Despite the rise and success of social media, email campaigns are still a highly effective marketing tool. They give you a chance to reach your audiences based on where they are in the customer lifecycle, which is a key strategy to keep them engaged and coming back. Of course, you don't have the time to be manually pushing "send" on hundreds of emails every day. That's where email automation comes in.
Let's explore four key types of automated email campaigns you should be running.
The Welcome Campaign
When someone signs up to receive emails from you, it's important to give them a proper welcome. A welcome campaign is how you build momentum and develop a relationship. This is your chance to:
- Take advantage of early excitement and curiosity — this could be the push they need to become a customer.
- Introduce your company and brand — share your story and values.
- Talk about your history — tell them how your company became what it is today.
- Give a sneak peek behind the scenes – show what goes on inside your doors and how that makes you special.
- Share content new to them – they likely haven't perused all of your website, so this is your chance to point them to some of your best content.
- Expand their engagement with you – ask them to follow you on social media.
- Get to know them – ask for their birthday, email preferences, and how they found you.
You might also consider offering them some kind of gift for signing up – perhaps a sample of your product or a free consultation. Make sure to space out your emails so that people don't get overloaded and unsubscribe. And don't wait too long to send out that first email – you want to strike while the iron is hot!
The Onboarding campaign
This campaign can be used when someone makes their first purchase or starts a free trial period. This is a great opportunity to keep them engaged with your company. The primary purpose isn't necessarily to make a sale. However, what your emails say could help lead to that second purchase.
For example, let's say someone just purchased a stand mixer. In your onboarding campaign, you could give them tips on how to properly maintain and clean the appliance. You could also share some recipes they could use with it. Then, you might suggest some add-on tools that would help them feel like even more of a fancy chef. If you allow people to rate or review their purchases, this would be a good time to ask them to share their thoughts. This campaign is a great idea because you're adding value to the customer even after they've completed a purchase, and hopefully leading them to make another one.
The Heightened Engagement Campaign
You will likely have some people who engage with your company often. Perhaps they're active on your social channels or visiting your website frequently. Whatever the case may be, it's a smart idea to leverage their excitement and push them to be even more engaged. There are a number of things you can do in these emails to accomplish this:
- Point them to all of your social channels to make sure they're following you in as many places as possible.
- Ask them to post a picture of, let's say, them using that stand mixer – and perhaps even share a favorite recipe they used with it.
- Give them a heads up about an upcoming product or service release and give them the first crack at making a purchase (of course, then, asking them to post about it on social media).
- Try out a social contest with them, as they will be your most likely participants (here are some great examples of Facebook contests).
The key with this campaign is to make your super fans feel special, as well as keep them coming back and acting as brand ambassadors.
The Re-engagement Campaign
It's inevitable that you will have customers or subscribers disappear and stop engaging with your company entirely. But that doesn't mean they're all lost forever – you may be able to win them back with a savvy re-engagement campaign.
To get started, you'll want to choose how far back you want to reach into your inactive file. Those who have been inactive for six months is a good starting point. To try and lure them back into the fold, you could try a few different approaches:
- Give them a (significant) discount on a popular or new product – even better if it has to do with something they previously purchased.
- Ask them to take a poll or survey about their interests – this can help you provide more personalized email content in the future (you could also offer a promo code or free gift upon completion).
- Ask them to answer some questions about why they stopped engaging with you – this can help you improve things in the future as well as decide if this person should be dropped from your list.
And why would you want to permanently drop someone from your email list? Because the more people you have on your list who aren't engaging with your emails, the more it can potentially impact your reputation with ISPs (which affects your delivery rates).
As you craft your re-engagement campaign, don't be afraid to think way outside the box. Brainstorm punchy subject lines, clever graphics, and even some whimsical copy. You want to grab people's attention in a way that you never have before. You should also think about A/B testing your emails to see what the most effective approach is. Here are some great examples of effective re-engagement campaigns.
These four campaigns are standard must-haves for your email marketing. But keep in mind that there are a number of other automated email campaigns that are always a good idea to add to your repertoire (if you have the resources to manage such a robust strategy). The bottom line is to be thoughtful about your approach and how you segment your list. And if something isn't producing the desired results, start rethinking your strategy and doing some testing until you've found a great formula that keeps customers engaged and coming back.