Let’s take email marketing, for example.
As mentioned in most of my blog posts, email marketing is the highest converting marketing strategy today. It’s the only one with up to 4300% return of investment (ROI) rate.
Email marketing, however, can take so much time in a day’s work. Personally, it takes me one whole day to write a well-researched, information-packed article; and another two to three hours to create the email, test it and send it to everyone on my list.
But is it something you shouldn’t do just because you’re busy? No. Email marketing is not an option, it’s a must-have!
So how do you make things easier for you without taking so much of your precious time?
One word: AUTOMATION.
This month, we’re going to create a series of blogs for small business owners who are looking to take their business to the next level by automating their marketing.
Let’s start with automating your Email Marketing!
So how do you automate your emails?
There are several tools that you can use to automate your email. Here are some of our best picks:
For small businesses starting out with an email program, Mailchimp is a good choice because they offer free and affordable plans. (Note though that with their free plan, you won’t be able to use their autoresponder feature which is what this blog is all about so let’s go with ‘affordable’ for now.)
For as low as $10/month, small businesses can create automated email campaigns such as a welcome series which is a set of emails introducing who you are and what your business is all about. Set it up once then let your website and mail program do the heavy lifting for you!
Another powerful tool for email marketing automation is Campaign Monitor. This tool has a drag and drop feature which is helpful for those who don’t know how to code. Additionally, Campaign Monitor also has list management tools that can help you send dynamic content to the right people. Price starts at $9/month.
You can save so much time whilst keeping your followers engaged by using Aweber and a lot of users believe that Aweber has better deliverability of emails too which is important.
When you get new subscribers, you can automatically include them in a list where they will receive your welcome series. Then, when they’re done with the series, they are automatically added to your master list so they receive your regular emails. This complicated process is made easy with Aweber for as low as $10/month.
If you find it difficult to create a flow plan for your automated emails, Active Campaign is the answer. With their visual workflow, you can decide which email gets automated, and how/when it will be sent to your subscribers. You can take advantage of Active Campaign’s features for just $9/month.
Infusionsoft is a powerful small business Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that’s housed in the cloud. This tool combines CRM, email marketing and eCommerce into one integrated system driven by the power of sales and marketing automation.
When we decided to work smarter, we knew that we had to choose a tool that could automate some of our tasks without any dramas. Infusionsoft definitely did not disappoint however it can be over-engineered for a typical small business just starting out, so my advice? Only consider Infusionsoft if you are a more established business with more complex marketing automation needs.
To choose the best one for your business, I suggest you visit the respective sites and talk to each of their customer service representatives. This way, you’ll know for sure if the features they offer match your business needs.
When you’re done choosing your email program tool, it’s time to decide which emails need to be automated.
What type of emails should you automate?
In case you’re wondering what emails need to be automated, I’ve got you covered. Here are the type of emails that you can automate to nurture your new subscribers into becoming customers and keep your current customers engaged:
Welcome series. As mentioned above, a ‘Welcome Series’ is a series of emails for your new subscribers that aim to introduce you and your business. Here are my suggestions for the emails:
- Thank you email. Thank your new subscribers for trusting you with their emails. In here, you can also show them the link to the download page if they subscribed through an offer or lead bait.
- Introduce yourself. Your second email should instantly build trust. Put a face in the name they see on their inbox, by introducing yourself. This is a great opportunity to talk about your ‘why’…. why did you start your business? What are you most passionate about? Keep it friendly and short, and encourage them to reply by asking relevant questions such as what they expect to see or learn from your business.
- Talk about your business. On your third email, you should start talking about your business and what sets you apart from the rest. You might like to introduce some sort of offer and show them how to contact your support them. You could ask their product preference so you can add them to a more specific list if that works for you.
- Give them a surprise! On the last email for your welcome series, encourage your readers to make their first / next purchase by giving them a coupon to use or a great deal.
Holiday greetings. To make sure you don’t forget to greet your followers on special holidays, schedule them in advance. My tip is to dedicate a day to think of the campaigns you will run for the special holidays during the entire year and to schedule the emails that will go with them.
Reactivation Emails. Here’s a fact: it’s much more expensive to get new leads than to reactivate old ones; thus, reactivation emails are really important. Send your inactive subscribers an email and let them know that you miss them.
You may also ask them to change their subscription preferences with you, so you don’t keep on spending to those who are no longer interested in your business. Remember, quality leads beats quantity.
Loyalty Emails. To keep our customers happy, we have to find ways to always make them feel special. This is where loyal customer campaigns comes in. Whenever they make their Xth purchase, you can automatically send them a ‘thank you’ email for their patronage. You could also offer them a loyalty coupon code to make sure they keep coming back.
You’re ready to start automating your emails!
Our basic guide for email automation ends here. I hope the tools and the tips mentioned above will help you take more control of your time. Next week, we’ll talk about automating your Social Media Advertising and Blog Publishing. Are you excited?!
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