Email communication is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement with your business and to increase sales. But sending emails one by one to your customers would take you all day.
As a business owner, you are already juggling a mountain of tasks and we understand why the idea of adding another thing to your list might seem impossible.
This is where email automation comes in.
What is email automation?
Email automation is the process of setting up rules for when specific emails should be sent to your customers. And you do this by using an email marketing platform.
If something is automated, that means it is done automatically. It’s not something you have to do manually.
Basically, you design certain emails in advance and have them ready to go as soon as someone completes a specific action. The email will be sent to them immediately, you don’t have to do anything after automating your send triggers.
Here are some examples:
The trigger: A customer subscribes to your mailing list.
The action: A welcome email is automatically sent to their inbox.
The trigger: A customer fills out a contact form on your website.
The action: An email is sent to the customer thanking them for filling out the form, and promising that the business staff will get back to them soon.
The trigger: A customer makes a purchase on your website.
The action: An email is sent to the customer with information about the purchase, such as an invoice or tracking information.
What is the difference between email marketing and email automation?
Email marketing and email automation are similar, and there can be a crossover between the two, so it can be confusing to understand the difference between them.
Comparison of email marketing and email automation
Think about it this way: email marketing is about getting the message about something out to most, if not all, of your customers.
On the other hand, email automation is about setting up a system of emails to be sent automatically based on what an individual customer does.
Imagine that you run a bakery and you have two customers, John and Mary, who have both subscribed to your email list using their personal email accounts.
The email marketing that they receive will be similar.
When you have a sale, you will send them both an email to let them know about it.
If you have a new recipe on your blog, you can send them both an email asking them to read it.
This type of communication is more universal, the kind of stuff you want all your customers to know about.
On the other hand, the email automation that they receive will be completely different.
For example, if Mary buys 20 cupcakes from you, you can send her receipt to her through an automated email.
Of course, John wouldn’t need, or want, to know about the cupcakes Mary bought, so he wouldn’t receive that email.
If John recently bought a carrot cake from you, you can send an automated email asking him to review it. Mary wouldn’t get an email asking her to review a carrot cake she never bought.
Know the focus of your email
This is the major difference between email marketing and email automation. It’s just about who your email is focused on and what it is meant to achieve.
If you want to reach all your customers, email marketing is the way to go. If you want to update a single customer about an action they have personally taken, then you would use email automation.
A good email strategy will be to use a combination of different kinds of emails depending on the situation.
Email marketing can help you reach your customers with important information about your business and what you have to offer. But to supplement that, email automation, helps you reach each customer individually based on their own actions.
Benefits of email automation
Your team will save a lot of time
An efficient and productive team is probably one of the most important things a business needs to grow.
Whether your team is big or small, you want them all to make the most out of their working days, and having multiple members of your team stuck on manually sending emails is not a good use of their time.
Using automated emails will free up a lot of time that your team can use on more important tasks.
Your customers won’t have to wait to get what they need
In the modern world, people lose interest very quickly when they’re online.
In fact, Microsoft did a study in 2015 where they found that people have an average attention span of only 8 seconds.
If someone comes across your business online, you want to do everything you can to grab their attention. This is why having an efficient email automation system will help you out.
Think about it this way.
Let’s say you’re looking for a recipe for a cheesecake. Then you find a cooking blog online and they tell you that they’ll send you the recipe through email.
You wait a few minutes, but nothing comes through, what would you do?
You need the recipe now, so most likely you’ll find your way to a different cooking blog and get the recipe from there instead.
Finally, the email from the first site finally does come through – a week later.
The cake has been baked and eaten by now.
But if you had an automated email ready to go as soon as someone came looking for the recipe, your customer would have got exactly what they needed from you, and they would remember you the next time they needed a recipe.
You can personalise each customer’s experience.
When it comes to emails, most people don’t want to have their inbox filled up with emails that don’t matter to them. However, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a business that offers them a personalized experience.
