Beyond the inbox: How to drive growth with email marketing automation

For a long time, email marketing has been seen as an effective channel for brands looking to encourage loyalty and build trust with their customers. But it’s also a great tactic to nurture the customer journey, from new customer acquisition right through to winning back customers who have lapsed.

That’s where marketing automation comes in. We spoke to Jess McMahon, Email Marketing Lead at Reload Media, who shares her top tips on how businesses can use automation to nurture contacts and turn more leads into customers. 

Don’t just email: Drive growth

As opposed to sending newsletters or one-off campaigns, email automation involves setting up a series of automated workflows to relevant subscribers, allowing you to take the conversations you have with them to a more personal level.

“Email should be driving 20 per cent of your total revenue, and automated emails make up a large portion of that revenue,” says Jess.

Think about how a customer uses your website. They might browse through a few pages, and if they like what they see, they might sign up for your newsletter. These subscribers are potential customers who can be properly nurtured to make them feel more engaged with your brand, and in turn become more receptive to a conversion further down the line. 

“You can automate every touch point within the customer journey, right from the moment you welcome new subscribers to your brand through to thanking them for their business,” says Jess.

Begin in your own backyard 

Adding automation to your marketing strategy can have many powerful benefits, especially when it comes to acquiring new customers and turning those qualified leads – your subscribers – into customers. 

According to Jess, the best place to start is to take the subscriber journey yourself.

“Go onto a website and subscribe to pop-ups, abandoned check-outs, even purchase something. Experience the whole process for yourself and note down any areas you could improve on, whether it be the sign-up incentive, the double opt-in process or improvements to the email templates. 

“Then do the same with your competitors. Gather inspiration from them and ensure your brand has a competitive offering when it comes to sign-up incentives and the overall email experience.”

Have a strong value offering

If you want someone to hand over their valuable personal data to you, you need to offer them something in return. 

“Develop a strong value offering in exchange for an email address,” says Jess. This could be anything from a coupon code to a downloadable piece of content or even private access to your collections. 

“Find out what your competitors are offering, and create something to create a compelling offering that will put you in the shoes of customers in the research and decision phase”.

Welcome them properly

Once you have your sign-up forms live on your website, greet your new subscribers with a welcome email series to introduce them to your brand. 

“For ecommerce businesses, you can expect approximately 6 per cent of total sales to come from this flow,” says Jess. “Take the time to educate your new subscribers on your brand and your unique selling points.”

As a brand, you should be making every effort possible to keep your customers coming back for more. 

Fundamental flows

The three email sequences that Jess recommends every brand should incorporate into their marketing strategy are:

  • The Welcome Flow to introduce your brand to new eyes.
  • The Abandoned Checkout Flow to recoup any lost sales with a reminder to purchase, often giving an incentive to high value carts to increase conversion. 
  • A Post Purchase Flow which can double as a thank-you or cross-sell email to let your customers or leads know what else is on offer.

Stretch before you send

One of the most common mistakes Jess says businesses make is to not warm up their new accounts first.

“When starting fresh on a new platform, whether it be a brand new account or a migration from one email platform to another, you need to warm up your sending infrastructure. 

“This ensures that inbox providers like Gmail and Outlook see you as a trusted sender and place you in their inbox, not the spam folder.”

How NOT to land in spam

  1. Set high engagement flows live, including a welcome flow and an abandoned cart flow.
  2. Send your newsletter to your most engaged subscribers first, starting with anyone who has opened or clicked on an email in the last 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 180 days. You’re looking for a 20%+ open rate and a 4%+ click through rate per email before moving onto the next segment.

By following these steps, you’ll cement a stronger sender reputation with your inbox providers, ensuring strong deliverability moving forward.

Tip: Resources such as Campaign Monitor’s Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2022 and Hubspot’s Email Open Rates By Industry are a great way to benchmark your campaign’s performance, such as open rate and click rate, against the relevant industry. 

Keep your database healthy

If you want to improve your delivery, open and click through rates, it’s not just about the quality of the email content. Whether you’re in the service industry, looking to generate leads or sell products through your online store, having a healthy database is key.

“A database will decay by 20 per cent annually, so ensuring list growth is important to maintaining a healthy list,” says Jess.

Make sure you review your database regularly and suppress anyone who has been unengaged for a long period of time. This is where automation strategies likeSunset Flow’s – a “last-ditch effort to win back business” can come into play. 

“Incorporating a Sunset Flow into your automation strategy will help to re-engage lapsed subscribers and identify who you should be suppressing,” says Jess.

Tip: If customers have not engaged with your content for a long time but have not yet unsubscribed, try re-engaging them with a Sunset Flow. Ask them what they want to hear from you and deliver accordingly.

What to look for in an email marketing platform

Choosing the right platform from the beginning can have a significant impact on the success of your campaigns. If your business is growing or your current email platform doesn’t offer the right automation support and marketing analytics, it might be time to consider migrating to a new provider.

“Think about exactly what you need from a platform,” says Jess. “Are you an ecommerce brand looking for advanced flows and segmentation? Are you a lead generation business looking for a platform that can deliver both CRM and email functionality? Or perhaps you are looking to integrate your platform with specific apps or tools to improve workflows?” 

All of those considerations should be taken into account when looking for a new platform.

“Some of our favourites at Reload Media are Klaviyo, Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign and HubSpot.”

Jess McMahon is the Email Marketing Lead at Reload Media, one of Australia’s leading digital marketing agencies. Headquartered in Brisbane, connect with the Reload team to see how they can help your business grow.

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