Updated on September 17, 2021 by Ivana
As a small business owner, your long-term goal is to expand your business as far and wide as you can. To do this, you need to reach and keep the right customers. But how?
Use the technological fruits of this modern era we happened to be born in!
To point out, email automation is the exact tool needed for launching small businesses into the competitive waters of the global online market.
Human civilization has never before been offered such technological advancements at the disposal of the general public. It’s a shame to stay ignorant of them.
Given one of the latest surveys done by Semrush, the biggest marketing challenge for small businesses in 2020 was the limited marketing budget. Which is quite understandable.
Taking into consideration the global economic change on the horizon due to Covid-19, the nature of the virus that propels us to dive deeper into the digital world, and the current major challenges small businesses are facing under these circumstances – we can see the importance of understanding why email automation is just the right thing to implement into your business strategy.
Email marketing has the highest return on investment rate of all other digital marketing channels
According to Litmus’ report of 2019, “brands in the US and brands in Europe and the UK generated very similar returns on their investments in email marketing, with EU countries’ average ROI of 43:1 edging out America’s 40:1.”
That is approximately €43 for every €1 you spent.
You are only paying for an email service provider (ESP)
You just have to “Set the controls for the heart of the sun” – Pink Floyd.
But let’s first talk about ESPs.
What are ESPs?
ESP stands for Email Service Provider(s) and they can be separated into three more general categories based on their main differences – the purpose of usage and the number of emails you can send at the same time simultaneously.
The first category includes those that we are more familiar with: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and Zoho mail among the most popular ESPs that offer free services.
They are used for both personal and business needs. I am sure you are already using at least one of them. They are more suited for sending emails one-on-one or let’s say one-on-few including a colleague or a client.
Gmail, for example, has very powerful spam filters and supports multiple authentication systems. They make sure that you are receiving the mail from the exact sender who it says it’s from. This is a very important feature because it increases the trust between senders.
Yahoo Mail is one of the earliest email service providers. Therefore, it is predominately used and trusted by the older generations. It offers a built-in web search tool and a huge storage capacity.
However, neither Gmail, Yahoo Mail, nor the other mentioned above, offer all the features that you would need to reach that rate of ROI in the highly competitive market, except manually.
Email automation allows for smart management of the resources available to small businesses on the rise
This is where the second category of ESPs comes in. Sendinblue, Constant Contact, AWeber, and Mailchimp to name a few, are email service providers that allow you to send bulk, personalized emails to each one of your customers from your database, based on their domain reputation.
In other words, these ESPs offer email automation services.
Should you do it manually, sending out hundreds of emails one-by-one is basically a waste of time, effort, and money. The very resources that startups are most in the need of and should carefully manage, for merely sustaining and growing the business.
How does this make sense?
As a small business owner, you are compensating for human resources with the appropriate ESP of your choice. Once you decide on one and set it up according to your business needs, it will do the job automatically.
It fills the place of an extra employee that otherwise you would have to pay regularly to do the manual, not to mention mundane and a mountain of work required.
The monthly prices for an ESPs account vary from $7.00 (Mailerlite) up to $25.00 (Sendinblue). Many of them offer a free plan or a free trial for you to test the waters.
One of the most popular for beginners is Mailchimp, because of its impeccable devotion to user-friendliness, “how-to” guided videos, and customer support on all levels, email/phone/live chat.
The third category offers email automation plus lead generation services all together
And might be the best choice for small businesses to speed up their growth into the digital market.
Those are the tools that can do the email automation for you but are based on direct integration with an email provider from the first category.
Tools like Sales.Rocks offer a simple, yet powerful email campaign builder and scheduler. In comparison to the previous category of ESP, these tools have a direct setup of your Gmail or Yahoo account that will take the role of the email sender.
With an SMTP/IMAP connection, you can set up the email sending and receiving on the Sales.Rocks platform. Also, craft an automated email sequence with custom tags, triggers, and delays for the most personalized approach to your email outreach.
And by the cost of nothing!
These tools can come in integrated to similar tools for lead generation.
How email automation helps small businesses compete with big companies?
According to data shared by Campaign Monitor, highly targeted email campaigns using segmented lists can generate up to 760% more revenue than traditional email blasts. (neilpatel.com)
By now, you get the idea that email automation makes it possible for you to reach the right customers with the right offer at just the right time depending on their current level of interest in your business.
