Email Automation Guide
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Email Automation Guide Document Transcript

  • 1. Email Marketing Automation:Improve ROI Without Lifting a FingerMarketing Guide
  • 2. Email Automation GuideHow can you make a bigger impact with your email marketingcampaigns – without investing more dollars and manpower? Email automation is the answer.Email continues to be an effective communications tool – after all, virtually everyone in the onlineworld uses it. For marketers, the high penetration rate of email means that it’s a great way to reachcustomers at a low cost. And because it’s a direct sales driver, the returns are very strong.It comes as no surprise then that according to a B2B Within the digital sector, email farMagazine 2011 poll of business-to-business (B2B) outperforms every other channel on returnmarketers, 68 percent reported that they plan to spend on investment (ROI), which is projected tomore on email marketing this year. average an impressive $44.25 for every dollarUnderstanding how to make the most of email spent in 2011.marketing programs starts with an understanding Source: DMA 2011of email automation and how it can be utilized within the context of customer relationshipmanagement. A belief that automated email messages are robotic and impersonal couldn’t befurther from the truth. Email automation done right improves the customer experience, as well asdeliverability, marketing efficiencies, relevancy and ROI. B2B Digital Spending Increases 2011 Source: B2B Magazine, 2011In this guide, we’ll cover the latest statistics, facts and trends in email automation, discussthe benefits and opportunities, and provide strategies that can help you improve emailcampaign performance: • Leverage welcome programs to maximize subscriber value at acquisition. • Incorporate dynamic content to improve personalization and relevancy. • Implement trigger campaigns based on subscriber activity and behaviors. • Create drip campaigns to strengthen subscriber relationships over time.Plus, check out our Bonus Checklist: Idea Starters for High-Touch Trigger Campaigns.Marketing Guide 2
  • 3. Email Automation GuideAutomation Stats, Facts and TrendsEmail automation can be defined as the use of software tools to automate email management, including welcome programs, dynamiccontent, trigger campaigns and drip marketing. Automation makes otherwise manual email processes much more efficient and freesup time and resources for new, more sophisticated programs. Plus, when you automate, you unquestionably save time and money –you’re not recreating the wheel every time you launch a campaign.Automated email programs done right also improve relevancy, because automation allows you to customize content dynamically andensures that you’re delivering the right message to the right subscriber at the right time. In fact, according to a 2010 Aberdeen Groupstudy, best-in-class companies leverage automation 45 percent more often than weaker performing organizations.Automation also improves open rates. Depending onthe content and industry, marketers are reporting that Automation = Better Subscriber Experience = Higher Revenueautomated emails are garnering a 30 - 70 percent open rate. MarketingSherpa presented findings on the impact of trigger emails sentThis is a wide range, but when you compare it to open rates immediately after onsite searches for lowfares.com. By sending theseachieved through manual programs, the impact is clear. highly targeted and timely messages, lowfares.com achieved 200% higher open rates and 50% higher click-through rates than what they were ableManual programs deliver open rates of 10 - 20 percent on to get with their standard newsletter.average – significantly less than automated programs. Thismetric is particularly important because it directly impactsrevenue. If more subscribers open your emails, more subscribers convert. And more conversions mean more revenue.Automation BenefitsHaving established the importance or automation in email marketing, the challenge becomes how to successfully capture all thebenefits that automation can deliver to your email campaigns:Benefit #1: Significant improvement in the economics of your campaign performance overall. Automation allows you tounderstand your subscribers better, and the more that you know about your subscribers, the better able you are to deliver value. Andbetter delivery of value translates directly into higher revenue.The beauty is that you can achieve this revenue bump without incurring additional costs. In fact, automation reduces your resourcerequirements – both man hours and cash investment through creating a streamlined, efficient workflow.Benefit #2: Improved deliverability and sender reputation. Your deliverability reputation is a combination of positive responserates – things like opening and clicking – and negative response rates, which include things like spam complaints and subscriberinactivity over a certain time period.When you automate effectively, you engage your subscribers in the way that they want to be engaged. This translates into strongertrust and less fraud, which in turn increases your deliverability rate and improves your reputation. Internet service providers (ISPs)carefully watch response rates and complaints to assess your sender reputation. If your subscribers are more engaged, more of yourmessages will land in the inbox.Benefit #3: Improved subscriber engagement. When you send a subscriber the right message at the right time, you improve thequality of the dialogue and relationship with that subscriber, which, in turn, improves your response rates.Marketing Guide 3