You can use email automation to build relationships with your customers over time, by showing them that you understand their needs.
Tips to make the most out of email automation
Create a map of your email automations.
As your business grows, so will the amount of automated emails.
Keeping track of the email automation system can feel overwhelming when you have hundreds of emails going in different directions every month.
This is why you should map out how your email automations will work and clearly outline what kind of action triggers a specific email and have those emails ready to go.
Mapping it out clearly from the beginning will save you headaches down the line.
Track the email analytics
Once you get going with your email automation, you need to keep track of how your customers are responding to the emails that they are receiving.
Here are a few email analytics to keep an eye on:
This refers to how many people open the emails you send them.
A possible reason for having a low open rate could be because your subject lines aren’t effective at grabbing your customers attention, so that’s why you should pay attention to it.
A great tool to use is Headline Analyzer, it gives you scores about how strong your headline is when it comes to things like readability. It can also offer you suggestions on how to improve your headline.
This refers to how many people click on the links that you have in the email.
If you send an email to your customers letting them know about a new blog post, you can check your click-through rate to see how many of them actually went to read the blog.
This refers to how many people do what you ask them to do in the email.
For example, if you send 10 customers an email asking them to leave a review of your business, and 5 of them do it, then you have a 50% conversion rate.
This refers to whether or not the emails are being sent successfully.
For example, if someone misspells their email address when they subscribe, the email you send them is going to bounce back.
Make sure all your emails are optimized for mobile devices
Studies show that 4 out of every 10 emails are opened on mobile devices, beyond that 15% of email users will actually just unsubscribe from emails that don’t display properly on mobile.
Sending emails that are not mobile-friendly is a no-go for your business, so here are some things to consider when optimizing your emails for mobile:
Length of email copy
Ideally, the text you use in your emails should be short and easy to consume.
Customers that check their emails on their phones are often just scanning through to see if there is anything important. So get to the point quickly so they don’t get bored and move on.
Be careful about which images you use
Some of the images you want to use in your emails might look great on the desktop, but just don’t work on mobile devices.
If you do decide to use images, just pay attention to the way that they will be formatted on mobile.
Make your CTAs stand out
CTA stands for Call to Action, this refers to exactly what action you want your customers to take.
If your email is letting customers know about a new blog post, then the CTA would be asking them to go and read it.
Having your CTAs stand out clearly will help your customers understand what you’re asking of them.
Email Automation Helps You Build Relationships
But trying to send every single email to your customers manually is an impossible task, especially since, as a business owner, you have a lot of other things on your plate that need your attention.
Email automation is your saving grace.
With it, you can ensure that your email strategy will be effective and that your customers will feel like they are being taken care of, all while still having time to work on everything else your business needs.
What Is A Triggered Email and Examples
Email marketing can be a great way to keep in touch with your customers and drive sales, but it’s hard to know when to send an email and what to say.
It’s tough enough to come up with good content for your regular email newsletters, let alone trying to come up with content that’s relevant and timely for a triggered email.
Triggered emails don’t have to be complicated. You can create automated emails based on subscriber behaviour like purchase history, website visits, or sign-ups.
What is a triggered email?
A triggered email is an automated email based on a particular action taken by a subscriber.
- If a subscriber subscribes to your list, then a welcome email is sent.
- If a recipient abandons cart, then a reminder email is sent out on those items.
- If a recipient orders a product/service from the business, then a confirmation email is sent.
Benefits of Triggered Emails
- Trust and loyalty: Trigger emails are a great way to continue the conversation with your recipient and bring them along in the process.
For instance, when you buy groceries on Amazon, you expect to receive an email of confirmation and order tracking.
- Higher Engagement: Trigger emails can create another level to influence action that otherwise would not be taken.
For instance, if a subscriber signs up to your list and an email series is sent out, you can add a call to action (CTA) for the subscriber to respond to the email, to go and watch your latest YouTube video, or to register for your webinar increasing engagement within your list.
