You’ve probably heard of email marketing automation – the practice of using software to handle the repetitive tasks of sending out multiple marketing emails to customers.
Even if you’ve never been part of an email marketing program, you’ve probably seen the ads or heard the news stories about email marketing automation tools, like MailChimp and HubSpot.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just getting started, you may be wondering how you can get the most out of your email marketing automation system. Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your email marketing automation.
1. Set Up Smart Mailings
With every new release of email marketing software, it seems like there’s a whole new set of features making their way into the product. But what does that mean for marketers?
If you’re using automated email campaigns to send out regular communications to your customers, it means you’ll need to set up new email campaigns each time a new feature is released. For example, if you’re using the latest version of HubSpot, you’ll need to set up a new campaign each time the software is updated. And that’s not taking into account all the other options available in the marketplace.
One of the most efficient ways to get the most out of your email marketing system is by using what’s known as a smart mailing. A smart mailing is a sequence of emails that are automatically generated and sent out based on previous interactions with the customer. Using this method, you’ll only need to set up the initial email campaign once – after that, the software will take over and send out the right messages at the right times, based on what it learns from the previous interactions.
2. Measure the Right Metrics
Did someone click on a particular link or button in one of your emails? Did someone sign up for your newsletter? Did someone buy something after being exposed to one of your campaigns?
The metrics you choose to track will depend on the objectives you set for your email marketing program. But, generally speaking, you’ll want to track the following metrics:
- open rate (the percent of people who opened your email)
- click rate (the percent of people who clicked on an email link or button)
- conversion rate (the percent of people who made a purchase after being exposed to your campaign)
- viral rate (the percent of people who engaged with your message after being exposed to it via social media)
- brand recall (the percent of people who can recall your brand or concept after being exposed to it)
- coverage rate (the percent of people who have been touched by your marketing message – e.g., clicked on a link or engaged with content)
Keep in mind that not all metrics are created equal. For example, you might track the number of people who clicked on a specific link or the percent of people who downloaded a specific file. However, you won’t be able to measure how effective your marketing strategy was without also looking at the open rate and conversion rate – in other words, without getting deeper into the data.
3. Use A/B Testing
Have you ever launched a new product or campaign and suddenly found that your traffic drops by 40 percent? Or 20 percent? Or even 10 percent?
That’s usually when you discover that a small change you made – maybe you tweaked the font size or the color of the text – had a significant impact on the performance of your whole campaign. In these cases, it’s often helpful to run an A/B test. In an A/B test, you’ll randomly assign people to receive one version of the email (the “A” version) or the other (the “B” version). Then, you’ll compare the two to see which one performed better – in most cases, you’ll discover that it’s the version that differs most from the standard format (i.e., the one that’s been tested with A/B testing software).
Some marketers choose to use A/B testing for all their emails, while others use it for specific parts of their campaigns. Regardless, the importance of A/B testing cannot be overstated. It’s a great way to discover the little things that you can do to improve the performance of your campaign, and it’s a powerful tool for marketing automation platforms that support A/B testing.
4. Use Multivariate Testing
Multivariate testing is similar to A/B testing, but in multivariate testing, you aren’t just splitting the sample – you’re splitting the variable. So, instead of just comparing the performance of one campaign to another, you’re comparing the results of one email campaign to multiple versions, each version adjusted according to a different variable. For example, you might want to compare the performance of a text-only version of the email to one with a picture in it.
The benefit of multivariate testing is that you can discover how different variables influence the results of your campaign, without having to run a separate version of the experiment for each one. In other words, you aren’t limited to comparing two versions – instead, you can compare three or more or as many as you would like. The more variables you have, the more you can learn and the better your results will be. Plus, running multiple versions of the same experiment means you can see the results of your experiment more quickly – because you’ll have more data to work with. And let’s face facts: No one likes to wait around for results.
Multivariate testing is a great tool for marketers who want to optimize their email campaigns for maximum performance. It’s a feature that’s built directly into many marketing automation platforms, like HubSpot and Constant Contact.
5. Customize Your Subject Lines
With every new marketing email campaign, you’ll need to come up with a catchy subject line that will catch the attention of your audience – and, hopefully, make them read your email. But often times, the standard marketing emails out there don’t cut it. They either don’t seem relevant or they’re too sales-y.
So, if you’re looking to create a more engaging experience for your customers, try out these tactics:
- personalize the subject lines with the recipient’s first name or last name
- use plurals – “You’ll love this product if you’re a coffee lover” instead of “You’ll love this product if you’re a coffee lover”}
- wonder aloud (in your head) – “Do I really have to send this email? I wonder what would happen if I didn’t…”
- test out different styles – “We have new styles of jeans! Check them out if you’re interested.”
- get specific – if a friend told you about a product that would help her with a task, and you’re trying to figure out what that task is, you can create a subject line that will make it easier for your audience to understand.
6. Personalize Your Copy
With every email campaign, you need to keep your readers engaged. One way to do this is by personalizing your copy. So, instead of simply sending out a product announcement, you can create a separate email with details about the person reading it. In addition to using your reader’s first name, you can also use variables from their Facebook profile – like their email address or the city they live in. As a general rule, anything that would make the recipient smile or engage in further conversation is worthwhile. In other words, your email should be like a mini-interview which encourages the reader to continue.
7. Measure the Effect Of Your Work
To track the effect of your email marketing efforts, you’ll need to look at the following metrics: