This post was originally published on Sept. 20, 2019, and was updated on June 2, 2021.
Regardless of your niche, industry or sector, email is one of the most powerful marketing channels available to today’s business owners, offering an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent. Ultimately, however, your email marketing success depends on how it’s done. When it comes to squeezing the most juice from your email marketing efforts, embracing the power of email automation is essential.
This guide will walk you through the basics of email automation and show you how to automate your email marketing. We’ll cover:
- What is email automation?
- Overview of five steps to automate email marketing.
- Understand your audience.
- Plan your email marketing goals and strategy.
- Choose your email automation software.
- Welcome new subscribers.
- Offer enticing email autoresponders.
- Practical tips for successful email automation.
- Conclusion and next steps.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
What is email automation?
Email automation offers a viable means of accelerating the success of your business, driving engagement, boosting your brand awareness, and expanding your bottom line in the process.
At its core, email automation empowers marketers or business owners with the ability to send scheduled or action-triggered emails to their target subscribers with relevant information, content, offers and information.
Email automation can increase email open rates and click-through rates. Plus, its intuitive nature means busy entrepreneurs can enjoy the results of email marketing efforts while gaining more time to take on other essential business activities.
A real win-win situation.
According to recent findings, 75% of leading marketers use at least one type of marketing automation tool. Plus, customized email automation workflows earn the highest click-through rates.
Studies like this attest to the unrivaled power of learning how to automate email marketing.
Let’s take a deep dive into how you can harness the power of email marketing automation to build campaigns that get real results in five simple steps.
5 steps to automate email marketing
Now that you understand what email automation is and how it can boost your business success, let’s look at how you can make it happen?
This essential, five-step guide explains how to implement email automation in a practical sense, covering the following key topics:
- Understanding your audience.
- Planning your goals and strategy.
- Choosing email automation software.
- Welcoming new subscribers.
- Offering enticing email autoresponders.
By the end, you’ll be able to use email automation and all it has to offer to make your enterprise a more powerful, more productive, more profitable business machine.
Ready? Let’s begin
1. Understand your audience
Let’s start with the basics. Before you start worrying about fancy, high-tech email solutions, it’s crucial to have a crystal-clear understanding of the audience whose attention you’ll be trying to snag.
Establishing your target audience is incredibly important to success as it will allow you to direct your email marketing efforts and create content that resonates with consumers based on their specific needs, goals and pain points.
Put simply: If you don’t know who you’re selling to how can you sell anything at all?
The answer? Well, you can’t. Not really.
With this in mind, let’s look at how you can understand your audience on a deeper, more meaningful level and boost your email automation success.
Start segmenting your customers
Professional marketers know how important it is to present leads with the right offers at the right time. Which is why understanding your audience is essential to catching them during the perfect stage in their buyer journey.
When it comes to email marketing, if you’re concerned with conversions, blasting a deal or offer to thousands of potential customers hoping that some of them will find it intriguing will not cut the mustard.
To get results you need to focus your campaign on the people who are most likely to convert into sales.
Tactics for segmenting your email list can vary and depend on what data is available to you. It’s possible to use things like your subscribers’ age, gender and location to create high-converting email offers.
Let’s take a look at the most effective strategies to help you get started with segmenting lists and increasing conversions.
Segment by location
Segmenting your email list by where people live is a great way to target a specific group. The strategy is especially effective when location plays a big role in the consumer’s purchasing decision.
For example, if a business is holding a special event at one of its brick-and-mortar locations, it makes sense to target your email to people who live close enough to the business to be able to attend. If you’re holding the event in Florida, it doesn’t make sense to target people who live in California. You can end up annoying the people who live too far away from the event to attend it.
You also might segment email subscribers by location when sending time-based emails.
If you send emails worldwide, you don’t want to send them all at once. If you do, some people may end up getting your email at an inappropriate time, and they’re very unlikely to open it. If you take time zones into consideration, you can send out email blasts when they are the most likely to be read.
Segment by gender
It’s no secret that men and women have different shopping habits, and you can leverage these differences when you segment your email list by gender.
If you have a range of products that cater to either men or women, then segmenting email blasts by gender makes a lot of sense.
This strategy also works for gender-neutral offers. Many people use it because men and women tend to respond differently to colors, words and images, so when you segment by gender, you can send an email that connects with their desires, and this leads to a boost in conversion rates.
Segment by age
People of all ages check email regularly, but depending on their age group, they are very likely to respond to emails differently. A 22-year-old recent grad is going to react differently than an 80-year-old grandmother.
If you segment your emails accordingly, you can target consumers who are more likely to buy your products.
Segment unresponsive leads
Prospects don’t respond to offers for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up on them.
Cold leads have value and it’s very possible that leads of this nature weren’t in the position to buy anything at the time.
If you stay in touch, it’s possible to catch these people when they actually decide to buy something.
