The Email Automation Guide for Intelligent Marketers

email automation guide - symbolic illustration that captures the spirit of the article

If you look at the average email automation guide out there, you will find they focus on making automation look cool and fun. That is, they’re aimed at the naïve and inexperienced marketer who falls for shiny toys. But as an intelligent marketer, you’re probably smarter than that. You want results, not hype.

As a wise person you probably prefer to understand how things work at a foundational level. And you probably realize that studying things is the secret to getting best results in the most efficient way possible. If this is you, then you’re going to love this guide where I lay out the 7 major points you need to get for smarter email automation.

1) Understand all of the roles that automation plays

The number one difference between the average marketer and the smart marketer? They understand the role and function of each tool in their arsenal. 

The same is true to making the most out of automation. If you have a limited understanding of what automation can do, and what roles it plays in marketing, you will underutilize it to a severe degree. That means throwing a lot of potential profits away, just because you don’t “get” the full extent of everything that automation can do for you.

Most marketers just think of automation as “a drip sequence with extra conditions”. That is, you set up an automated sequence whereby you determine what emails get sent when. And if you want to get a bit more fancy, you put a couple of conditions here and there. “If person is x, send this email, if person is y, send this other email”.

However, this is barely scratching the surface of what automation can do for you, and that is to take your entire marketing to a much higher almost “enterprise” level, but without having to hire full-time developers or a bunch of employees.

With that said, there are 3 main roles that automation plays

  1. Its first role is the one that everyone is familiar with. It is using automation technology to automatically deliver a more personalized journey for different subscribers
  2. A second, and I would say much more important role is that it can automatically gather information and crucial data about your subscribers
  3. And then, a third role is that it can automate the integration between the different pieces of your marketing and sales stack

Most people are only aware of the first role, and severely underutilizing automation because of it. However, smart marketers will utilize all 3 ways of using automation. Don’t worry though, I will cover the 2 forgotten roles within this guide.

2) Gather data, automatically

Good marketers realize that you need to personalize your marketing to get much better results. This is true whatever your business model is, whatever your industry is and whatever market that you operate in.

The truly smart marketers however go a step further. They realize that your personalization can only be as good as the amount of data that has been collected for each of your subscribers.

Now, there are many ways to gather data. You may ask for it during signup, so in that case your signup form might look more like a questionnaire. So you would ask them what their interests are, what their preferences are, etc. 

However, the problem with this method is that it’s going to severely lower your conversion rates. This is why most marketers tend to limit to just asking for a first name and the email address itself. Though in some industries (like for example with insurance quote forms) you may get away with asking for more information.

So how do you get the data then?

Well, this is where automation comes in. With a sophisticated platform like Emercury you can gather data after they become a subscriber, and you can do this in multiple ways.

We automatically track all engagement data by default. That means we track which emails your subscribers open, and which links they click on. You can, for example, build an automation that automatically tags the subscriber based on that.

For example if people open a certain email, or click on the links, this can be a trigger to assign some data to them. For example, give them a certain tag, or give them a certain custom field value.

But, you can go a step further from that. We let you track your subscriber’s behaviour across any of your web assets, and you can even define custom events based on that. So you can gather and store data based on almost anything that you can think of. 

For example, let’s say that you want to tag anyone that flips a switch on your pricing page. Well, with Emercury’s custom events functionality, you can do this quite easily. Just define that custom event, and then build an automation that triggers off of it.

3) Keep track of the “customer journey”

Once you understand how to keep track of different data points, you will be able to become more sophisticated on a bigger-picture scale as well. And when I say that, I mean looking at things from the perspective of the “customer journey”.

Now, it doesn’t matter which marketing model you use. It can be the classical AIDA model, or anything that you find fits your business model best. In essence however, you want to get a sense for where a subscriber is along the customer journey.

The most difficult part here is deciding what the stages are, that is choosing your model. And then deciding which actions correspond to which stage.

So for example you might decide that you will go for the AIDA model. You might also decide that a subscriber visiting your pricing page should be moved up to the “desire” stage.

The technical aspect to tracking this is actually quite simple. You would just set up an event in Emercury relating to visiting the pricing page. And you would have an automation off of this event that changes their “AIDA stage” to “Desire”.

4) Leverage broadcasts to make your automations better

A discussion about broadcasts might seem out of place in a guide on automations, but it’s not. In fact, this is one of those big differences between average marketers and really smart marketers.

An experienced and educated marketer knows that automation isn’t something that they should view as completely separate and detached from broadcasting. In fact, they realize that automations and broadcasts make for a perfect synergy when you understand a couple of secrets.

And to understand why, I just want you to consider something. As you know, in order to create great automations, you need to utilize the fine data you have acquired about the subscribers. But in order to acquire data, you use automations as well. That is, automations that assign the data based on subscriber behavior. So your automations need the data that comes from your automations.

Sounds like a catch 22, doesn’t it? Well, it sort of is. And in fact if you wait for the data to come over time through automations, it will take a bit longer. What if, however, there was a way to quickly acquire a certain type of data en masse? Well there, and it’s called broadcasting.

