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Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide

Let the Robots Handle the Busy Work

Table of Contents

I'm all for letting the robots do the heavy lifting. They have big robotic muscles and are anal-retentive enough to satisfy the most demanding task-master

Email marketing automation makes life easier and improves digital marketing results. It can help businesses of all sizes to grow their online presence at scale while nurturing each lead.

So relax and sit back while you read this comprehensive guide. Let's find you the email marketing assistant you deserve and learn how to train it to handle the needs of your brand.

Understanding Email Marketing Automation

There's an inherent challenge in understanding what email automation is. The word "automation" can make people think of impersonal email blasts, but email automation is all about personalization — even if you do have a little assistance from our robot friends.

What Is Email Marketing Automation?

Email marketing automation is a strategy that leverages technology to automate repetitive actions and send personalized, timely, and relevant emails to an audience. The goal is to provide value and to show your customers how much you value them.

Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide

This involves setting up an email sequence that triggers based on specific actions or behaviors from your audience. When the conditions for that automation are met, the automation will fire, performing the desired action.

Why Is Email Marketing Automation Important?

Consumers are inundated with marketing messages from various channels. Personalization and relevance have become increasingly vital strategies to make your marketing messages stand out in crowded inboxes.

Automation also saves time and resources. Rather than manually sending out emails, marketers and businesses can focus on crafting compelling content, nurturing leads, and guiding them through the sales funnel.

Benefits of Using Automated Email Tools

Automated email tools offer many benefits:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity: Automation eliminates the need for manual tasks, freeing up time for more strategic activities and allowing you to scale your business

  • Improved customer engagement: Automated emails can be personalized based on user behavior and preferences, leading to higher engagement rates.

  • Better tracking and reporting: These tools provide important metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, helping you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and make data-driven email marketing decisions.

  • Enhanced customer retention: Build strong relationships with your customers, boosting their loyalty and retention.

Email Marketing Automation Statistics

Some people are natural-born skeptics. Other people just think numbers are shiny. Either way, here are a few statistics from highly regarded, reputable sources.

Email marketing automation is popular. 79% of marketers report that their customer journeys are at least partially automated. Email marketing (63%) is the most common channel for automation and shows an 8% increase in adoption compared to 2022.

It also works. 91% of marketers report at least some measure of success with marketing automation. The top three reported benefits of marketing automation are:

  • Improved customer journeys

  • More efficient use of time

  • Better data-based decision-making

Neglect automation at your own risk. The field is growing quickly. 40% of marketers plan to adopt a new automation platform in the coming year, while only 20% plan to retire one. In a different study, 28% specifically intend to add email marketing automation.

How Does Email Marketing Automation Work?

Automated email workflows are pre-determined sequences of actions. They often include contact management or communication.

The steps in email marketing automation begin when a user engages — or fails to engage — with your business. Examples include signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or abandoning a shopping cart

This action triggers a second action, often an email or an email sequence designed to guide the user towards your desired outcome.

Then, it's time to receive your report card. Most email automation tools provide analytics features that allow you to monitor key email marketing metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

By tracking these metrics, you can identify what's working and what's not, and tweak your emails accordingly. For example, if an email has a low open rate, you might try changing the subject line to make it more enticing.

What Is an Example of Automation in Email Marketing?

When people talk about email automation, they most often mean the automation of email sends.

For example, if a user abandons their shopping cart, your automated workflow might send a reminder email after a few hours, followed by a discount offer if the user still hasn't completed their purchase after a day or two.

There are, however, other ways that automation can be leveraged. Many services also allow you to automate list management activities such as removing disengaged subscribers or segmenting your list for more targeted emails.

Using Email Automation to Grow Your Business

beehiiv superstars are leveraging email marketing automation to grow their brands, and you can, too.

Saeed Ezzati of Superpower Daily developed — and monetized — the newsletter as part of his AI empire. (Okay, at five months old, it's less of an empire and more of a really successful business. But we believe in you, Saeed.)

One of his favorite aspects of the platform is the ever-expanding set of features and updates, including the new Automations 2.0. These tools help him keep his list clean while allowing him to spend more of his time with the code.

Best Practices for Email Marketing Automation

You're convinced. (I hope.) Here's how to take full advantage of email marketing automation at both the content and campaign level.

If you want to learn how to put each of these items into practice on the beehiiv platform, check out our Automations playlist on YouTube.

Creating Effective Automated Emails

Craft emails that engage your audience and inspire them in the direction you want. Effective email marketing content delivers all of the following.

Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide

Intriguing Subject Lines

The first thing your audience sees is the subject line, so use yours to grab their attention and entice them to open the email. Powerful email subject lines are concise, intriguing, and relevant to the content of the email.

Personalization, such as including the recipient's name or referencing a recent purchase, can also increase open rates.

Engaging Content

Once your email is opened, it's time to deliver on the promise of the subject line. Keep your message clear and concise, use a friendly and conversational tone, and make sure the content is relevant to the recipient.

Structure content according to a proven template or sample email, frontloading your message with the most important points.

Remember, every email should provide value, whether that's a helpful tip, an exclusive deal, or simply a friendly check-in.

Attractive Design

Visual appeal is important. Give your emails a mobile-friendly design that looks good on every device.

While creativity is good, accessibility is essential. Prioritize email accessibility best practices such as using alt-text for images and web-safe fonts.

Thoughtful Personalization

Personalization goes beyond just using the recipient's name. Like email segmentation, personalization ensures recipients receive only relevant — and, therefore, persuasive — content.

Tailoring your emails to the members of your audience. For instance, if a user has recently purchased a product from you, an automated email might include tips for using the product, related products they might be interested in, or a special offer on their next purchase.

Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Every email should have a strong call-to-action, guiding the recipient towards the action you want them to take. This could be making a purchase, reading a blog post, or filling out a survey.

Make your CTA stand out visually, and use action-oriented language. Simple instructions work best. "Buy Now" might not win any awards for innovation, but it's a perfect example of a CTA that works.

Setting Up Successful Email Automation Workflows

With automated email workflows, you can send these effective messages at the ideal moment.

First, determine what you want to achieve with your automated emails. Are you trying to onboard new customers? Nurture leads? Encourage repeat business? Your goals will guide your email automation strategy.

Then, you can move through the steps in email automation.

Identify the Right Triggers

The first step in setting up a workflow is deciding on the triggers. These are the actions or events that will initiate your workflow.

Triggers can be as simple as a user signing up for your newsletter or as complex as a user visiting a certain page on your website multiple times within a specified period.

For example, if you're setting up a workflow to nurture new leads, your trigger might be when a user fills out a contact form on your website.

Define Your Actions

Once you've identified your triggers, the next step is to define the action(s) that will take place. To nurture leads, your workflow might include a welcome email, followed by educational content and product recommendations.

The automated actions can also involve other tasks such as tagging a contact or updating a contact's information.

Not a huge fan of manually cleaning your list? (Who is?) Use automation to stay on top of always-vital list maintenance.

Test Your Workflow

Once your workflow is set up, it's important to test it to ensure everything is working as expected.

After you make sure they're being sent out at the right times and to the right people, you can use A/B testing to refine your content. Try out different variations to see which one drives the results you want.

Monitor and Optimize

Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide

After testing, continue to monitor your workflow and make adjustments as necessary. Look at metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to see what's working and what isn't.

Don't be afraid to tweak your triggers, actions, or sequence of actions to optimize your results.

Top Tools for Email Marketing Automation

Used properly, the ideal email tool should create the illusion of a dedicated workforce committed to your brand. Pick wisely and incorporate best practices and tips.

Choosing the Right Email Automation Platform

Finding the right email automation platform can be a game-changer for your business. But with so many automated email tools on the market, how do you choose the one that best fits your needs?

Understand Your Needs

Before diving into the features of different platforms, it's crucial to understand your own needs and resources.

Are you looking for a simple tool to send out newsletters, or do you need a robust platform with advanced segmentation capabilities? Do you have a small list of subscribers or a large database that requires scalable solutions? How much do you want to spend?

It's tempting (particularly for those of us in the Midwest) to go with the cheapest option available. Maximize your email marketing budget by considering the value each platform offers in relation to its cost.

Prioritize the Right Features

Email automation platforms offer a wide range of features. Make sure to consider:

Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide
  • Type of workflows available

  • List management and segmentation options

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integration with other tools

Not all features will be equally important to your brand.

Maybe advanced analytics are crucial for your data-driven marketing strategy, or perhaps seamless integration is key because you rely heavily on your CRM.

Identify the features that are most important to your brand and prioritize platforms that excel in these areas.

Try It Out

Most email automation platforms offer free trials. These trials are an excellent opportunity to test out the platform's features, ease of use, and customer support.

Using Email Automation Tools Effectively

Here are a few more email automation best practices to help you use your fancy tools effectively.

1. Segment Your Email List

Segmentation is a crucial practice in email automation. It allows you to divide your email list into smaller groups based on certain criteria like demographics, past purchases, or engagement levels.

Use automation to help with the process of segmentation and to deliver more targeted emails, which can significantly improve open and conversion rates.

2. Use Triggers Wisely

Email automation tools are amazing, but don't go overboard. Bombarding your subscribers with emails every time they perform a minor action can lead to them unsubscribing. Use triggers wisely, focusing on significant actions that indicate a strong interest or a clear need.

3. Be Consistent in Design and Personality

It's hard to overstate the importance of strong, consistent branding.

Ensure that your email templates, fonts, colors, and tone of voice align with your brand's overall messaging. This will not only help with brand recognition but also create a cohesive experience for your subscribers.

4. Nurture Your Leads

Email automation tools are excellent for lead nurturing. By setting up a series of automated emails, you can guide your leads through the buyer’s journey, providing them with valuable content at each stage. This can help build trust, establish your brand as an authority, and ultimately drive conversions.

5. Talk Like a Human

While automation can save you time and effort, don't forget the importance of the human touch. Make sure your emails sound personal and genuine, not like they were written by a robot. Strive to build a real connection with your subscribers.

6. Leverage Multichannel Marketing

One thing that makes email automation powerful is your ability to integrate it with other channels. This can help you reach your audience at multiple touchpoints and create a more cohesive brand experience.

7. Make Use of Dynamic Content

With email automation, you can create dynamic content that changes based on a subscriber's behavior or interests. This allows for a more personalized experience, making your emails more relevant and engaging.

Ready, Set, Automate

Mastering Email Marketing Automation: The Ultimate Guide

Email automation is a powerful tool in your marketing kit. It allows you to reach your audience with personalized, relevant content, nurture leads, and grow your brand.

That's why the beehiiv developers have been hard at work, creating Automations 2.0. Let us take care of the busy work, so you can get back to creating the content that matters.

Sign up for a free trial of the beehiiv Scale plan, and start putting your email minions to work. We're excited to see what you do next.

Why Trust Us

At beehiiv, we've built a reputation as the go-to platform for creators seeking to optimize their marketing efforts. We're not just a service provider, but a partner in your journey to make your mark in the digital world. As an experienced digital marketer myself, I've penned numerous articles on the subject of automation, exploring the latest possibilities and proven best practices.

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