Segment unresponsive leads so you can slowly drip them offers and helpful emails that you think might interest them. This consistent contact keeps you on their mind, and it makes them more likely to buy from you when they find themselves needing a product or service.
Email marketing segmentation takes a little time to master, but once you get it, you can send out more tailored emails. Your conversion rates will increase as people become more responsive to the relevant emails that you send them. In fact, effective customer segmentation boosts email open rates by 46%.
Once you’ve segmented your audience, you’ll be able to dig even deeper and build profiles on your archetypal customers — these are called buyer personas.
Build buyer personas
A buyer persona is a fictitious character you create to represent a particular segment of your general customer base. In doing so, you gain a deeper understanding of what drives different segments of your audience to buy from you.
As with most things, the more effort you put into building a buyer persona, the more value it will yield
The strongest and most effective buyer personas are those focused on market research, consumer insights and your own objective observations from your day-to-day commercial activities.
To build the perfect buyer personas, it’s essential to ask the right questions. To help steer you in the right direction, here’s a guide to the top 20 questions to consider when developing buyer personas for your marketing activities.
Now that you understand your audience, it’s time to move onto the next phase of the operation — planning your email marketing goals and strategy.
2. Plan your email marketing goals and strategy
Armed with a newfound understanding of your audience, you’ll be able to develop email marketing campaigns and strategies that will help you grow your audience and make the best possible use of your email automation software.
To achieve such a feat, it’s important to:
- Ask the right questions to define your marketing goals.
- Understand how to use iterative marketing to enhance your campaigns.
- Analyze the right consumer data to get a deeper insight into customer intent and browsing behaviors.
Questions to help define your email marketing goals
Before you dive headfirst into email marketing, sinking deep into the realms of email automation, you need to define your goals. These four questions will help you kickstart that process.
What do I want my audience to do?
Once you’ve gained a deeper understanding of your audience, consider the email marketing-driven actions you want them to take.
- Are you trying to increase sales?
- Do you want more people to attend your events?
- Are you hoping to increase brand awareness?
- Maybe get more website hits?
- Is becoming a thought-leader in your niche or field a top priority?
- Do you want readers to download a whitepaper or click on a certain piece of content?
As business owners, we tend to focus on the bottom line. And yes, for some companies, the goal might be an immediate uptick in sales. Then again, that might not always be your goal.
Perhaps you want to see a rise in sales in a year. To lead prospects to the sale, you may want to use email marketing to raise awareness of your brand. Whatever your primary aim, your written goals should reflect this.
How will I measure my results?
Circling back to data for a moment: without measurement, you won’t know if you’ve met your goals.
For instance, if your goal is sales, reporting on open rates won’t help you monitor your email marketing success. But if your goal is awareness, open rates could be a good measurement tool.
What if you’re trying to encourage content downloads? Then, you’ll want to track clicks within your email — as well as where those prospects go next. Here, unique landing pages (e.g. mydomain.com/whitepaper1) and phone numbers can help enormously.
What is my expected timeframe?
For your marketing goals to be meaningful, you need a deadline.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight (10 pounds, right? It’s always 10 pounds), then you know the value of a deadline.
Email marketing is no different (except you can eat all the cupcakes you want). A realistic time horizon can help you set realistic goals and smartly assess your progress.
Set an achievable deadline and you’ll gain the direction, as well as the urgency, you need to set milestones and get your email marketing assets in place.
What resources can I devote to email marketing?
As you set your email marketing goals, remember that they should correlate to your email marketing or email automation budget.
Depending on the size of your company and what your email marketing initiatives are trying to achieve, the amount of time and resources you dedicate to your efforts will vary. Take every factor into consideration when developing your strategy and you’ll get the mix just right.
Now that you know what to consider to get your campaign off the ground, let’s move to the second phase of the email marketing strategy development process.
Iterative marketing with email
Whether you work in product development, marketing, retail or any other field, repetition often leads to superior results. With this in mind, let’s talk about iterative marketing (or repetitive marketing, as some call it).
So, what does it mean to practice iterative marketing with email?
Email marketing can be iterative on two levels:
- You can do several rounds of edits on any given email.
- You can keep challenging yourself to improve your overall email marketing strategy and execution.
Honing the individual email newsletter
Let’s talk about iterative marketing with email on a “micro-level.” You want to create a new drip campaign (a series of autoresponders) to welcome new subscribers.
Go with your gut instincts on what people want to hear from you. Put on some good tunes and crank out a series of three emails. Cue them up and wait for the magic to begin.
Revisit your current business goals. Think critically about what you want your new subscribers to learn, feel and do. Outline a series of emails. Share what you have with a business partner or mentor. Incorporate their feedback. Start over if you need to. Share version No. 2. Continue to tweak the content, design and links. Cue up your emails for a trial run. Check your stats or data after one week, two weeks or a month — whatever makes sense given your drip-campaign schedule. How many people open your emails? How often do they click your links? Is your drip campaign serving the intended purpose? If not, it’s time to iterate some more.
