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How to Breathe Life Back Into Your Automated Emails [Slideshare]

How to Breathe Life Back Into Your Automated Emails [Slideshare] Blog Feature

Vin Gaeta

Managing Director, IMPACT+ Division, 10+ Years of Sales & Marketing Experience, 12+ Years of Development Experience, 14+ Years of Project Management Expertise

March 24th, 2016 min read

zombie-automated-emailsI’m going to paint a picture.

You’re a marketing pro. You’ve sent thousands of emails, set up numerous drip campaigns (or as we like to call them, workflows), and you know exactly what you’re doing.

Everything is going great -- until it happens.

A user is browsing your site and triggers an event that sends an automated email, but not just any automated email; an old, neglected email that has become a shade of its former self.

Like a zombie, it’s come back with a vengeance and is infecting all of your other marketing tactics; scaring away leads that might have otherwise become customers.

Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but you get the point.

Email automation is an important piece to many successful campaigns, so important UserTesting and IMPACT did a webinar on it (check out the slides below), but too many people are doing them wrong.

 

Zombie emails are such a big threat, I wanted to make sure you had a surefire survival plan.

Fret not! With a few simple steps, you’ll make sure that your emails stay human (and don’t join the living dead.)

Fight Your Zombies: Update Your Content

If you’ve been using automated emails for longer than three months, there’s a good chance a few that have become neglected or out of date. It’s no fault of your own. You’ve got shifting priorities, new projects, a growing team, and meetings all day.

But no matter how great things are now, those old emails linger around and likely get sent out at the worst possible time (usually when a user is close making a decision).

These zombie emails are no longer helpful, the content is dated, and potentially confusing to your user. All things that, for obvious reasons, are detrimental to your user journey.

What can you do?

One simple, but critical fix for this is settings reminders, maybe quarterly, to go back and make sure these automated emails are still optimized and helping your users.

More often than not, we focus on the newest campaign or project, and these emails can cling to life much longer than they should.

By setting reminders for yourself, you can take what could potentially be a zombie situation and update it with your most recent offers, keeping it relevant to your users, and enabling it to continue a healthy, user converting life.

Hold yourself to the time you block out; it’s an important part of staying ahead of the zombie horde.

Keeping your emails alive and human-friendly isn’t just about updating your old emails. Starting with the right strategy is vital to any email’s longevity and survival (err, conversion rate).

Start with the Right Strategy: Segment Your Contacts

Let’s talk initial strategy. What’s the plan of attack? Do you go in, proverbial guns blazing, to your email blasts and send to your whole contact database?

Sure you can, but there’s definitely going to be collateral damage.

The best approach requires a little finesse.

What can you do?

The better strategy is to segment your list into organized mini-databases of contacts. This way you know that your message will resonate with them, and no one will get caught in the email crossfire.

The single biggest threat you want to avoid is being hit with a spam designation, not only for immediate loss of the contact (which have been a great lead) but for the effect it has on your email send rates.

Create contact lists based on their habits on the website, such as how many blogs in a certain topic they read (if they’ve read eight blogs on your site about Ironman comics, they probably like Ironman comics).

That allows you to accurately target a specific audience with the best message for them, ensuring you’ll hit the market and move your user along their journey.

Other ways to segment contacts can be by persona (tip: using a “Best Describes Me:” dropdown field to allow the user to self-designate is a great way to do this), number of pages viewed, number of downloads, or even time spent on the site.

Make sure all emails, automated or not, only go to the audience that will benefit from it the most.

There’s one last weapon in our tool belt to help fight zombie emails and untargeted emails. It’s one surefire way to make sure your emails and content aren’t misfiring.

What Personalization Should Be

Personalization is a tricky beast to tame. If used well, it can take a mundane UX and make it remarkable. If used poorly,however, it can completely confuse and push users away.

There are numerous things you can do to personalize your user’s experience. The first one that I’m sure pops into your mind is using their first name, but, personalization can be so much more.

Think about Amazon. If you’ve ever used the online shopping giant, the next time you return you’ll be served up with recommendations for items that best suit you (based on your previous searches and data).

That type of customized UX is the personalization I’m talking about.

If you’re gathering the right user data, such as page views, time on page, and others, you can serve a completely unique experience for each user.

For example, if you have a user’s email and are tracking their habits, why not send them a quick email after they’ve read three posts and visited three service pages on the same topic?

They’re probably ready to take some form of action and your personalized email can give them the push they need.

Let’s be honest, everyone is using first name personalization; So much so, it’s starting to feel impersonal.

Gear Up for Battle

Zombie emails and content can be a real conversion killer.

The only surefire way to eliminate the threat is to start with a solid strategy, that should hopefully incorporate some real personalization (remember, no names), and continuously improve it.

Keep your content, automated emails, and workflows fresh, relevant, and lively.

To learn more about how to do this, click the button below to watch our on-demand webinar, “How to bring your automated emails back from the dead” hosted by myself, my colleague, Erica Dube, and UserTesting’s Hannah Alvarez.

Remember, only you can prevent zombie emails.

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