. I use for my clients and for this website Drip but you can use something like InfusionSoft.

Drip Feed

First, let us have drip feed emails in which you deliver a sequence of messages based on a specified timeframe. Drip feed can even be a source of additional income and leads if you know how to do them correctly. Often, this type of email is used to provide things your prospective customers have signed up for.

Drip feed has a lot of potential. For example, you can send a drip feed email to your list of prospects to invite them to a conference with your company or any event. What is important with your drip feed email is that you have something click-worthy for the readers.

Events-Based Trigger Emails

Simply known as trigger emails, these are exactly what they sound like. They are emails that depend or are triggered by the behavior or action (or lack of it) of your subscribers. Trigger emails are actually the more common type of automated emails because they help remove the need for you to send messages that would be tedious to create, especially on a daily basis. In general, a trigger email can be:

  • Onboarding email
  • Welcome email
  • Getting started with an app, product, or service
  • Refer a friend (triggered after a purchase where the customer can tell a friend to get a coupon or any special offer)
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Milestones such as join dates or anniversaries and birthdays

Trigger emails can also be set up based on the actions of the customers, known as behavioral email marketing. For this strategy, you can provide rewards and bonuses.

These two types of automated email can be used separately or together. It all depends on your end goals. For instance, an event-based email can be sent out to enroll a subscriber to a drip feed where you provide content through email at specific time intervals.

How Other Companies are Automating Emails

InsightSquared: Drip Feed

This is actually what InsightSquared did where they sent an email to their cold lead prospect list to request them to join a meeting. It was a three-step process where the first email containing a GIF was sent on a Sunday which asked the recipients who were free for lunch on the coming Wednesday.

Next, they sent an automated email on Tuesday for those who did not reply. The email asked if they were still on for the next day. Those who did not respond received yet another email on Thursday that said, “Sorry that yesterday did not work out,” and that the company was happy to reschedule.

Why It Works: It is an unusual approach, especially with the second email as it heightened the interest of the reader.

ModCloth: Trigger Email

ModCloth regularly sends out an email every six months from the time the subscriber joined. The automated email contains a coupon code as part of the six-month anniversary celebration of the customer.

Why It Works: It helps retain the customers and make sure they continue to buy products from the online clothing retailer.

Contently: Drip Feed

After closing a sale, customers receive weekly emails from Contently about blog posts that are relevant and valuable. The emails are casual and straightforward so that the readers do not think a robot is talking to them.

The email is personalized with the name of the customer, followed by a greeting like “hope you’re having a good week,” and then the message shares the link to the blog post, along with its description.

Why It Works: It is quick and easy. The automated email is sent out each time there is a new post on the Contently blog. The subscriber will simply click on the link provided below the short message.

Boden: Trigger Email

When a customer no longer visits Boden for a long time, an email is automatically sent as a reminder. Additionally, there is an engaging GIF that summarizes what the company has in store for the customers since the time they have not been active.

Why It Works: You want to make sure your customers do not forget about you. Sending automated emails when they have not been on your site for some time helps remind them about your business. This is what Boden aims for in their trigger email campaign.

You can have your own reasons why you set up a trigger or drip feed automated email. But one thing is for sure: you need these automated emails for a successful email marketing strategy.

5 Scenarios Where You Can Take Advantage of Email Automation

If you are wondering how you can use email automation for your business, here are some situations where it can help you grow your revenue and brand while increasing customer retention:

Scenario #1: Many of your customers abandon their email cart.

Why It’s Important: A research company showed 67% of shopping carts are left behind without completing the checkout process. That means 67 out of 100 people browse your site, look at your products, and add at least one to their cart with the intention of making a purchase but they leave.

Why You Should Care: Based on the numbers, if your small store is earning $2 million yearly, you lose over $4 million because of cart abandonment.

Automated Email Setup Example:

Send the first email within 24 hours as a reminder that they left something in their cart. Add some benefits, such as free shipping and then a link to complete their checkout.