The first approach will certainly save you time, but if this is your email marketing modus operandi, you may well be selling yourself short.
The second option — iterative and evolving — will take more time and care but will almost certainly be more effective.
Now, many people find repetition frustrating. And it can be incredibly irritating to work really hard just to get lukewarm — or downright critical — feedback. But guess what?
Because it will prompt you to try new things, push yourself further and make every email you build more effective.
Constant email marketing improvement through qualitative and quantitative feedback
So, it’s clear how to iterate on the “micro-level:” Rework the current email newsletter until it’s gorgeous, compelling and worthy of infinite clicks.
But to get the most out of your ongoing email marketing efforts, you also need to gather data, ask smart questions of that data, and set new goals.
If you don’t like your click-through rates, then try something different with your design the next time. But don’t change everything at once, or you won’t be able to assess what worked (or didn’t work).
Using interactive marketing to shape your email marketing goals and strategies stands a far better chance of resonating with your audience on a more personal level — which in today’s world, is the aim of the game.
Now, onto the next stage of the email automation success process: Choosing the right email automation software.
3. Choose your email automation software
In the digital age, email automation software is the cornerstone of a successful campaign or strategy.
Now that you know who you’re aiming your efforts toward and considered the key elements of a successful email marketing campaign, it’s time to think about choosing the best email automation tools to help you execute.
Email automation tools can make the difference between losing out on potential profits and closing leads quicker than you thought possible — so getting your decision right is paramount.
What to look for in email automation software
To help steer you toward email automation enlightenment, here are the key attributes you should look for in email automation software:
Depending on the size of your venture, your personal commercial targets and your industry niche, you will need a plan that’s tailored to the success of your business. That said, the best email automation providers will offer a choice of price plans to best suit your email marketing strategy.
Any piece of email automation software worth its salt will be intuitive, easy to learn, and include functionality such as customizable templates and drag-and-drop email composers to make the entire process simple.
Most robust email marketing tools will integrate with other platforms including your website and social media pages to help you generate the most engagement from your campaigns and with the least amount of fuss.
Robust email marketing platforms will also offer automation to help you engage prospects at opportune times including anniversaries and birthdays. By capturing basic data, solid modern email marketing solutions will automatically send out celebratory messaging on these dates to connect with your audience and encourage more sales with minimal effort.
Service and data
Not only will a good email automation provider offer an exemplary level of client support but it will also offer access to comprehensive, easy-to-digest reports allowing you to measure the success of your campaigns.
If an email automation tool doesn’t optimize your emails and communications for the mobile experience, then you should avoid it at all costs. Moreover, solid email marketing software also helps remove bad email addresses and redundant subscribers automatically.
The best email automation tools
Now that you know what to look for in potential software, let’s compare the best email automation tools out there right now. This is a quick-fire list designed to inspire the selection process — so dig further if you’re curious about any of these offerings:
The GoDaddy Email Marketing software solution ticks all of the above boxes and is available in three price plans: Beginner (to get your email marketing efforts off the ground); Up & Running (the most popular option for budding online businesses) and Pro (for more experienced marketers with growing mailing lists).
With an abundance of email marketing automation tools available, it has never been simpler to customize an email automation workflow that empowers you to stay connected with your customers, keep your leads and prospects engaged, and even re-engage with people that have gone a little cold.
Consider your email marketing budget, goals and campaign requirements and you’ll find a tool that’s just right for you and your business.
4. Welcome new subscribers
Once you’ve taken ample time to understand your audience, plan a creative strategy, and select the right tool to help you automate your email marketing, it’s time to make a long-lasting impact by welcoming new subscribers to your mailing list.
Consumers’ first impressions of your brand can impact whether they commit to investing in your products or services.
One of the most effective ways of getting things off to a flying start with a new prospect is by creating engaging email campaigns.
Remember, a mediocre welcome email can cause as much damage to your brand as it can to your subscribe rates. So, getting it right is essential.
Here we’re going to look at various ways you can welcome new subscribers to your brand, exploring a mix of inspiring real-world examples as well as automated email response strategies and delving deeper into ways to automate email marketing.
Not every campaign will leave your readers on the edge of their seats, but here are proven ways to create a great welcome drip campaign.
Offer real value
Telling new readers once more how awesome your service is, is all well and good. But, they already know that: your subscribers have already agreed to get mailings and updates from you, after all.
So, offer them information, tips or insights that they can’t find on your website.
If you can, offer them a welcome email-only discount on a great product. Whatever it is, make it count — and yes, make it worth forwarding.
Leverage intimacy with humor and emotion
Your email subscribers are your inner circle. They represent a fraction of your total visitors and of everyone who knows about you via social media.
It starts with valuable information, but it’s also a matter of tone.
If your website is somewhat buttoned-down, your emails can be a little more informal. No need to go crazy with this, but you’re writing to your friends. You’re addressing people who already believe in you and your product. So connect. Tell a joke, share a personal anecdote, include a fun customer success story.
