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Automated emails are behavior-driven emails sent in response to the customer's actions. They enable marketers to personalize communication with the customers and promote products when a person is most likely to respond.
An automated email is an email you can create and schedule in advance and set on what conditions it will be sent to the user. For example, you create one welcome email and set it to be automatically sent after a person subscribes to your newsletter or registers on the site. You don't need to send it manually to each new address.
Automated emails help brands with millions of users communicate with their audience effectively. Their types differ depending on the company and service. Some automated emails are more relevant for B2C; some work better for B2B.
For example, it’s natural for online retailers to send birthday emails because they communicate directly with the customer. However, it’s rarely a good option for SaaS as they deal with companies and teams rather than with individuals.
Though it’s always up to the marketing team to decide what emails fit their email strategy best, below I’ll list the 5 most common automated emails that can contribute to the overall email marketing performance.
Before Getting Started with Email Automation
If you’re new to email marketing, there is one thing you need to pay attention to prior to planning your email strategy and creating emails: choosing the right email service provider (ESP).
An email service provider is the tool you’ll be using to manage your email campaigns: store the contact base and contact profiles, create campaigns and workflows, analyze performance. Its proficiency and reliability will determine your sender reputation, deliverability and efficiency of your campaigns.
While at the very beginning you may be needing only the basic functionality, with time your requirements will grow. That’s why it’s better to choose the ESP with advanced features like contact segmentation, personalization, AI-supported recommendations, etc., at the start.
When you need them in the future, you won’t have to look for a new service, do research, transfer the contact base and templates, and learn to operate within a new system.
Also, study the pricing plans carefully and find out what features are covered by your subscription. Most ESPs offer custom pricing plans, so you can choose what to pay for right now and buy additional features when you need them.
1. Confirmation email
A confirmation email is an email sent to the person right after they fill your subscription form. It has a confirmation button clicking which the person validates their email address. Subscribers with confirmed addresses can be safely added to your contact list and included in the upcoming campaigns as active contacts.
Email confirmation is an official requirement by many customer privacy policies including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It means that if you have subscribers located on the territories (countries, states, cities) covered by such policies, you’re obliged to send confirmation emails to new subscribers.
When double confirmation was introduced in 2018, marketers were afraid that it would slow down the contact base growth. It turned out, however, that such confirmations only proved the serious intentions of the brand and people willingly confirmed their addresses.
What’s more, besides following the required policies, email confirmation protects your contact list from invalid addresses and spam traps and lets you build a healthy base from the start.
Confirmation email tips
- Make it as short as possible. The only purpose of the confirmation email is to let the person validate their address so as to avoid any distraction. A short text Please confirm your subscription and button with a clear command Confirm email are enough.
- Send it straight after the subscription. Your ESP should process the subscription event and send the confirmation email in real time right after the person fills the form. The confirmation sent hours or days after subscription will be irrelevant, as the person may already forget about this action.
Confirmation email by Hotel Wailea
2. Welcome email
When you meet a new person, saying “Hi. I’m Tom. Nice to meet you” is a good way to start a conversation. When a new person subscribes to your newsletters, a welcome email becomes the proper way of saying “Hi.” It should be the first email the person receives from you after confirmation.
Besides creating you a reputation of a polite sender, welcome emails perform several other important tasks:
- Show the person they’ve successfully completed a subscription, have been added to your contact list and can expect emails from you.
- Introduce your brand. Tell more about yourself: how your company got started, what values you share, what goals you want to achieve, how you contribute to the community.
- Do onboarding. If you’re selling a complicated product or services, write a couple of words on how to get started with it. No need for heavy manuals though. Just include some basic advice following which people can easily start exploring your product.
- Give a welcome gift. Many companies give incentives for subscriptions like the percentage off the first order, free wrapping, free shipping or delivery.
