Note: We recently integrated with Drip, a world-class email automation tool that makes it easy to send emails to your subscribers based on their behavior.
In the following guest post, Drip co-founder Rob Walling shares why marketing automation is the future of email marketing, and how using the new Privy-Drip integration can give you an unfair advantage. If you haven't yet tried email automation, you can join Drip for free.
How Switching from Email Newsletters to Email Automation Will Give You an Unfair Advantage
I'm going to let you in on a little secret (but only if you promise to keep it between you and me).
Marketing automation is the future of email marketing
And to be honest, if you agree with that, there's not much need to read the rest of this article.
But if you're unsure, or you're not familiar with marketing automation, the next few minutes will likely re-shape the way you think about how you email your prospects, leads, and subscribers from Privy... and convert more of them into paying customers.
But before we get there, I want to be even more specific with my prediction:
Within 3 years, any business experiencing success with online sales will be using some form of marketing automation. Remember that you heard it here first.
The days of one-to-many email marketing are quickly coming to a close. We are entering the age of one-to-few and one-to-one email marketing.
Wait...Back Up, What's Marketing Automation?
There are many definitions of marketing automation, ranging from sending a few targeted emails to soup-to-nuts automation that costs $2k/month and not only automates your marketing, but does your dishes and puts your kids to bed every other Wednesday.
So let’s start by giving you a look at the most common definition of marketing automation, then we'll narrow down from there. Here are the six key elements:
- Email (a.k.a. lead) Capture - If you're a Privy user, then you're already familiar with lead capture. This includes email popups, banners, widgets.
- Lead Nurturing via Email Marketing - Sending a personalized sequence of emails to educate and build trust. Often the emails and sequences are chosen based on that person’s interactions with your website.
- List Management - The ability to segment your subscribers and send offers targeted to who they are and what they’ve done.
- Web Analytics - Usually integrated into lead scoring (the next bullet), it’s helpful to know what a person is doing on your website in order to determine how likely they are to buy. For example, if someone downloads 3 reports and attended a webinar, they are more likely to buy than someone who only signed up for blog updates.
- Lead Scoring - Provides a score, often 1-100, on how ready a person is to make a purchase. In high-touch sales, higher scoring leads are typically assigned to sales agents who make phone calls and send one-to-one emails.
- CRM - Customer Relationship Management which, contrary to it’s name, typically has nothing to do with “customers” and everything to do with following up and closing a sale. This is the section that shows a sales agent who to contact next.
As you'd expect, some marketing automation software offers more features than the above (often when their core software is not yet fully-baked). So you may see additional elements in marketing automation software that we won't include in our definition, such as landing pages and online shopping carts.
The core purpose of marketing automation is to engage and nurture leads over a period of time, until they are ready to make a purchase, then (in high-touch situations) handing the lead off to a human being to close the sale.
In low-touch/lower-price scenarios, it's quite possible that no human will be involved aside and that the lead will purchase using a "buy now" button on your website.
So Then, Why is Marketing Automation the Future of Email Marketing?
Photo by jdhancock
The short answer is that marketing automation will have a shocking impact on your conversion rate.
This shouldn’t be a surprise; being able to accurately personalize communications and move from one-to-many to one-to-one is far superior to sending the same static email newsletter to thousands of people.
There’s no comparison in terms of relevance, engagement and end results.
To give you something more concrete, here are a few examples of how marketing automation is being used to personalize email communication (notice how these examples are not limited to marketing emails, they span marketing, trials, and paying customers):
- A prospect opens an email and clicks on a link about SEO. You tag her with “seo” and move her into an email sequence on how your tool can be used for SEO.
- A different prospect opens an email and clicks a link about social media marketing. You tag him with “social media marketing” and move him into the relevant email sequence. Notice two customers receive information tailored to their needs.
- A prospect starts a trial of your software and indicate during sign-up that they are a realtor as opposed to a home buyer (your software serves both groups). You tag them as such and send them a sequence that focuses on how your tool caters to their specific needs.
- A trial user creates a new project in your software and you fire off an email about the best way to work with and organize projects.
- A customer views your upgrade page but doesn’t upgrade. You follow up via email 4 hours later with a special bonus (or slight discount) if they upgrade in the next 24 hours.
- A customer's recurring payment fails. You fire off an email to ask him to update his credit card.
- A website visitor enters his email to download a sample chapter of your Ebook about cats. You tag him with "Prospect" and "Cats" and follow-up with a cat-specific sequence of emails.
- You're gearing up for your annual Black Friday sale, so you run a query to find all prospects tagged with "Cats" and schedule an email with a 50% off deal on your newest cat-related Ebook.
- A prospect buys your Ebook. An integration with your payment provider sends a ping that tags the subscriber with "Customer" and moves them into a sequence to help them get the most benefit from their purchase (and recommends additional purchases).