- Relevancy: Triggered emails ensure that the right type of communication is sent at the right time to the right person.
When a client makes a purchase, receiving a confirmation and proof of payment email is relevant. Here is where segmentation can become handy. Triggered emails increase customer satisfaction as they are met with the information they need at the exact moment they need it. The communication between the company and the recipient can be further personalised based on customer behaviour. Recipients are also more likely to open emails when they are relevant.
- Customer Retention: Trigger emails increase customer retention. This is important because it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one, also increasing lifetime value.
Reactivation emails are a great way to increase engagement on unengaged subscribers.
- Conversion Rates: Trigger emails can help increase conversion rates by guiding the prospect through the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is described by Hubspot as the ‘buyers path to purchase’.
For instance, in the example above, if a user abandoned a full shopping cart, and in response, Amazon sent out an email reminding them of their purchase basket, this creates another opportunity for the recipient to take action.
The user might have gotten busy or forgotten, and trigger emails can help users to complete their purchases.
When is best to use triggered emails?
Triggered emails are best used throughout the buyer journey. What questions will come up in the prospect’s mind that you can help solve through trigger emails?
The examples below will expand on types of triggered emails and give you a sense of when to use them.
What are the applications of triggered emails?
1. Welcome Email:
As it sounds, a welcome email is an automatically sent email welcoming a new subscriber.
A Welcome Email should include:
- A greeting welcoming the subscriber to the email list.
- Thanking the subscriber for signing up.
- Letting them know who you are and what you do.
- Letting them know what they can expect from signing up to your email list.
- Include a CTA (call to action). What do you want them to do next? People don’t act without being asked to. Based on the goals you’ve set out you can create a CTA to get them to take action in that direction. Ask them to reply to the email, send you a DM, or follow you on social media.
- End with a cliffhanger to get them eager to hear more from you.
For example, the company Jarvis.ai sends a welcome email when you signup to help you get better acquainted with how to use their product.
2. Transactional Email:
Transactional emails are sent to keep the recipient informed on what’s going on in the process after making a transaction with the business.
A transactional email is automatically sent when a recipient orders a product or service to confirm payment and purchase.
A transactional email should include:
Order confirmation email: Let the customer know that you have received their order and confirmed their payment. Let the customer know what the steps are in the delivery of their product or service and share any other relevant information.
Payment confirmation email: Email confirmation of successful payment. Share other relevant information like Vat. This can also be used to notify when there is a failed payment.
Opt-in confirmation email: When a subscriber opts into your webinar, an email is sent confirming registration for the webinar, a link to the webinar, as well as the time, and any other relevant information.
For example, Slack sends a transactional email when you ask to reset your password. This email is simple and straight to the point.
There is a call to action to click the ‘choose new password’ which stands out in a green button. There is also the call not to act if you did not mean to reset your password.
3. Abandoned Cart Email:
Cart abandonment is when a prospect visits your website, adds items to their shopping cart, and leaves without completing the purchase.
Abandoned cart emails are used to increase conversion rates by triggering an automated email to try and bring the prospect back to complete the purchase.
An abandoned cart email should include:
- For a product-based abandoned cart: send an email with images of the products they placed in their cart. This can help entice them to go back and complete the purchase or let them know of a sale on the item.
- For a service-based abandoned cart: Send an email sharing more information and resources about the service to help remove any objections and hesitations.
- In the email, simply asking why they didn’t continue with the purchase can help you gain a deeper insight into why they didn’t continue and from that, you can course correct. Maybe the payment process was too complicated, or the form was too long.
For example, Ray-Ban created a humorous abandoned cart email that engages with their customer instead of just saying why didn’t you buy our product. They have a witty and engaging tone of voice, and they joke that you postponed your purchase because you were attacked by a bear and give you another chance to get back to your purchase.
Also, they also offer assistance if you are having any trouble placing your order. This gives another call to action that you are happy to help with any problems that may have occurred.
