6 Automation Recipes To Spice Up Your Email Marketing
To increase engagement and revenue, invest in automated email workflows and profit from automatically triggered email sequences.
Engaged subscribers go hand in hand with higher revenue. But, before an email subscriber engages with you, you need to get to them in a personalized way. Witty subject lines do count towards higher open rates, original content and copy towards increased click-through and response rates, but the king of engagement is personalized communication with every single subscriber.
Automated email workflows are based on user-behavior and as such, elicit substantially more engagement and revenue compared to email blasts and newsletters. The reason is that they are tailored to your customers’ interests and current needs, based on their behavior on-site and/or online.
Simply put, having chosen an objective, you can customize the series of emails every subscriber gets through setting up your triggers and actions in a meaningful way. For example, every time your subscriber opens an email, they will receive another email or be transferred to a list for segmentation purposes. User engagement is bound to increase exponentially over time as you get to find out more about your audience’s preferences and classify them into more appropriate segments. Ultimately, you are increasing your ROI.
Automated workflow templates
Even if you are not an email marketing expert, Moosend provides you with all the background you need, both in terms of support and training, to build automated workflows fast. In that light, Moosend has launched a set of templates for automated workflows, called Recipes which you can swiftly customize to your liking, or save for later use. It’s actually a great place to start, since they embody the wisdom from a variety of industries and are molded into a fully-customizable workflow.
And our favorite magic word: It’s free.
Before we create our first Recipe, we are going to take a look at the structure and the variables we must take into consideration.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Variable 1: Your goal
To set your goal, consider the stage you are at now, and realistically determine the result you want to achieve in the short-term. Whatever the goal, go to our automated workflow builder with confidence and explore our Recipes. You’ll find what you are looking for, since Moosend’s Automations feature confers flexibility to all its users, whether they own an eshop or make part of a marketing.
As soon as you have set your goal, reverse engineer the steps: to get to that goal, what steps will your subscribers need to take?
For example, converting new subscribers into customers through automated workflows is a whole other thing compared to constructing a workflow that counteracts Cart Abandonment. Try to be as thorough in your speculations and scenarios as possible, to best align your email marketing strategy with your business’s overall marketing goals. The time you spend thinking about these is, in fact, your investment.
That is, your automations will take you a long way for a longer period, adding value in every step of the way.
Variable 2: Data
What data will you be needing?
Gather all the information you have on your audience. Determine what you know about them. If there is more you need to find out, and you need them to update their subscription details, send an email incentivizing this action, possibly with a discount.
There are two ways to go about it:
A) Subscription Form
Use this option to prompt your subscribers to fill in any number of custom fields. Ask relevant questions to get the answers you need. Anticipate that some of them can be less willing to share some particular details, and find your way around these by offering alternative custom fields.
Moosend’s platform empowers you to customize and add unlimited custom fields to your subscription form. In that way, you can gradually build and expand your database, as well as have everything you need to send targeted campaigns at your disposal.
B) Powerful Integrations
Integrating Moosend with another tool you have been using is easy! Moosend deeply integrates with the most popular, powerful ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and Zen Cart and allows you to effortlessly transfer your data directly to your Moosend account, and get started quickly. Discover the full list here.
Variable 3: Triggers and actions
As soon as you have set the goals you need and defined the data you are about to use, it is time to set the triggers and actions that will affect your workflow.
Triggers are the events that act as the starting point of your automations campaigns – i.e. when a website visitor proceeds to purchase or visits a specific URL. At the same time the actions you set for each step in your workflow determine the path that you want your audience to follow – i.e. If a recipient opens welcome email update a specific custom field. The combinations you can use are infinite so don’t forget to test which one brings better results.
Six automation recipes you can set up today
Having examined how email recipes work and how you can create them it’s time to look at some examples you can start using as of today. All of them are accompanied by the necessary details about their execution, and you can find them ready inside the Moosend Platform.
Start cooking right away and have six different email marketing recipes served in a few hours!
1. Welcome emails
The quickest demonstration of the power of email marketing automation across audiences is welcome emails. They usually have a high open rate (practically, they are the equivalent of a handshake to your new subscriber). A welcome email will define your business relationship with the new subscriber. Even more so, if these welcome emails are part of a coherent automated workflow, which has different email sequences, the subscriber will enter your sales funnel. Remember, the welcome email is your only chance to make a good first impression, so make it count with copy and imagery that will appeal to your audience!
Welcome emails offer you a chance to seize on your first contact with a customer and turn it into a long-term relationship. When someone has just made a purchase or signed up to your service or blog, it is the ideal moment to get back to them with a greeting and some additional information on how your business can help them. We highly recommend that you do this consistently with everyone who engages with you in one way or another, regardless of whether they have spent any money with you or not. Indeed, professionalism and a good attitude can go a long way.
