Let’s not mince any words here; if your business has any chance of surviving the future, it has to adopt ever more ingenious ways of automating things. If you don’t do it, your competitors will, and before you know it, your business is no more.
First things first though, with so many things to automate, where do you even get started? Well, a basic understanding of business would tell you to prioritize the things that bring the highest ROI. Moreover, when it comes to marketing in the modern age, nothing gets close to email marketing in terms of returns. Automating more of your email marketing makes sense.
However, even then, where do you get started? You’ve chosen to prioritize your email marketing and supercharge it with some automation, but how? Well, here are some great ideas to get you started. Not all of these will apply to your business model, but they’re great to get you started.
Great automation ideas for any business
Some automation ideas apply to specific business models more than others; however, sometimes it’s best to start with the universals. Most of these will apply to most businesses.
If you get any email signups of any kind, you need to get your welcoming game in order. It doesn’t matter what your business model is; it doesn’t matter how people signed up for your email list; you want to send them a welcome email or sequence. A survey done by email providers found that almost 75% of all people expect to see that welcome email in their inbox after they sign up.
There are many reasons why you need to welcome people on your email list, and going over them would take a full essay. Here are the most important ones though:
- The welcome email has the highest open rates you will ever get
- It sets, defines and manages expectations
- Helps them remember your name or brand
The last one is the key to email delivery and email reputation. People often forget what they sign up for, and if you do not have a quality welcoming sequence, they might mislabel your emails as junk in the future.
*- You will find that studies that identify the open rate for welcome emails at anywhere between 50% and 90%. While the stats may differ, everyone finds welcome emails have amazing open rates.
Birthday and anniversary emails
The welcome flow is one of our favorite automation’s for a reason, it works like magic, and yet so few people use it. It means that your competitors are probably failing to utilize it, and that’s to your advantage.
There’s something uniquely powerful in the psychology of an anniversary. The open rates and engagement are usually through the roof, and it’s a great excuse to make a special offer.
Why do most businesses fail to utilize it? Two reasons actually:
- They don’t connect the date of a person’s birthday to their email marketing profile
- They fail to realize almost anything can be defined as an anniversary
The first one is easy to fix with Emercury. You can create and use a ton of custom fields and merge tags. That includes a person’s birthday. So you can ask for this data during the initial sign up, at some point during the email marketing journey, or merely pass that data along from other software, perhaps your shopping cart solution.
The second one is also an easy fix; you just need to think more broadly. Almost anything can be an anniversary to celebrate. You can send an email to “celebrate” that they’ve been an engaged email-subscriber for six months. You can send an email that celebrates 20 weeks since they made their first purchase in your store. Just get creative, and understand that it doesn’t matter.
Almost anything works, and whatever the “occasion,” if you send an email celebrating this anniversary, it is a great excuse to offer a discount. You’ll be surprised how well it works and how many additional sales you make every year.
Segmentation based on email engagement
Whatever your business model, if you use email marketing, you should build automation’s based on how subscribers interact with these emails. There are an infinite amount of scenarios, but let’s look at a couple of straightforward examples to give you some ideas. All of these are very easy to do with Emercury.
For example, a subtopic that only interests a part of your readership.
Let’s say we’re talking about topic X. It’s not the main subject of your emails and only relevant to a subset of your subscribers.
The scenario is this: Subscriber clicks on a link about topic X. Enter them into an automation for people who clicked this link.
Automation does this: Send another email which is even more specific to this topic and contains a related link. If a person opens this email and clicks the link, add them to a segment or different list entirely dedicated to people who care about topic X.
Whatever the business model, you will probably send out occasional essential broadcasts. For example a stunning promotion with a significant discount, an announcement for a product launch, or an email with a fantastic offer you know most people would love.
The scenario is this: Subscriber fails to open email at all, despite your fantastic subject line
Alternatively, Does open the email, but fails to click on the link, despite the fact you promise something great on the other side
Automation does this: Send another email that clarifies how amazing the offer is. You can be direct and say that you “noticed” that they didn’t open the previous email or click the link. So you’re giving the subscriber another nudge to do so.
