How to Create an Automatic Email Response Campaign

How to Create an Automatic Email Response Campaign

Every business, big or small, can benefit from keeping in touch with their customers on a regular basis.

Email has been proven to be a significant contributor in getting customers involved with a business, and while everyone would like to reach out to their customers on an individual level, creating emails specific to every customer isn’t always plausible.

Email marketing automation gives you the freedom to create email campaigns targeted to a segment of your list, or multiples segments, depending on the kind of trigger you set. An email trigger is an action you want your customers to take (for example, making a purchase) that is tracked. When the action is taken, a relevant email, or series of emails, are sent automatically to the customer.

For example, when you sign up for Constant Contact email marketing software, you get a welcome email. This email introduces you to Constant Contact, asks you to verify your email address, tells you how to setup your account, and how to start building your brand.

Now imagine if you had to manually send out this email to every customer – the amount of time invested in this process would be tremendous. Instead, you can just create an automated welcome email to be sent out every time someone signs up.

That’s the beauty of automated email campaigns, you can set up the email once, and then as people continue to meet the trigger you defined, the email campaigns will continue to be sent without you ever having to lift a finger. It’s time to automate your email marketing campaigns.

Still not using email marketing? Give Constant Contact a try for FREE!

Doesn’t email automation feel impersonal?

As a small business owner, you already have enough on your plate. As your business grows and more leads start flooding in, it becomes even more challenging to offer incredible experiences to everyone that interacts with your business.

Email automation helps you take care of your existing customers, as well as new leads added to your database. If executed correctly, email automation delivers highly personalized and timely experiences that convert prospects into customers, or first-time customers into loyal repeat business.

A recent Raab Report found that 60 percent of businesses, with revenues exceeding $500 million, have already implemented marketing automation, but just 3 percent of small businesses, with fewer than $5 million in revenue, have invested in it. An automated email series makes it easy to get started. We’ve compiled a list of five automated email campaign ideas you can incorporate into your email marketing strategy to help grow your business.

Create an effective automatic email response campaign

Planning is vital when creating a perfect automated email response campaign.

You need to decide your campaign’s focus, your goals for each campaign, the triggers to be met, and the metrics to track. Putting all of this together might seem like a lot of work, but a little planning upfront goes a long way.

Plan out your campaign to every last detail

Automated emails help you stay engaged with customers and save you time, in the long run. The welcome email, plus birthday and anniversary emails are automatically sent to your customers after you set specific triggers, so you don’t have to think about them again until you’re ready to change the content. Additionally, you can trigger an email to automatically resend to customers who don’t open it, as you’re scheduling  the first send.

You can use a single type of automation, or a combination, to achieve your marketing goals. Here’s how to get started:

  • Welcome emails
  • Automated list-join email series
  • Birthday and anniversary emails
  • Resend to non-openers

Welcome emails

The Welcome Email is a great tool to greet your new customers. Use it to welcome your contacts and give them an idea of the content they can expect to receive, the frequency you’ll be mailing, plus your contact information, business hours, and social media profiles.

Welcome onboarding emails work, because:

  • It’s a one-time email sent to new contacts who sign-up to receive emails from you.
  • It’s automatically generated and turned on by default in your account for all contacts as they join your lists.
  • You have the ability to create individual welcome emails for each list, or use a single email for all lists.
  • By default, welcome emails include the logo, company name, address, phone number, and website you supplied when you created your account, and it’s completely customizable.
  • The email is triggered to automatically send when a new contact signs up through a  web sign-up form, texts to sign-up,  the Facebook sign-up form, or any external sources  available in the Constant Contact Marketplace.
  • It can be used in conjunction with an Automated List-Join Series.
  • You can turn it off at any time.

See How It’s Done: Learn more about the welcome email in this video tutorial.

Automated list-join email series

If you have content that you want to share with your customers in a specific order, or over a specific period of time, an Automated List-Join Series is the way to go. The series can be a single email or up to 15 emails long, and you can set up different drip campaigns for different contact lists. You can even trigger a series to start running using click segmentation.

List-join emails work, because:

  • The automation campaign can be created from scratch  or copied from an existing email, and can even be copied into a stand-alone email.
  • The emails can be triggered to automatically send when a new contact is added to a specific list, even through a sign-up tool.
  • You choose the order for each email and set the frequency for delivery. You can even add new emails to a series that is already actively sending to your contacts.
  • When you activate your automated email series the first time, you have the choice to send it to all existing contacts on the list, or just to new contacts who join after activation.
  • It can be used in conjunction with a welcome email.
  • The series runs until you choose to stop it.

See How It’s Done: Learn more about Automated List-Join Series in this video tutorial.

Birthday and anniversary emails

Birthday and anniversary emails are useful for sending annual date-based reminders, like birthday coupons or membership renewals, without having to create a new email every month. Great things can happen when you acknowledge someone on their special day!

