The ultimate checklist to a successful email marketing automation strategy

Amid COVID-19 many brands have switched off their email automations entirely, some have just left their old automations to run and others haven’t yet started on the journey to automate their email marketing campaigns. All three scenarios are perfect for getting back to basics on re-assessing your marketing automation strategy as we must make the move to a new normal, this checklist will give you a guide to all the elements you need to be thinking of before you start.

Why should we automate our email marketing campaigns?

Marketing automation is a long term strategy that will not only reap rewards today, but continue to drive results for the business into the future.

  1. Improves the customer experience – Marketing automation allows you to send more relevant communications that are also useful to the consumer
  2. Increases ROI – Drive great efficiency from teams and marketing resources
  3. Increase average order value (AOV) – Many automated lifecycle campaigns, such as cross sell/upsell and basket abandonment campaigns can significantly increase the average order value
  4. Recover lost revenues – Some brands can increase their business revenues by as much as 12% with single automated campaigns such as basket abandonment
  5. Increase customer lifetime value – By automating email campaigns such as welcome , reviews and lapsed campaigns can have a big impact on the customer lifetime value

Despite these great reasons the DMA Marketer Email Tracker 2020 found that UK marketers are still having trouble sophisticating their marketing automation strategy, with 44% just scratching the surface and a huge 14% not doing any marketing automation.

However despite the challenges, marketing automation remains a key strategy for brand marketers moving forward. Marketers understand that marketing automation drives a more efficient team, ensuring that time is freed up to focus on more strategic activity. (BDO Martech Landscape)

When starting on your journey, or even trying to increase your current marketing automation sophistication this 9 step checklist will give you the helping hand you might need.

Objective setting

Before starting it is essential that you set your goals. Start with mapping out your customer lifecycle. An example will include the following:-

  • Welcome
  • Nurture
  • Browse Abandon
  • Cart/Form Abandon
  • Upsell/Educate
  • Crosssell/Promote
  • Loyalty
  • Renew
  • Lapsed Engagement
  • Lapsed Purchase

Once you have mapped your customer journey, identify the goals for each of these points in the lifecycle. Document what it is you want the consumer to do when they get these communications and remember to identify what value you are delivering too.  Set clear KPI’s for each of these so when you come back to assessing their success you know what good looks like! See our guide on SMART planning for more.

Frequency

At this point think about the buying journey, what is reasonable in terms of frequency. Avoid over communicating with your customer by sending too many emails in too short a time period. Setting frequency rules on your automations will need to take into consideration the following:-

  • Prioritisation of messages – e.g. A basket abandoned email is more important than a newsletter
  • Cap the number of emails received in a given timeframe
  • Cap certain automations – e.g. Only send a browse abandoned email once a month

Data

Disconnected data sources and poor data quality are often a huge barrier to implementing marketing automation well. To implement marketing automation well you need to be thinking of the following:-

  • Connect the dots, ensure you have a solution that can bring the necessary data together
  • Ensuring the movement of data is achieved in real time or as close to as possible – this will ensure you maximise the most out of your automations
  • Decide what data to keep and what has reached it sell by date

Tagging the website

As you improve the sophistication of your marketing automation strategy using predictive behaviour more of your site will need to be tagged in order to capture the browsing data. This is a very simple job, but don’t neglect it otherwise you will not be able to gather the best data to inform the decision making. If you are not responsible for your brand website you will need to ensure the web team understand the project and carve out the time to make this happen.

Content

Many automations are offer led, a welcome might have an offer that nudges some to a first offer and others to a second and so on. At other times you may be setting up a content trigger if the customer has behaved in a certain way on the website. The content you put in these emails should tie back to the objective you have set out at the initial stage in your planning.

Consistent brand experience

Putting the customer at the centre of your automations is best practice. It is important that you consider all touchpoints, ensuring they get the same experience across all channels including email, web, mobile, and store.

One of the most important best practices of email is to ensure the customer can just reply to any email and get a response. If you do this you must make sure you have the processes in place to monitor and respond to all replies – even with an automated message.

Testing!

As your automated messages develop, remember to keep on testing and checking that the existing messages are running as you would expect. Testing regularly mean that you’re always delivering the best performing campaigns.

Future proofing

The issue with email automations is that they are often set up and then forgotten, teams change and new plans take hold whilst old automations run in the background with teams unaware that they are running with an old logo, T’s &C’s, or even offer. To avoid this happening always keep a clear record of all of your automations so that you know what your customers are receiving, when and which messages should override less important automations. Ensure you document the rules and logic set behind each campaign too.

Finally

As you have probably discovered email marketing automations need planning and time to think about the strategy aligned to your overall marketing strategy. Many marketing teams don’t start because of a lack of skills or understanding in how best to use their marketing automation technology. This is where your email marketing platform or marketing automation provider comes in. They should be working with you to help you understand your goals and implement the more complex campaigns.

The recommendation is to start with a couple of key automations that will drive the most impact these may be the Welcome, abandoned basket or abandoned form as well as a lapsed campaign. Once these key campaigns are embedded, you can start filling in the gaps through the customer lifecycle.

The team at Pure360 are setting up automated campaigns for customers every day. To find out how we can help you with your marketing automation requirements don’t hesitate to speak with us. Fill out the form and we will be in touch.

Meet the author

Komal Helyer

VP Marketing