Do not be afraid to change your tone of voice with these customers.
Be brief and focused
Brevity is the soul of email.
Your readers have many other emails overfilling their inboxes. Make yours worth reading by offering real value while being quick and easy to digest.
Keep each email in your welcome email campaign focused around a single message, and try to keep the word count as low as you can — it’s the key to keeping your readers engaged.
Note: Blasting your subscribers’ inboxes mercilessly, without even a morsel of strategic thought or quality content, is your fastest route to an unsubscribe action, spam complaint or, worst of all, a poor opinion of your brand.
So, getting your welcome campaigns just right is essential. To help steer the success of your campaign from start to finish, here are two end-to-end welcome strategies that you might leverage to your advantage.
Creating a welcome series email marketing campaign
Imagine you just subscribed to the email list of a brand you admire. What do you expect to happen next? Well, this is a brand’s opportunity to make a good first impression with a subscriber.
A welcome series is a powerful way to set expectations for your email marketing campaigns while educating subscribers about your brand’s values, mission, and personality.
Consider a progression of two or three emails that supply subscribers with some or all of the following information:
- What type of content can they expect in your emails?
- How often should they expect to receive your emails?
- What are the benefits of being a subscriber?
- Can they interact with your brand on other channels? Which ones?
- What does your brand stand for? What are its values?
- What is your brand’s story?
- What action(s) should they take?
Always remember: Try to keep each email focused on a single core message — you don’t want to overwhelm subscribers with too much content at once. Hold fire on overly promotional content, taking a moment to create emotional connections with subscribers.
That said, offering an incentive to sign up for your email list — such as 15% off a first purchase or free shipping — is a valuable way to grow your subscriber list and boost your bottom line.
Once you’ve successfully embraced your customers with a welcome series, prompted them to take action and closed a sale, create a tailored repurchase series to encourage repeat customers.
Creating a Repurchase series email marketing campaign
Your repurchase series aims to provide subscribers with product or service recommendations based on their previous purchases.
It can move down a couple of possible routes:
Cross-sell: Recommend a product in a different category than the product originally purchased by your prospect. For example, if they bought a T-shirt you might recommend a matching pair of shorts or sweatshirt from the same brand.
Upsell: Recommend a product in a higher price tier than the originally purchased product. If your subscriber snagged a new suit jacket, you could recommend a classy watch to complement the ensemble.
Refer: Offering your subscribers an incentive (a year’s free shipping or online store credit, or a prize based on their specific shopping preferences, for instance) by referring a friend to your brand (encouraging them to sign up to your email list or make a purchase) is another personable way of boosting loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases.
If you can create relevant, personalized product recommendations, you stand a far better chance at driving repeat purchases and, in turn, boosting your retail sales. Magic.
Now that you understand the key elements of a successful email-based welcome campaign, it’s time to learn how to automate your email marketing on a deeper, more practical level.
5. Offer enticing email autoresponders
Once all of the cogs in your email marketing wheel are in place, it’s important that you put your automation strategies into play.
If you do this effectively, you will help to boost your overall productivity, reduce your workload, and ultimately help drive the kind of engagement that will propel your business to exciting new heights.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to automate key parts of your email marketing strategy and make sure you’re sending the right message to the right people at just the right time.
This next section of our guide will help you to place your email marketing efforts on autopilot — or more specifically, catapult your success with a customer-grabbing email autoresponder campaign.
Let’s get started with a quick-fire definition: Autoresponders are emails sent to subscribers automatically, based on certain predetermined criteria.
For instance, you can set autoresponder emails to go out to new subscribers on a periodic basis. Once your email autoresponders are up and running, you can enjoy the benefits of email marketing, using up significantly less time in the process.
How to create an effective autoresponder email campaign
Here are the four key elements of any successful email autoresponder campaign.
1. Choose your platform
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to choose a suitable email marketing platform. You can always refer back to step three in our guide.
Once you’ve settled on a solution, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with its features and functionality. Keep in mind that each marketing platform uses different terminology.
2. Decide on your goals and strategy
Next up —nail down your goals and strategy. What is the end result you’d like to achieve with your email autoresponder campaign, and what methods will you use to reach your destination.
Why? Well, because having solid goals and a predetermined strategy can help anchor your decision-making, and will serve as a guide when you begin to draft your email series.
Each scenario is unique, but there are a few typical goals you might want to pursue, including:
- Orienting new users via a welcome sequence of emails.
- Attracting new subscribers and customers.
- Creating an automated sales funnel.
- Developing dedicated landing pages for your email marketing campaigns.
Which of these objectives speaks to you? Chances are, you’ll pick more than one.
Once you understand your primary goals, the strategy you use to get there will depend heavily on your own needs, industry and budget. But throughout, remember that maintaining consistent branding is key across the board.