  • 4. Email Automation GuideBy automating activity tracking, you make it possible to trade shows, events and product releases. By implementing aunderstand what your subscribers need and what will motivate welcome program across all opt-in sources, you give your newthem to act favorably within the always-critical window subscribers a chance to expand their interest categories throughof opportunity. preference setting.Automation Opportunities It’s also important to remember that welcome programs areWhether you’re getting started with automation or looking not only applicable to a first point of contact. They can also beto build a broader automation infrastructure, it’s important employed at any new milestone in a relationship, such as whento understand the range of automated programs available to a customer signs up for an additional subscripstion, registers ayou. Each serves a different and important purpose in your previously unregistered account or reactivates after a periodcampaign toolbox. of time.Welcome Programs To recap, here are the key points to focus on when executing aIf you do nothing else with automation, the welcome program is welcome program:unquestionably the most important. • Conduct a touch-point review to make sure that you’re capturing data across all opt-in sources.Welcome programs are ideal for automation because themessages and delivery are pre-determined, saving you time, • Make sure that the call-to-action in your welcome emailmoney and manpower. Welcome messages are sent automatically is in a logical place, visually distinct and communicates animmediately after someone subscribes, places an order or obvious benefit.registers with your company. They serve as the foundation of • Funnel your prospects to a concise landing page to captureyour relationship with your subscribers and present the perfect only data essential to completing registration.opportunity to get off on the right foot and learn a host of • After registration is complete, immediately send out avaluable information about them – giving your company an confirmation email to express your thanks, verify the opt-inadvantage in the long term. and invite the new subscriber to set preferences.Information gathering through welcome programs is best • Once you have captured subscribers’ content preferences, make sure to deliver consistently against those preferencesachieved through a structured path of engagement and data and provide the opportunity to update their choices.capture. The process involves funneling subscribers to a landingpage featuring data capture forms. Once the subscriber submitsthe requested information, a confirmation email is sent askingnew subscribers to verify that they did indeed intend to opt in.Confirming this helps keep your list clean and improves yourdeliverability through a more engaged subscriber base.Welcome campaigns should be linked to all opt-in sources.Every business has a unique set of opt-in opportunities – what’simportant is to capture registrations from all your customertouch points, including newsletter subscriptions, point-of-sale,account registration, first purchase, reactivation and socialmedia. You can also leverage interest-based signups – things likeMarketing Guide 4
  • 5. Email Automation Guide ESPN Welcome Email Engages and Informs Lyris client ESPN uses a solidly-executed Notice that it confirms the subscriber’s welcome program to deliver highly- name and provides prominent calls-to- targeted, relevant content to its action to set preferences. The email subscribers, based on their reported also communicates value through a list interests. Once a new subscriber of contents and prizes that the new completes a Web form to sign up subscriber can access. There’s also an to receive email, ESPN sends out opportunity to connect on social media. a welcome email to acknowledge the registration.Dynamic ContentA dynamic content email is one in which the content is varied to create highly individualized and targeted messages. The content isbased on a wide variety of gathered data, including contact information, demographics, behavioral patterns and preferences.By pulling from these different data points, marketers can create content blocks within offers to create a customized stream.The key benefits of dynamic content are the ability to create apersonalized experience, achieve better relevancy and timeliness,and spur more active customer engagement. The use of dynamic content in email automation has been proven to increase order size, responseThe value that automation delivers to dynamic content lies in and revenue because these types of emails are morethe ability to create filters that seamlessly deliver customized relevant to the recipient.content without any manual intervention. It’s a great way todeliver highly relevant, timely and personalized messages thatgenerate better performance for you and a better experience foryour email subscribers. Dynamic Content Best Practices Dynamic content is as effective as the data that it leverages. That’s why it’s critical to execute a fully featured welcome program to capture both demographic and preference data. Then, by overlaying behavioral data, filters can be set up based on pre-determined business rules, in effect automating personalization. Well-designed filtering rules can vastly improve the subscriber experience.Marketing Guide 5