For instance, Dropbox has a freemium business model that serves its purpose to demonstrate the value of the service. They only charge you when you decide to upgrade. So, the welcome email focuses on making it easy for you to use Dropbox on all your devices and make it easier for you to become a fan of their service. And ultimately, a customer!
If your users are not familiar with your tool, they might struggle to get to the value before they run out of time, patience or interest. Then they could be lost for good, when they could have been a repeat customer or high-value subscriber.
As a case in point, Fiverr handles this as follows:
That’s the first email you receive upon sign-up; pay attention to the big, bold Call-To-Action and clear, simple copy.
As soon as you click that button, you get the next email in the workflow:
Again, layout and copy are solid. Yet, it is evident through the workflow structure that I subscribers will receive this right after they demonstrate some investment by activating their account. That’s a really on-point welcome email workflow.
To build this workflow in Moosend, start with Automations> Create New Automation on the dashboard. Then, you’ll find our Recipes (automated workflow templates) which can be adapted to very specific needs by adding filters and other variables.
Consider using a ‘Subscriber Registered’ welcome email, then forking: separate those who opened from those who didn’t, and those who clicked the link from those who didn’t. All this can be done with a few mouse clicks, creating a workflow that follows the steps of your subscribers.
2. Cart abandonment
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest banes of ecommerce. It accounts for substantial losses amounting to an estimated $4.9 trillion globally. The major reasons people abandon products in their cart are typically website-oriented:
Failures of communication or structure during the purchase experience, mostly on the website, make up the top five reasons for abandonment.
So how can email automations help here? If the problem is on the website, shouldn’t the solution be there, too?
That’s true as far as it goes. But the website is just part of the overall customer experience: customers don’t care which channel or asset they’re engaging with, they only care about what they get out of the whole experience with your business.
Emails can encourage re-engagement, drive big increases in conversions and even increase the value of sales by reactivating stalled purchases.
Cart abandoners are often great customers in disguise. The proof? Abandoners who are successfully remarketed to spend 55% more than the abandoned-cart total when they return to websites. So while the most probable reason for cart abandonment appears to be prices, these aren’t people who don’t want to spend money.
But we have to be on them fast: If a consumer abandons a cart and doesn’t return within one hour, the chances of that purchase being completed drop by 90%. So this isn’t something that can be dealt with on a batched weekly basis: these retargeting workflows need to be in place and ready to send, so that they can be triggered and delivered quickly and efficiently within that crucial 1-hour window.
Remarketing email workflows should be supportive and customer-oriented. It’s OK to use urgency, scarcity, exclusivity – all the usual emotional triggers we’d apply to nudge someone toward a purchase. But remarketing automations should be about supporting the sale, not forcing it, especially when a high-value customer has indicated that they require nurturing.
Check out how Dell pulls this off:
Dell’s retargeting email doesn’t just warn the customer that their cart is about to expire; It tells them the time and date. This is a great application of dynamic content in a workflow.
3. Field Updates
Why are field updates so important?
While custom field updates might sound hard to implement, they are the red thread to get us out of the labyrinth of missing data. You see, every time a custom field is updated by a subscriber, it reflects a change in their life.
Fields are things like age, marital status, location, employment and education. When someone earns their Master’s, moves home or starts a new job, that’s a field update. It sounds like these would be few and far between, because they are so major. But they’re not: 78% of the names on your list will undergo a field update in the average year. It’s a major contributor to data decay, and it’s a major opportunity to reorient your marketing and offer supportive advice, contact and content.
Take a look at that list of fields again, and then take a look at this list of the most psychologically stressful experiences in a person’s life. Notice anything? When people undergo the kind of life change that leads to a new home, new spouse or new job, they are under so much pressure. Correctly-designed email automations can trigger an action that supports people in just that situation! Awesome, isn’t it?
Let’s consider these situations: Hank just moved to Houston, so he’s not interested in restaurants in the Los Angeles area anymore. Jane just got a new job, so her new role comes with new interests and responsibilities. Whether that means she needs to dress differently or brush up on her differential calculus, you can tailor your email workflows to be suited to customers in that situation and target their new role, location or life situation rather than their old one.
What’s less obvious is that since field update events happen at major life intersections, your users are probably not keeping you updated. If you know someone who would stop mid-move to think, ‘Hey, I wonder if all my ecommerce email subscriptions are up-to-date with my new address?’ you know some odd people for sure. Most of your subscribers don’t care if their data is up-to-date until they actually need to.
