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.
Let the Urgency of Your Customers’ Needs Guide Your Sales Strategy
When companies are creating profiles of possible target customers, there is a dimension they often overlook: the urgency of the need for the offering. This article provides a process for segmenting prospective customers in this fashion and creating a sales strategy.
Many business leaders believe that they fully understand their best target customers. They’ve developed clear profiles (a.k.a. personas) that are richly detailed with well-researched parameters, such as standard characteristics (e.g., age, education level, years at the company, role) or firmographic (e.g., annual revenues, number of employees, industry, geography, years in business). While such characteristics are important, they ignore another crucial characteristic: urgency of need.
A company that offers a software-as-a-service billing solution for small and mid-sized private dental practices may focus on classic demographics, such as the size of the practice (number of employees or number of dentists), the age of the practice (since older practices may more likely have outdated systems), or the amount of insurance billing the practice does each year.
These variables are useful in helping to produce a list of prospects, but they don’t determine which of these dental practices the sales team should call on first. If, however, the company added data that reflects which of these practices’ needs is most urgent — say, those that have advertised for billing and claims administration help more than twice in the past year (suggesting that they are struggling to keep up with billing) — salespeople would be able to prioritize their attention on these prospects.
The Four Segments
This needs-based approach entails segmenting potential customers into four segments:
- Urgent. The customer recognizes that it has an immediate need. (We just had another billing person quit!)
- Non-urgent. The customer recognizes the need, but it isn’t a high priority at this time. (We realize that our billing needs are changing and our current system will need to be revamped. We plan to start looking into this in the next year.)
- Currently met. The customer believes it already has an adequate solution to address the need at this time but recognizes it may not be a long-term solution. (We have an older billing system in place that still does the trick for now.)
- None. The customer simply has no need nor expects such need anytime soon. (Our small practice has a limited number of patients who pay out of pocket. Since all payments are made at the time of service, we simply don’t need a complex new billing system.)
This focus on the urgency of target customers’ needs may sound like common sense, but we have found in our work with B2B companies — from mid-sized firms to Fortune 50 giants in an array of industries such as financial services, enterprise information technology, utilities, industrial solutions, and health care technology — that they often fail to consider this dimension. Here is a process a firm can employ to apply this approach.
Identify new customers.
To identify prospects outside of your existing customer base, you can use available information. One is a source we mentioned: help-wanted ads that reflect a particular need.
But there are plenty of others. For instance, if a company sells inventory management solutions, a source of valuable data might be manufacturing industry merger-and-acquisition data, which could reveal companies with an urgent need to change or merge systems such as those for managing inventories. If a company sells quality-management solutions, a source of valuable data could be companies that are getting hammered for poor quality on social media.
Gather the necessary information.
Identifying your customers’ true urgency of needs requires looking beyond your typical demographic and firmographic profiling. This starts with an outreach initiative to talk to customers and prospects. The purpose is to ask questions to identify new target customer parameters that may be impacting the customer’s urgency of needs:
- Frustrations. How urgent is the need to resolve these frustrations? Which frustration would best accelerate success if resolved?
- Goals. Are your goals clear, consistent, reasonable, and measurable? Have your goals shifted recently?
- Roadblocks. What keeps you from reaching your goals? (i.e., What keeps you up at night?) What is the magnitude of the impact of these roadblocks?
- Environmental and situational factors. Are you experiencing any industry consolidation, organizational or executive management changes or instability, competitive changes, regulatory changes, and so on? What is the magnitude of the impact of these factors?
- Technology factors. Are there new or changing technologies that will impact your ability to achieve your goals? Are you at risk due to technology end-of-life issues or incompatibility?
Assess your firm’s ability to serve lower-level segments.
Once a company has performed its needs-based segmentation effort, it should seek to answer the following questions about each of the four levels. The findings will dictate the sales and marketing strategy, level of investment and resource allocations.
