The post below was written by Andrew Lowen, the CEO of Next Level Web and email marketing specialist.
Doesn’t every marketer love email automation by now? It’s no doubt email automation is a time saver. Numerous tasks that were done manually, taking most of the marketer’s time, can now be done with a click of a button. This doesn’t mean you have to leave everything for automation tools, though.
Knowing what to automate in your email marketing often makes a difference between successful and failed email campaigns. Obviously, manually crafted custom emails are the best way to go. But, time is an important resource too. Whether we talk about cold emailing or communication with a list you have established a relationship with, it’s important to know what parts of your campaign can be automated and, on the flip side, what you should focus on and do manually in order to get optimal results.
There are numerous benefits in taking the time to craft individualized emails. Even when using an automation tool, you can tweak a few things to make your email look more personal. At least, there are tools in the market that have personalization features. The following are some benefits of email personalization:
How Personalization can help Optimize your Email Marketing
- The recipient feels useful
- Increases open rate
- Makes your emails relevant
- Improves conversation rate
- Improves customer retention
Every human being appreciates being treated rightly. This involves being recognized, appreciated, and so forth. When you sent an email that addresses the recipient by their name, they feel special. By this simple act, you have gained their attention. You follow this with email content that addresses some of their needs and give them reasons to read further, consider your call to action, and respond accordingly.
Email subjects that look irrelevant, followed by a general greeting, are likely to end up in the trash folder. Other recipients mark such emails as spam. This means, they never want to receive such emails again and if they do, they won’t bother to open. You can change the situation by a simple tweak like adding their first name in the title or greeting.
A major pain point for many subscribers is being bombarded with irrelevant content. When you take the time to design personal emails, you are likely to address specific needs of the target recipient. Customers are happy to receive emails that match their interests and offer possible solutions to their needs.
All of the above benefits bring you closer to achieving your goals as a marketer. A few years ago, BMW sent personalized MMS messages to 1200 of their customers promoting their winter tires. The result was a 30% conversion rate that bumped up BMW’s revenue by over $180K from this single campaign! Using a combination of Woopra and AppConnect partner Sonar, you can automate this process by segmenting customers and triggering personalized messages based on their behavior.
If you maintain good emailing habits, your customers are likely to whitelist your emails. This means that when you have a new product that matches their customer profile, they would be the first people you send communication to. Since you have gained their trust, they are likely to purchase or consume your products without a lot of resistance. Basically, customer retention is more about familiarity and relationship, which you can easily attain using personalization.
What to Focus on and do Manually in Order to get Optimal Results
It is easy to figure out what to focus on or do manually for better results in your email marketing campaigns if you are aware of a few scenarios when you should NOT automate. Here is a look at such situations.
- When you do not have comprehensive buyer persona profiles
- When you do not have a segmented list
- When you do not have a smart automation tool
- At the final stage of sales conversion
Integrated buyer personas give you insight into the kind of subscribers you have. Knowing their age, income levels, lifestyle, behaviors and other interests can help you design product offers that suit them best. When you understand their pain points or which stage they are on their buyer’s journey, you can tailor your email to offer a value proposition that matches your customer needs.
If all you have is a database showing all your customers, then automating your email campaigns is a no. Always have in mind that each customer is different. In many cases, they have different needs, preferences, buying power and so forth. They are also at different levels on their buyer’s journey. A mass email is not going to be effective when dealing with such a group.
Segmentation helps you send more relevant emails that are likely to attract a high click-through rate and desired cause of action. Even when you have the same email, it is possible to tweak it to fit different recipients when you have a segmented list.
Any worthy email automation tool should be designed to enable users to tweak as many fields as possible to make the emails more personal. Marketers want their emails to look like they are coming from one person to another if they are going to attract the attention of the recipient. Tools like Hubspot and Marketo, allow you to insert the first name in the greeting, the body, and even title. The same email will go to different recipients, yet each will view it as addressed to them.
At this stage, you should focus on each customer separately. Some customers take a lot of time to make their decision, others are prompt. Also, each customer has their unique concerns and needs. You may have to address these separately using your emails in order to convert your leads into successful, happy customers.
Do you want to see improved ROI in your email campaigns? Don’t just send mass messages. Strive to optimize your email marketing through a well thought-out automation strategy.
What are some of the tricks you have been using in your email marketing efforts that have reaped better results?
Andrew is the CEO of Next Level Web, a trusted marketing agency based in San Diego, California. He has three lovely daughters and the most patient wife of all time. They specialize in Web Design, Search Engine Optimization, PPC Advertising, and Email Marketing (The Agency – not the daughters… yet). See case studies & results of happy clients at www.NextLevelWeb.com.