How-To How to Save Time & Increase Revenue with Intelligent Email Automation

By Ben Kruger

I’m not here to sell you on email automation — you should know it’s a tactic that works. In fact, I’m sure (and hope) you’re already running the typical cast of automated emails: Welcome, cart abandon, post purchase.

What I am here to do is sell you on the concept of doubling down on your email automation strategy.

 

Why it Pays to Double Down on Email Automation

The mass or “batch” email you (or your team) work on day in and day out is not only dreadfully painful to put together but also super inefficient. The truth is, 80% of your customers don’t want to hear about a promotion you’re running on sweaters and your email marketing manager certainly doesn’t want to stay at work past 6PM waiting for approval from your creative team before deploying that email.

So why do you do it? Why do you put your team through the nuances of creating these mass campaigns? Why do you shove the same boring messages into your customers’ inboxes? Don’t get me wrong — batch emails do have a place in your email marketing strategy, but they should be used with discretion.

Below is a pretty common breakdown we see between the share of overall emails sent and the revenue attributed to them. You’ll quickly notice that while automated emails make up a small portion of overall sends, they make up a significant share of revenue.

email automation emails sent vs share of revenue

This analysis makes for some obvious realizations and should challenge you to change the way you approach your email marketing strategy. After all, automated emails are not only easier to set up (depending on your platform, of course), but they also require little-to-no maintenance once they are up and running. Even better, once they’re live, they’re likely generating a nice return in revenue.

 

How to (Easily) Double Down on Email Automation

So instead of coming to work every morning, checking out the marketing calendar, and coding up a boring HTML template, why not take the time to dream up some new ways to automate emails and let them start cranking for you?

Here’s an easy example of a way to automate five simple, but effective emails based on customer behavior:

match email automation with customer behavior

Ok, so that helps your email communications with active customers, but what about those that haven’t visited your site recently? Enter product notifications.

Product notifications are automated email triggers that deploy based on changes with your merchandise. For example, if new jeans are added to your site, an email featuring that brand new denim should automatically trigger to customers who are interested in jeans — including past purchasers, past browsers and those who have a predicted affinity to jeans based on their past engagements.

world without email automation

world with email automation

And these product notifications aren’t just for new arrivals. You can also automatically trigger notifications to relevant customers based on other changes to your merchandise, such as when items decrease in price, come back in stock or are hitting low inventory (there’s nothing like a little urgency to prompt a purchase!).

Whatever type of notification you run, there’s significant value to gain from improving this relevance. Take vineyard vines. Lindsey Worster, VP of Marketing at vineyard vines, shares:

“With the batch and blast campaigns, we were sending the exact same message and static images to millions of people, and that just isn’t the best way to communicate with customers. We began to see a lift in metrics as we got more focused, and that let us know we were on the right track. Now, we aim to have relevant conversations with our customers based on how they shop to demonstrate that we care about what they want and can curate their experiences based on that.”

 

How to Refine & Improve Your Email Automation

Once you’ve got your core customer behavioral and product notifications running, you should consider opportunities to further improve their performance. To start, I recommend the following tactics:

  • Split your triggers based on what you know about your customers: Create a unique version of a trigger for repeat full-price shoppers and another version of the same trigger for prospective customers who have never bought from you in order to get even more nuanced with your messaging.
  • Create new triggers based on advanced shopper data: Identify when existing shoppers deviate from their personal buying cadence and trigger an email series to prevent them from churning.
  • Focus on cross sell and up sell opportunities: Dig into your customer data and learn how your average repeat buyer behaves. If customers who buy jeans for the first time wait 63 days to purchase a handbag, use that information to create automated emails to sell more handbags to past jean buyers.

 

A More Personalized Experience Without the Headache

As a savvy marketer, you know the value of email automation, and I’m sure you’ve witnessed it firsthand. You also know how painstaking it can be to build a batch email every single day, even though it’s not always what your customers want to see. The solution? Doubling down on email automation.

With the right strategy and technology, doubling down on your email automation can be a win-win — essentially providing the more personalized experience your customers want without the headache your team hates and bringing in more revenue to boot.

Click here to see for yourself how vineyard vines made it happen.

vineyard vines 1-1 marketing

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