I’ve sent email marketing sequences since 2007 and I’ve worked with hundreds of brands in just about every industry you can think of.
Over the past 15 years, there have been five recurring problems with automated email sequences that come up time and time again.
So as you’ve probably guessed in this article we’re going to tackle each of these problems head-on and give you actionable strategies to overcome them.
You can send two types of emails.
Before we dive in it’s important to make the distinction between two types of emails you can send to your email list: broadcasts and sequences.
Some email platforms use different names such as “customer journey” or “notification“, but they’re all one in the same thing.
So what’s the difference?
What are broadcast emails?
Broadcast emails are one-off newsletters that you send to your subscribers.
You write the email, maybe schedule it to go out at a specific time, and hit send.
A lot of businesses use broadcast emails to send a newsletter to their subscribers, but there are drawbacks.
Time invested is one of the biggest problems with broadcast emails seconded by it being more difficult to run split tests.
A split test (sometimes called an a/b test) is when you send more than one variation of an email to see what gets the best open rates and click rates.
For example two different subject lines or layouts.
What are sequence emails?
I don’t know why, but I get nerdy about email sequences. There’s something about them that I love.
Sequence emails are automated email campaigns that are sent when certain conditions are met.
Conditions may depend on what actions people do, such as visiting your website or clicking a link, or if they’re added to a specific newsletter list or email segment.
Finance Online found that 56% of marketers use email automation for segmenting their email lists.
For example, if you decide to join GoGoChimp’s email list to get this sweet landing page template, then we automatically send you an email with a link to the PDF guide.
But that’s not all…
You’re also automatically added to a specific email segment created for people interested in landing pages.
What’s magical about this is that you get relevant emails sent to you about landing pages which can result in 8x more opens and clicks.
Before you get started with email marketing or email sequences, decide which of the two approaches works best for your business.
Take into consideration a realistic assessment of your available resources and the goals that you want to accomplish.
Email automation is easy peasy.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but email automation is dope at helping businesses enhance efficiency and ensure a consistent line of communication with customers.
While this is true, the end goal for most email sequences is to make money.
Now I would never advise going for a hard sell with every email you send – a softer approach over a series of emails works best – but you do run a business and that means you need to make a profit.
So we dive into five common frustrations associated with automated email sequences, your revenue and profit margins will be at the forefront of how we solve them.
One of the most common problems companies face with email automation is working out how to use personalization.
Personalization in emails goes beyond merely addressing recipients by their names (e.g. “Hey Chris, want to buy this?…“).
Customers are hyper-sensitive about getting emails; if you send a generic email that isn’t tailored to the recipient and their specific needs then that bad boy is going straight to the SPAM folder.
Why it’s important to fix email personalization.
In 2023, it’s about creating a bespoke experience that resonates with the recipient.
Effective email personalization fosters a connection between the brand and the recipient, enhancing engagement and ultimately driving conversions.
How to fix email personalization.
Most email platforms like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign and AWeber have analytics or reports on the performance of your broadcast emails and sequences.
They collect a huge amount of data about your email list, to help you and their platform, better understand your audience’s behaviour and preferences.
This data can be used to create email segments.
What are email segments?
Email segments (aka a segmented email list) is a smaller group of people from your larger email list who like and do certain things.
For example, if I buy a men’s blue shirt, then you may add me to one or more related segments such as “men’s clothing” or “blue men’s clothing“.
Your email platform will allow you to automatically implement dynamic content that aligns with the recipient’s interactions and needs.
Using the above example, my dynamic email may include a matching blue jumper and tie. As the content is relevant to me and compliments my previous purchase, I will be far more inclined to buy.
In most cases, this can be done with the click of a button.
Email engagement rates and deliverability.
Every once in a while some balloon comes along and tells you email is a rotten medium for getting sales.
Feel free to kick them as hard as you want because in 2023:
- 77% of B2B buyers prefer to be contacted over email
- 29% of marketers find email to be the best medium for producing sales
- 31% use email as their main channel for lead nurturing
The trick to the best email sequences is maintaining engagement rates and ensuring email deliverability. Unfortunately, they are common hurdles businesses have to overcome.
Excessive emails can lead to fatigue and unsubscribes, while too few may result in people forgetting who you are and what you offer.
Why engagement and deliverability are important to fix.
A balanced engagement rate is indicative of a healthy email marketing strategy, which in turn contributes to achieving business objectives.
How to fix email engagement and deliverability.
- Regardless of if you decide to send broadcast emails or set up an automated email sequence, establish a consistent yet non-intrusive email schedule
- Never send cold email campaigns from your primary domain. Period. This often leads to the sender’s domain name being blacklisted
- Employ deliverability best practices like using recognizable sender names and maintaining a clean subscriber list
3. The email segment conundrum.
A one-size-fits-all approach due to lack of segmentation often results in irrelevant content reaching the wrong audience.
Why segmentation is important to fix.
Segmented email lists ensure that the content you’re firing out is pertinent to the recipient. When done right, segments enhance engagement and reduce unsubscribe rates.
How to fix email segments.
- Segment your list based on important criteria like demographic information, purchase history, and engagement levels
- Tailor content to address the specific needs and interests of each segment which in some cases can be done automatically using dynamic content
4. Outdated automated email sequences.
The problem with old email sequences.
Automated campaigns, once set, are often neglected, leading to outdated content being circulated.
Why it’s important to fix outdated email sequences.
Refreshing automated emails in sequences and campaigns ensures that the content remains relevant, engaging, and effective in achieving the desired objectives.
How to fix outdated email sequences.
- Regularly review and update email campaigns based on performance data. This may be a routine overview on a monthly basis or perhaps a weekly basis.
- If you happen to be working with an external company to manage your email campaigns then ensure that you are provided with a monthly report
- Implement a system to track and manage all email campaigns efficiently so that you know what to fix and how to fix it
5. The email marketing strategy.
The problem with the wrong email marketing strategies.
A lot of businesses fail to understand that finding the right strategy for email marketing is often a time-consuming and iterative process.
This may sound like a scapegoat, but there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” as every business and industry is different.
Why it’s important to fix your email marketing strategy.
An effective strategy optimizes resources and maximizes returns on email marketing investments.
How to fix email marketing strategies.
- Adopt a test, learn, and optimize approach to continuously refine your email marketing strategy
- Stay updated on email marketing trends and best practices to ensure your strategy remains effective in the evolving digital landscape
- Use what you have learned. Nothing trumps experience and if you know your business and your customers inside and out then it will serve you well in creating impactful email marketing strategies
Let ‘er rip tater chimp.
In conclusion, boys ‘n gals (and everyone in between) getting good at email campaigns requires a keen understanding of common frustrations and a proactive approach to addressing them.
By tackling these challenges face-on, businesses can ensure their email automation efforts drive meaningful engagement and tangible results.