What is Email Automation: definition and tools

The marketing automation software market grows at around 18% annually, with email being one of the most effective channels for marketing your business today.

Why so?

Around 4 billion people have at least one active email account, which is more than half of the global population. And even though an average CTR for emails is 2.6%, you can generate a considerable number of leads by sending out mass emails. 

Number of email users
Source: Statista

Of course, doing it manually is tiring and time-consuming. This is where email automation comes into play.

What is email automation?

Email automation is the process of setting up a system in which carefully planned emails are automatically sent to recipients as a response to their actions (or inactions). 

Although it’s impossible to totally get rid of human participation in the email automation process because someone needs to set the system up, automation software takes care of the rest — from scheduling emails to assessing the campaigns’ performance.

email automation tool example

Who needs email automation?

Email is an integral part of lead generation and digital promotion strategies, so the term email automation is often used with regard to sales and marketing. Email campaigns are launched to build brand awareness, nurture clients, advertise new products or services, boost conversions, etc.

But it’s not limited to sales and marketing only. Anyone who reaches out to many people at least once in a while, e.g, a hiring manager, a teacher, or a PR agent, can benefit from email automation.

Speaking of…

What are the benefits of automated emailing?

Email automation takes time and money to implement. So, for small companies or startups, this isn’t something to start with urgently. Still, there are 3 reasons automation is better than manual outreach.

Better reach and countless personalization options

Email automation provides an opportunity to reach out to a wider audience and send them personalized messages.

Say, you want to follow up with new subscribers. You create a welcome email template that contains variables, such as the recipients’ names, job titles, website addresses, etc. When you sync the lead database with the mailing system, it automatically replaces variables with the needed values. As a result, you get a bundle of tailored messages ready to be sent out in a few clicks.

email variables

Smarter sending

Email automation tools allow building separate email sequences and managing them at once. So, instead of monitoring and labeling threads in your inbox, you can create multiple campaigns and set up the order and the frequency for delivering emails.

Besides, you can include behavioral triggers. When the addressee performs the action you’ve set as a trigger (e.g., opened an email, clicked a link, or booked a meeting), the next email will be sent. This way, important users’ actions will be timely followed up.

Agile campaign management and transparent KPIs

Once the campaign is launched, you can track its performance and see if there are any problems with its deliverability, email open rates, email click rates, or reply rates. This allows detecting deviations and pausing the campaign, so you don’t waste money or harm your sender’s reputation.

email statistics

How to implement email marketing automation

Ill-conceived email campaigns can result in negative outcomes for businesses because it’s easy to lose sense when reaching out to thousands of people.

Customers are no longer ready to receive and read formal email copies. Besides, 70% of millennials are frustrated when getting irrelevant messages, and 63% of customers stop purchasing from brands with poor personalization tactics.

So, for a positive result, it’s essential to plan the campaign thoroughly:

Segment the subscribers’ list

Segmentation depends on your mailing objectives, and demographics alone might not be enough. For example, if your goal is to nurture loyal clients with special offers, it’s worth using all the customer information you’ve collected in your CRM as segmentation criteria. Or, for a series of welcome emails, consider a date when a lead has subscribed to a newsletter.

Please, also mind, the more recipients you address with a single email template, the less personalized it can turn out. Unfortunately, bulk outreach is impossible with highly personalized messages when you include references to previous dialogues or meetings. However, the personalization level depends on how smart you’ve set up your campaign. Proper recipient segmentation and adjustable templates can help avoid the problem of the lack of personal touch.

Define triggers

A trigger is an action that happens in response to an event and determines the further sequence of emails and content the recipient will get. It can be any subscriber’s particular action or behavioral pattern — a visit to a website, an abandoned online shopping cart, purchase confirmation, etc.

Create dynamic content

You can tailor images, CTAs, and even the overall email layout for different segments. Say, a company sells clothes for men and women. It has defined 2 segments of recipients, accordingly, and addresses each group with distinct CTAs and embedded images. 

email segmentation
email segmentation

Clean your email lists

Even if your database has passed verification and was cleared from invalid emails, it still requires regular cleaning to remove leads who’ve unsubscribed from newsletters or haven’t opened your emails for a while. In case senders neglect validation, they’ll sooner or later face an increased number of delivery error messages, and their domain reputation can be damaged.

Luckily, you don’t need to do all of the above manually. Email marketing automation software comes to the rescue!

Email automation software

Modern email automation tools aren’t just schedulers or email constructors. They allow running omnichannel marketing campaigns and automate sales funnels. Moreover, the majority of tools offer integrations with CRMs, content management systems, and other third-party software. So, senders can set up the software to their needs. 

email marketing automation software
Automation tools provide you with greater control over multi-channel marketing campaigns (Source)

Most email automation tools offer similar services. They allow users to search for email addresses (both individual and in bulk), verify email lists, craft email sequences, create custom templates, edit email content, and have access to advanced statistics.

Some email automation tools can also be incorporated into the online store’s platform, e.g., Shopify and Magento, either directly or via Zapier.

If you haven’t tried any automation software yet, check out this blog post on the best drip campaign platforms. We covered multiple parameters: price, sending options, features, and additional tools. Here’s the software we included: Snov.io, HubSpot, Woodpecker, Reply, Klenty, FunnelBake, and MailShake.

Email drip campaigns

Wrapping up

The two chief components of email automation success are the quality of the contact database you have and the approach to tailoring emails you use. Remember, customers won’t appreciate receiving formal or irrelevant messages from you.

So, prior to investing any money in software and launching automated campaigns, make sure you’ve segmented your audience and planned email sequences thoroughly.

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