Email marketing is one of the leading ways businesses can build and maintain relationships with customers, and ultimately, encourage loyalty to their brands. Brand loyalty is becoming even more effectively nurtured with email marketing autoresponders, which are the main component of email marketing automation.
Businesses are increasingly taking advantage of this valuable loyalty-building tool. In October 2013, an Epsilon study found that "In Q2 2013, triggered messages accounted for 3.5% of total e-mail volume, an increase over this same time last year (2.6%)." And according to a study by Software Advice, between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013, "The vast majority of buyers (91 percent) were evaluating marketing automation software for the first time." (Tweet This Stat)
This makes sense. The same Epsilon study also found that "Triggered messages continued to perform well, reporting 152.3% higher click rates than [business-as-usual] messages." (Tweet This Stat) Autoresponders not only drive loyalty, they also drive engagement.
Why Foster Brand Loyalty?
When businesses schedule marketing emails to automatically send upon specific trigger events, recipients feel like the business is paying attention and cares enough to respond. Thus, brand loyalty is grown.
People tend to interact with and buy from businesses that they know and trust. When we think of something we need, we don't think of just any place we can get it. We think of the one or few places we're most familiar with. This is the same reaction every business wants its potential customers to have; when someone thinks of a specific product or service, you want them to remember your brand.
That's why email autoresponders work so well to foster brand loyalty. They help keep your brand in the minds of potential customers, so when subscribers are ready to invest in the products or services you offer, they think of you.
How Email Marketing Autoresponders Work
"Autoresponder" is just a fancy name for an email you schedule to automatically send when a subscriber performs a specific action, or when a preselected time arrives. Your specific options for automating emails depend on which email marketing software you use, but these two trigger functions are fairly standard.
Some software providers, however, do offer advanced autoresponder tools to make automated email campaigns easier and more effective. The GetResponse email marketing platform, for example, offers a long list of possible triggers for automated emails. Time-based triggers include day-of-week selection and the option to send emails by automatically calculated time intervals. Event-based triggers include opens and clicks, changes in contact preferences, completed transactions, important dates/holidays, new subscriber sign-ups, etc.
Generally, autoresponder emails are simple to set up. You create the email(s), choose an event trigger and which recipients should receive the email, and watch email automation work on its own.
How Your Business Can Use Email Marketing Autoresponders
Email marketing autoresponders can be used in a wide variety of ways. You can get as creative as you want, but the following three tactics are some of the most popular:
1. Welcome New Subscribers
Whenever a new subscriber is added to your email marketing list, your business can automatically send your newbie an automated series (also known as a drip campaign) of welcome emails. This gives you the opportunity to remind them that they're interested in your business, thank them for their interest, personally welcome them into your "club", and open the door to conversions by introducing a special offer.
Overall, welcome emails should aim to make new subscribers feel personally connected to your brand, and encourage them to find out more about you (Tweet This).
Sample Welcome Email Series:
- 15 minutes to 1 hour after sign-up: Thank you message with soft call-to-action.
- 2-4 days after sign-up: Promotional email featuring top products or company benefits.
- 7 days after sign-up: Personal note from company CEO/top executive with special offer.
In addition to fostering brand loyalty right off the bat, welcome emails for new subscribers also help you set expectations for future email interaction.
2. Send Automatic Birthday Wishes
Whether or not your business offers birthday rewards, you can still solidify your customer relationships by sending "happy birthday" emails. Autoresponders make this easy to do. You can create a special birthday email, and automate it to go out whenever a subscriber's birthday comes up.
In order to use birthday autoresponder emails, your business will need to collect the birth dates of your subscribers. If you haven't already done this, you can ask your existing subscribers to share the birth dates for your new birthday program, and add an optional birth date field to your email sign-up form.
3. Follow-Up Email Clicks with Related Messages
If your email marketing service provider allows you to automate emails based on clicks, you're in luck. This is one of the coolest autoresponder possibilities (Tweet This).
When a subscriber clicks a link in one of your marketing emails, you know that person is interested in whatever they clicked on. That click is the perfect opportunity to engage with your customer by offering additional information through an automated follow-up email.
If your subscriber clicks on an email link for more information about a new special offer, you could send a follow-up email about that same deal the day before it's set to expire, giving your subscriber one last opportunity to capitalize on something you already know they were previously intrigued by.
If your business hasn't used email marketing autoresponders and you're ready to test the email marketing automation waters, look over these guides when you get started. They can help you make the most of your efforts.
- 7 Tips to Create an Autoresponder Series That Really Engages Your Readers
- How to Effectively Use Email Auto-Responders Without Being Annoying
- Why Marketing Automation Fails: 3 Common Reasons
Finally, when you've set up your autoresponders, remember to check your results and tweak accordingly. Email marketing automation should be tested and analyzed just like any other marketing channel. Good luck!
Author Bio: Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.
(Image via freedigitalphotos.net)