Birthday and anniversary emails work, because:

  • You can copy an existing email and tweak it with a birthday or anniversary message, or create a brand new email.
  • The email can be automatically, annually sent to all existing customers with a birthday or anniversary date on file.
  • The birthday or anniversary date is the trigger to send the email, so each customer gets it when it is most meaningful.
  • You have the choice of sending the email on the actual birthday or anniversary date, or up to two weeks before it occurs.
  • The email recurs annually until you choose to stop it.

See How It’s Done: Learn more about birthday and anniversary emails in this video tutorial.

Resend to non-openers

Customers may not open your email for a variety of reasons – your subject line may not appeal to them, or it might have landed in their inbox at a time when they were least likely to see it. You have the option to trigger an email to automatically resend, without having to figure out for yourself which customers didn’t open it.

Resend to non-open emails work, because:

  • You can copy an existing email and tweak the content or create a brand new email.
  • You can choose to resend to non-openers from the schedule page. You’ll have a chance to rewrite your subject line and specify the number of days you want to wait before resending.
  • The email is automatically sent to any contact on the list who didn’t open the first email within the specified time-frame.
  • If you change your mind, you can stop your resend from happening before your chosen resend date.
  • Reporting is provided for both the original send and the resend, to help inform you segment your lists, or craft your subject lines in the future.

See How It’s Done: Learn more about sending an email to non-openers in this video tutorial.

Set realistic goals for your marketing campaigns

Are you looking to drive more conversions? Increase sales and referrals? Or, are you trying to get more customers and prospects to visit your website?

Once you have a clear goal, choose a campaign to match, and plan your strategy. To help you get started, here are four email marketing campaign goals:

1. Increase engagement

One of the best ways to measure engagement is to look at your click-through rates.

Click-through rates show you how many subscribers are engaging with your content and taking the desired action: clicking the links within your email. Getting more people to engage with your emails could mean more traffic to your website or blog, more registrants for your next event, or a greater number of people acting on an offer you send out.

The design and structure of your email templates can play a major role in whether people interact with the emails you send out. This is especially important for readers on mobile devices who are less likely to engage with emails that are difficult to read on a smaller screen. Keep your message as focused as possible with one clear call to action that you want them to take.

If people aren’t engaging with your emails, it may be because they aren’t connecting with the content. Take some time to look through your click reports to see which links are getting the most attention, and the content that holds your reader’s attention the most. You can also create separate email lists for people who click on a link, to follow up with a more targeted email.

2. Turn customers into brand advocates

Email marketing is extremely popular because it engages both old and new customers, long after a sale is made. Customer retention is crucial to the success of any business, and email provides you with a unique opportunity to build relationships with customers or prospects by offering value.

Offer exclusive sales, discounts, educational resources, or other content based on their specific interests. Segmenting customers in this way can help you send targeted content to people who want it most. Not only does this encourage customers to make another purchase, but it also demonstrates your vested interest in the customer relationship.

Consider sending emails based on past email engagement (if they clicked a link for a specific product, they may be interested in more content related to that topic), interests, or geographical location.

3. Grow your email list

Your email list is one of your most valuable marketing resources. These are people who opt-in to receive updates from your business. Many will be existing customers who have shopped at your store or done business with you in the past. Other people may be completely new to your business and signed up to learn more about you, your business, and how you can help them address a specific need or problem.

Building an effective email list starts with making it easy for people to sign up in all the places they’re interacting with you. You can collect email addresses in-person — using a sign-up sheet or mobile device, and also add new contacts online by adding a sign-up form to your website and Facebook Page.

Make sure your audience understands the value of signing up, right from the start. What can they expect to receive? How often will they hear from you? You can customize your sign-up form to demonstrate the value of joining your list, and look for opportunities to reward fans with an surprise bonus..

4. Improve open rates

You can measure the  effectiveness of your email marketing efforts by tracking your open rate. Email open rate is the number of people who have opened your email, which is counted after someone views your email and waits for the images to load before closing it. Open rate is calculated by dividing the number of unique opens by the number of emails sent, excluding the number of bounces.

There is a very quick window of opportunity when it comes to readers opening your emails. They see it in their inbox, and depending on the “from name” or subject line, they decide whether to open or ignore. Having a good open rate means you’re doing well with brand awareness, because readers are recognizing you in their inbox.

If you want to build an audience of people who actually look forward to your emails, you need to get permission before adding new contacts to your list. Once people sign up, it’s your responsibility to provide value in every email you send out. To put it simply: focus on sending emails that your audience will thank you for.

Start automating with an automatic email response campaign

It can be overwhelming to automate all of your marketing, but with the right ingredients, you can get started by setting up an automated email response campaign. You could start small, such as  a three-part automated email series to welcome new customers to your email list.

Be sure to constantly check your metrics to see what is working for you. Are your open rates improving? Have your unsubscribes gone down? Are more customers clicking on the call-to-action in your emails? These aren’t the only indicators of optimal email performance, but they’re a good start. Learning from these metrics can show what works and what doesn’t, saving you time, effort, and money. Start setting up an automatic email response campaign to guide your way to successful email marketing.

Still not using email marketing? Give Constant Contact’s automation tools a try for FREE!

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