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Asking the Experts

Asking the Experts: How to Keep Your Marketing Messages Working in Your Favor

Finding success with email campaign flows is easier than you think, and we have the tips

Keith Loria
April 11 2019

Automated email marketing and drip campaigns allow companies to increase performance and grow revenue.

Creating a drip series is as simple as identifying the flow of emails you want to send, whom to send them to, and how often. Triggered messaging flows shouldn’t be confused with traditional messaging campaigns, which entail segmenting customers into large groups and giving them all the same treatment. Triggered message streams are inherently personalized, addressing individuals and responding directly to actions they make.

Automated email messages triggered by user behavior average 70% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates, proving that users interact more with brands when the customer’s actions

Jason Grunberg, VP of marketing at Sailthru, noted that marketers are increasingly moving away from batch-and-blast and focusing on triggered messages, which are sent in direct response to a customer’s action such as making a purchase or abandoning their cart.

“Triggers often consist of a flow of messages, which gives a brand the opportunity to help transition someone from one-time buyer to loyal customer,” he said. “When someone signs up for your email or downloads your app, they’re making it clear that they want to hear from your brand. The initial personalized welcome message should let them know they’ve made the right decision and reinforce the attributes that make your brand unique.”

Measured Results Marketing’s head of marketing and operations, Mike Rejmaniak, said that it’s important to start a campaign by targeting a segment you believe will generate the most impact on your business.

“This will enable you to establish early ROI for your campaign and the time spent developing and managing the campaign,” he said. “Not only does this set the bar for future campaign activities, but it helps you identify barriers to success early on.”

Just remember to keep things relevant and resist the temptation to pack lots of messages into a single communication. Focusing on one primary message, he noted, is the best way to get through to an audience.

“Your audience has a limited amount of time to take in content every day, so if you want to make sure yours gets read, make your message relevant and impactful,” Rejmaniak said. “Content should be relevant to where the buyer is in their journey, and segmenting your list can help you target messaging by persona and lifecycle stage.”

A Plan in Action

Before launching an automated campaign, a marketer should develop a key messaging strategy early on, then plan the entire workflow and associated content before launching the campaign.

“Campaign content that is developed piecemeal often gets added to a campaign late, forcing you to pause and restart your workflow frequently,” Rejmaniak said. “Ready to get writing? Start as early as you can; content delays are one of the top reasons a campaign starts late.”

When first constructing workflows in the marketing automation system, factor in mechanisms which can both remove people from the nurture based on their engagement with the content, and add them back to the proper stage in the nurture if need be.

Anna Grimes, a strategist with Golden Spiral Marketing, said that eventually, a company should exclude the unengaged.

“Use Hubspot or some other automation tool to exclude those who haven’t engaged in 15 emails,” she said. “Create a custom list in the list tool if you want to exclude individuals before they hit the 15-email mark.”

You should also plan time to review your campaigns about once per quarter to look at metrics, adjust your strategy based on that data, and add new content.

Tips for Success

An increasingly key element to effective email campaigns is offering more value than customers expect.

Timing is something that needs to be considered.  For example, if your drip is going out five days in a row from Monday to Friday at 9:30 p.m., get ready to say hello to a whole lot of nothing.

Bernard May, CEO of National Positions, said, “Space out your automation, test different days and times – usually mid-week in the morning hours,” he said. “You can have great content, great value add material, and a great email format, but if nobody sees it, you have a bigger problem.”

Email overload results in ignored emails at best, or at worst, emails marked as spam. If you put a prospect or customer into multiple workflows, be sure to set a parameter that limits the number of emails they receive from your brand over a given time period.

Grunberg said that sending a personalized welcome messaging stream is always a great idea to reinforce subscription expectations, and suggested some important questions to consider: is the cadence and content of your messages attractive? Are you sending too many or too few?

“Test several welcome streams to see what performs well with your customer base and consider personalizing that content over time based on what channel the customer was acquired from,” he said. “Marketers need to manage expectations for new subscribers. When someone signs up, tell them what you are going to send and how often you’re going to send it. You should also give the option to customize those preferences. Once the expectations are set, stick to what you said. If your recipient expects a weekly email, don’t just start messaging them daily.”

Grimes emphasized the importance of including an actual button. Providing a clear next step helps nurture prospective and current clients no matter where they are in the funnel, and is an essential conversion tool.

Remember, striving to make a sale every time a new person visits your site is an incredibly ambitious goal. It’s far more effective to give the user something of true value (for free, ideally) and build a strong relationship with them over time.

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