4 min read

What is Email Automation

Sep 11, 2019 9:13:45 AM

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson, a computer programmer at MIT, sent the most insignificant message on a system called ARPANET. He personally doesn’t remember what he sent, but it was along the lines of TEST123 or QWERTY.

This simple test, however, would change the world forever.

Previously, messages could only be sent between users on the same computer. Ray, on the other hand, was able to send to people on the ARPANET network. To achieve this test, Ray used an @ sign to separate usernames.

Ray Tomlinson is widely considered to be the first person to ever send an EMAIL.

Today, email is as big as ever. That @ symbol is as synonymous with email as the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Banana Dancing - Email Automation time

Email has gone through a number of changes to stay relevant in the 2019.

What started out as a way to send messages to friends and family has transformed into a highly intelligent communications channel where marketers can leverage endless data points to convert leads into purchasers or get existing customers to buy more.

What is Email Automation in 2019?

Email Automation is the ability to send timely, triggered communications based on a user taking an action or landing in a pre-determined drip sequence.

For example, below are some of the most common types of Email Automation sequences.

Email Automation Funnels taken from the QuaGrowth eBook

Email Automation is separated into four categories:

  • Welcome
  • Abandon
  • Post Purchase
  • Retention

The purpose of the Welcome Series is to convert leads into buyers.

We’ve all engaged with a popup with an incentive or filled out a contact form to get in touch with sales. Businesses spend billions to bring eyeballs to their website. Most people will NOT convert on the first visit.

Collecting an email addresses triggers a series of emails to give prospects timely, relevant information about the brand.

The Welcome Series should do ALL three things below.

  • Thank users for signing up
  • Introduce your brand
  • Provide value

Whether your goal is to convert leads into long term contracts or get a user to BUY NOW, the Welcome Series need to thank, introduce, and provide valuable content to your new subscribers.

Email Open Rates from the Welcome Series

A typical Welcome Series tends to trigger anywhere between 3 – 6 emails depending on the type of product and sales cycle.

The Abandon Series recaptures HIGH intent subscribers.

Imagine you’re at the last step of a form and you get distracted from a phone call from a long lost friend. You abandon the checkout and then go about your day.

Hours later you receive an email reminding you to complete your purchase. Instantly you complete the remaining fields of the form.

This is how the Abandon Series is supposed to work.

We live in a world where there are distractions everywhere. Whether someone is browsing a category on your website, completing a form, or checking out with a product, the triggered Abandon Series reminds users to complete an action.

I’d argue the way you treat 1st time customers, Post Purchase, is the MOST important initiative for businesses in 2019.

Behavioral Lifecycle chart with Post Purchase and Retention funnels

Your triggered sequences and communication will be one of the biggest factors on whether or not a customer or business buys from you again.

Post Purchase Series can include:

  • Order Confirmation
  • Shipping/Delivery Notifications
  • Brand Welcome
  • Review
  • Surveys

Order Confirmations and Shipping notifications tend to be operational in nature. (There isn’t a call to action). A brand welcome can help users get excited about working with your company as well as inform them on next steps to take. Shipping

In addition, reviews and surveys can give your company valuable feedback. Was the sales rep honest through the process, are there issues with the product, did I receive a good overall experience? These are all feedback users will provide on surveys and reviews.

The Retention Series - Keep a customer happy and you have a customer for life.

Lastly, the Retention Series is where you can send timely, relevant emails to existing customers with the intention of buying more, sharing with friends, or providing valuable brand updates.

Your email customer list is one of your most valuable company assets. Sending automated email content like the following:

  • Subscription Reminders
  • New features or Functionality
  • Birthday Gifts
  • Cross-sell/Upsell

Some of these may or may not be relevant depending on the type of business you have. The good news is you don’t have to send these email’s at the same time. Once you capture the relevant data, email automation kicks in.

Email Automation is the way to go!

Email Automation is the most effective way to send content based on behavioral data or demographic information. Since the first email was sent in 1971, email has continued to transform online businesses.

Today, most people’s inboxes tend to be flooded with TOO MANY emails. (I’m guilty of contributing to the problem!). In order to WIN in 2019, timely, relevant content is needed to stand out from the crowd.

Use your data to continue to optimize and test new functionality to get the most out of your email program.

Written by Jason Boehle