4. Product View Abandonment Email:
Product view abandonment is when a prospect visits your website, browses certain items, and leaves without purchasing.
Product view is when a user browsers products whereas an abandoned cart is when a user has added the product to the cart.
A product view email should include:
- The product that the user browsed. Amazon does this exceptionally well. When you browse their app, they will send a product view email that includes the products you viewed with similar recommendations.
- Based on the product/service viewed, you can send out information tailored specifically for that product/service. Think of this as further segmenting your email list to users who are particularly interested in a specific product.
A travel agency can send out information regarding accommodation to those looking at hotels. In contrast, another browser could be looking for cruise deals.
For example, Danner has created an email to reengage with the customer after they have taken a look at some products while also letting them know of free shipping and returns as well as a CTA to get in contact with one of their experts.
5. Reactivation Email:
A reactivation email is intended to get subscribers who have not been active in your list for around 6 months to re-engage.
A reactivation email should:
- Have prompts and CTAs to re-engage with the recipient.
- Remind them why they signed up to your email list in the first place.
- Share valuable information to increase engagement and brand awareness.
- Give them the opportunity to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive emails from you anymore.
- Keep those who, for example, open your emails or respond to them on your list and as for those who are completely inactive, remove them.
For example, Animoto created a reactivation email to ask their subscriber if they still want to hear from them.
It’s simple and to the point.
It also gives them the option to change their preferences or unsubscribe.
This makes it easier for them to see who wants to stay on the list and who they can unsubscribe.
6. Birthday Email:
Birthday emails are a great way to add a personalised touch to your email marketing. Their date of birth can be collected at the point of purchase.
A birthday email should include:
- A message sending them a happy birthday.
- Birthday discounts and promotions are a great way to connect with your customer further and create long-lasting relationships.
For example, offering a free massage for your birthday week or 50% off (even better, whatever their age is, say 45% off their next purchase).
- Other creative ways you can celebrate with your customers.
For example, Converse sent out an email on their customers’ birthdays to send them well wishes and to give them a 15% discount for their birthday month.
Why do you need triggered emails?
Triggered emails are a great way to meet the recipient where they are.
With the right mix of information, relevance, timeliness, and creativity (yes, even creative emails), there’s no reason why people won’t read every word of yours. You don’t want to send an email that people delete without reading it or worse mark it as spam.
Automated email campaigns are a great way to drive sales with less effort.
Abandoned cart emails are a way to create a second chance for the sale. Welcome, and birthday emails help form know, like, and trust you. Transactional emails share timely information relevant to the purchase as well as increase trust.
Product view abandonment helps convert interested users. And reactivation emails increase customer retention.
The types of strategies will differ from company to company but what sets those apart is how they use a customer-centric approach to creating their triggered emails based on user data.
What Is A Triggered Email and Examples
What are email triggers?
Sending emails manually takes a lot of time and effort.
A triggered email is an email that is automatically sent based on a user’s actions.
It allows you to save time and reach your users at the right moment in their journey.
However, to get this process started on the right foot, you need to have the right trigger in place at the right time.
You can trigger an email when someone subscribes to your email list, reminds subscribers about an upcoming event they opted in, or when a user added items to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase.
A triggered email communicates with the prospects right where they are in the customer journey creating a more relevant, customised and efficient process for both the prospect and the marketer.
Triggers are events that cause automations to start.
In this article, we’ll discuss different examples of email triggers and how they work with email automation. So let’s get started!
What are some of the most common email triggers businesses use?
Triggered emails allow you to send the right email at the right time based on a user’s activity. Here are some examples:
1) A new user joins the list.
A user usually joins your email list by either signing up to your email list or purchasing from you. This triggers a welcome email to introduce the new user to your business when a user signs up.
For example, a welcome to Jarvis email is automatically sent when a new customer joins Jasper (formerly Jarvis).
The welcome email includes an attention-grabbing headline, a CTA to get new members up and running quickly with their features, and links for quick tutorials on how everything works.
