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Marketing Automation is the use of software programs that streamline marketing tasks in order to increase lead generation and sales for a business.  In layman’s terms, marketing automation is like a robot that gets you sales. It does what you tell it to do until you tell it to stop. If you set it up well enough, you will get more leads that will ultimately increase sales for your business without you having to lift a finger. After a while, your marketing automation engine will be getting sales for you while you sleep.

A great example of marketing automation is the automated e-mail. You write it once and set it up to be sent automatically to certain people on your mailing list based on a trigger you pre-select. The trigger can be anything such as downloading a white paper, signing up to your e-mail list, or based on a product recently purchased.  Sending automatic e-mails gives you the option of re-engaging with your customers consistently over a period of time with just one click of a button. This type of marketing automation can be used to establish and maintain rapport with your customers as well as significantly increase day-to-day sales.  Here are just a few examples of automated e-mails you can incorporate into your e-mail campaign:

The Welcome E-mail

Trigger: When someone joins your mailing list.

Jo-Ann Fabrics sends out this welcome e-mail when someone joins their mailing list. It offers 20% off any purchase in their online store. They jump right away into selling their products. The best time to sell to someone is when they are first introduced to your company and are excited about what you have to offer.

The Happy Birthday/Anniversary E-mail

Trigger: A specific anniversary or birthday date

You can arrange for e-mails to be sent out to your customers based on a date they give you when joining your mailing list. Your automated e-mail can be triggered to automatically send out on or before a specific date.  This e-mail can be used to maintain a good rapport with the people on your list by showing that you remember their special days.  You can even offer a promotion or something free to help them celebrate!

The Renew Your Subscription E-mail

Trigger: A certain amount of time after a Purchase has been made

Here is a great example of an e-mail reminding a customer that it is time to re-order or plan a visit back to your office.  This automated e-mail makes it easy to market to your customers without you having to remember every detail about your customers’ order history. This is perfect if you have a subscription-based product or service. Even if your business is not geared to subscription-based purchases, you can still come up with reasons why a customer would need to order again with you such as change of season, the general time it takes to run out of your products, getting older, etc.

The We Miss You E-mail

Trigger: If a customer hasn’t ordered in a while or canceled their service/subscription

Things change and people forget. There are many reasons why a customer would cancel a subscription, not reorder, or abandon a shopping cart. However, you don’t have to leave it at that.  You can gently remind them that you are still there and have what they need. That is exactly what a massage business does with this e-mail below. They even take it a step further by offering a promotion for the next service.

The Thank You E-mail

Trigger: After a customer has made a purchase

Home Depot does an excellent job sending an e-mail to their customers after making a purchase. They take this opportunity to offer a coupon to encourage customers to come back for more.

The Order Confirmation E-mail

Trigger: Immediately following a purchase

Similar to the thank you e-mail, the order confirmation is a way to describe to your customer what they just ordered.  After a customer has made a purchase, they want to hear from you. Whether it’s to let them know that you received their order or to thank them for ordering with you, these e-mails are almost never deleted. Here is an example from Fandango where they not only give details of a recent purchase but they also ask you to join their mailing list by offering some attractive incentives.

The Almost There E-mail

Trigger: The customer never downloaded your app, or abandoned a shopping cart

For whatever reason, people abandon ship.  Let’s say you get a lot of orders in your online store but half of these orders are not completed due to people not placing the order. Or maybe they didn’t complete a final step in your download process.  Whatever the case may be, you might be able to save the order by putting together an automated e-mail to help remind prospects to keep moving forward.  For example, Later sends out this e-mail to remind customers to download their app. It’s quick and to the point, but this type of email can save you a lot of lost orders.

E-mail Campaign Service Providers

There are many online software tools that you can use to run your e-mail campaigns.  Websites such as MailChimp, MailerLite, Aweber, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, and GetResponse are just a few of the many e-mail automation service providers.  Most of them have free services, but each of them offers premium services for lists at various levels. A number of people on your list, the level of functionality you need, and the number of e-mails sent are factors involved in calculating costs.  Our favorite providers are MailChimp and MailerLite. These providers are very popular, have an easy to use plug and play interface, and offer the best free options.  

Where to Start

There are many different types of e-mail automations to choose from. We recommend starting with your specific needs. Make a list of where people drop off in your sales funnel. Do they order once and never order again? Try sending a survey or a re-order e-mail promotion to those folks and see what happens. Do you notice shopping carts being abandoned often? Put together a reminder e-mail asking those prospects to complete their purchase. Do you need to increase your repeat customer sales year round?  Send a birthday message with an offer they can’t refuse.  The purpose of marketing automation is to help you reach your sales goals. Figuring out what e-mails to send is easy when you start with your sales goals.

Marketing automation is a wonderful tool to positively impact your bottom line at a very low cost. The small amount of time it takes to set up the initial e-mails will reap a plethora of benefits for your business. Once your e-mails begin rolling out, you will start to see an increase in customer engagement, more exposure for your brand, and increased sales. Set up and turn on your automated emails and watch your business grow.