Email Marketing Automation is probably the fastest growing area of digital marketing currently. As more and more marketers are finding it difficult to manage all the digital marketing tasks manually.
Due to the ever increasing number of digital platforms and techniques, automation is a sure shot way of getting more out of your time and effort. Simply focus on action items that require human decision making and leave the rest to the software.
This trend is no different for email marketing. In fact, it’s more prevalent in email marketing as email campaigns can be easily automated.
All that you need to prepare is the content and an appropriate software will take care of everything else. From list building to email design to campaign scheduling to reporting – everything can be automated.
And email automation works too!
According to a study by DMA & Epsilon, automated Trigger Emails get 152% more click through rates than Business as Usual (BAU) emails.
What works in the favor of automated emails is that they catch people at the right time and when they are in the right frame of mind to buy from you. Doing all this manually is virtually impossible.
But on the flipside, you can go very wrong with email automation without ever realising it. When you are dealing with machines and software codes, a small mistake can have a butterfly effect and result in a huge problem or financial loss.
So today, we won’t be talking about the usefulness of email marketing automation.
That part is already established and well known. Today, we will talk about 5 mistakes that marketers can make with their email automation strategy and implementation. Mistakes that are easy to avoid if known in advance.
1. Choosing the wrong software
The first thing that comes into consideration when we talk about email marketing automation is the software that facilitates the entire process.
There are various software available to do the job. Some of them are basic editions with limited functions while others some with complex systems and lots of ingenious features. Though at the beginning those features would seem to be attractive and useful but actually they might not be worthy of the cost you are paying for it.
And if you go for complex automation software, your marketing team has to spend a lot of time for the training that requires handling complex software.
As the tool is employed to save time and efforts, using a complex software that no one can handle properly will be an equally big mistake as not not using one at all. Here’s how you can avoid making this mistake and choose the right email automation software for you:
- Go for Software that offers value for money. Don’t spend heavily on a email automation software for all the “amazing” features it provides. Go for one that is just enough to fulfill your requirements. There is no point in getting features you will never use.
- Don’t get into more hassle than it is worth. User friendly software should be preferred over the one with complex and difficult to use functionalities.
- Review the reviews. Look for positive and negative reviews from users on their website and other platforms.
- Compare your shortlisted software in terms of usability, efficiency, interface, and other basic functions.
Another important thing is to remember that no one formula works for all. What works for a beginner might not work for an established business, what works for a blogger might not work for an ecommerce business.
So, above all, you have to decide on a software that aligns and works best for your enterprise. Otherwise, a mistake while choosing this one can lead to many future problems.
While short listing your software, keep in mind that you are employing it to make the work easier for you and not complicate it further.
2. Sending frequent emails without meaningful content
What people don’t understand often is that automation doesn’t mean overdoing it. Even if you have resources for now, you should keep it limited and organized.
Sending too many emails can annoy your potential prospects and they might unsubscribe from your e-mail list which you would never want.
Subscribers do appreciate consistency but your emails shouldn’t be sent just for the sake of sending them. It should have valid content as well which is valuable to the receiver is some sense.
For example, you decide on mailing your subscribers every two days and succeed in producing good and valuable content to them for the first 4-5 mails, but what happens after you are out of content?
You just mail them because you have to maintain the consistency, and that’s where it goes wrong!
Here’s how you can avoid making this common mistake:
- You should pick the frequency of your mails only after you are sure about the content you can offer.
- Send quality mails which have some valuable content for the subscriber. Less frequent mails are much more preferable than frequent mails with irrelevant content.
- Test your mailing frequencies to come up with the right one. For example, send out emails in different frequencies; say 1,2,3,4 in a month to four different groups of subscribers. Keep a check on what works best for your organization and adapt to that. There is no rule so as to what will work for whom so you need to do a little work on that and it’s worth it.
- Understand the people you are trying to reach and fix the number of emails accordingly. Why did they subscribe for your mails, what they are interested in, etc. For example, if you lured your customers to sign up for offers and discounts and constantly mailing them with just promotional stuff for your products without any attractive offers, they might be unsubscribing from your mail list any other day.
Basically, the content and the frequency should be in sync. What you are sending and how frequently you are sending those mails, matters a lot. Don’t keep on sending never ending mails that goes directly to the trash bins of the receivers.