You can further email triggers by segmenting users based on various factors. For instance, users who signup for the 7-day free trial vs users who signup on the $29/mo or $59/mo.
Those who purchase your premium services could get another kind of customised triggered email that perhaps offers a 100k word bonus and additional training for advanced features.
2) The user purchases a product.
When a customer buys a product online or offline (they are given an option), to receive the receipt by email.
The email could include:
- Confirmation of purchase
- A thank you for your purchase
- Link to track the order
- Relevant information about their purchase
- Confirmation of order received
For example, Uber has done this exceptionally well by creating an engaging confirmation of purchase email.
They say thanks, use your name, let you know how many points you’ve earned in addition to the relevant information like price, date, and so on.
Source: Business Insider
3) The user submits a form.
When a prospect fills in a form, they are added to your email list. This is often done by creating a lead magnet to entice the prospect to part with their email address.
For example, Kickstarter has a sign-up form that is clean, simple, and easy to read. They use a minimalistic layout, making it easy to digest to keep their audiences interested and complete the form.
4) User clicks on a link inside an email.
When a subscriber clicks on one of the links in one of your emails, another email is triggered.
For example, 7 Day Shop added a link to their email with a 5% discount on certain products. The link takes them to the shop where they can place their order, and at checkout, add the voucher code and get 5% off. This voucher is only applicable for a limited time only, creating urgency for the consumer.
5) The user gets applied a tag, or a custom field is set.
When a new user is added to a particular tag, you’ve created a triggered email is sent.
Subscribers who have not met certain criteria, for instance, not engaging with your emails, can be tagged and moved to the email list that receives your monthly emails. Those who are engaging and seem ready to purchase can be tagged and emailed weekly.
For example, Bitdefender has a triggered email sent out 7 days before a product auto-renew. They remind you that a year has gone by since your last purchase or renewal and that the subscription will auto-renew for another 12 months. They include testimonials to remind you why you signed up in the first place and share what’s included in your purchase, like 24/7 personal support.
What is an action?
Actions are things you can do with a user (or with their data). A trigger is what causes an action to happen, like a button being pressed or data exported. The automated actions taken depend on what kind of response you want to happen to specific events.
Here are some examples:
1) Sending an email.
For example, when a new user joins your list, this triggers the action of sending a welcome email.
2) Add or remove a tag.
When subscribers click a link in your email asking them if they want to receive your weekly newsletter, they are added to your email newsletter segment. From the example above, When a subscriber joins your email list, they are then added to the tag subscribers.
3) Create a custom field (e.g. set favorite_color to red).
Depending on the data collected, subscribers who like cats and those who like dogs can be added to separate fields to receive more relevant information.
For example, when an abandoned cart email is sent and they purchase, this triggers a transactional email to be sent. But when an abandoned cart email is sent and they don’t purchase, this triggers a second abandoned cart email to be sent.
4) Start or stop another automation.
Automations over time may need to be removed or improved. For example, your first welcome email series might become redundant and you want to retire it and create a new and relevant one.
5) Send the user’s data to another tool or integration.
For example, when you use various platforms, users information can be shared privately. For instance, Zapier can be used to integrate Gmail with Dropbox.
What are the kinds of automation?
There are three kinds of automation:
- One trigger and one action
- Several triggers and one action
- One trigger with several actions
Let’s talk about each of them briefly.
One trigger and one action
This is when a trigger sets something in motion without any other input needed.
When a user adds items to their cart (trigger) but does not buy, an abandoned cart email is sent (action).
For example, Dyson makes it easy for the prospect to complete their purchase.
Several triggers and one action
This is when more than one trigger sets something in motion without any other inputs needed.
For example, Spotify sent out an email when payment failed. They could also have another trigger in the same automation when a subscriber completes their trial period.
Source: Simple Texting
One trigger with several actions.
This is when a trigger sets various things in motion.
For example, When a user adds items to their cart but does leave before they purchase, a few actions can take place: 1) they can be sent an abandoned cart email, 2) they can be added to a segment of prospects who are interested in those specific items.