Now, if you look at broadcasting as a way of delivering email, that statement might have surprised you. But it’s really the same thing we discussed about automations. They aren’t used just to deliver email, they are also used to gather data.

The same is true with broadcasts

A smart marketer will strategically choose to send certain kinds of broadcasts in order to get more information about their subscribers.

Let’s say that you run a list targeting businesses of all types. But you want to know which of your subscribers are in the B2B world, and which ones are in the B2C world.

Well, you could have a drip sequence by which everyone will eventually get an email that links to an article useful to B2B. And you can then tag people based on whether they showed interest in this or not.

Or, you could run a broadcast to your entire list, and achieve the same thing, getting that bit of information for your entire base in just one day.

Now, obviously you will do a mix of each. It doesn’t mean that you want to switch to getting all of your information through broadcasting. Knowing the exact mix however will depend on your exact marketing plan, strategy and so much more, so I can’t give you a more precise explanation.

However, consider the fact that this kind of personalized advice and strategy is something that you can get when you work with Emercury. Consider booking a free demo to get a sense for this experience.

5) Keep your automations simple until you really “get it”

Automations can get pretty complex and sophisticated. In fact, you can see people posting screenshots of their super-advanced automations as way to brag. 

But there is a danger to making your automations too advanced if the time isn’t right. And the best way I can explain this, is about asking you a rhetorical question. Do you think that it’s good to put your mistakes on autopilot?

Obviously anyone would answer this question by saying “well, no, of course not”. But this is what happens when you automate things prematurely. You have to really “get” what works, how it works, and why it works, before you automate it. That is, you almost have to become an expert on the process before you go ahead and automate it.

Now, the good news is that really simple marketing processes are easy to get, so you can automate really simple things straight away. But I do urge you to gather and study data from both automations and broadcasts to “get things”, and only gradually make your automations more complex and sophisticated.

If that sounds a bit vague, we have an article that talks about this concept of making automations more complex gradually, and doing it in stages

However, because that is a generalized guide, we stop at the intermediate stage. The truly advanced levels of automations are very business specific. So, if you want to get a really specific set of examples, you need someone to know about your specific business model and list in particular. 

This is something that Emercury users can get when they interact with our team. If you want to get a sense for this experience, consider booking a free demo.

6) Utilize the latest advancements in automation

One of the main issues that I see among marketers is that they fail to utilize the latest advancements in automation. In fact, many are afraid of new things and just put off utilizing these features for sometime in the future. But there’s no need to wait. If we implement a feature in Emercury, you can use it today. 

And I realize that this might sound like it “contradicts” my previous point, but it doesn’t really. You can still build simple automations while using the latest features, and I think a simple example can help.

For example, let’s look at defining custom events

You might go ahead and create a simple automation that triggers whenever someone visits your “schedule a meeting page”. It then has a short delay, before checking if the person did go through with the scheduling. If they didn’t schedule, the next step sends an email that encourages them to schedule that meeting and not put it off. 

Or let’s take a look at our incoming and outgoing hooks feature

You might use a certain membership software where your members can change their profile data. Let’s say that a member can input their phone number in their profile.

Most good software will support the ability to send changes to a given point. That is you can tell it to send that updated data to your Emercury incoming hook. Then, you can build a simple Emercury automation that triggers whenever someone puts in a phone number.

The automation in turn would have some simple conditions. For example, it might check what their stage is in the customer journey, what are their interests and which services they have or have not bought from you. Remember, you can store all of this data with Emercury custom fields. 

And then, at the end, once it does these checks to see if the subscriber is a good potential sales lead, the automation can trigger an outgoing hook. With this outgoing hook it can add this person as a lead in your google sheets sales document. So that your sales team can follow up with them.

7) Get a mentor

You know, there is a saying about how experienced people learn from their own mistakes, but the really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes. The same is true when it comes to the smart marketers I know. They don’t want to waste time “learning from their own experience”. It’s a lot faster when you learn from other people’s experiences.

And here’s a funny thing, when you have access to a great mentor, this is exactly what you get. Access to someone else’s experience, so you know how to do things right and skip every mistake before it even comes up.

But do you know what’s even better than a mentor who has a lot of personal experience? One that has a ton of experience helping others. So they have both their own personal experience to go off of, but also all of that experience from being involved in the learning journeys of hundreds of marketers just like you.

And wouldn’t you believe it, you just happen to be so lucky that you ran into just such an opportunity. You see, over here at Emercury we have been personally involved in the growth and success of thousands of marketers for over a decade. We have advised, helped and guided all of these marketers to more success and profits. This is just something that we see as integral to the Emercury experience.

And if you want to get a sense for that “Emercury Experience”, consider booking a free demo with our team. Isn’t it about time that you felt what it’s like to have someone on your side? Someone that is excited for, and cheering for your marketing success. 

Because that is what we believe in. We don’t see Emercury users as “customers”, we see them as partners. The more profit they make from marketing, the more they will utilize our marketing platform. So it’s a general and overall win-win.

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