The Six Steps to Effective Email Marketing Automation

Carl Taylor | March 30, 2020

An automated email campaign can give you amazing results that will help you grow your business. But you can’t just set it and forget it.

When you first started your business, your email marketing probably wasn’t that tough. You likely had a fairly small list, which was easy to keep track of. You may have even sent out emails manually as your business grew.

But grow your business did. And alongside that growth came a new set of problems. More names got added to your list as you focused on your lead generation efforts.

Sending out emails manually was no longer an option.

So you switched to an automated solution.

And your automated email campaigns have saved you a lot of time and effort. However, they don’t quite give you the results you expected.

You don’t have as many prospects responding as you’d anticipated. And right now, you might be wondering if it would be better to just go back to manually sending out your emails.

Don’t rush into that decision.

Email marketing automation is an effective tool…as long as you do it correctly. Instead of abandoning a faltering campaign, follow these steps to ensure it produces the results you expect.

Step #1 – Plan Out Your Campaign

In the rush to create automated campaigns, many marketers skip over what seems like an obvious first step. Instead of planning everything out, they simply create an email and start sending it out. This method is quick, easy…and not very effective.

The data you collect on your prospects is the key to a successful automated campaign. When you just send a single email out to everyone on your list, you’re leaving many of your prospects cold. That email can’t possibly account for each of the stages of your marketing funnel.

As a result, some people on the list will feel alienated, or simply won’t receive the content that they need to see.

In planning out your campaign, you need to look at the data you’ve collected. Use this data to set trigger points for different emails. Your prospects should receive automations tailored to their place in their customer journey.

For example, a new addition to the list should enter an automation designed around welcoming them to the fold.

Someone who’s just registered for one of your events should enter a confirmation automation. You can even use this automation to follow up with useful content related to the event.

If a person hasn’t engaged with your emails for a while, they should enter a re-engagement automation.

The point here is that it’s not enough to plan out a single campaign. You need to plan a range of campaigns based on different trigger events that might occur within your list.

That leads to the next step…

Step #2 – Segment Your List

Imagine that you have 10,000 people in a single email list.

Each of those people could be at a different stage of your marketing funnel. You’ll have a few hundred who’ve just signed up for your emails. You’ll likely have a few thousand who are in a nurturing phase. Some of these 10,000 people haven’t engaged with you in a while, whereas others are almost ready to buy.

These are all different segments within your list that you need to account for. And trying to manually pull out the relevant prospects for each of your email campaigns is a time-consuming process.

You need to segment your list based on the sorts of trigger events mentioned in the previous step.

After you create these segments, they’ll get placed into the relevant email campaigns.

This is something that Automation Agency can help you with. We can work with you to segment your list based on the campaigns you create. Send a ticket to our Concierge Service to learn more.

Step #3 – Set Up Your Workflow

Once you’ve segmented your list and created plans for your different email campaigns, you need to focus on workflow.

Workflow refers to the specific actions that will occur in each campaign. Typically, your workflow takes the form of a flowchart that maps out the prospect’s journey, based on their responses.

As a very basic example, you may send out an email to welcome somebody to your list.

This moves the workflow to the first trigger event.

If the prospect responds, they go into an automation that builds on that initial email. If they don’t respond, they may go into a separate campaign aimed at re-engaging them.

Within those two campaigns, you’ll likely have trigger events and instructions that determine the flow of emails.

The workflow you design will look something like this:

Figure 1 –

It’s your workflow that will bring structure to each of your campaigns. Furthermore, a well-designed workflow will reduce the amount of manual work that you have to do.

Again, Automation Agency can help you to develop your campaign workflows. Send a ticket across to the Concierge Service to get started.

Step #4 – Write Your Emails

With your workflow established, you can see exactly which emails you need to create.

Understanding your target audience is the key to writing effective emails. For example, using a salesy tone for emails that go to the new additions on your list likely won’t work. You’ll put people off because you’re launching into a pitch before you’ve nurtured them.

Similarly, writing in an introductory fashion for people who are at the bottom of your funnel will have the same negative effect.

Sit down with your workflows and identify all of the stages where you’ll need an email. From there, figure out which audience to write for and how you can create value for that audience with your email.

This may be the most time-consuming aspect of setting up an effective email automation campaign.

The good news is that it’s generally something you only need to do once. When you have your emails, they get plugged into your automations and sent out automatically. Barring a few tweaks here and there, you won’t need to write them again.

Step #5 – Choose and Measure Relevant KPIs

If you don’t track and measure your results, you can’t see if your campaign’s working.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that affects many marketers. They create an automated campaign and take the “automated” part a little too literally. They just leave the campaign to run without measuring it against any intended outcomes.

Before launching any campaign, you need to create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are the metrics that you’ll use to measure the campaign’s success.

Examples of metrics that you should use as KPIs for email campaigns include:

  • Open Rate
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Conversion Rate

Each of these metrics needs to have a target percentage attached to it. For example, you may aim to achieve a 10% open rate in a campaign. You’ll measure against that KPI to see how well you’re doing.

If the campaign doesn’t hit 10%, you’ll know that there’s an issue you have to deal with.

And building on from this step, we have…

Step #6 – Take Action and Adjust Where Needed

Simply measuring your KPIs isn’t enough.

You have to use them to make alterations to your campaigns.

Take the example mentioned above. If your open rate drops below 10%, that could indicate one of several problems with the campaign.

It’s possible that your subject line isn’t enticing enough. Or worse, it reads like spam, which means that your prospects simply pass over it.

Alternatively, you may not have put much thought into the small snippet of content the reader sees before opening. If that preheader doesn’t contain some interesting context, they may choose not to open the email.

The point is that KPIs aren’t just for show. They tell you when something isn’t right with your campaign. And you have to take action when you see these issues.

This may involve making tweaks or even running full A/B tests, which Automation Agency can help you with.

The most effective email campaigns are the ones that get tweaked until they’re fully optimised.

It’s Time to Automate Effectively

Creating an effective email automation campaign involves more than plugging in a couple of emails and sending it to your whole list.

You need to plan campaigns for every population segment in your list. You also have to design solid workflows and create content that compels people to keep reading.

Finally, you must establish KPIs that you can measure and act upon in order to optimise each campaign.

Automation Agency can help you with several of the steps mentioned in this article. Get in touch with our Concierge Service to find out how.

And if you’re not a member yet, why not have a chat with us? Talk to our Right Fit Chatbot to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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