Companies and brands have been sending out marketing emails as long as email’s been around.
So why are we still talking about it?
Well, because year after year email continues to rank as one of the most inexpensive and effective channels for online marketing. According to a study by Shop.org and Forrester Research, the vast majority of retailers in the U.S. – a whopping 85% – say email marketing is one of their top performing customer acquisition tools.
Need more convincing? Custora surveyed 72 million customers shopping on 86 retail websites. They determined that email is the third largest contributor to customer acquisition. Not to mention customers who come from email are more valuable than those from other sources – the study showed that email customers had 12% higher than average customer lifetime value (CLV).
There’s a lot of data out there telling you to set your sights on email for customer acquisition. I know what you’re thinking:
But, Kiera, I have a small team. How am I going to execute a comprehensive email marketing campaign?
I hear you. Here’s the answer – email automation. By automating your email strategy, you can reach more leads in a fraction of the time and send more personal, relevant messages to each one.
Back in 2011, JetBlue added triggered emails to their marketing strategy as a way to recapture leads who didn’t convert the first time. They saw a 200% higher conversion rate and a 1,640% increase in revenue per email. Sounds pretty good, right?
Let’s Take a Look at How Automation Works
SmartPak Equine, a nationwide equestrian supply company, was doing standard batch email campaigns. In an effort to double-down on email and sell more into their existing customer base, they developed an automated email strategy comprised of highly relevant triggered messages. While standard batch-and-blast campaigns have their place, SmartPak wanted to take it a step further. Carey Marston Kegel – Email Marketing Manager for SmartPak – noted, "We try to be smarter about the messages we send so they’re super relevant."
SmartPak created forty event-based trigger emails. We won’t talk about all of them here, but 3 of their top performers included:
A shipping reminder that adds incremental value to orders
A product review reminder that increased the number of online reviews by 1,600%
An abandoned shopping cart reminder, which nets $4.80 revenue per email and a 50% conversion rate
How It Worked
Spoiler alert: SmartPak Equine saw amazing results. Overall, they created an 83% increase in conversion rate and 175% higher revenue. That’s a big deal. Making the jump from manual to automated emails led to 11% higher open rate, 3% more clickthroughs, and $0.28 in additional revenue per email.
Types of Automated Emails That Can Boost Sales
It’s obvious that email automation was a huge winner for SmartPak Equine. Does that mean you have to develop your own 40-email strategy? Nope. For businesses, there are a few key types of emails that really drive sales – these are the messages you want to spend time creating and optimizing.
If you’re selling products online, you’ve probably noticed that a large number of people start the purchase or signup process… and then leave without completing it. Whether abandonment is caused by distraction, second-guessing, or something else, the bottom line is that you’ve lost out on a potential sale. And that’s super lame.
Your customers are just like you – they have a lot going on. So a little reminder about an unfinished purchase can be all that it takes to rekindle a lead. That’s why setting up triggered emails to send whenever someone abandons a purchase should be a priority – it’s basically like pulling extra sales out of your existing marketing efforts.
Depending on the products or services you sell, replenishment emails can be a huge tool in fostering repeat business and driving up customer lifetime value. For example, companies that sell cat litter or Halloween costumes can reap a ton of value from replenishment emails.
Let me explain – if you sell products with a predictable buying cycle, you can estimate pretty accurately when a customer will need to buy again. By sending a triggered replenishment email a specified amount of time after a purchase, you can secure another sale and avoid losing customers to the lowest bidder or the highest Google ranking.
We’re all familiar with the email newsletter – mostly because you probably have 15 new ones in your inbox every morning. The most important function of a regular newsletter is to keep your business top-of-mind for consumers. Finding the right balance of content and frequency can be a huge win for sales.
There are a lot ways to approach sending out regular emails – some are spammy while others are genuine and bring real value to subscribers. Newsletters work for many reasons, but the most successful embody these characteristics:
They’re highly customer-driven
They offer discounts or deliver valuable insights
Automation Tools to Help
It wouldn’t be automation if there weren’t tools to help you make it happen. Resources range from simple email scheduling all the way up to comprehensive whole-marketing automation. Whether you want to dip your toes in or dive head first, there’s a wealth of options for you to choose from.
You’re just getting started with email automation, so how do you know what features the best of the best automation tools should have? Here are the must-haves to look for in a top-notch automation resource:
Metrics and reporting. Email marketing is a process of continuous improvement – reporting shows you where to invest and what needs improvement.
Options for ready-made and do-it-yourself. To get started, you’ll probably want to use pre-made templates, but the flexibility to customize will come in handy down the road.
Ease of use. All the features in the world aren’t worth much if you can’t figure them out.
Besides the must-haves, good marketing software varies – which to choose is highly dependent on your needs and desired feature list. For simple email templates, scheduling, and reporting, MailChimp and Emma are great choices. If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing solution, check out Marketo or HubSpot.
Email Automation Holds the Key to More Sales
Pretty much every entrepreneur likes the idea of more sales and higher revenue. By taking your email marketing from manual to automated, you can boost your bottom line without adding hours of extra work to your week. And that’s something we can all agree on.
Have you seen success with automated email campaigns? Share your results with us in the comments below.