Send the second email 24 hours after sending the first email and run it for one month where you ask why they did not buy. You can use the data gathered to improve your sales process.

The third email, if they still did not buy, is a discount email. Give 5% or 10% off on their purchase – whatever works based on your margins. Send this email 72 hours after the second email.

Tip: Always add a picture of the product/s in their cart, along with the link to help them complete their purchase.

Scenario #2: Potential customers have signed up.

Why It’s Important: Surveys say 74.4% of new subscribers expect a welcome email.

Why You Should Care: 33% of the subscribers who receive the welcome email will remain with you for the long-term. Plus, this kind of email generates 5x more click rates than your bulk promos.

Example of Automated Welcome Email

Your goal is to welcome the subscribers to the family – but that is not all. You should also introduce the consumer to your brand, including how it could benefit them. Add an incentive (with a call to action) and set expectations about your regular emails and that they can look forward to exclusive deals. Be sure to encourage them to subscribe or connect with you on social media.

Tip: Always send a creative welcome email. Treat your subscribers as if they are your friends. Use GIFs, photos, helpful content, and even cool videos to entice them to keep opening your emails.

Scenario #3: You have leads, but they are not ready to buy yet.

Why It’s Important: Lead nurturing is essential as nurtured subscribers not only provide 50% more sales for the brand but they also make 47% purchases that are much larger than those who were not nurtured.

Why You Should Care: Not all your subscribers will make a purchase when they find you. Lead nurturing allows you to build new relationships and keep your brand in their minds. As a result, you will be their first choice once they are ready.

Ideas for an Email Nurture Series

Educate your subscribers by teaching them something – about your product or anything else related to it.

Talk about your brand and its story in a series of email. Explain why you are different.

Give personal stories as well as stories from a customer related to your business, such as a success story.

Tip: Go beyond promotions and discounts. You can nurture your subscribers by giving them something that adds value to their life.

Scenario #4: You have a new customer.

Why It’s Important: A customer (not a subscriber) should not cut ties with your business after you make a sale. Keep them as your loyal customer and get the chance to increase your profitability up to 75%.

Why You Should Care: It is 10x more expensive to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing one. Also, repeat customers will spend 67% more than your newly acquired ones.

Ideas for Automated Emails for New Customers

Send a welcome email immediately.

Send another email three days later to check their feedback on their experience. Stay away from forms or such; rather, use the email to allow them to reply to you directly.

Send another email two days after the time they are supposed to get their product.

Three days later, send another email for a product review.

Four days later, give them a promo that would most likely interest them based on the item they bought.

One day later, follow up on the promotion and make sure there is a time limit for them to respond to the email.

Tip: New customers trust you enough to make a purchase, but if something messes up, they will not buy from you again. This automated email ensures them that you care about their experience. Take care of their purchase as well as the delivery process, which can almost guarantee you that they will become a long-term customer.

Scenario #5: You have repeat customers.

Why It’s Important: Your customers who keep using your products or services could be the lifeblood of your company. You can capitalize on them if you use email marketing properly.

Why You Should Care: Repeat customers like you and they trust you, which is why they keep coming back.

Automated Emails for Your Repeat Customers

You can give them a welcome email, another one to check whether they have received the product, and then a product review just like with your new customers. Here’s an additional email to send: give them a related product offer that is different from what you send to new purchasers. Instead of a discount, add a gift or a package. Points can also be offered and the more points they accumulate through repeat purchases, the better the gift.

Key Takeaways

  • Email automation is a series of timed emails that are triggered by customers’ actions.
  • It can help you reach goals – like onboarding new customers and keeping customers engaged.
  • A series of emails should be sent with the right cadence.
I’m the Software Nerd who loves to grow online businesses. Unlike the typical marketer, I run experiments and bend computers to my will to achieve my results. Learn from my successes and failures.