3. Plan and draft your email chain
Planning out the emails you will send is just as vital as having a solid overall strategy for your email autoresponder email campaign.
A robust plan provides a roadmap and can help anchor your decisions just as it does when you’re setting goals.
It’s possible to become overwhelmed at this point, given the potential complexity and the fact that it depends so much on your business’s particular needs. But, following a few key steps will help you work your way through this task in no time:
- Take a piece of paper (or whatever writing medium you prefer) and note your goal and strategy at the top.
- Decide on an initial number of emails you’ll send and their frequency (e.g. once every two days).
- Start to fill in the slots with general email topics without worrying about creating a killer headline yet — just a rough idea will do. Here you should think about the reader’s journey as they move through the emails in a logical sense.
- Drill down into your email topics to make your your subject matter meet the needs, interests, and pain points of your specific audience
- Refine your topics and frequency, relating back to your goals and strategy as needed.
Now, for the final step.
Related: 50 engaging email newsletter ideas
4. Ensure your content is optimized for conversions
Of course, planning is all for naught unless your content can entice and convert your readers. In an email marketing context, we’re simply talking about successfully engaging and encouraging the reader to make a sale.
By offering personable, engaging value-driven content, you can potentially build a loyal, dedicated customer base that will be more willing to open their wallets. What’s more, inspiring content will provide you with an air of professionalism and brand authority.
All these elements contribute to the real aim of any email marketing campaign: increasing your click-through rates and sales revenue.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just focus on these key aspects when crafting your email copy:
- Ensure your subject lines are optimized.
- Don’t over-promote your products.
- Optimize your delivery times.
- Make sure your design is mobile-friendly.
Clear yet concise copy focused on your readers’ personal needs will likely be enough to meet your goals, so when you’re crafting your copy, think of your audience — and use your words wisely.
You understand the key elements of creating an enticing autoresponder campaign. Now let’s look at some general strategies to help give your efforts more direction.
7 automated email response strategies
Whether you sell products, services, information — or even hope — you can use these automated email response strategies to connect with your audience on an even deeper level.
1. Send a year of inspirational quotes
This is a fun one. A year’s worth of lovely thoughts — sent daily (or weekly, or whenever) — is a fantastic way to inspire people and remain top-of-mind.
2. Follow up after appointments or purchases
After an appointment, add your client to your “post-appointment or post-purchase” list and send them a follow-up autoresponder. It could be a thank-you note, a reminder to schedule their next appointment or an incentive to buy another product. Whatever works for your business.
3. Share rewards and incentives
Encourage people to subscribe to your email list by offering a downloadable reward like a song, an eGuide or a piece of writing. Commonly used by musicians and authors, the offer goes a little something like this: “Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free download!”
Once the subscriber joins your email list, deliver the reward via autoresponder. A solid strategy.
4. Serialize your eBook
If you’ve created an eBook or whitepaper, serializing your eBook via email is a great way to turn readers into subscribers (and subscribers into buyers). Send them a chapter a week with autoresponders!
5. Ask for online reviews
Your customers love you, right? But it isn’t always easy to ask for reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. A savvy way to handle this is to send a sweet thank-you note after they purchase something — and include links to the important review sites.
6. Instill a sense of urgency about trial periods
This works wonderfully for both services and products. Set up a series of autoresponders to remind your customers that their trial period’s clock is ticking away. Educate your customers on the features they might have missed while also creating a sense of urgency.
7. Send a thank-you email on customers’ anniversaries
This one’s fairly obvious but certainly worth mentioning. Set an autoresponder to send a thank-you note after one month or one year. Reminding your customers that you appreciate them is an effective approach, indeed.
Fired up and ready to go? Let’s round out this guide with some practical tips for a successful email automation strategy.
Practical tips for successful email automation
Now that you know how to automate your email marketing and you’re brimming with content-fuelled inspiration, you’ll be well on your way to commercial glory.
Here are some practical bonus tips that will help you get even further ahead of the pack.
Start with a strong hook
Believe it or not, marketing has a lot to do with the human psyche. When you’re crafting your emails, you have to keep in mind what draws our attention and causes us to actually open one of the thousands of emails we receive. What makes that particular automated (or drip-based) promotional campaign more appealing than others?
Sometimes it’s a simple, “I was going to that store anyway and need a coupon,” but most of the time your emails are going to have to work a little harder to capture recipients’ ultra-divided attention.
Creating a successful hook boils down to five key principles:
- Creating a personal connection
- Offering exclusivity
- Generating reciprocity by offering gifts and rewards
- Encouraging social proof
- Leveraging reverse psychology.
Inspire email recipients to act
A clear and concise call-to-action should anchor every email campaign.
The nature of the human brain and what makes us tick comes into play here, too. You don’t need to be pushy; it’s all about piquing interest in a potential customer benefit so email recipients want to click or call or email to follow through on your promise.
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Use your call-to-action to let email recipients know what’s in it for them, especially on an emotional level, so they’ll take that next step.
