“You’ve got mail.”
Do you remember hearing that? Not the romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but the soothing voice you heard when you logged into AOL and had mail back in 1999.
It’s a legendary piece of Internet history that laid the foundation for what is now one of the most ubiquitous forms of communication.
Although times have changed and that original notification has been replaced by Facebook messenger, Tweets, and likes, that doesn’t mean email is dying out or going anywhere anytime soon.
In fact, one could argue the exact contrary.
Email is evolving
Despite the fact that more efficient forms of communication have arisen in the workplace and for personal matters, because of the noise that is social media, the signal is often lost and the e-mail inbox has become a virtual sanctuary.
Stillness amongst the chaos.
There is a myth that people hate being marketed by e-mail. Yes, people don’t like being spammed, nor do they appreciate irrelevant, unsolicited emails.
This is why regulations like GDPR in the European Union, which place heavy penalties on businesses not respecting privacy are so important.
Because it makes sense for people who know how to do email marketing right.
People like receiving emails. Actual research done by Hubspot shows that people read most of their emails and do not mind frequent emails as long as they are relevant, address their interests, and needs.
As with all successful platforms that come along, marketers will eventually market against them and push consumers off.
Does this mean that email marketing has less value than it did a decade ago? Probably. But there’s still massive value for all businesses.
The ROI of email marketing
With more companies having confidence in the technology they are using to track metrics for ROI, 2017 could be the year that stems the tide as organizations not being able to measure the ROI of email marketing have been steadily decreasing since 2012.
In their research on e-mail marketing, DMA reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, an average return of $32 can be expected.
The benefits of email marketing for businesses are indisputable. However, in order to fully actualize the potential ROI, you need a well-thought-out email marketing strategy.
With all the platforms that your business is venturing in (considering that being fully active on any platform is virtually a full-time job), executing on an email marketing strategy might seem like a daunting task.
This is why automation is so important.
Automation & mass personalization at scale
When I speak to people about email automation, they always have the same concerns. They’re afraid that automation will kill personalization and that their customers will be put off. The answer is mass personalization at scale.
A few years ago, the generation of personalized content required much more effort on the company side. Now, the increased availability of technology combined with marketing automation has made sophisticated segmentation less costly and faster to implement.
First of all, computers are now able to perform profile and classification of customers based on the information that they actively or passively provide.
This is essentially what allows for mass personalization at scale. McKinsey has summarized what personalization means to customers according to this simple formula.
“This formula shouldn’t imply an exact science when it comes to personalization, but it does highlight the key issues that executives need to address.” (McKinsey, 2017).
Upon analyzing the formula, you notice that value is directly related with the relevance of content.
Let’s take a step back and explore what you can do to start automating your email marketing.
How to start automating your email marketing
The first thing you need to do to automate your email marketing and keep your emails relevant and personalized is segmentation.
What is segmentation?
Segmentation is essentially classifying your users based on where they came from. In other words, where did they opt into your subscription list from?
Most platforms that assist with email marketing have a feature that allows you to track where subscribers came from, while hiding the field from the form.
If you’re not sure how to do this, a simple google search will reveal how to do this for the platform your using, whether its Mailchimp, Convert Kit or any other platform your using.
To take it a step further and allow for mass personalization, you want to know what purpose they opted in for.
Convert Kit allows you to tag subscribers according to what links they click on.
For example, when you send out an email with a link to your latest blog post on how to grow your eCommerce business, you can tag anyone who clicks on it as “Interested in growing eCommerce business.”
In this way, you’ll be able to gauge their interest and deliver highly relevant content.
You can take this a step further and address their needs or specific pain points.
For example, you can send out an email which states:
Which of the following best describes your eCommerce business activity?
- I don’t have an eCommerce business yet.
- I have an eCommerce business, but I’m stuck between $0-$500 per month.
- I have an eCommerce business that is generating more than $500 a month and looking to scale my business.
Each of those points is a link and subscribers will automatically be tagged and receive more content about the topic via an autoresponder sequence.
Delivery & Distribution
Do you want to automatically send out blog posts?
You can easily automate this on most platforms by setting up an RSS campaign. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are droves of content for whichever platform your using.
Do you want to give out free resources or bonuses (lead magnets) and follow up with a customized email?
There are plenty of services that allow you to deliver your bonuses and follow up with a customized email upon their registration.
LeadPages and OptinMonster are two services you can use, but there are plenty designed to help you with the delivery of the bonus and customized email.
When a subscriber opts into your list, you want to send them an email or a sequence of emails.
Autoresponders are a great way to automate sales with email.
If you’re not a savvy marketer, you might find all this daunting. Worry not, this everything we touched upon in this article is extremely simple to do. It may take a little tinkering, but once you set it up you will save so much of your valuable time and grow your business.
If you haven’t started segmenting and automating, it’s not too late. Get started now!
Stefanos F. Bournias
Stefanos F. Bournias is a content marketer and eCommerce entrepreneur. After building and selling his first online businesses, Stefanos learned to grow and sell a business. His primary areas of focus include product sourcing, business strategy, marketing, general management & operational activities. Ever since executing in these areas and learning as he goes, Stefanos began writing on SaaS, Start-ups, eCommerce & Marketing.