Each one of them at once! No matter how big or small your database of email subscribers is.
By connecting your website analytics with your ESP, you are able to send those automated emails based on user activity, segmentation, and personalization.
With your segmentation and personalization done the right way, you can target your customers based on their preferences in your products or services, their behavior, and previous orders.
They will love you for it! Show them you care by sending content that they would be interested in, simply because you are following their interests. Call them by their name, give them what they are looking for. When in doubt, help them choose you by providing value to their lives!
Makes sense, right?
According to a study, marketers who invest in advanced personalization efforts can see more than $20 in return for every dollar they invest. (smallbiztrends.com)
To put it simply, email automation helps small businesses to stay connected to their customers every step of the way and to guide them through the buyer’s journey.
By holding your customer’s hand as they travel the journey is how you compete with the bigger sharks in the ocean.
Align your automated emails with the buyer’s journey and the sales funnel
The buyer’s journey is the decision-making process a person goes through before completing a purchase.
It starts with the consumer identifying a need for something and looking for ways to resolve that need.
Is your product or service what they need?
If so, help them choose you instead of a big company, by showing you care for each of your customer’s needs and interests as discussed above.
The sales funnel, on the other hand, keeps an eye on how close a buyer is to complete a purchase from a specific company. Once the lead has chosen your product or services your aim is to nurture their loyalty to retain them.
For instance, you can set the ESP to send a welcome email to every new subscriber on your website. By sharing your most famous blog posts you are introducing them to your content, and keeping your brand ‘in their mind’. Moreover, you are providing knowledge and information on the subject they were initially looking for.
Send a “Thank you for choosing us” automated email after a customer has completed a purchase on your e-commerce website. Automated email campaigns can be activated based on your customer’s activity and interaction with your service. How many times do they log in? The clicks they make, the purchases they make, etc.
Include your support email in your sequence. Support is one of the most important segments in today’s B2B provider-client relationship. Guide them on how to use your product, offer them assistance, share the latest fixes and requests with the clients.
Make customer success part of the customer journey!
There are many ways to use email automation to directly engage the leads in their inbox, making it one of the most valuable nurturing tools for small businesses.
By nurturing your contact database you are building a strong relationship with your customers
Treat your contact database as a living thing.
It is born the same day your business was born and from this point onwards they both grow together. Build a routine to feed it with new contacts regularly, depending on your business needs. Water it with all the information you can gather from your contacts.
The more information it has, the better you can segment your contacts, and therefore – you can better target them. As you better target them, your customers will naturally feel more appreciated and close to your brand.
This is how you build a strong relationship with your prospects and customers.
If your contact database is still “just a baby”, devote more of your time to growing it. There are many options to choose from for building a quality contact list.
Also, don’t forget to weed out those contacts that are not interacting with your emails or newsletters. Over time, some of your contacts will stop using that mail address. Others will be hard bounces straight away due to the recipient’s address being invalid.
By regularly removing them from your database you take care of the sending reputation of your domain, and IP address.
Triggered emails have higher Open Rates and Click-Through Rates (CTR) than standard newsletters
Regular newsletters can quickly lose their spark by generating routine messages.
They usually have a poor record of low open and click-through rates. Particularly when it comes to general updates your users do not really care about.
Surprise your customers!
A person who visits a particular page on your site, and spends enough time on the page to read the content may qualify to receive a triggered email as an interested customer into that specific topic.
Why not surprise him or her by delivering a free e-book on that topic directly into their inbox? How cool is that?
When nurturing is done well, it feels natural, provides an ease to your customers, and builds trust.
Marketing Automation will continue to grow going into 2021
The Automation Software market is expected to continue growing at 8.55% unlocking a market capitalization of US$ 6.4 billion by 2024 – according to statistics.
As more and more businesses embrace marketing automation, if you want your small business to stay in the game, you will have to adapt.
As a matter of fact, email automation is deemed The King of marketing automation.
The Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Excellence report from 2018 suggests that the top three most used marketing automation techniques are email automation (64%), profiling and targeting (26%), and personalization through dynamic content (23%). (funneloverload.com)
The sooner you recognize the benefits and start using email automation, the faster the speed of your business growth in the competitive market. Don’t swim against the current, flow with it. Get better and better at playing the game with each passing day.
Your customers will appreciate your efforts.