Emails are core tools when it comes to giving a great customer experience. They provide an ongoing touchpoint throughout the customer journey. And they’re useful no matter how your customers are interacting with your brand.
But with so many uses and a growing customer base, emails are also cumbersome to handle manually. That’s where email automation comes in, easing the email load and helping you get the most out of the handy channel. But automated emails come with their fair share of pitfalls to avoid.
So, without further ado, here are the do’s and don’ts of automating your emails.
Do segment your lists
You shouldn’t be sending every email to every recipient in your database. Doing so forces you to send generic emails that are often irrelevant for many of your customers. Irrelevant emails suggest that you don’t know what your customers want.
Instead, sort recipients into groups based on their preferences and profiles. Then, you can target automated emails to cater to their interests and information. In short, for each automated email, extract the audience most likely to find value in what you’re sending.
Don’t send generic emails
This leads to a key ‘don’t’: don’t send generic emails. Always personalise. Automation software can help by parsing emails and databases for information. Then, it can use that information to replace personalisation tags in your content.
So, set rules to personalise the content that your automation tool sends to customers. You should also always test these rules. You don’t want customers receiving personalisation tags such as ‘Hi %CUSTOMERNAME%’.
Personalisation includes the obvious, such as their name, but also the less overt. For instance, if you have global customers on your email lists, tailor the send time to their time zones.
Do use triggers
You can outline triggers and rules for your automated emails. This means your automation tool can react to input and existing data. There are many useful triggers you can set up, to cover end-to-end lifecycle emails or drip campaigns.
For instance, a new customer signs up to your mailing list. This can trigger a personalised welcome email. A sale could lead to an automated follow-up email. An abandoned cart could trigger an email with a useful voucher code.
Other good triggers are anniversaries. For example, you might set an email to trigger on the customer’s birthday. Or you can reward loyalty, with triggers such as X amount of time as a customer, Y number of purchases, or Z amount of money spent total.
Don’t set and forget
An easy thing to do with automation is to set it up and forget it exists. This is not advised. You should be sure to check in on your automated emails and update them as needed.
Automation will keep running in the background until you tell it to stop. So, if you forget about it, it will send out of date emails and offers to your customers. This doesn’t look good or make for an impressive customer experience.
For instance, you set up an automated email. To make it interesting, its content references a popular topic, the current year, or contains a time-sensitive voucher code. Fast forward a year, and that content is stale, outdated and faulty. Yet, if it’s forgotten, your customers are still receiving it.
Do track performance
How well are your automated emails doing? It’s important to track the metrics and performance indicators of your automated emails. You can also use A/B testing to test strategies and choose the best ones for future use.
This allows you to see where you can improve. This means keeping tabs on things like your bounce, click through, open and unsubscribe rates. Make use of the insight that your customers give you.
Automating your emails is a great way to delight your customers and save your team valuable time.
When comes down to it, best practice for automated emails is common marketing sense. That is, don’t spam, provide value, and add the personal touch whenever you can.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.