Cross-selling and upselling
This one applies to almost every business on the planet. There is always something more you can sell to the customer after they make a purchase. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling yoga lessons, run a SaaS business or an e-commerce store.
If you purchase a low-tier plan, enter them into an automated email flow that influences to upgrade to a higher tier plan. That is what’s known as upselling.
Perhaps you want to get them to buy a related product or service. Let’s say your low-tier plan only includes email support, but you offer a phone support-add-on. You can sell them on this. Alternatively, perhaps you have a related product or service that they can purchase – this is what we call cross-selling.
Also, don’t mind the SaaS scenario above if you run a different kind of business. The concept applies to any company on the planet (pretty much). If you sell online yoga lessons, you can cross-sell them on nutritional consulting. If you sell clothing items, you can cross-sell them on related or similar clothing items.
Moreover, in the unlikely scenario that there’s nothing more you can sell to the person from your own offerings, there’s always affiliate marketing. You can sell them on purchasing something complimentary from a non-competing business.
Upselling and cross-selling automation’s are also something you want to build right away. If you don’t have this email automation yet, you’re leaving money on the table.
Automation ideas for e-commerce and digital sales
The exciting thing about e-commerce and digital sales is how you can quickly boost profits with some additional cool automations. Even if you changed nothing about your offerings, but implement these automations, you should see quite a significant increase in earnings over the year.
Abandoned Checkout Flow
If you’re not emailing the folks who abandoned your checkout process, you’re leaving tons of money on the table, for two reasons:
These are the people you’re most likely to nudge into buying
They already gave you their contact details
If you don’t have an email automation built up to win these people over into making a purchase, be sure to get started on designing one – today.
Abandon Cart Flow
An abandoned checkout process is where someone starts going through the checkout process. Typically, in e-commerce, the first step involves confirming their identity. This is where you ask the shopper for their name, email or ask them to log into their account.
If they pass that first step but quit at some point before they click that final “purchase” button – that’s an abandoned checkout.
An abandoned cart is when someone adds items into the cart, but never initiates the checkout, or quit in the middle of finishing that first checkout step.
Whereas with an abandoned checkout you always have their email address, with an abandoned cart you might not. Depending on your e-commerce solution, you should be able to track and recognize current and past customers even if they don’t log in with that first check out step. So you can easily add them to an abandoned cart flow.
What if it’s a brand new person and you don’t have their email address from before? There is one more trick up your sleeve. You can install an exit-intent popup or modal that triggers for people who have products in the cart.
The popup would ask for their email address, typically in exchange for something valuable, such as a coupon. From there on, you have their email address and can assign a trigger to that abandoned cart flow.
Product Browse Abandonment Flow
A lot of the time people fail to complete a purchase because they get distracted. Perhaps they got called to an urgent meeting and just left your store in a hurry. If they had only continued browsing for another 3 minutes, they might have found a product that they do want to purchase.
You will want to create an email automation that sends browsers a message. Please take into consideration the category of products that they were browsing. Then send them an email that lists the best-sellers in that category and nudges them to check out more of that category when they find the time. An additional incentive like a coupon is sometimes appropriate.
Based on email engagement
While automation based on store activity is a bit more involved and will take some time to implement, you can create similar automations based on email engagement very quickly.
Emercury makes it incredibly easy to build automations based on how people engage with your emails. While there are an infinite amount of possibilities, let’s look at a simple scenario to give you an idea.
Let’s say that you have a general email list for store promotions. The newsletter that you send out lists some new items for sales. You have those items (internally, or visible to the reader) separated into categories.
Let’s take “for men” and “for women” as an example. You want to build an automation that starts when the reader clicks on the products for men. In which case it sends them another email with even more items for men.
Another scenario is one where your email lists store categories (as links). When someone clicks on one of these links, it starts an automation that moves them over to a segment of people interested in this category.
Ask for reviews
Reviews are essential to any store. The number of reviews can often be a deciding factor for a customer “on the fence” about clicking that “add to cart” button. You want to have as many reviews in your store as you can get. Why not utilize email automation to get more of them?