3. Your e-mail list is not segmented
One of the advantages of automated marketing strategy is that it provides you with the option of segmenting. You can segment your subscribers based on their jobs, industry to which they belong, their geographical region, etc. You can also segment their behaviors such as web page visitors, opened mails, buy button clicks, and people who haven’t responded in anyway in the last six months. The bad thing is that a significant number of marketers avoid this data and keep on following the “one size fits all’ formula for sending out e-mails.
This might help in promoting the campaigns faster but the relevancy is lost for a large number of users and in the process, the e-mail performance suffers big time. As the e-mails are generic, it is no more relevant to individual users and ends up just being a task on the list of the marketers ‘to-do’ list.
Here’s how you can segment your e-mails properly and avoid making this common mistake:
- Group people with similar characteristics or who have shopped for similar items from your store in the past. For example, if a certain buyer repeatedly visits the ‘books’ section of your store, personalize their mails and send them relevant content about that category instead of sending them everything related to kids toys to jazz music.
- Age, location, and gender can help you a lot with the segmentation and you should certainly adopt it as well. If an e-mail is relevant only to youngsters and you are sending it to all age groups, you are at a loss. Similarly, gender and location matters too.
- You can use a survey to understand your subscribers’ needs and interests. This will help you understand better what kind of content might interest them. Categorize your e-mail list accordingly and send right mails to right people.
E-mail segmentation is important as there is no point in writing an e-mail for a certain kind of person and hoping it will fit for all.
4. Not keeping a check on automated reports
Any good email marketing software will provide you automated reports. These reports are definitely absolutely essential in keeping track of the effectiveness of your email campaigns and improving their performance.
Though automated email reports are helpful in this regard, they must evolve with a business’ constantly changing needs. You might require a particular data analyzed while your software has another way of doing it.
If you don’t keep a check on your automated reports, you can lose good chance of having a clear cut communication with your customers and getting proper insights through your email lists.
Let’s say, a marketer wants an automated report generated for the email open rate among the registered subscribers of 30-40 years of age. The parameters of the report are specified and the results are being reviewed regularly.
But where it lacks is that automation is unable to account for the possible ways the results might be twisted as people add into or go out of that specific age range.
Automated reports are unaware of how your competitors are gaining attention of your subscribers by adding a more personalized touch to the reports.
Here’s what you should do instead of relying completely on automated reports:
- Regularly get your reports and conclusions checked by a human marketer.
- Parameters of the reports should be changed according to requirements of the business at times.
- Reports should be reviewed by humans and compared to competitors and further steps to be taken accordingly.
A machine is a machine. Humans add a touch to the reporting which automation lacks. Automated processes can’t think of the contexts a human can.
5. SPF and DKIM not set up
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domainkeys Identified Mail (DKIM) are two of the chief email authentication settings often ignored by marketers using email automation. Implementing your SPF and DKIM into the domain name system settings is basically informing email servers that your marketing automation vendor is authorized to send emails on behalf of your enterprise or organization.
Your e-mail deliverability might suffer big time if you fail to incorporate these settings. What happens is that those same servers will send emails from your domain but in reality are sent from an IP address with a domain connected to your marketing automation vendor.
This may cause your outbound emails to fail.
To avoid any such discrepancies, make sure:
- You implement SPF and DKIM into the domain name system settings.
- Add appropriate records to your domain’s DNS settings.
- After you add the settings, it takes about 24 hours for it to come into effect. Check it and in case of any error, look into it and fix it accordingly.
In today’s world it is very easy to forge a mail. Any of the mails you get claiming to be from your bank, a big brand, or from any of your business associates. And asking for information, are examples of forged mails and tells you quite clearly how easy it is to forge an e-mail. SPF and DKIM is a way to prove your e-mail isn’t forged.
Another mistake of the same kind which is quite frequent is not changing the default email domain to a domain that reflects your brand. You should avoid this one too.
6. To Conclude
Anything being done for the benefit for your business must be done correctly or it might backfire and do the opposite.
Email marketing automation if you are done right, can be a great to bring new customers to your business and turn casual visitors into paying customers, but a few mistakes can take the entire automation system out of sync with your business needs.
Therefore, it is always safe to learn from others mistakes. The above mistakes may not be common and many may not be aware of them but now that you know about them, you would do well to avoid falling for any of them and efficiently manage your automated email marketing.
Author Bio :
Mr. Maulik Shah is the founder & CEO of Biztech IT Consultancy Pvt Ltd., one of the leading web design and Development Companies in India. He also runs Biztech Blog, where he shares insights from the world of ecommerce and other web based technologies.