3 Reasons to Automate Email Marketing for Better ROI

by Chad Carpenter | 7 MIN READ


Every day, something magical happens. No, not shorter work hours...I'm talking about the majestic emails that come galloping into our email inboxes.

Of course the majority of emails we receive are not majestic and are typically just plain awful. A vast majority of these emails get drop kicked to the trash bin, are quickly unsubscribed from, or even *gasp* flagged as spam.

Much like the Starbucks's Nitro Dirty Chai, truly majestic emails are rare and hard to resist.

To take your email marketing from blah to majestic, you'll need to utilize automation. Automating your emails (combined with solid messaging of course) will help you qualify leads and shorten your sales cycle to ultimately improve the conversions and revenue you see from these marketing efforts.

But how do you automate emails to measurably increase marketing ROI?

Email automation works best when used to enhance the entire buyer's journey. It's all about creating a consistently better experience for your customers.

Here are a few ways email automation can be used to increase efficiency and the customer experience.

3 Ways Email Automation Increases Marketing ROI

I recently bought a new coffee table from IKEA for our Austin offices. Halfway through, I thought I was missing pieces but realized I skipped a step in the instructions (something we can all identify with, no doubt). Building an email automation campaign is a LOT like this. If you don't have a strategy in place from the start, it will always feel like you're missing a piece.

Whether you're starting from stratch or you're already building your workflows, here are three ways you can automate marketing that increases conversions, engagement, customer lifetime value (LTV), and ultimately marketing ROI.

1. Boosting Conversions

Nearly 50% of leads aren't ready to buy at the time of the first conversion, so how do you nurture these leads to convert? It starts with developing a lead nurturing strategy. Research conducted by Forrester has shown that marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads.

When building a lead nurturing strategy, you need to define your goals and objectives. It's not a one-size-fits-all.

Example: Lead Nurturing Emails

Subscribers that are taken through an email nurture campaign make 47% larger purchases.

At Firesnap, we use behavior to trigger a nurture email campaign series. For example, if you download a whitepaper, we trigger an nurture email campaign series based on the type of content the user downloaded (along with their role) that promotes further related offers in order to gather more lead qualification data/convert into a deeper funnel stage.

Sniply also does a great job at this.

This email example below is triggered after known users read some of their FAQ content.


2. Boosting Engagement

Did you know that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10%?

Creating an engaging automated email campaign can not only convert leads into customers, but it can help you guide blog subscribers to purchase and encourage activity.

Example 1: Welcome Email Series

One of the simplest ways to boost engagement is with an automated welcome email.

A welcome email is the first impression a consumer will get when they join your mailing list, often sent as an immediate follow-up email to their subscription or conversion. They're typically used to thank the user for signing up, acclimate them to the brand's culture or as a chance to promote other offers.

In the example below, HelpScout uses a simple, automated welcome email thanking users for signing up. To further guide new subscribers, HelpScout encourages users to read a few of their popular blog articles followed by a pitch to use their software.


Example 2: Highly Engaged Users/Repeat Customers Email Series

At Firesnap, we use Smart Lists in HubSpot to segment a list of users who engage the most by clicking on our emails. We leverage this to create evangelists to share our top content.

Buffer also does an awesome job at this, plus the gif of their co-founder dancing helps engage users while simultaneously initiating them into their brand's culture.

Example 3: Activation/Re-Engagement Email Series

As you continue to gather data, you'll naturally develop lists of active and inactive customers and contacts.

Inactives definitely don't contribute to your marketing ROI, which leaves you with two choices:

  1. You can activate or re-engage them with some sexy emails so they have the opportunity to become happy, revenue-producing customers.
  2. You can let them sit in your database until their email address becomes outdated, festers and eventually bounces.

Right. Moving on.

To illustrate automated activation/re-engagement emails a bit more...

If your a software company, creating an activation or re-engagement email series to connect to customers that have not logged in or used the software recently can spur engagement and increase opportunities.

Here's a great example from Evernote:


3. Boosting Customer Lifetime Value

Retention is key to drive long-term customer lifetime value (LTV) is cross-selling and up-selling.

To accomplish these things, it's vital to establish frequent points of personalized interaction, education and opportunities with current customers. These touchpoints can be easily created using emails based on previous customer purchases, website interaction, changes in customer profiles and more.

Example: Curated Email Series

To increase customer LTV, you'll need to offer something of value to your customers in the emails.

While customers want to know how your business can improve their situation, they also want to know that your privvy to changes in your industry and that you know what your doing.

A carefully curated email that includes industry news and blogs posts can position your brand as a thought leader. Here is an example of one we use at Firesnap:

Making the Case for Email Automation

Not to sound like a nagging parent trying to get you to take your vitamins, but automating your email marketing is good for you — and with some savvy workflows and best practices, it will make your marketing ROI healthier than ever.

Hopefully, these examples we covered reinforce the fact that it's time to implement some automation within your email marketing strategy.

Have some other great examples of stellar email automation?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below!

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Originally published October 9, 2017. Updated November 10, 2017.