The scenario here is simple. Just create an automation where that after x days of purchasing a product, they are sent an email asking for feedback. It can say that you hope they’re enjoying the product, and if they don’t mind, would they be willing to give some input in the form of a review.
Revive old-time and one-time customers (Winback campaigns)
You’ve heard that old business adage, it’s a lot more expensive to bring new customers than to keep your existing customers. Well, what the saying implies (incorrectly) is that once you lose a customer, you lose them forever. However, that’s not true.
You can always try to win back ex-customers and one-time shoppers. Moreover, with email-automation being next-to-free (unlike campaigns to bring new people in) – there’s absolutely no reason to lack a win-back strategy.
You always want to have an email automation that deals with winning back old-time and one-time customers. If you don’t have this automation built yet, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
Integrate your favorite e-commerce solution with your email marketing
Over here at Emecury we seriously pride ourselves on the success stories of our customers. We love it when we can help one of our customers implement an email automation and see their profits skyrocket.
We have plenty of successful clients that do great at e-commerce, and if there’s an e-commerce related automation, we’ve probably already seen it or helped someone implement it. We’re currently working on building single-click integrations between Emercury and your favorite e-commerce solutions, as well as bridging-type services such as Zappier.
However, Emercury can and already does integrate with most e-commerce solutions through a great API solution. If you need any help implementing any of the email automation and tying them to your e-commerce, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to help you with getting it done.
Automation ideas for SAAS and other subscription-based services
The ideas that follow are a must for any SAAS or subscription-based service, but feel free to read through them even if you run a different kind of business. They just might apply to your situation as well.
If you have a free trial as part of your business model, there is one primary goal you need to have above all else. It’s called “activation” or “activating the user/subscriber.”
Do note: when I talk about “free-trial” here, it applies to a business model where you have a life-time free-tier plan, or you have a subscription-based content website with a free level. Most of these points apply to all three of these cases.
It’s not enough that people click that “signup” button. You might assume that if you’re giving a bunch of value for free, people will use this fantastic thing you’re giving away. You would be wrong, unfortunately.
Free trials and free-tier plans can be a fantastic way to get more paying customers for your business. However, it only works if you get people to actually use your product and use it as much as possible. You want them to experience why your product is impressive.
A quality free-trial flow accomplishes three things:
1) It helps you activate users on that free plan.
2) It gets them to use this free product as much as possible so that they understand the quality and benefits of using your solutions
3) It educates them why they would want to upgrade to a paid plan
We could write an entire separate guide on just this topic. However, here’s what you need to know. If your business model allows for a free trial or any way to sample the product for free – you should use it. Also, if you do have a free way for them to try the product, you need to create an email automation to go with it.
Customer-support feedback automation
Customer support is crucial to any business model, but it makes an especially big difference in SaaS and other businesses involving a subscription plan. Many companies understand this, and they will put in some solid effort in making their support better and easier to reach.
It’s surprising however that so many fail to tie this into email automation. This automation is probably the single easiest tweak you can make today to increase the perceived quality of your customer support. All you have to do is tie your customer support to an email automation.
While there are a couple of things you can do, the first thing you should build is an email automation that follows up with your customer after a resolved customer support issue. You can ask them for feedback, a rating, or thank them for contacting customer support, expressing gratitude for their business and patronage.
The greatest secret to implementing email automation in your business today
We’ve kept the summaries for each scenario brief on purpose, and that’s because we want to keep it simple. See, the secret is that so many businesses put off building an email automation due to things like information overwhelm or seeking the perfect way to do it. Even worse, some go on a long mission to learn about every exotic and super-advanced way to automate before they build even a simple automation.
The truth is fancy automation features exist for two reasons: Either as a selling point to justify expensive automation platforms, or to give the marketing team inside of a Fortune 500 company a very tiny slight edge… we’re talking an improvement measured in fractions.
Most of the benefit to email automation comes in implementing the basics. And you could have a sequence with all the basics running today. The first step was reading this article. The second step is getting yourself an automation platform that makes it easy.
At Emercury we’ve decided to focus on giving you the easiest way to implement the basics right away. In fact, we have a forever-free plan that includes our full automation feature set. That means you can register a free account today and build your very first automations right away.