Do you remember the heyday of email chain letters? It was considered good luck to send an email to 25 of your closest friends, or else there were (silly) consequences. Email chain letters were the early 2000s version of “viral” content before social media existed.

We may not forward emails for good luck anymore, but the magic of that process has stayed with us because of its effectiveness. Marketers want customers to take action and either forward or respond to their marketing emails, so how can we harness the power of the email chain? 

Around 60% of consumers say they’ve bought an item because of a marketing email, so the reward for investing in email marketing is clear. Whether you run a small business or work on a small team with few resources, email automation can increase your team’s overall efficiency. 

Getting started with email automation may feel overwhelming at first, but like the famous phrase says, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Prepare for the opportunity where your customer is going to want to buy your product by outlining a strategy to reach them effectively.

Establish an Email Marketing Strategy 

Create an email marketing strategy document with a workflow that’s clear and actionable, with objectives for you and your team along the way to meet your end goal. Even if the document isn’t 100% perfect, it helps to have an outline to refer back to in case anyone loses track of the overall goals of your email campaigns

Study the data in your CRM to determine your audience. Look at statistics on your customer’s industry, region, job type, and spending habits. When you have a detailed profile of your customers, you can better understand their problems and build your strategy to provide solutions or even pre-empt those issues altogether. 

Make sure you write down specific, reachable goals for your email marketing efforts. For example: increase email open rate, drive more traffic to the site, improve conversion rate, or increase click-through rates. 

When you have your strategy and goals set up, you’re ready to assess how you’re going to measure the success of your campaign. Connect your goals with specific metrics that illustrate how close you are to reaching them. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you should focus on raising your conversion rate. 

The Right Type of Emails to Send

Email automation has the benefit of enabling you to target specific segments of your email list. It can trigger emails to customers based on data such as how they interact with your website or respond to your initial touchpoint. For example, if you send them a welcome email and they click on multiple links, they’re showing high interest. They’re likely to engage with your emails in the future. 

Figure out what types of emails best serve your strategy. Welcome emails typically have high engagement, but there are other types of emails you should consider as well, including promotions and newsletters.

Promotion emails provide an opportunity to interact with your customer regularly with special offers or discounts. The more they engage with your automated emails, the more promotions you can send to get repeat sales. 

Newsletters will keep your customers up-to-date on your business, as well as offer special how-tos or news links that are relevant to your audience’s interests. This is also great for loyal customers who want to know about new products as they roll out. 

Use Email Templates for Efficiency 

Marketing automation will do a lot of work for you, but one thing it can’t do yet is write your emails. To make the best use of automation, you can’t sit down and write personalized emails to all of your customers. You would be writing single-use emails all day!

As you experiment with your email marketing strategy, remember to stay agile. Figure out how much of your process can be automated and stay ready to make changes to fit your customers’ needs at any time. 

Find email templates created to reach specific audiences and goals and try them out on your audience. If they’re effective, great! If they’re not, try a different approach. 

You can also automate your reporting, setting up your automation software so that you get regular emails with reports about the progress of your campaign. The data you receive can be integrated and tracked with a program like Google Data Studio.

After all the effort you’ve made to build up your automated email campaigns, you don’t want a small mistake to turn off potential customers. Automate QA testing that scans your emails for spam trigger words. Litmus Checklist will walk you through how to check your emails for load time, accessibility, and content validation. 

Automation can free up valuable time for you and your team. As you get more comfortable with the process, use the data to further target specific segments of your list. Not only will automation make you more efficient, but it will also provide you with vital information you can use to increase your open rates, conversation rates, and website traffic