Level 1. Urgent need
How quickly can we meet their need? How can we best serve them? Is the market opportunity large enough to focus only on these prospective customers? Given the customer’s urgency, how do we price our products to optimize margins without damaging relationships by appearing exploitive?
Level 2. Non-urgent need
Can we convince them that their need is more urgent than they currently believe? How do we effectively stay in touch with them so we remain top of mind when they perceive that their need has become urgent?
Level 3. Need currently met
Should we walk away from these prospects? If so, when and how do we touch base with them to see if their needs have changed? Or is there an opportunity to continue to work to convince them that their need is either more significant than they realize or could be much better addressed? If so, what’s the best approach to get them to reconsider their current situation and recognize their true need and its urgency?
Level 4. No need
Should we completely remove these contacts as any potential prospect? Is there some other need we may be able to address for them — perhaps with another product? Should we be in contact on a planned basis to see if their situation has changed? How do we best do that?
The ideal customers are those who clearly understand and recognize they have an urgent need for your offering. However, if that opportunity is not enough to meet the company’s sales volume target, it may be necessary to extend efforts beyond Level 1. Gaining the attention of these additional target customers, challenging their perceptions of their needs, and educating them on how your offering could benefit them will require resources. Consequently, a critical assessment is required to determine whether the opportunity outweighs the investment necessary to address customers in these other levels.
Test your new targets.
Before committing to a complete revamp of how your salespeople are prioritizing opportunities, select one or two experienced salespeople to help you test your new target customer parameters. Identify a few prospects that align to your revamped target profiles, and see how the selected salespeople are able to penetrate them.
Revamp your sales messaging and training.
Include prospective customers’ level of need in your sales messaging — the language that the sales team uses in its interactions with customers. Revamp your sales tools (materials such as brochures, technical papers, and customer testimonials used in the selling process) to include the urgency of need. And teach salespeople how to read and react to the prospective customer’s level of need and adapt their language appropriately.
By adding urgency of need to target customers’ profiles, companies can do more than differentiate their offerings more effectively. They can also identify new growth opportunities and successfully pivot away from slowing or tightening markets. They can accelerate the sales of new products. Last but not least, they can turn underachieving sales teams into strong performers.
Buy Targeted Website Traffic and Targeted Traffic to Website
In today’s digital world, where competition is fierce and attention spans are short, driving targeted traffic to your website is crucial for success. One effective way to achieve this is through geo-targeted ads. By harnessing the power of geo-targeting, businesses can reach their desired audience in specific locations, increasing the chances of conversions and maximizing their return on investment.
In this article, we will explore the concept of geo-targeting, its benefits, and how to set up geo-targeted ads in Google Ad Words.
Why Geo-Targeted Ads?
In the vast expanse of the internet, not all website visitors are created equal. While a large volume of traffic may seem appealing, it’s the quality of that traffic that truly matters. Geo-targeted ads enable businesses to narrow down their audience to a specific geographic location, ensuring that the website visitors they attract are more likely to be interested in their products or services. By reaching the right people in the right place, businesses can improve their conversion rates and generate higher revenue.
What Is Geo-Targeting?
Geo-targeting refers to the practice of delivering content, advertisements, or promotions to individuals based on their geographic location. It involves tailoring marketing efforts to specific regions, countries, states, cities, or even neighborhoods, depending on the targeting requirements of the business.
What Is Geo-Targeted Marketing?
Geo-targeted marketing is a strategic approach that focuses on tailoring marketing messages and campaigns to specific geographic areas. It allows businesses to create personalized experiences for customers based on their location, cultural preferences, language, and other factors relevant to the target audience in a particular region.
How Does Geo-Targeting Work?
Geo-targeting leverages various technologies to determine a user’s location. Some common methods include IP address tracking, GPS data, Wi-Fi signals, and user-provided information such as postal codes. Once the user’s location is identified, marketers can serve targeted advertisements or content based on the predefined criteria associated with that location.
Why Does Geo-Targeting Matter?