  • 6. Email Automation GuideTrigger Campaigns Drip MarketingToday’s most successful marketing campaigns use triggers to Drip marketing is defined as a communication strategy that sendsautomatically send email based on customer behavior. A trigger – or “drips” – a specified sequential set of messages to customerscan be a customer action or response, an event like a date, a and prospects at predetermined intervals. Unlike other types ofwebsite update or a response to Web analytics or Web visit data. automated campaigns, drip marketing isn’t driven by subscriberBy establishing a set of business rules and criteria around such behaviors and preferences. Instead, it’s typically driven bycustomer behaviors, marketers can decide the right message, the the marketer.right customer and the right time, and use the combination for So what kinds of things can you incorporate into yourhighly-effective programs. drip campaigns?Trigger-based marketing programs seize the moment by capturing • Educative content – things like Webinars, white papersjust-in-time data and turning it into automated, executable and guides. This provides immediate value and a halo effectcampaigns while the window of opportunity with customers and around good will and thought leadership.prospects is wide open. • Events – like an invitation to a seminar, a party at aTrigger campaigns are effective because they are customer driven tradeshow or a networking event. Your campaign could include offers around discounted registration or an– when a customer signals you and you respond, you nurture invitation to a “bonus” event followed by a formal invitationyour customer relationship. You’re then in a good position and a last chance offer.to implement high-touch campaigns that deliver value with • Special offers that motivate engagement with youreach message. Messages won’t be perceived as unwanted and products, services and people – for instance, you canannoying because they’re initiated by your subscriber. entice a subscriber pre-conversion to try your product for free, or you can offer consultations.Once set up, trigger email programs work automatically and don’trequire day-to-day management. They aren’t subject to delayswhen resources are tight or other priorities come up. And trigger Drip marketing is frequently used as a salesemail can complement broader communications like newsletters, cycle management tool. Particularly forspecial offers or acquisition programs. industries with long sales cycles, it can be a very effective technique for keeping prospectsThe Bonus Checklist at the end of this guide provides 12 ideas in the pipeline.for trigger campaigns that you can use to strengthen yourrelationship with your subscribers. Setting Up a Trigger Campaign • Automate customer-driven activities and events. The • Develop a trigger plan that defines what will be sent, to window of opportunity to respond to these interactions is whom and when. narrow; automation ensures timeliness. • As your data capture continues to grow, look for new • When designing your campaigns think through the migration opportunities to expand your trigger programs, and of your customer through your trigger program and remember: your performance improvement hinges on the establish rules for what happens for all the possibilities. quality of your business rules.Marketing Guide 6
  • 7. Email Automation GuideA drip marketing best practice is to leverage good will offers – things that will help your subscribers succeed. Try content, event andother special offers to deliver meaningful value. Since these offers require an investment to fulfill, make sure that you’re qualifyingyour leads and segregating them into tiers for drip campaigns. While you don’t want to lose lower tier leads, you also don’t want toinvest a significant amount to convert them if the return is low, nor do you want to get distracted from higher value targets.The key at the end of the process is to secure the conversion with a strong ROI. Sonic Bids Drip Campaign: Daily Alerts to Upcoming Events Lyris client Sonic Bids helps bands get triggered daily drip campaign about new gigs and promoters book the right bands upcoming events, a great way to provide – the site connects musical artists and relevant, timely information and stay agents. Sonic Bids has set up a top-of-mind with their subscribers.ConclusionEmail automation delivers a wealth of opportunity for marketers today. It’s a key driver indelivering the consistent growth and returns enjoyed by best-in-class companies who systemize bestpractices around automated email programs.Automation done right goes beyond improving email campaign performance. It also contributes to improved email deliverability,sender reputation and subscriber engagement through a range of automated programs that serve different and important purposes:Welcome programs are essential to getting off on the right foot with new subscribers. Gathering information and setting preferenceslay the foundation for a great experience.Dynamic content provides a great way to keep content fresh, interesting and personalized.Trigger campaigns leverage customer-initiated actions that provide the opportunity to respond in a timely fashion and seize themoment during a narrow window of opportunity.Drip marketing is an important tool for managing the sales process and building customer retention.As importantly, email automation is a strong contributor to the bottom line, leveraging email’s superior ROI performance over allother marketing channels and improving marketing efficiencies to free up time and resources for other initiatives.Marketing Guide 7