For example, Birchbox created an abandoned cart email sharing other products the prospect might enjoy.
Why are triggered emails important?
Triggered emails make it easy to automate your workflow and meet your prospects right where they are in the customer journey.
They help you increase sales that would otherwise be lost, automate tedious activities (new password and failed payment emails), and build and nurture relationships with prospects and customers for long-term sustainability.
What Are Delays, Decisions, and Goals
Delays are ways to add time between triggers and actions. Time delays let you choose when the next step in the workflow starts.
Examples of delays
Below we will discuss the different types of delays:
1) Specific period of time
A delay can be added between steps in the workflow. You can create a time delay within a couple of minutes, hours, or days for an action to take place.
For example, when a user adds to cart but doesn’t buy, a time delay of 3 days can be added until you send out an abandoned cart email.
2) Specific time of day
A delay can be added to go out at a chosen time during the day.
For example, when a user adds to cart but doesn’t buy, an abandoned cart email can be sent out 3 days after at 3 pm.
3) Specific day of the week and time of day
A delay can be added for both a chosen time and day of the week.
For example, when a user adds to cart but doesn’t buy, an abandoned cart email can be delayed until next Monday at 3pm.
4) Specific date and time
A delay can be added for a chosen time and date.
For example, a valentines day campaign can be created to go out on February 14th at 3 pm.
What are decisions?
Decisions are ways to create different paths for users based on the criteria you set. Users can be sent in different directions based on what criteria they fit.
Examples of Decisions
Is the user an existing customer?
If yes – they are moved to the existing customer’s segment.
If not – they are moved to the prospects segment.
Did the user purchase after adding to their cart?
If yes – send a transactional email.
If not – send an abandoned cart email #1.
Did the user complete their purchase after receiving abandoned cart email #1?
If yes – exit the workflow.
If not – send an abandoned cart email #2.
What are Goals?
Some ESPs include goals. Goals are an excellent way of defining milestones that will fast-track you through the process.
Examples of Goals
1) Completed purchase: A goal can be set for when a user purchases during the delay. Let’s say a user adds to cart but doesn’t complete the purchase.
A delay of 1 day could be created to send out an abandoned cart email. If the user completes their purchase within this phase, then the goal set will be accomplished.
If Sally was on Etsy adding different items to her cart and then stops to go and fetch the kids from school. But when she gets back she continues and completes her purchase, the goal is achieved before the abandoned cart is even sent out.
2) Added a specific tag: A goal can be set for a user to purchase during their free trial. Headspace, Hulu, and Kajabi offer free trials that once the trial ends (7-14 days) their card is automatically charged. They can create a goal that is achieved when the trial ends and they are charged for their purchase as opposed to unsubscribing during the trial.
3) Submitted a form: A goal can be set for a user who completes a form. For example, let’s say you send out a survey to your email list. A goal can be created for those who act on your first call to action to complete the form in your #1 email. You might have an email series of #3 asking for users to complete your email.
4) Opened an email: A goal can be set for users who open your emails. Let’s say you send out an email campaign. If a certain percentage (17%-28%) of your list opens your emails, then you have reached your goal.
5) Clicked on a link in an email: The same can be applied here to the example above. You can aim for a percentage of your list to click the link to measure performance.
6) Replied to an email: A goal can be set that 2% of your users reply to your email.
Delays are a great way to create space between emails sent out in a workflow and can help you avoid overwhelming users with too many messages at once.
It would be annoying to receive an abandoned cart email #1 and #2 straight after viewing a product, right? There needs to be delicate timing.
People are more likely to read and act on emails when they receive them gradually over time rather than all at once.
Excel in the Business World by Using Email Automation
With all of the benefits that email automation brings, it’s easy to see why they are such an important part of any digital marketing strategy.
If you’re not using them yet, we encourage you to start today! If you already do, have you seen success with triggered emails in your own business?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.