Guest post by Jessica Osborn, Business and Marketing Coach. This post contains affiliate links.
Get more time in your day by setting up marketing automation
Are you still manually entering your customer and lead contact details into a spreadsheet?
Do you spend hours setting up email campaigns and uploading data, only to send them out without any idea of how many are received or opened, or by whom?
Imagine if your leads were automatically captured into a database and sent a series of emails to welcome them. That if they show interest in any product, they’d automatically get relevant emails to give them further information and help them towards the sale?
And then, as a customer, they get instant confirmations of payment, personalised emails to help them through the onboarding process, or post-purchase steps.
What a great experience! And one that will result in highly satisfied customers who want to come back and buy more, refer your business to others.
The best bit is that you didn’t need to do any of it manually.
While you’re spending your time where it’s needed most, your website, payment system and email system work in sync in the background, nurturing leads, making sales and onboarding new customers!
So how do you do it and what sort of tech do you need?
Good news is, most online systems these days are set up to integrate and allow data transfer. If they don’t integrate directly, you can use a handy platform called Zapier, which enables automated processes between systems.
To start with, choose your email marketing provider as this does most of the heavy lifting for your customer experience.
Below I’ve outlined 3 different email marketing automation platforms, although there are many more to choose from.
3 of the best providers of email marketing automation
- Active Campaign is my all-time favourite. Its awesome visual automation builder is great for creating a series of personalised marketing funnels and avoids any leads slipping through the gaps. You’ll be able to see which lead magnet a prospect has chosen by tagging each opt-in form with a unique tag. You can also track if they’re interested in your services, products and which campaign they’re engaged in. This gives you the ability to segment your data into sub-groups when they’re considering a purchase. And automatically stop the sales sequences when they buy. With everything you need to make complex automations, you’ll love the extensive functionality.
- MailerLite is great for start-ups because they include automation in their free plan. You’ll enjoy the user-friendly interface with its clean look. Quickly build a beautiful automated email campaign with their easy drag and drop system in the email designer. This platform is ideal for simple automations such as subscriber welcome sequences, customer onboarding.
- Mailchimp has great automation functionality for ecommerce businesses because they have a number of pre-set automations for following up abandoned carts, upsells and post sales campaigns. The system allows you to create simple linear automations of your own as well. As one of the world’s largest providers, they’re a popular choice and integrate with many other systems. Unfortunately, their free plan no longer includes automation, however you can get it on the paid plans. For bigger businesses or those wanting to base a campaign on user actions, you’ll need a provider who offers more complex options.
Why not try Active Campaign with a free trial to see how it could benefit you.
It’s time to get automating!
The most common trigger for automation is adding a new subscriber to a list in your email system, usually when they submit a form on your website. Then it triggers a relevant email sequence.
For example, when they sign up for my 3-day mini-course on creating an irresistible lead magnet, my welcome automation for the course starts and immediately sends them a welcome email containing the link for the first video.
I recommend getting that first response out to them straight away, because they’re still on your site and consuming your content.
For the following emails, you can set a time delay. This works well for the mini course, you have the content for days two and three set to come out sequentially after the first immediate welcome email.
Another bonus with automating is setting a condition to check if they’ve opened the email. (Knowing whether your emails are being read is a vital indicator to how they resonate with your content. Maybe your subject line is putting them off? Maybe there’s not enough desire to spend time looking through what they signed up.)
Adding the condition on whether the email has been opened splits the automation into two streams.
For the ones who didn’t open, you can have a reminder email go out with similar content as the original. For the other stream, the ones who did read your email, they get the next email in the series.
What else can you automate?
You can automate so much of your customer journey! Here’s a few examples of the different automations I have set up. They save me so much time in my day because they happen without me being involved.
- Requests for pricing or booking a discovery call – both of these basic call-to-actions on my website are supported by automation. My prospects get an email with a link to my coaching package information, or they get access to my calendar to book themselves in for a chat.
- Sales campaigns triggered by showing interest in a product on my website. This requires a little bit of tracking code in your website but it’s very useful to be able to send interested people a specific sales sequence about the product they’re interested in. This is taking the guess work out of your marketing and improving conversions by targeting the warmest leads.
- Onboarding for customers who have signed up for coaching. These sequences send them emails with some pre-work and the relevant link to book their sessions in my calendar. As I have different length sessions in different packages, the ability to have separate automations for each coaching program means I can be very personalised in the content I send them.
- Customer relationship management. Following on from onboarding, I send regular emails to my clients to check in with them, ensure they’re getting everything they need and to ask for feedback. This helps me identify any issues quickly so I can put fixes in place to solve the problem and ensure future customers have an even-better experience!
- Asking for reviews. Yes, you do need to ask for reviews and this should be built into your standard processes. For one-off purchases, like an online masterclass, the review request is incorporated into the follow up emails in my onboarding sequence, when I know they will have done the class. For longer coaching programs, the request goes out a few months into the program when they’ll have achieved some results and can give me a really valuable review.
- Sending out blogs when they’re published. A simple automation simply sends your blog out to the list you specify should receive it. A great way to keep in touch and provide value to existing, past and future clients without selling.
- Follow up people who don’t open an email to see if it went into junk. This little one helps capture those who might have missed the first email and ensures I get high open rates.
What could you automate in your business?