In an ideal world, email marketing tools, like yours truly, give companies the ability to email market like the Amazons of the world. Any email marketing system worth its weight in unique contacts will allow you to easily segment your database in order to nurture prospects and customers with highly targeted and personalized content. This is the type of email marketing campaigns that marketers dream of, that and email automation campaigns.
Marketing automation refers to the creation of workflows that trigger marketing actions. For example, a customer who begins the checkout process online but abandons their cart may receive an email inviting them back to the store to complete their purchase after they’ve left the site. The email is an automated email that is based on a behavioral trigger. Marketing automation also includes personalization which is best seen when marketers set emails up to automatically pull in captured information (like the subscriber’s first name).
Of course, for many marketers, especially those in the eCommerce space, marketing automation is more of a problem than a dream when not done correctly. Automated email marketing is supposed to work for you, but when mistakes are made, it can create more of a hassle for you.
Take a look at these 7 mistakes that impede email marketing automation success:
Mistake 1. Not taking advantage of email automation
First thing’s first: Automate your email marketing! This is 2016 — we’re living in the age of automation. If you haven’t set up automated emails, you’re missing out on lost revenue and the opportunity to connect with your customers and prospects in real time
You know you need automated emails, and maybe you’ve purchased software that has these capabilities, but the emails aren’t going to write themselves. If writing your emails seems daunting, take it one email at a time. Write the content, create a segment to send the email to, schedule the email to send, watch the results, revise for optimization, and repeat the process for the next email.
Mistake 2. Not having a database to market to
Even the savviest of marketers mistakenly invest in marketing automation tools before they’ve built a sufficient database of viable prospects. Think about it. How can you automate email marketing if you don’t have prospects to nurture and send your emails to? Or how can you build an email list if you don’t have compelling content to drive traffic to your site to capture email addresses?
Create opportunities on your site for shoppers to enter their email address in order to receive some sort of incentive. It can be updates on sales, promotions, or even new blog posts. You can also ask your followers on social media to sign up for your newsletter for more exclusive content.
Mistake 3. Not knowing what kind of marketing campaigns your team can create and
Once you’ve decided to use marketing automation, you need to understand the capabilities of your team and the resources available to you. Make sure you’ve got a concrete plan of who is handling the setup, who is going to get trained on the tool, and the ongoing management required of any marketing automation tool – including creating the email content and design and testing what works and what doesn’t.
Mistake 4. Making it distant and robotic
Making a purchase online should be a personal experience, and people who are purchasing from a small retailer expect a more human feel than big-brand stores. Just because your emails are sent automatically doesn’t mean you have to compromise your store’s brand and personal touch in the process.
To make your automated emails more personal, infuse them with your brand’s voice and style. Then create custom segments of your subscribers based on their demographics and purchase behavior and craft a message around your specific segments.
Let’s say, for example, you sell men and women’s socks. You could segment an email to your male subscribers to invite them to purchase a pair of women’s cozy socks for Valentine’s Day (because nothing says romance like a pair of socks), and you could send a similar email to your female subscribers that encourages them to treat themselves to a pair of warm, fuzzy socks this Valentine’s Day. Same occassion, different message and recipients.
The last thing you want to do for your brand’s reputation is send your subscribers an email that isn’t relevant to them or one that sounds like a canned message.
Mistake 5. Not optimizing for mobile shoppers
The typical consumer checks emails and connects on social media through their phones, and now more people than ever are shopping on their mobile devices. Your email marketing needs to reflect this consumer behavior and be completely optimized for shoppers who are viewing your emails on their smartphones.
A few tips to make your automated emails more mobile-friendly:
- Make the call-to-action big, easy to find on a small screen, and easy to tap with a finger
- Don’t overdo it with the text. No one wants to read a long block of text on their phone’s email service provider
- Make sure your automated email service provider has responsive design capabilities (and that it’s turned on)
Mistake 6. Not leveraging your customers’ demographic and purchase data
Before you meet someone important, you might research information about them, look at their LinkedIn, or ask mutual contacts about them in order to know how to interact with them. In the same way, you should be gathering and organizing information about your customers to use in the content of your automated marketing actions.
A lot of companies use generic language in their automated emails, but they’re missing out on an opportunity to reinforce their brand and connect with their audience. Your email service provider may come with pre-written emails to get you started, but make sure you customize it to make the tone and style match your brand. Think about the message your customer personas would want to receive and write your email copy accordingly.
With some automated email service providers (including Springbot), you can send an abandoned cart email and pull in the exact products that a customer left behind in their cart. If you have this capability, use it to make the email even more personalized and relevant for the customer.
Mistake 7. Setting it and forgetting it
Yes, email automation is meant to make your life easier and to some degree, you can take the “set it and forget it” mindset. But like with any successful marketing campaign, if you “set it and forget it” completely, you can forget long term continual successful results.
After the initial setup, monitor your emails to see which are turning into more sales and which are not converting well. For those that are not converting, try updating the copy or adding a coupon code to entice shoppers to purchase from your store. Another good practice is to research email marketing benchmarks for your industry for statistics like open rate, click-through-rate, and conversion rate.
Is automated email marketing right for everyone?
Email automation can be a fantastic tool to help eCommerce retailers increase brand awareness, engage prospects to help drive first-time purchases, and overall conversions while also helping to nurture and engage current customers.
But it’s not a magic a magic solution and it’s not right for every store. So make sure you ask the right questions before making a decision, and avoid these seven email marketing mistakes if you decide to move forward with automation.