Create content that looks and feels good
In our content-driven digital age persuasive copywriting is the cornerstone of any successful email marketing campaign, hands down.
If you know how to tell stories and use words that inspire, entertain and prompt action, you’ll watch your click-through — and conversion rates — soar.
To help fill your automated emails with the kind of content that will result in consistent success, here are three copywriting tips to consider:
Grab attention with the most popular word in the English language
The most popular word in the English language is “me.”
It’s not our fault. It’s an evolutionary survival mechanism, or as psychologist Susan M. Weinschenk puts it in her book, Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click: “It is a fact of nature that if you want to get and hold the attention of humans, and if you want to get them to take action, you need to engage the old brain.”
So, if you want to connect with the old brain, the first step is to use the most popular word in the English language: me. Just don’t forget that when writing in the third person, “me” becomes “you.”
“Make the customer the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley, marketing expert
Use storytelling to charm, amaze and dumbfound
There is something universal and compelling about storytelling. We like stories because they give shape to an otherwise seemingly random existence — and storytelling gets results.
So, how do you use storytelling techniques in email marketing?
Signal that you are telling a story. Think about when someone walks into the office and says, “Man, you won’t believe what happened to me at the supermarket yesterday …” What happens? Your coworkers put down their mobile phones and coffee cups and sit up and listen.
Withhold information. In one email, you could try: “What if we told you that there is a way to offer your customers ancillary products and services that will actually improve their overall travel experience? Well, there is a way, and I’ll tell you what it is a little bit later, but first …”
Be specific. Details enrich your story and give it credibility. “The dog ruined the woman’s dress when it jumped on her” is generic. “The muddy border collie ruined Julie’s crisp, pink prom dress when it jumped on her” paints a picture and brings your story to life.
Include well-crafted stories in your email copy because they will engage your readers.
Write like a human being
No matter how closely you follow the above tips, it won’t work if your email sounds like it was manufactured in some form of corporate, direct-mail machine.
An email is not a whitepaper or an annual report. It is relatively informal and conversational by nature.
That doesn’t mean you don’t want it to sound professional and business-like. Yet, even the most formal documents can assume a conversational tone.
These three copywriting tips will help make sure your email automation activities are worthwhile — so use these tips for reference whenever you feel a little lost.
Conclusion and next steps
Now that you know all you need to know about email automation — and more — the ball is in your court.
Remember: Your email marketing campaigns are only as effective as the content within them, so understanding your audience and their needs is paramount.
But, to accelerate your creative campaign efforts, email automation software is a must. Without it, you will fall behind your competitors quicker than you think.
To take your email marketing to a whole new dimension and enjoy the level of commercial success that you deserve, embrace the power of GoDaddy’s Email Marketing platform today.
Best of luck, email automation warrior!
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Stephanie Conner, Natalie Cullings, Dean Levitt, Ben Jacobson, Tom Ewer, Eddie Gear, Maxym Martineau, Rachel LaCour Nieson, Tom Rankin, Oren Shafir, Emma Wilhelm and Erez Zukerman.
The post Email automation 101 — 5 steps to automate email marketing appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
The Benefits of LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn wouldn’t necessarily be the first platform that comes to mind when considering social media advertising. However, if you are a B2B organisation, the platform can allow you to reach professionals across the globe. LinkedIn allows you to generate brand awareness across targeted professional sectors and reach out to decision makers directly.
Advertising is all about targeting the right people. Users of LinkedIn tend to be older, professional and have a higher income than the average user of other social media platforms. So if that is your target market, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to reach them. Professionals use LinkedIn for business networking purposes so users are generally in work mode so engaging with them should be easier than on other platforms.
Here we outline the six main advantages that LinkedIn Ads have over other social media platforms.
1. Variety of ad formats
LinkedIn offers a number of options for advertising:
- Sponsored content – this type of ad appears in people’s feeds, it is the least personal form but good for promoting content from your business page and encouraging people onto it.
- Text ads – these are only viewable by people using a desktop. With these you can choose the audience you want to target and you only pay per click.
- Message ads – these appear in users’ inboxes and are proven to be good for conversion.
- Video ads – great for storytelling, you can also retarget users who have watched the video, aiding conversion rates.
- Dynamic ads – these allow you to fully personalise your ad by showing user’s photo, name and title within the advert.
2. Generate high quality leads
The ability to target professionals and gain good quality leads is the primary benefit of LinkedIn ads. Users are looking at work-related content so will be more open to solutions for their business needs.
With more than 800 million users in over 220 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the biggest social network for professionals and businesses alike. 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions and the platform has been rated the best for lead generation by marketers.
By using LinkedIn advertising, you can access their Lead Accelerator feature. This feature allows businesses to follow their best prospects and offer more targeted ads directly to them. This includes remarketing to website visitors, which helps nurture leads, making them more likely to become customers.
