What are the best practices around email automation?

4/23/2020
Categories: Constant Contact

Best Practices

Here are some best practices and tips to keep in mind when creating and scheduling automated emails:

  • Be mindful of date-sensitive content - The date when contacts receive your automated emails will vary, so you want to be mindful of any date-sensitive content you plan to include. If you have a series triggered to send when contacts engage with an email, make sure anything you reference in later emails in the series won’t be out-of-date by the time contacts receive it. This is especially true for series triggered to send when contacts join a list. Since these series tend to run for longer - or indefinitely - keep references to specific dates, holidays, seasons, or events vague in text or photos.
    Clock Icon Stay Up-to-Date: For automated series that you plan to have running for long periods of time, review the content in each email periodically to make sure it’s still relevant and up-to-date.
  • Provide answers to newcomers' frequently asked questions - Since new contacts are often the ones who will receive automated emails, keep their interests and questions in mind when planning and creating them. Tell them more about who you are, what they can expect from you, and what resources are available on your website.
  • Share relevant information - If contacts are engaging with a Trigger Email that is about a specific topic, your automated series shouldn't be about something completely different. Similarly, if contacts are signing up to a specific list, make sure the content you include in the automated series is relevant to that list. Consistently receiving irrelevant emails will turn your contacts off and could result in them unsubscribing.
  • Reuse well-regarded articles and information - Use automated emails as an opportunity to share proven information. Giving tips and how-to's over time is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise, build new contacts' trust, and keep their interest.
  • Create a reason for contacts to engage - Include links to your websitevideos, or provide a special coupon or promotional code. Just make sure not to include an expiration date since you don't know when your contact will receive it.
    Light Bulb Icon Tip: Personalize your emails with greeting tags and other contact details to help increase engagement!
  • Collect feedback from newcomers - To gather feedback from contacts just joining your mailing list, include a link to a survey in your automated series and include a Collect Personal Information question. You may want to ask where they first heard about your organization, why they're interested in you, and whether they have participated in, or used, similar organizations and services before.
  • Collect information from your contacts - Collecting personal information about your contacts allows you to segment your lists and send more targeted information. However, if you ask contacts to provide personal information on your Sign-up Form, they may be hesitant to give it to you because you haven't earned their trust yet. It's a good idea to request this type of information after they've received a few of your standard emails, when they're more likely to share information with you. Dedicate one of the later emails in your automated series to request they update their profile. Just be sure to put this information to good use by sending personalized emails and creating recurring birthday emails!
  • Nurture your leads - Similar to the previous tip, contacts need to be nurtured before being asked to purchase or do something for you. Spread your content out across a few weeks and share more supporting information before asking your contacts to take action.

 

Blue Ribbon Icon Best Practices: Check out our blog for even more practical advice for using automated emails to improve your marketing!

 

Ways to Use an Automated Email Series

If you find yourself sending the same email (or emails) over and over again to your newly subscribed contacts, or find that you struggle to keep in touch with your existing contacts, an Automated Email Series can help! Easily set up an email series to welcome your new customers, send automatic appointment reminders, share coupons or promotions to customers who show interest in certain products or services, or send a series of tips or informational emails regarding your business. You can run as many series simultaneously as you want. The possibilities are endless!
 

When Contacts Join a List

Example 1: Welcome Series
A nonprofit sets up an Automated Email Series to welcome and nurture their new contacts. The first email thanks subscribers for joining their mailing list, the second and third emails share more information about the organization and their cause, while the last email finally asks for contacts to donate.

 

Email #1 Email #2 Email #3
Welcome Email Example About Us Email Example Donation Email Example


Example 2: Single Email Series
An accountant sets up a series so that when he adds new clients to a list after scheduling their first appointment, an email is automatically sent outlining everything the client needs to gather for the meeting.
 

Email #1
First Appointment Guide Example


Example 3: Appointment Reminders
A salon sets up two list-join series, one to send to customers with long hair and one for short hair customers. When customers book their first appointment, they’re added to one of the two lists based on their hair type. The email content for both series is exactly the same, but have different time delays between each email.
 

Email #1 Email #2 Email #3
Series Introduction Email Example Example Appointment Reminder Example Appointment Reminder


Example 4: Informational Series
A yoga studio sets up a list-join series and adds their first-time yoga students to the list. Each email in the series highlights a different yoga pose they’ll be focusing on in the next class. The students receive the first email a week before the first class and receive an email each week until the last class. The final email in the series also shares information about registering for an advanced-level class. 
 

Email #1 Email #2 Email #3...
Series Introduction Email Example Information Email Example Informational Email Example

 

When Contacts Engage With an Email

Example 1: Follow-up Email
A landscaper sends an email offering three different services. He sets up an Automated Email Series to send when contacts click to "Learn more" about landscape design. The series automatically follows up with more information on the service the customer showed interest in.

Trigger Email Email #1
Trigger Email Example Service #1 Email Example


Example 2: Promotional Series
A boutique sets up an Automated Email Series to send when contacts open their seasonal sale email. The emails in the series highlight more products on sale and include additional coupons.
 

Trigger Email Email #1 Email #2...
Trigger Email Example Email #1 Example Email #2 Example


Example 3: Event Promotion
A membership organization sets up an email series to promote their upcoming event. When contacts open the initial event invitation, they trigger the series to receive additional event details. The first email highlights some of the event’s speakers and sessions, the second email highlights the venue and location, and the third email promotes other activities happening during the event. Each email provides links to register for the event.
 

Trigger Email Email #1 Email #2...
Trigger Email Example Email #1 Example Email #2 Example