Is your company using automation to send email campaigns? Automation emails have a 119 percent higher click rate than mass emails, and businesses that use automation see conversion rates as high as 50 percent.
Email automation should be part of every company’s email marketing strategy. Automation allows businesses to set up emails to certain groups of customers and set triggers to send them.
For example, when a subscriber signs up for your email list, you can create a welcome email ahead of time and have it automatically land in that subscriber’s inbox after he or she has signed up.
Why automated emails are beneficial
Email automation can save a business time and money. Rather than sitting down every day and sending emails to certain segments of your contact list, you can automate part of the process. Customers will receive emails while you’re handling other tasks.
Plus, automated emails provide a way to consistently engage with your subscribers. By building relationships, you’ll see your bottom line grow.
Deciding where to start
One way to decide which automated emails are needed is to make a list of your customers’ most common online actions (e.g., subscribing to your email list, making a purchase, putting items in their online shopping cart but not making a purchase). Use that list to decide which emails fit your audience best.
To help, we’ve put together a list of email campaigns that you can automate.
10 emails you can initiate with email automation
1. Welcome Email
Trigger: A new customer signs up for your newsletter or emails.
This is your opportunity to not only welcome a new customer but also to let them know what to expect in terms of email content and frequency.
New subscribers to MacPaw’s newsletter receive an email explaining that once or twice a month, they’ll receive “product updates, special offers, great deals on Mac apps, and much more.”
UGMONK jumps right into sales by offering a welcome coupon for 15% off your first purchase. The code is only good for 48 hours, creating a time-constrained call to action, and there’s a “SHOP NOW” button to make things as easy as possible for the new customer.
2. Confirmation email
Trigger: A customer makes a purchase.
There are countless email campaigns that can be triggered by a customer’s purchase. Many can be combined and incorporated into the confirmation email/receipt.
Perhaps the most common response to a purchase is the “track your order” email. It’s a simple means of confirming that a purchase was made, informing the customer of their estimated delivery date and allowing them to track their order (e.g., via UPS or FedEx), all of which can cut down on calls or emails to customer service.
Little MOO uses the opportunity to make reorders and referrals easy, thanks to live links.
Tradesy also includes a referral link, but in their shipping notification emails, not order confirmation emails. The monetary incentive is a great method to attract new customers and to get the current customer to make another purchase.
Dollar Shave Club gives its customers a chance to “toss more in” before their box ships, thanks to an order confirmation email with quick-add buttons to other products.
Mountain Hardware sends out an email after the customer has received the product requesting that they write a review.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to engage with your customers after a purchase. Take some time to figure out which emails make the most sense for your business.
3. Abandoned cart email
TRIGGER: A customer abandons their shopping cart.
Think “online window shoppers” aren’t costing you money? According to Statistica, in 2015, 68.53 percent of digital shopping carts were abandoned and the purchase wasn’t completed. On Black Friday of 2015, that number was even higher, with a whopping 72.81 percent of shopping carts being abandoned.
You’ll have to do more research on the “why” behind the cart dumps, but at the very least you should have an automated email set up to remind the customer of their awaiting basket—preferably within 24 to 48 hours after they’ve abandoned it.
Should you offer customers who haven’t completed their orders an incentive? That’s your call. Ralph Lauren sends out a “Forgot something?” message and includes a code for free shipping over $125.
You could always send out a reminder without an incentive the day after the cart is abandoned, and then with an incentive on the second day if the customer still hasn’t made the purchase.
4. Unsubscribe email
Trigger: A customer unsubscribes to your newsletter or emails.
You might think that once someone asks to be removed from your email list, you’ll never see him or her again. But that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to unsubscribing.
BetaList takes a three-pronged approach to unsubscribers in one final email. On the off chance that it’s a mistake, the recipient can re-subscribe by clicking on a button. If the recipient did, in fact, mean to unsubscribe, BetaList politely asks them to reply with a reason so they can “know how to do a better job.” And finally, they give the recipient the option of decreasing the number of emails they receive from BetaList—from daily to just weekly.
Offering options like this could keep some customers on your list.
5. Milestone emails
Trigger: A customer hits a milestone or celebrates a holiday.
Let your subscribers know you remembered their special day with timely congratulatory emails. Whether they’ve registered on your site for wedding gifts or a baby gear, or established their first retirement account with your firm, set up automatic email campaigns to mark the occasion.
Peak Spa and Wellness sends out coupons for $30 off massages to customers right before their birthday. It’s a great way to make customers feel nurtured.
6. ‘We miss you’ email
Trigger: A customer goes dormant.
Sometimes customers just need a little reminder that you’ve missed them. Typeform keeps it simple, offering a link to help its customers get inspired by browsing a template gallery.
You can add an incentive to the email, like free shipping or a coupon. Sometimes that extra something is all the motivation a customer needs to come back.
7. ‘Customer service follow-up’ email
Trigger: A customer contacts customer service.
When customers call or email customer service, you want to treat each complaint with respect and try to solve the problem as soon as possible.
A lot of companies file a “ticket” when a complaint comes in. It’s a way to track the complaint and ensure it’s resolved. However, these “tickets” also provide a way for your company to follow up with the customer.
When a ticket is closed, SquareSpace sends out an automatic email asking the customer to take a survey in order to measure the quality of the assistance they received.
This kind of email shows your customers that you care.
8. ‘Product return’ email
Trigger: A customer initiates a return.
Processing refunds shouldn’t require you to type up an individual confirmation. Automated email responses can assure customers that their refund is processing, inform them of the refund amount and provide a timeline for the refund.
Amazon provides a detailed email, which no doubt cuts down on the need to contact customer service.
9. ‘Back in stock’ email
Trigger: A customer asks to be notified when an item is back in stock.
Don’t lose customers to out-of-stock merchandise. Give them the option to sign up to be notified when their item of choice comes in, like Kaufmann Mercantile does.
Customers that sign up for this kind of notification are showing genuine interest in your business and product. You could even offer a small discount to reward them for their patience.
It’s an automated email that has a high likelihood of ending in a sale.
10. ‘Automatic purchase’ email
TRIGGER: A customer signs up for regular deliveries, refills or subscriptions.
Automated repeat purchases are a business owner’s dream. They come in a variety of forms, with subscription boxes (think BarkBox and Graze) growing in popularity by the day.
But your customer contact shouldn’t stop the day you get a credit card number to keep on file. Automated email reminders play important roles in keeping customers in the know and on schedule with important refills. They can also serve as a marketing tool to upsell or increase referrals.
FilterEasy uses an automated email to let customers know when their next filter will arrive. But they also entice customers with the possibility of free shipping on their next filter just for telling their friends about the company.
Express Scripts sends out a reminder to its customers when it’s time to refill their prescriptions.
Automated emails provide a great way for businesses to engage their customer base without creating individual email campaigns. Which emails will your company automate? Start with a few emails, see how they do and build your automated library from there.