Welcome email tips
- Write a simple subject line. According to Hubspot, welcome emails have the highest open rate – 50% on average. It means that people want to open and expect to find them in their inboxes. That’s why it’s better to use welcome in the subject so that it doesn’t get lost among other mailings. Welcome. Happy to have you on board or Welcome to the family is a simple subject but totally fits the welcome email goal.
- Don’t get too pushy. The new person only starts exploring your brand so don’t strike them with promotions and ads from the start. Give people time to look around and tell a couple of words about yourself instead.
- Remind about the incentive. If you offer incentives for subscription, include them in the welcome email and explain how the person can use them with the most use.
Out of all other incentives, welcome emails have the potential to make or break your email marketing performance. So make sure you send out the right message in your first email.
3. Order confirmation
An order confirmation is the email sent after the person completes the order on the site. Its task is to confirm that the transaction was successful and the customer can expect a shipment or delivery.
Order confirmations typically include
- customer name,
- order ID and date,
- purchased items with description, photo and price per each,
- total price,
- applied discounts, if any,
- payment method,
- delivery method and address,
- expected delivery date,
- pickup point addresses,
- track my order button,
- company contacts.
The components may differ depending on the order, but this difference will be insignificant.
Order confirmation email tips
- Address the customer by name. Order confirmations belong to those emails where personalization is up to place. This email is sent in response to the particular customer’s action, so they fairly expect you know their name.
- Send it straight after the purchase completion. The person has just paid you money and wants to know everything went fine. Don’t make them worry and contact your support to clarify the details.
- Upsell with personalized product recommendations. You can add a block with products that complement the purchased items. If you track the customer’s shopping behavior, it’s possible to add recommendations based on the previous purchases or predict the next demand.
Order confirmation email by Hummingbird
4. Birthday email
As suggested by the name, a birthday email is a message you send to congratulate your subscribers and customers on their big day. You can send only a text with warm wishes or add a small gift but whatever you choose, try to sound natural and friendly.
If you don’t know what to say, it’s better to say nothing rather than include unnatural text that has nothing to do with you or your customer.
Birthday email tips
- Create a series of birthday emails. If you send only one birthday email, it may get lost among other emails and the person won’t see it. Create a series of two or three messages and send the second and the third one to those contacts who don’t open the first one.
- Send in advance. People may open emails days after they’re delivered to the inbox. If you send a birthday greeting exactly on the birth date, chances are it may be opened long after the party is over. What’s more, if you add a birthday incentive like a promo code or free shipping, the person should have time to use it.
- Offer easy-to-use gifts. A promo code and free shipping are the most common gifts for a reason. They can be used by any type of customer and don’t require extra effort or action. Say, for example, when you offer access to limited collections or perks for owners of business cards, you expect the people to want to buy limited collections or be VIP clients.
5. Reactivation email
A reactivation email is an email you send to inactive users in order to drive them back to your product. It’s up to you to decide what users to consider as inactive. Most marketers agree that inactivity during the last 6 months is a signal to plan the reactivation strategy.
The time gap may differ though. Inactivity can also be of different kinds: the person doesn’t open your messages, doesn’t visit the website or doesn’t make any purchases. Each of these interactions can be addressed by different campaigns.
Reactivation email tips
- Segment your audience properly. Before sending them the corresponding campaign, make sure the person is inactive on all of your channels. People may not open your emails but read web pushes or SMS. They may ignore your site but be an active app user.
- Give a reason to come back to you. A little incentive will make your reactivation message more persuasive.
- Don’t be too pushy. Instead of placing a Shop Now call-to-action button in every block, tell your customers what’s been going while they were missing, introduce new loyalty programs or share the social initiatives or charity you’ve recently participated in. Prove that being part of your community is an interesting and valuable experience.
Reactivation email by The Grey Dog
To Sum Up
Automated emails can benefit your business in many ways. To make them even more efficient, segment your customers properly: the more precise conditions for inclusion in the segment, the more chances the campaign will be relevant for the recipient.
Test all emails before launching the campaign. With transnational automated emails, real-time response matters a lot so make sure all the events and related triggers operate as intended.
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