In business today, great customer relationships aren’t a destination or an end goal. They’re on ongoing process that’s never finished. Like houseplants, they need regular care and nurturing if they’re going to flourish. And while they can’t be completely automated – they need human innovation and creativity to drive them – the processes that support them can be automated.
This is good news for companies, particularly smaller organizations that spend an inordinate amount of time reinventing the wheel for each campaign. Automation can greatly simplify campaign creation and take a lot of the work out of marketing.
Email remains one of the most viable tools for businesses today. It’s visual, it’s flexible, it can be interactive, and it allows customers to read marketing messages on their own time and on their own terms. Companies of all sizes benefit from marketing automation solutions that allow them to rapidly (and regularly) craft fresh email marketing campaigns that share value-added content.
As the stakes rise for companies to stand out in the crowd, it is important to ensure your campaigns aren’t standing still. Personalization, video content, mobile accessibility and analytics to track how well your campaigns are doing are all ways of increasing open rates, encouraging interaction by recipients and boosting customer engagement. Many automation tools for email campaigns feature built-in technologies that allow companies to take advantage of these trends.
With that in mind, following are some essential tips for email marketing using marketing automation solutions like Agile CRM.
Email Marketing Automation Tips
- Have a variety of templates prepared: Design is one of the stickiest steps when it comes to automating a campaign. It’s often the snag that delays hitting the “send” button. With an email solution that provides pre-designed templates, marketers can quickly edit text, change images and finish creating a compelling email newsletter in record time.
- Maximize your data connections: Personalization of email content depends on having relevant customer data at the backend of your automation solution. Seek a marketing automation solution that can include as many data points as possible to customize to drive end-user engagement. Use your data wisely by using features such as custom short-codes that allows for maximum personalization.
- Take personalization further with context: When your data points are in place and your personalization process is robust, you can create email campaigns using more contextual data–in real-time. Factors such as weather, current events, geo-location, and stock market trends are all real-time variables that can be used to put content into context. This allows marketers to quickly craft a campaign for appropriate clothing for a coming storm, for example, or pass on investment advice during a particularly wild day in the financial markets.
- Match customers with content: Rather than blasting a single email to your entire customer base, consider using segmentation technology to produce better-targeted emails without all the time-consuming manual labor. Many CRM solutions today are smart enough to match customers with relevant content automatically.
- Create a data analysis process: If gathering and analyzing the data from ongoing campaigns is too onerous, marketing employees simply won’t use it, which leaves the success (or failure) of campaigns in the dark. However, if the process is too simple, it won’t generate any meaningful content. Look for an email solution that helps marketers track and respond to unique customer behavior and take decisive actions based on this intelligence.
- Consider split-testing: When you’re fine-tuning your campaigns, you may wish to send out different versions of an email and track which version garners better results. This functionality, called A/B testing, is a feature of many email automation platforms.
- Generate lead scores: To take data analysis a little further, automation solutions that feature machine learning and artificial intelligence can generate lead scores automatically. This predictive lead scoring, which leads to better lead qualification, is expected to become one of the biggest new trends in marketing in the years to come.
- Don’t be so formal: Customers are increasingly accustomed to the informal tone of social media. Younger generations prefer some informality, whether it’s in the form of humor, satire or fun retro themes. (A campaign by Yelp’s Eat24 last year featured a tribute to children’s author Judy Blume with the header, “Are you there? It’s me, coupon.”) If customers want a dry, boring read about your product or services, they’ll read your packaging or service disclaimers.
- Make it interactive: Email is no longer a static marketing medium. Today, CRM automation tools help companies add more interactivity inside the email. Consider taking content from the landing page and bringing it into the email. It could be a menu, it could be an “add to cart” button or it might be a video teaser. Interactivity in email has been shown to reduce barriers to engagement and produce clicks with greater intent.
- Animate your email: The email marketing messages that grab the biggest share of eyeballs are those that move while adding value at the same time. Skilled marketers are increasingly using animation to support the message and capture the imagination, and not simply to add a meaningless decorative element.
- Craft smart auto-responses: When it comes to getting customers by email, it’s important to remember that the lion’s share of revenue comes from auto-responses that ask customers to take action (finalize the transaction on a shopping cart, for example). These automatic response (or “triggered”) emails are a critical element of any marketing campaign, so be sure to tie them to your main campaign with the same personalization and interactivity you reserve for your lead generation. Agile CRM’s email solution contains an autoresponder feature that ensures customers and prospects receive follow-ups at a designated date and time.
If your business relies heavily on email marketing (or it doesn’t yet, but you hope it will in the future), the best path to fast return on investment is a smart email marketing automation solution that lets you build a framework into which you can put your marketing creativity and better still to have your marketing and sales efforts be integrated.