Automated marketing offered businesses something almost irresistible: the ability to send out emails on a schedule without having to devote any labour to the process. Automated emails save businesses money and provide a tremendous ROI – one of the highest in all of digital marketing.
Automated email campaigns are a great way to attract new customers, remind customers of the value that you offer, and assist with onboarding. But there’s a problem: how to build a connection. Automated emails are great for cutting costs in your marketing department, but if you’re not careful, they can appear to customers to be as robotic as they actually are.
Customers want interactions with your business to feel authentic – like there’s a human in the loop that is genuinely concerned with their needs.
Most customers know on an intellectual level that most of the time they’re interacting with robots, but it’s what they feel after those interactions that count, not what they think.
In this article, I’m going to share some tips for building connection with customers in automated email marketing that will help you have your cake and eat it too: get the cost savings you want while at the same time engaging and thrilling your target audience.
Tip #1: Speak To Your Customers In The Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing that your customers see when an automated email lands in their inbox. The subject line is what determines whether a customer will click open or just delete your message outright.
The most successful automated email campaigns are those that choose subject lines that specifically “speak” to customers in some way, usually by giving them a clear reason to click open.
There are all sorts of ways that you can boost open rates with powerful subject lines:
- Offer discounts on a product they love and buy regularly
- Show them why they will benefit from opening the email
- Address their pain points
- Develop a headline which reflects what’s on their mind
There are, of course, many more strategies that you could use. Choosing effective subject lines is more of an art than it is a science. But ultimately, the subject line needs to provide a compelling reason for the customer to spend their time reading your email and not the dozens of others in their promotions folder.
FREE DOWNLOAD: How To Write Click-worthy Headlines
Tip #2: Test Email Elements
Email marketing automation isn’t a set-and-forget service. Yes, it makes the administrative task of sending out emails at specific times more manageable, but it’s not a substitute for creative excellence: that’s still down to you and your marketing team. To create a connection with a customer in email marketing, you have to get the creative part of the email to appeal.
Part of checking that your email marketing automation is working as expected is to test all of the elements in your email. By elements, we mean the creative aspects – the things that you do to entice and convert customers. The title, text snippet, the name you choose as a sender, the email headline, any graphics, the content and the layout are all “elements” in this sense.
Even if you have the best marketing gurus in the world working for your business, you often don’t know ahead of time whether you’ve chosen the optimal elements for your automated campaign. Sometimes you need to tinker.
Savvy companies test all their email elements using A/B testing. Automated email marketing software should be able to help you do this, allowing you to send out emails with one headline to one group of customers and a different headline to another to see which performs best.
A/B testing takes a long time. But once you’ve got an effective process in place, you can use it to create more meaningful and engaging interactions with customers. Often just small changes in wording can have a profound effect on open rates.
Tip #3: Check That Your Campaign Is Hitting Home
While tinkering with your automated campaign can yield improvements in performance, it’s important not to lose sight of why you’re conducting the campaign in the first place. Your goal is to boost conversions and get customers to buy from you.
Building connection with customers, therefore, means tracking key performance metrics that tell you whether you’re achieving the desired outcome.
Try to do to the following:
- Create email campaigns for different customer segments. Building a connection with customers often involves appealing to their specific interests. Make sure that your email campaigns target customers in particular segments, according to your customer persona research. Once you’ve created one campaign, you’ll be in a much better position to create another. Remember, automation takes the administrative cost out of targeting multiple customer groups through email.
- Measure your conversion rate. Ultimately what matters is your conversion rate. Continue to test and refine your emails and then track how conversions respond. Remember, the higher the conversion rate, the greater the customer connection.
- Acknowledge that click-through rates are not the ultimate goal. Click-through rates are essential for letting you know whether people are reading and taking action as a result of your emails, but they don’t provide a big picture. People might be compelled to open well-crafted automated emails, but then discover that your business’s product or service isn’t something that they want. Excellence in open rates or click-through rates, therefore, isn’t an indication that your campaign is a success. What matters is the money that it generates: that’s the ultimate metric.
Tip #4: Write Relevant Email Content
Building connection in automated email campaigns depends in large part on your ability to create content that engages customers more than the dozens of other marketing emails filling up their inbox. But creating great content can be a challenge.
Again, we need to go back to the concept of customer segmentation. A customer who has expressed interest in outdoor furniture is much more likely to open and respond to an email about outdoor furniture offers than the average customers. Customers want to find out about the latest deals on the products they’re interested in, but find it annoying when businesses advertise products for which they have no use.
Tip #5: Create Dynamic Emails That Respond To Customer Actions
Dynamic emails are a great tool that you can use to create connection in automated campaigns. In fact, due to their nature, these types of emails are ideally suited for email automation technology.
Let’s say that you send out an email which contains a video tutorial on how to use your product to maximum effect – a good idea if you want to boost your onboarding experience. Customers will react to your email in two possible ways: either they’ll click the link to the video or they’ll open the email and ignore it.
Making automated email marketing more compelling is all about adjusting what happens next based on customer decisions.
Let’s say a customer doesn’t click the link and watch the video. Then it’s a good idea to send them a follow-up email in a week reminding them that they can still find out more about your product in a video. Don’t send the same email to customers who did view the video: it’ll annoy them.
Tip #6: Make Content Valuable To Avoid The Spam Folder
Finally, creating content that is genuinely valuable to customers so that you can avoid the spam folder. The days of just sending out mass emails hoping that somebody would reply are looooong gone.
Be specific and make sure each automated email addresses ONE particular concern or addresses a known problem.