LinkedIn allows you to target specific demographics, enabling you to create much more personal advertising campaigns. Facebook lets you target interest and behaviour based factors however LinkedIn is the right medium to use if you want to target individuals based on their industry and job. You can filter your audience by:
- Company name
- Company size
- Degree subject
- Job title
- Member skills
These variables make the platform the ideal choice for B2B organisations wanting to target decision-makers.
LinkedIn allows you to specifically target people who have shown an interest in your products. Matched audiences show you which users have visited your website and the pages that they went on. This allows you to target them with specific ads in the hope that they will return to your website and convert to a customer.
Matched audiences can be created with:
- Account Targeting – Uploading a CSV of company names to LinkedIn allows you to target decision-makers.
- Website Retargeting – Target the users who have visited your website and re-engage them to aid conversions.
- Contact Targeting – Uploading a CSV of email addresses of your contacts to LinkedIn enables you to nurture your leads and prospects even further.
5. Increased conversion rates
The ability to target specific groups, nurture them and remarket to them will increase your conversion rates.
A year-long study by HubSpot found that on average, LinkedIn ads convert users to leads at a 6.1 per cent conversion rate. This compares to 2.58 per cent for Google search ads.
MD of exhibition stand contractor Black Robin Exhibits, Alan Jenkins, managed to achieve a conversion rate of 8.2% with a LinkedIn campaign earlier this year, he said “We were delighted with the results, it wasn’t a huge investment, we could set the budget and the conversion rate was fantastic”.
6. High control
A big benefit of LinkedIn advertising is the high degree of control that you can have. You can set a specific start time for your advert and specify when it will end. As well as this, you can set daily budgets to ensure your advertising costs are kept at the right level for your business.
Setting up a LinkedIn campaign is not straight-forward due to the variety of advert types and different ways of targeting. But the platform has a number of advantages over other social media sites if your target market is professional businesspeople.
B2B organisations will be able to target specific demographics with personal ads, nurture and remarket to them. All this will increase conversion rates, making LinkedIn a valuable marketing tool.
Beginners’ guide to Instagram Reels
If you haven’t already heard the news, according to Instagram, they’re no longer a photo-sharing app. Shocking, right? The company announced they want to start focusing more on video content, like that offered through Instagram Reels, as opposed to being the original square photo-sharing app they’re known for being.
“At Instagram, we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.” — Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO
This makes total sense because short, engaging videos (shown to us by hyper-accurate algorithms) have proven to keep our attention more effectively than ever before. So effectively that 93% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. Additionally, users are twice as likely to share video content with their friends and family than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts/articles and product pages.
So if you’ve been hesitant to start making Instagram Reels or just needed a little encouragement, we’ll cover the basics, give you some ideas on what content to create for your business or brand, and help you understand the data behind it all.
But, before we do, let’s talk about why Instagram Reels needs to be included in your marketing strategy.
What are Reels and why should you start using them?
Instagram Reels rolled out in late 2020 and the feature has continued to increase in popularity. Reels provide creators with a way to produce and share short, engaging videos using a collection of mainstream music and user-generated audio.
With more advanced editing tools, such as speed controls, filters and transitions, you can effortlessly edit multi-clip Reels up to 30 seconds long, entirely within the Instagram app, which is amazing if you don’t want to use multiple apps and extra equipment to film, edit and post to social media.
Reels are definitely a useful feature of the platform as a whole that is worth exploring. When it comes to metrics, Reels receive 22% more engagement than videos posted directly to a feed. In addition to IGTV, Live and Stories, Instagram Reels are another great tool for you to use to get noticed on the platform and reach potential customers.
Nearly two-thirds of Instagram users are between 18 and 29, with 18- to 34-year-olds the most active age group. That means there’s a ton of opportunity for businesses to be discovered by your target audience on this platform. So, if your Instagram strategy needs a boost to stay top-of-mind and ahead of the competition, Reels could be your solution.
Instagram Reels small business content ideas
If your business is active on Instagram but hasn’t posted a Reel just yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start. Accounts that don’t follow you can find your content while scrolling on the Explore page, which is why it’s so important for brands to be active where their target audience is.
Don’t let lack of inspiration hold you back, here are some simple and effective video ideas:
The best way to increase your reach and engagement is to give your viewers value. If you can create something that is helpful, users are more likely to like it, share it with their friends and follow you for more. That ultimately, tells the algorithm your content is worth being promoted to others on the app.
For example, you can create shareable workout, cooking or crafting videos just by showing your step-by-step process.
Showcase your products or services
Highlight what makes your business unique with Reels dedicated to each product or service you offer. This could be a tutorial on how to best use your products or a way to update customers on new offerings.
Create original content
Easier said than done, but I know that behind-the-scenes content, user-generated content and FAQs are always a big hit with loyal audiences.
You also have a few different ways to get trending and possibly even viral. You can use trending hashtags, popular audio clips or filters and get discovered among other videos with those elements.
