Yesterday, we discussed an important way in which small business owners benefit from CRM software: contact management. But in truth, even the most effective contact management system is worth little if you don’t have a way to connect with your contacts on a consistent and convincing basis. That’s why email automation is another important part of CRM software that benefits small business owners.

What is Email Automation?

Email automation is the process of setting up automated emails that go out to contacts in your database at a previously scheduled date or point in time. Here’s how one industry leader puts it:

Marketing Automation enables businesses to automate customer communications activities as part of the marketing and sales process. The use of marketing automation services makes new, more sophisticated, processes and relevant communication and experiences possible across a range of touchpoints across the customer lifecycle.

Why Use Email Automation?

There are several reasons why your company should engage in automation practices. First, it saves significant time, especially considering that you no longer have to send out individual emails to your individual leads and customers.

Second, it allows you to broadcast a consistent message to your contacts. As HubSpot puts it, the main benefit of effective marketing automation is to

to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers

First, it’s important to note the highlight of ‘personalized’ in the above definition. If you use the right set up and software, automating your emails does not mean you have to rely on generic email blasts that don’t speak directly to individual customers.

As a small business owner, you may or may not be familiar with the concept of lead nurturing. It’s the process of slowly nudging contacts in your database who are not yet customers (also known as leads) toward becoming paying customers. Executed correctly, marketing automation enables you to do just that.

Setting Up an Automation Campaign

Of course, as is the case in all aspects of digital marketing, correct execution matters. When setting up your email automation campaigns, it’s crucial to pick the right types of emails at the right times to ensure maximum lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are 4 steps to get you started.

  1. Determine your triggers. First, you want to decide just what should set off your automated emails. For many inbound marketers, this will likely be the initial filling out of a sign up form by a web visitor. Ever automation campaign needs to have a trigger that gets the sequence started.
  2. Plan it through. But of course, it doesn’t end there. To be effective, your automation sequence should be planned thoroughly through to the end before your leads ever receive your first email. The messages should make sense together, gradually becoming more action-oriented as your leads become more ready to buy. Finally, you should also plan the timing of each email, making sure that you send emails often enough to stay in your audience’s mind but not so often that they’ll get annoyed.
  3. Personalize each email. We’ve talked about email personalization quite a bit in recent posts, but it’s just as significant throughout your automation sequence. Each email should include personal aspects (from a lead’s first name to other contact attributes) that make your readers feel like the message speaks directly to them.
  4. Evaluate and adjust. Of course, the success of your email automation campaign depends on more than just its initial set up. Throughout your campaign, you should evaluate individual emails and adjust those that aren’t performing as well as they could. Because your trigger is likely dynamic, making a change in individual emails or the sequence at which they’re sent out can have immediate effects on your automation campaign.

Email automation is an important part of any inbound marketing efforts. Without automated but personalized emails to your individual leads, you may as well stay with traditional ‘push’ strategies in convincing your audience to become customers. Fortunately, a CRM like ours can be a significant help in allowing you to set up an automation campaign that performs well and nurtures all of your leads. To learn more about how our CRM can help your business, contact us!

Click here to get started with a FREE 30 day trial of BigContacts CRM. No credit card required.