Geo-targeting matters because it allows businesses to optimize their marketing efforts and resources. By focusing on specific regions or locations, businesses can avoid wasting resources on audiences that are unlikely to convert. Instead, they can direct their marketing budget towards attracting visitors who are more likely to become customers, thereby increasing their chances of success.
Geo-Targeting vs. Geofencing
While geo-targeting and geofencing are related concepts, they differ in their approach. Geo-targeting aims to reach specific individuals based on their location, while geofencing involves creating a virtual boundary around a physical location and delivering content or ads to users within that boundary. Geo-targeting is broader in scope and can cover larger areas, whereas geofencing is more precise and focused on a specific physical area.
What Are The Three Major Types of Geo-Targeting?
1. Location Targeting
This type of geo-targeting focuses on reaching users in specific geographic locations, such as countries, states, cities, or zip codes. It allows businesses to target regions where their products or services are available or to tailor their marketing messages to local customs and preferences.
2. Audience Targeting
Audience targeting involves reaching users based on demographic factors such as age, gender, language, or interests. By combining demographic information with geographic data, businesses can create highly targeted campaigns that resonate with specific audience segments in different locations.
3. Weather Targeting
Weather targeting takes into account the local weather conditions of a particular location to deliver relevant ads or promotions. This type of targeting is especially useful for businesses that offer weather-dependent products or services, such as outdoor equipment, travel agencies, or seasonal clothing retailers.
How to Set Up Geo-Targeting Ads in Google Ad Words
Google Ad Words, now known as Google Ads, offers powerful tools and features to implement geo-targeted ads effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up geo-targeting ads in Google Ads:
1. Define your target locations
Determine the specific regions or areas you want to target with your ads. This could be a country, state, city, or even a radius around a specific location.
2. Set up location targeting in Google Ads
Sign in to your Google Ads account and navigate to the campaign you want to edit. Under the campaign settings, go to the “Locations” tab and click on the “+ Location” button. Enter the desired locations and select the targeting options that best suit your campaign objectives.
3. Refine your targeting
Google Ads offers additional options to further refine your geo-targeting. You can exclude certain locations, target specific languages spoken in a region, or adjust your targeting based on factors like income level or user interest.
4. Create ad copy and extensions
Craft compelling ad copy that resonates with your target audience in each specific location. Consider tailoring the messaging to address local preferences, cultural nuances, or regional events. Additionally, utilize ad extensions like location extensions to provide more information and encourage visits to your physical store.
5. Monitor and optimize
Regularly review the performance of your geo-targeted campaigns. Analyze key metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) for different locations. Use this data to make informed decisions and optimize your ads for better results.
Geo-Targeting Tips and Best Practices
Here are some tips and best practices to maximize the effectiveness of your geo-targeting efforts:
1. Prioritize Certain Locations
Identify regions that align with your business objectives and allocate a higher portion of your budget to those areas. By focusing your resources on high-potential regions, you can generate more targeted traffic and improve conversion rates.
2. Target Local Keywords
Incorporate location-specific keywords into your ad copy and website content. This helps search engines understand the relevance of your offerings to users in a particular location and increases the chances of your ads appearing in local search results.
3. Avoid Creating Competing Campaigns
If you target overlapping locations with multiple campaigns, there is a risk of competing against yourself and wasting resources. Instead, consolidate your efforts into a single campaign with well-defined targeting parameters to ensure efficiency and avoid unnecessary competition.
In conclusion, the decision to buy targeted website traffic and implement targeted traffic strategies is a strategic move that can significantly impact the success of your online business. By harnessing the power of geo-targeted ads, businesses can precisely reach their desired audience in specific locations, leveraging the benefits of location targeting, audience targeting, and even weather targeting. This focused approach allows businesses to optimize their marketing efforts, prioritize certain locations, and tailor their messaging to resonate with local preferences.
Through platforms like Google Ads, setting up geo-targeted ads has become more accessible and effective, enabling businesses to reach the right people in the right place at the right time. By following best practices and continuously refining their campaigns based on data-driven insights, businesses can maximize their return on investment, drive targeted traffic to websites, and increase the chances of conversions and revenue generation.
