Automating Your E-mail Marketing
by: Pamela Cox
An effective e-mail marketing program is more than just a
broadcast message sent to your entire database. It is one-to-one,
targeted dialogue meant to engage the recipient. If you’re a small
business with limited resources, how do you take advantage of this
powerful marketing tool? Like any other marketing medium, the key to a
successful e-mail marketing program is consistency and content.
Incorporating automation into your e-mail marketing can help you with
the consistency and ensure that you are delivering the right information
to your subscribers when they want to receive it.
New Subscribers are Potential Customers
Automated e-mails can ensure the first impression you make on your
potential customer is positive and sets the tone and expectations for
all follow-up communications.
Example One: What NOT to do…
A friend of mine, Roger, who was in the market to purchase an RV, went
online to do some research. He picked an RV dealer’s website that
offered a link for more information. Roger signed up to receive more
information and took the time to answer several questions including what
type of RV he was interested in and if he currently owned one. After
submitting the form, he eagerly waited to hear from them. Guess what
they sent him? Nothing! What a waste. This RV dealer spent money on
internet advertising, made the effort to capture significant information
from a potential customer, but let this potentially “hot”
prospect slip away by not engaging him immediately.
Example Two: The right way to do it…
Roger chose another RV dealer’s website. They had a prominent
invitation on their home page to subscribe for more information and a
form to register interest. Again, Roger completed all of the questions
and submitted the form. The difference was that he was immediately sent
a personalized e-mail from the owner of the dealership providing him
with a checklist of questions to help Roger determine exactly what RV
would suit his needs. Two days later Roger received another e-mail that
included a special offer and a direct number to contact the owner of the
dealership. But it doesn’t end there, a week later he received a
courtesy follow-up e-mail to continue the interaction. How reassuring
for this dealership to know that their hard earned prospects are being
followed up …automatically. And Roger, he’s now the proud
owner of a 25-foot RV. Does automation mean impersonal? Not at all.
Automated e-mails are sent based on a subscriber’s behavior such
as signing up for an e-mail newsletter, purchasing a product, or as in
Roger’s case, requesting more information. The dealer in the above
example used automatic e-mails to initiate a dialogue with Roger, and
when the dealer determined that Roger was a qualified buyer, he followed
up with a phone call to close the sale.
What’s Going to Keep Your Customers Coming Back
You’ve made the sale, but how do you keep your customers
coming back to your dealership. “It’s five times more
expensive to get new customers than to retain existing ones.”
(Price Waterhouse) Automated e-mails can help you nurture relationships
with existing customers and keep your dealership top of mind when they
make their next buying decision.
One of the simplest ways to make your customer feel special is to
recognize their birthday or the anniversary of a purchase with an
automatic e-card greeting. “Two-thirds of people prefer to receive
e-cards to paper cards from businesses; 17 percent for environmental
reasons.” (Great Look eMail Marketing) Include a special offer or
discount to give your customers a reason to come back to your
dealership. Even if they don’t immediately take advantage of your
offer, you can be assured they will remember you and might even refer
you to a friend.
Consider Using Automated E-mails
Automated e-mails can be used effectively as touch points in the sales
process to foster trust and nurture relationships, but they must be sent
in the right style, have the right content, and be sent at the right
time in the buying cycle. They must also give the recipient the ability
to unsubscribe at any time. If you are considering using automation in
your e-mail marketing program, start by understanding here
automated follow-ups fit in your sales process, consider the content
that would be appropriate for your emails, and develop a plan for
delivery and follow up.
Pamela Cox is a direct marketing consultant and an e-mail
marketing specialist. She partners with small to medium sized businesses
to develop and implement strategic direct marketing programs and e-mail
marketing campaigns that deliver results. For questions or comments,
call (877) 742-2786, e-mail email@example.com,
or visit www.pcdirectmarketing.com.