Email marketing: automate to innovate

email sendIn the second of this series, John discusses how marketers can drastically save time on managing email campaigns, while improving customer experiences.

As a marketer of the 21st century, it’s about time you take the next step and enter the world of automation. According to Gartner research, by 2020customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.  Furthermore, Forrester claims companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. Certainly food for thought.

Thankfully marketers are starting to learn that each of their consumers are different and need to be approached with communications that not only reach them in the time that suits them best, but are also tailored to their actual interests and needs.

To achieve this in the past, marketers had to manually schedule when their emails were sent to prospective customers – sending certain emails to individual customers all at various times which was incredibly admin-heavy and time intensive. Obviously you don’t have the time to send on each email to each of your target audience at exactly the right moment, but you also don’t want to be accused of cluster-bombing. So how are you supposed to achieve this?

Luckily there are simple and easy ways for marketers to ensure the right email can land in the consumers’ inbox at exactly the right time – whether they tend to open their emails over breakfast, during their lunch break, or even in the middle of the night. After all, getting your message to the customer at exactly the right time can be what sways someone to open it and go on to purchase, or not.

Well this is where marketing automation comes in. When done properly, marketing automation can not only save you time, but help you to deliver relevancy at scale.

To get Marketing Automation right, I’ve outlined three essential components to automation success:

1.       Keep Data Stored in One Place

The best thing to do with your data is to keep it all in one place, rather than stored in a number of disparate systems. A combined approach will help you save time and increase your accuracy as you will be able to track universal behaviours online and create email campaigns tailored to different buyer profiles from one central location.

2.       Build a content library

As I mentioned, delivering the right content for each unique buyer at the right time and based on where the customer is in the buying cycle is crucial. You need to be able to create a template to keep track of each type of content, with a description of the topic, as well as the persona and buying cycle of all users. This will help you to communicate with customers in a way that is both personal and aimed at them.

3.    Automate on behaviours, not demographics

Relationships matter, and the more hi-tech our world gets, the more people are lacking the personal touch. Your customers don’t want group spam; they want to be treated like individuals. Sending to segments, however targeted, just does not cut it anymore. Every single consumer is not only defined by their demographics, but also by where they are in their relationship with you. If this is defined by what they’ve bought, what emails they’ve opened and what they’ve seen online, how can you possibly build a personal message by putting people into segments? They key is to automate on behaviours. You use what you know about your online customers – learning what they want, when they want it, and exactly how to communicate with them. And the good news? You have all that information already – in email platform, eCommerce system, CMS and CRM. No crystal ball required.

Ultimately, marketing automation programmes are sophisticated tools that will provide businesses with tremendous agility and efficiency. Automation software employs a less manual, more sophisticated form of personalisation and means that your buyers are on a path to purchase that is optimised every single second for every single buyer, leading to loyal customers and a fruitful business.

John Watton, Senior Director – EMEA Marketing, Silverpop,