Nevertheless, they do care about the consequences of being on your list. Personalization is a must, and the younger your consumers are, the more vital it is. Emails that don’t address their interest and concerns will turn a third of your audience away:
So it makes sense to automate questionnaire workflows that shoot out from time to time, asking your audience if you still have their basic information right.
Over time, marketers need to make sure their subscribers remain engaged and reinforce this relationship. But sometimes life just gets in the way for consumers, and it’s weeks and then months since they looked at your email or visited your site. That’s money wasted when you contact them, it’s damaging to your deliverability score, and it degrades the goodwill you built up. You risk becoming the guest who doesn’t get it and won’t leave.
The solution can be as simple as falling back on inducements like free shipping, coupons or exclusive offers. You’re essentially increasing the value of opening an email, while leaving the cost the same: while few subscribers will do a cost-benefit analysis on a napkin before they open your emails, what you’re doing here is tipping that balance. These work, and if it ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it. But other tactics can also be effective.
Reminding consumers of the personal pleasure they’ve gotten from using your service, or the experience of being part of a community, can actually be more effective triggers for action. We know that people don’t like to let other people down, and we like to do things that resonate with our identities – our ideas of ourselves. With that in mind, check out this email from mountain bike retailer Chain Reaction:
This is using both approaches: on one hand, it’s foregrounding the value of being an engaged subscriber, complete with a little cash offer to sweeten the deal. On the other, the imagery speaks to group identity. This email visually assumes that you’ve been disengaged because you’ve been out doing something fun. They’re ringing both bells – and if you scroll down that list of top five reasons, you’ll see what’s practically a checklist of email best practices. Exclusivity? That would be number five. Personalization? Number one. All of these are available through Moosend.
As far as disengagement goes, it helps if you know the reason behind it. You can ask, or you can track customer behavior and see what correlates with disengagement, then seek to tackle the underlying cause. Some folks will lose interest and move on. That’s unavoidable. But you can recapture a lot of your enthusiastic audience this way.
5. Upselling and Cross-Selling
Efforts to upsell and cross-sell are the bread and butter of digital marketers. And they’re a part of every ecommerce strategy worth its salt. However, whenever you offer an item of higher value, you’re upselling: whenever you’re offering subscribers additional services you’re cross-selling. So, B2B marketers offering a range of packages, are cross-selling too; consultants moving clients over to a retainer, or SaaS providers offering a premium package packed with benefits, are upselling, just like an etailer offering you this year’s iPad.
While a lot of cross-selling and upselling takes place on site, there’s a huge amount of scope for email to be effective here, but they rely on fast, targeted, automated email working in conjunction with your site to be effective.
Upselling email automations are especially well-suited to subscription purchases – like SaaS products. While the majority of consumer facing retail upsells take place on-site and are often highly effective built into the checkout process, business subscriptions are susceptible to upsells by email because they’re longer term, the purchases are made less impulsively and the payment model is more conducive to upselling after initial purchase.
But single-purchase consumer items can be upsold by email too, if there’s enough time for the customer to rethink their decision. Here’s Cross Country Trains, encouraging people to try First Class.
Upselling requires interest, not necessarily a purchase. Cross-selling is similar, but far less effective- while upsells work about 4% of the time, cross-sells are effective only about 0.5% of the time, and are most effective on-site, at the checkout (where they hit 3% conversion). Emails recommending ‘goes with’ or ‘you may also like’ can be effective, though!
6. Refill and Replenishment
While some purchases are one-shot things, and others are rolling repeats in the background, some are recurring. Purchases like razorblades are so reliably recurring that Gillette notoriously (and successfully) built a business model around it, one that continues to pay off for manufacturers of printers and razors right up to the present. But other recurring purchases might be oil or checkups for cars, lightbulbs, razorblades, fuel for stoves, generators and boilers, fish food… anything where the customer is going to want another one the same in a little while is a cyclical or recurring sale.
Email is perfect for these types of sales. And automated email workflows are ideal because they allow you to reach out at just the right time, triggering the beginning of the workflow by ‘time since…’ triggers. If you know a customer bought a month’s worth of razorblades three weeks ago, now would be a good time to suggest topping up, right? Especially in subscription retail.
Here’s how Rockin’ Wellness reminds you that you’re running low on whey powder:
If, like many gym-goers, you make your supplement purchases monthly, this makes sense for the consumer too: it’s probably an email that’s actually convenient to receive.
Building effective email automations is the key to delivering the personalized, timely content that audiences respond to- and increasingly demand. And using ready-made automation recipes is the key to a simple, repeatable process that lets you construct the automations you need to engage your audience and support other marketing efforts – without it becoming your full-time job.