Part of being a modern marketer means geeking out on data, so let's get straight to the stats.

Companies that use marketing automation have 53% higher conversion rates than non-users, and an annualized revenue growth rate 3.1% higher than non-users, according to the Aberdeen Group. And B2C marketers who take advantage of automation for everything from cart abandonment programs to birthday emails have conversion rates as high as 50%, eMarketer reports. Yes, you read that correctly: One out of every two of these emails could convert.

Despite such findings, some marketers are reluctant to embrace email automation. Most holdouts think that adoption and integration would be too complicated, too costly, or too much of a time commitment.

It's true that successful deployment of an email automation solution requires some time to get off the ground. But automation doesn't need to be complicated—and it shouldn't be daunting. After all, most of us are already automating in our personal lives even if we don't realize it—setting up monthly utility bills for auto-pay or scheduling regular prescription refills.

Email automation applies that same principle to your marketing—at scale.

To kick-start your efforts, here are five key takeaways from Emma's Automation Demystified guide, which helps marketers set up an email automation strategy for great results.

1. Automation = increased engagement

Want results you can be proud of in your next meeting with the boss? Automation can help. Triggered email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than traditional bulk messages, according to Epsilon.

2. Lead magnets attract subscribers

Create an irresistible lead magnet, and you'll draw in countless new contact opportunities. How? Tie your signup form to a great piece of content (the lead magnet) and automatically collect email addresses from potential leads.

Choose something that is valuable and immediately useful, but also specifically beneficial to your unique audience. Maybe it's a discount, e-book, or webinar—any content that piques the interest of your future customers should work.

3. Don't forget the warm welcome

New subscribers are key to the success of any marketing program. They're more engaged; since they haven't seen your content before, they're statistically more likely to click and open your messages. In fact, an Experian study found that welcome emails have four times the open rate and five times the click rate of traditional newsletters.

Make a good first impression on new subscribers by building an automated welcome series. A welcome series puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand. More important, it creates trust and helps you establish a relationship with your customer.

4. Keep the content coming... as long as it's relevant

Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than general e-blasts (gross), according to Jupiter Research, so tailor your emails to fit the lead magnet they used to find you in the first place.

For example, if subscribers found you at a conference and snagged some free swag from your booth, your emails should not only remind of them of who you are but also connect back to that shared conference experience. Include a reference to that inspiring keynote speaker, or the equally inspiring chocolate explosion cupcakes served during the coffee break.

5. It's all in the timing

Automate for all occasions—but make sure the timing and the message are right. Birthdays, anniversaries, and recent purchases are all perfect triggers for a well-timed automated message from your brand.

Simply schedule a date-based automated email paired with a special offer, and send annually on your subscribers' special day—a simple way to stay top of mind and build loyal customer relationships.

(To learn more about how email automation can elevate your marketing efforts, download Automation Demystified: A Modern Marketer's Guide to Email Automation.)

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Five Key Email Automation Takeaways for Marketers

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image of Emily Konouchi

Emily Konouchi is director of content and communications at Emma, an email marketing software and services provider that helps organizations of all sizes get more from their marketing. She is also the director Emma’s communal dishwasher-emptying efforts, but only when she has writer’s block.

Twitter: @emikonouchi

Google+: Emily Konouchi