Embracing geo-targeting and leveraging targeted traffic strategies is an essential component of a successful digital marketing strategy in today’s competitive landscape.
Maximising the Impact of Blogger Outreach Campaigns for Increased Brand Visibility
In today’s digital landscape, blogger outreach has emerged as a powerful strategy for businesses to enhance brand visibility and connect with their target audience. By collaborating with influential bloggers, brands can tap into their established online presence and engage with a wider audience.
Partnering with a reputable blogger outreach agency like Ocere can further amplify the impact of these campaigns. An experienced agency brings expertise, established relationships with bloggers, and a deep understanding of the industry, allowing businesses to navigate the complex world of blogger outreach more effectively.
Identifying The Right Bloggers
The success of a blogger outreach campaign starts with identifying the right bloggers to collaborate with. First, look for bloggers who align with your brand’s values, target audience, and industry. Then, conduct thorough research to assess the blogger’s reach, engagement, and credibility to ensure they have an active and engaged following.
Building Genuine Relationships
Building genuine relationships with bloggers is crucial for long-term success. Instead of approaching bloggers with a purely transactional mindset, invest time understanding their content, engaging with their posts, and establishing a personal connection. Engage in meaningful conversations, provide feedback, and share their content to foster a mutually beneficial relationship.
Tailoring Personalised Outreach Messages
Personalisation is key to capturing the attention of bloggers. Avoid generic outreach messages, craft tailored pitches that demonstrate your familiarity with their content, and highlight how your collaboration can benefit their audience. Address them by name, reference their recent work, and explain why you believe their platform is an ideal fit for your brand.
Collaborating on Valuable Content
When collaborating with bloggers, focus on creating valuable, engaging content that resonates with their audience. Discuss ideas and explore content formats, such as sponsored posts, product reviews, guest blogging, or creative collaborations. Encourage bloggers to inject their unique voice and perspective into the content while aligning it with your brand messaging.
Providing Exclusive Offers and Benefits
Consider providing exclusive offers and benefits to incentivise bloggers and encourage their active participation. This could include providing them early access to new products, exclusive discounts for their audience, or inviting them to industry events and brand experiences. By offering unique perks, you strengthen the relationship and create a win-win situation for both parties.
Encouraging Authentic Storytelling
Authenticity is paramount in blogger outreach. Allow bloggers the creative freedom to share their genuine experiences with your brand or product. Encourage them to tell their unique stories and provide honest feedback. Authenticity resonates with audiences and helps build trust in your brand.
Leveraging Social Media Amplification
Amplify the reach of your blogger outreach campaigns by leveraging social media. Encourage bloggers to share their collaborations on social media platforms and create a buzz around the content. Additionally, utilise your social media channels to promote the collaboration, tag the bloggers, and encourage your audience to engage with the content.
Tracking and Measuring Success
To evaluate the impact of your blogger outreach campaigns, establish clear metrics and track key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, monitor metrics such as website traffic, engagement levels, social media reach, and conversions resulting from the collaboration. Use this data to refine your strategies and identify areas for improvement.
Building Long-term Partnerships
Blogger outreach should not be a one-off endeavour. Building long-term partnerships with bloggers allows for sustained brand visibility and continued engagement with their audience. Nurture these relationships by staying in touch, offering ongoing collaboration opportunities, and supporting their growth.
Staying Abreast of Industry Trends
Finally, staying informed about evolving industry trends and changes in the blogging landscape is essential. Keep an eye on emerging bloggers, new platforms, and shifts in consumer behaviour. Then, adapt your outreach strategies to stay relevant and maintain a competitive edge.
By following these tactics and strategies, businesses can maximise the impact of their blogger outreach campaigns and achieve increased brand visibility. Authenticity, genuine relationships, valuable content, and ongoing engagement are the cornerstones of successful blogger collaborations. Embrace the power of blogger outreach to strengthen your brand’s online presence and connect with your target audience meaningfully.
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