How to Take Your Automated Emails to the Next Level
By Cameron Kane
I don’t have to tell you automated emails drive better results compared to other types of emails; this is a well-known fact in our industry. Automated emails get higher open and click-through rates because they are targeted and timely, such as after a purchase or newsletter signup.
Automated emails are also time savers; you can set them up and let them rip.
Chances are you’re already using automated emails, even if it’s a basic welcome or order confirmation email. So, what’s next? It’s time to take your automation to the next level.
Why It’s Worth Leveling Up Your Automated Emails
If you’re using automated emails, you already have a huge competitive advantage. A study from the Direct Marketing Association shows only 13 percent of respondents are sending emails based on individual actions and preferences. If you improve on your automated emails that are already in place, you’ll trounce your competition.
Ideally, if you have an e-commerce site, you should already be segmenting your subscribers with campaigns focused on data that you can easily collect and act upon, such as abandon browse/abandon cart users or higher value customers who spend more or shop more often. If you’re not in the e-commerce business, you should still be hyper-segmenting based on audiences that will move the needle for you, such as gender, job title and ZIP code. A B2B marketer can segment based on online or in-person events someone attends. That segmenting could be done by type of event or ZIP code. Or a marketer could segment based on Send-Time-Optimization (STO) after testing to determine which subscribers engage at certain send times. The possibilities are almost endless.
How to Level Up Your Automated Emails
The key to improving automated emails is change. Change can help you stand out in the inbox and get subscribers to notice your email.
In life, how do you get someone to notice you? You change something. You change your routine, you work out at the gym, you change your diet, you buy and wear different clothes, you dye or cut your hair—you change something and become a bit unpredictable.
Applying this philosophy of change to your email marketing will help subscribers notice your emails. Here are some ideas:
- Try switching up the content or the look and feel of your template.
- Add some GIFs.
- Change up the frequency.
- Try a different voice or tone.
- Send the email using a different from name.
- Try an offer.
- Switch up your subject line or preheader text; try something uncharacteristic of your previous emails.
- Send the email at a different time or on a different day
The key here is change. You’ve set up an automated pattern that subscribers come to expect, so change that pattern. The new variety can get you noticed.
Test Your Changes
It’s important to remember that any changes you consider should go through an A/B testing process, so you can determine what does or doesn’t work for your particular audience segment. Determine what makes people stop engaging and adjust accordingly. Test your offers and calls to action and any other components you’re changing in your automated emails, so you can measure and optimize.
And don’t forget to QA all of your email changes – a new template, an added GIF or even new copy can mess with how your email renders.
Remember that when you’re making these changes, you’re not in pursuit of the perfect subject line or newsletter layout – you’re making an effort to get noticed and boost engagement. Changing up a pattern can help get you there.
Final Thoughts: Don’t Send Spam
As I was writing this post, marketer and cartoonist Tom Fishburne published a cartoon spoofing email automation that’s done as spam. As Tom says in the post, “…spam sent via marketing automation tools is still spam.” Keep this in mind as you’re revamping your automated emails and make sure you are marketing to subscribers who have given you permission to do so, and who are interested in a multiple-email series about your brand or product.
Cameron Kane is the CEO at iPost. He has co-founded multiple startups and led teams that have created and launched many email software products, including Rich Media Email, Solocaster and eMVision. As the CEO at iPost, he strives to ensure customers distill value from the software.