How is this Better than Good Ol’ Fashioned Email Marketing?
You've been approaching email marketing the same way for more than a decade, so I understand if this feels a bit jarring.
But being able to tailor your emails to someone's behavior is ridiculously more effective than blasting the same static email sequence to thousands of people.
So if you’re still using software that's good at sending static email newsletters and puts a lot of emphasis on their collection of fixed-width email templates, be concerned.
Or if your email software doesn't view an email address as a single person, no matter which “campaign” or "list" they are subscribed to, you're losing out on a ton of information that would help you understand your prospects more (and make more sales).
I've heard this complaint so many times that I view it as a warning sign to take the plunge into marketing automation, where an email address, no matter how many campaigns it’s subscribed to, equates to a single person.
And if you find yourself using odd hacks like manually updating merge fields, writing external code to move subscribers around, or experiencing frustration that subscribers can’t manage their subscriptions to multiple lists at once, it’s time for you to look into marketing automation.
The current approach of one-to-many broadcast email communication is dying. If you still doubt this, ask someone you know who’s experiencing success with email marketing.
I would put money on the fact that they are using some form of heavily personalized emails and sequences based on their subscribers' behaviors.
To illustrate, let me walk you through two marketing automation campaigns you can set up (with minimal effort) to boost your conversion rate.
Email Automation Hack #1: Cart Abandonment Recovery
Let's suppose you've just set up a Privy Exit Intent popup on your website.
You're building your email list.
You're sending emails that drive subscribers to your website, where they can buy your product or service.
That's all great. But having a big email list doesn't always equate to more sales.
For many websites, one of the biggest "leaks" in revenue is your order form or check-out process.
Note: if you accept any payments online whatsoever (for physical products, a software subscription, or digital products like ebooks and courses), I can virtually guarantee you're losing money to people abandoning your site when they see the credit card form.
According to Business Insider Intelligence:
Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63% of that is potentially recoverable.
One of the best ways to recover this revenue is through sending automated cart abandonment emails.
Here's an example:
Email #1 (sent 1 hour after the subscriber abandons their shopping cart)
I saw that you didn't get a chance to finish your order over at ** COMPANY **.
Here’s a link to complete your purchase:
** LINK TO SHOPPING CART **
Thanks again for visiting!
Best wishes from ** COMPANY **.
** SIGNATURE **
Email #2 (sent 48 hours after the subscriber abandons their shopping cart)
Hi , I noticed you didn’t complete your order at ** INSERT COMPANY **.
I just wanted to see, did you have any questions about your order?
If you had any issues, please hit ‘reply’ and I’ll help you personally. You can also call our sales team at ** INSERT PHONE NUMBER ** if you need help completing your purchase or you’d like to talk to a human.
You can complete your order right here:
** LINK TO SHOPPING CART **
Best wishes from ** INSERT COMPANY **.
** INSERT SIGNATURE **
P.S. I don’t know if you noticed, but ** COMPANY ** has a ** GUARANTEE POLICY **.
Complete your order, risk-free:
** LINK TO SHOPPING CART **
As BI Intelligence notes, you can capture around 63% of lost revenue with this campaign. And once you set it up, you can "set it and forget it." That's the beauty of marketing automation.
Feel free to swipe the emails above. In Drip, you can find this done-for-you campaign (and about a dozen others) in your account, waiting for you. You can just fill in the blanks and deploy.
Email Automation Hack #2: Turn Subscribers into Customers with an Epic Email Course
Here’s a surprising statistic: According to ConversionMonk, over 70% of website visitors who abandon your website will never return.
When you're building an online business, the last thing you want to do is drive people to your website… only to lose them forever after one visit.
Luckily, you can use apps like Privy to capture email addresses and stay in touch with visitors.
At that point, you just need to send them relevant and interesting content.
That's where your email course comes in.
Email courses are free email drip campaigns, usually 5 or 7 emails long, written to help someone solve a specific problem.
If you sell golf clubs on Shopify, you could create an email course on "How to Add 30 Yards to Your Drive in 30 Days."
In every email, you give prospects a tip to improve their golf game. Include stories and case studies about people transforming their game with your product. Importantly, your lessons make a great segue to an irresistible offer for golf clubs (or golf training ebooks, videos, or coaching, for that matter).
And that's how an email mini course can boost your sales compared to other approaches to email, like newsletters.
Bonus Resource: Use this done-for-you template to write your 5-day email course
Will Your Email Marketing Keep Up?
I've predicted that within 3 years, any business experiencing success with online sales will be using some form of marketing automation.If you're ready to get started with automation, you can join Drip from $0 and follow this step-by-step guide to integrate with Privy.