  • 8. Email Automation GuideBonus Checklist: Idea Starters for High-Touch Trigger Campaigns Abandoned Shopping Cart email – These campaigns more than double the number of orders and the order size. Send an email announcing a special offer, free shipping or other sweetener to encourage someone to come back and complete his or her purchase. Refine these email messages by testing different offers and timing: while you may think that the sooner an email is sent, the better, many companies have found that timing the trigger email to go out 24 or 48 hours later is more effective. Win-back programs – Set up trigger email messages that include incentives for those who haven’t purchased or visited your website for a while. Start with those who haven’t purchased in the last three months, six months and a year. Use their purchase history to determine the right offer and then use dynamic content to easily deploy email to a wide variety of audiences. Satisfaction survey email – Send trigger email with a satisfaction survey after the first purchase and on a metered schedule after that. Consider offering a discount or prize for those who take the survey. Remember to quickly act upon anything customers have complained about and investigate their suggestions. Cross-sell email – Use trigger email to cross-sell from other products, particularly from lower performing products to best sellers. Set up a trigger email whenever someone either buys or looks at a product on your site that isn’t one of your top 10. It should promote a special offer on your strongest product – and hopefully convert visitors to customers and larger sale. Email “punch card” program – Set up a program to keep track of the number of purchases by unique customers. When customers have purchased 10 times, give them a free gift or discount coupon. Use a trigger email series to let them know how many punches they have made and to promote special offers or products to encourage them to add another punch to their card. Customer service trigger email – For those who have contacted customer service, trigger a follow-up email asking if their concern was addressed to their satisfaction. Provide contact information, hours of operation and response time frame for unresolved customer service inquiries. Internal notifications – While not a customer-facing application, don’t be afraid to use the trigger email functionality to communicate with your sales or customer service teams. For instance, you can set up email alerts so a sales rep can follow up to make sure all is well if a customer reviews particular content on your website or goes to a customer service page. Or, send email alerts to your PR team for follow-up when reporters visit your press room. Seasonal trigger email – If you sell sports-related products, set up triggers before championship matches to promote logo merchandise. For health care or beauty products, set up triggers to automatically remind customers to order more allergy medicine or sunscreen when hay fever season or hot weather rolls around again. Use holidays or special events as triggers, segmented by purchase history, to create trigger email messages for products and offers that are relevant to your subscribers. Service reminder triggers – If your company provides a service such as tire rotation, software upgrades, dental checkups, furnace filter replacements and so on, send reminders to set the next appointment or to take advantage of special offers. Milestone email – Offer your customers a discount or gift on their birthday, anniversary or other special day. If you market to businesses, send an offer on start-up anniversaries or on the first day a business started working with your company. Reactivation email – If customers have not purchased or clicked through an email in more than six months, their likelihood of purchasing in the future is low. A reactivation email can promote new targeted offers or a general discount to get those customers to purchase from you again. Email alerts – Encourage your customers to modify their profiles to set up alerts when new products are in stock, when their favorites go on sale or to receive alerts when new content is uploaded to your website. These are great because they are truly customer-initiated.Marketing Guide 8
  • 9. Email Automation GuideRESOURCES Contact U.S.Learn more about Lyris: 6401 Hollis Street, Suite 125www.Lyris.com Emeryville CA 94608 USA> go.lyris.com/facebook U.K. 232-242 Vauxhall Bridge Road> go.lyris.com/twitter London, SW1V 1AU United Kingdom> go.lyris.com/youtube> go.lyris.com/linkedin Latin America Soldado de la Independencia> go.lyris.com/flickr 1170 7-D (C1426BTP) Buenos Aires, Argentina> lyrishq.lyris.com AustraliaAbout Lyris, Inc. 5/6 16-620 Harris StreetLyris, Inc. is the online marketing expert delivering the right mix of software technology Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australiaand industry knowledge to help its customers simplify their marketing efforts andoptimize campaign ROI. Through its on-demand integrated marketing suite, Lyris HQ, and Toll freereliable on-premise solutions, including Lyris ListManager, Lyris provides customers the +1.800.768.2929right tools to optimize their online and mobile marketing initiatives. International calls +1.510.844.1600 Fax +1.510.844.1598 Customer support +1.888.LYRIS.CS (597.4727) or +1.571.730.5259Marketing Guide Copyright © 2011 Lyris, Inc. All rights reserved. May/2011 99