Email automation offers marketers an array of possibilities for engaging, acquiring, and retaining customers. It’s often challenging to know where to start. Since you can do mostly anything, it’s a real possibility that you are more likely to do nothing.
The truth is you don’t need to trigger automations in response to every single action someone takes on your website. You just need to identify which areas in the customer journey will provide the most value once they’re optimized.
Here are four email automations that email marketers need to build but probably haven’t.
1. The Winback Campaign
Not every customer who leaves is gone for good. If someone cancels it doesn’t necessarily mean they despised your product. There are often other reasons that push customers to churn. This means you may be able to get them back.
As the name implies, a winback campaign attempts to reel churned customers back in.
It’s a simple concept, but one few marketers attempt. In their obsession with netting new subscribers, marketers tend to overlook the opportunity presented by past customers who are still subscribers.
There are a few ways to approach this type of email:
Just ask subscribers to come back
Sometimes asking ex-customers to come back is enough. Whatever forces of nature that caused them to unsubscribe have been quelled, and a friendly reminder of the value you offer will get them to say yes.
Bringing some standout copy and creative to the game will make this automation even more compelling. Grammarly invokes time travel in their winback emails:
Provide updates on what’s new
Maybe a lot of customers churn because of one particular problem. Or perhaps it’s a lot of little problems. Either way, showing these former subscribers that you’ve changed can be enough to entice them back.
You’re probably already sending product updates to your customers (you’re doing that, right?). Creating a variation of these same emails for your churned segment should be pretty easy.
This approach also gives you an excuse to keep emailing them as you roll out new features and updates. Here’s an example of how Avocode does it:
2. The Retention / Re-engagement Campaign
During the course of their customer journey, it’s inevitable that some people will lose interest and stop engaging with your brand.
The most pressing example is when subscribers stop engaging with your product. Even though they’ve signed up and shelled out some cash, these users have gone AWOL. The next step is canceling their subscription and churning.
However, this outcome isn’t a certainty. You can revive these customers’ interest in your product with well-timed emails, i.e., re-engagement emails.
Re-engagement emails need to be bold. After all, you’re speaking to a segment of customers who are in the middle of ghosting you. You’ve got to send something good to get them back to the table.
One particularly effective technique is reminding people why they signed up in the first place. MacPaw asks their absent users a simple question: “Are you sure you’ve found all the duplicates?”
MacPaw produces Mac cleaning software, so one of their audience’s goals is to find and eliminate duplicate files on their machine. The email clearly and directly asks the audience to recall the problems that originally brought them to MacPaw.
Now the initial value of the software has been illuminated once again in the user’s mind, and if they still want a tidy Mac, they’ll start using the software again.
To create this kind of automation, you must decide what behavioral criteria will act as a trigger. In most cases, it’s inactivity.
The real question is how long someone needs to be inactive before they need a bit of re-engagement. The only way to know is to test. Start at a certain point — say two weeks — and start experimenting from there.
3. The Pricing Page Follow-Up
You’re probably familiar with the almost-there leads. The people who engage with your emails, go to the pricing page, and never actually convert.
These are prime candidates for some follow-up automation. They’ve got one foot in the door; you just need to open it a bit wider and help them step through.
Pro-tip: Wait until someone has viewed the pricing page multiple times in a week or two before you send an email. Otherwise you’ll be seen as super aggressive and will end up in spam.
The email messaging needs to be aspirational. Paint a picture of the user’s future life with your product. Reinforce the value through social proof and compelling value propositions.
This email from Squarespace holds nothing back, and that’s why I love it.
First, there’s the subject line: “Keanu Reeves believes you can make it happen.” Then of course, there’s some high-concept copy about “now is the only reality we have.” Alright, I guess I’ll sign up then.
In all seriousness, this email does succeed at nudging users to take that next decisive step. And that’s the entire point.
4. The Persona Identifier
It’s hard to do good marketing without knowing anything about your audience. Thankfully, automation is a great way of obtaining and appending this information.
Besides actual behavioral data, persona data offers the most value for your marketing efforts. So be sure to collect it as early as possible in the customer journey.
This is pretty easy to do if you just ask for it on a landing page or form. You could ask for a job title or go with “what best describes you” with a set of predetermined choices.
For people already in your database, just send them something they need to download — like an eBook or discount code — in exchange for their persona information.
I know this sounds simple, but being able to segment your database by persona means being able to run targeted campaigns that speak directly to each customer segment. That’s a good thing, right?
Marketers are still discovering the best and most impactful ways to use email automation.
In most cases, it’s best to keep it simple. These four automations run the gamut from data enrichment to acquisition to retention. Get these running in your email marketing automation platform this month, and you’ll be well on your way to better engaging, more targeted email marketing.
Learn more about the different marketing automation platforms here.
by Zach Diaz on June 30, 2021
Zach is the content manager at Soundstripe, a royalty free music company that provides filmmakers, creators, and businesses with documentary music, among other genres.