Re-creating a popular trend while highlighting your brand is one of the quickest (but not the easiest) ways for business growth with Instagram Reels.
How to optimize your Instagram Reels
Like with any social media platform, there are always hidden steps you can take to increase the likelihood your content gets seen and please the almighty algorithm.
For example, many users who create content for TikTok have started uploading those same videos as Reels. Seems like a logical time saver, right? Well, Instagram has not only clearly advised against re-posting content that’s “visibly recycled from other apps,” it has also updated its algorithm to recognize and prevent it from performing well on their platform.
That being said, here are some tips on how to optimize your Reels for the best results:
- Try to record (vertically), edit and add effects to your reels from within the app, rather than uploading a video you’ve created elsewhere.
- It’s also important to use text overlays, hashtags, audio, and descriptive captions to let Instagram add you to an algorithm relevant to the content.
- @ other accounts, when appropriate. Just like hashtags, you’ll get more reach by including their name in your content.
- Use custom thumbnails. Doing so will make it easier for users to find videos they want to watch when scrolling on your account. It’s also a great way to incorporate your branding and help your feed look cohesive.
- Sharing your Reels to your Stories and even on your feed will get more people to see it. You can share it when you post it or, if you have posted enough that day, share on a day when you don’t have anything else to post.
Algorithms are constantly changing, and not always for the better. Doing just a little bit of research to stay on top of current trends and best practices will pay off in the long run.
Understanding Instagram Reels Insights
Finally, you’ll need a way of knowing if your hard work is paying off.
Instagram has included a dedicated tab, which is similar to the Insights tab on your static posts and videos, that details the metrics relating to your Reels. With the Instagram Reels Insights, business owners can see important metrics like accounts reached, plays, likes, comments, saves and shares.
By knowing what type of accounts you’re reaching with your Reels and which content formats are most engaging with your audience, you’ll be able to adjust your content to better serve your target audience and grow your account.
Measuring these stats is the best way to make sure all the efforts you’re putting in to engage your fans is actually working.
Once you have a good idea of where your metrics are on average, try experimenting with the time of day, type of content and hashtags you use when posting your Reels. Start thinking of ways to get in front of new users with videos like tutorials, bloopers or more user-generated content. You could even share customer testimonials or success stories for added social proof.
Final thoughts on Instagram Reels
I know I personally struggled with the idea of including yet another item on my content creation checklist, but I’ve found that even just repurposing a few old clips from videos on my YouTube channel into Reels has proved effective in increasing my engagement and reach on Instagram.
Exploring a new feature of social media can be intimidating and overwhelming at times, but Reels seems to be a fun new way to expand your social media presence through the use of short videos. I recommend testing it out and seeing how well it works for you and your audience. You might find it to be your new favorite tool in your social media strategy.
5 Strategies to Drive Customer Engagement
Engaging with your customers is the key to driving sales and growing your company. However, some businesses are not sure how to do this effectively. It means that when they finally manage to engage with their customers, they are not entirely sure what worked. Knowing how to drive customer engagement is all about knowing your customers.
Here are 5 strategies that you can use to drive customer engagement.
Communication is the Key
Communication between your company and your customers is fundamental to engagement. If your customers are trying to talk to you about your products or services, then you should listen to them. Avoiding contact will simply drive them to another company.
Here are some tips you should follow.
1. Listen to Your Customers and Never Assume
If you have a customer that approaches you on social media or any other channel, it is vital that you engage them in a conversation. Their initial message might not be the complete story, so you need to work with them to find the right answer.
Once you have found out what the customer wants, go through your products with them and pinpoint what works for them. Your sales team must never assume that they know what their customers want, or they might find the customer goes elsewhere.
2. Seek Help with Engagement
Sometimes no matter what you try, you are unable to engage with your customers or retain them. It may be that there are strategies that you haven’t considered or lack the knowledge to implement.
This is where companies such as TCC Global can help. By helping you and your marketing team to engage with your customers and create brand loyalty, you can start to grow your business.
3. Respond Quickly to Questions
There is nothing more frustrating for customers than asking a question on social media and not getting a reply. Even a delay of a few hours can be enough to cause someone to look elsewhere.
If your business has a presence on social media, then it is vital that it is monitored at least during business hours.
4. Chat to Your Customers
There is a temptation to use your means of communication to just sell products. While this is an important part, there should also be more customer engagement through conversation.
If you find something interesting, tell your customers on social media. Reply to them if they answer you and keep the conversation going.
5. Blog About the Popular Questions
If you are seeing a trend in questions your customers are asking, then it may be a good idea to write a blog post about it.
Blog posts will drive visitors and potential customers to your website and from there they may go to your products. Answering these popular questions will also save time for your customers and build loyalty.
So, there you have it – 5 strategies to drive customer engagement. These are just a few of the ways your company can build a relationship with its customers and build a loyal following.
It is important to remember to stay engaged with your customers even after they make a purchase.
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