Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 1/24/16 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
Are you wondering how to take your small business to the next level?
Have you given clear thought to what happens on the customer side when they submit a form on your site or make a purchase?
If you answered "yes" to the first question and "no" to the second, I've got two words for you – automated emails.
There are over three billion email addresses in use and 91% of consumers check their email daily. Automated emails are transforming the consumer experience, and it's time you took the concept seriously.
I often consider automated emails as “touchpoints” in the customer journey.
You'll need several of these interactions before closing the sale. That's why it's important to ignite engagement and communication with your audience.
This can include a whole host of situations:
When it comes to business growth, this is a vital part of the sales and marketing process.
With them, your sales can double – or even triple – because you have the right system in place.
Improving your sales doesn't just get more leads in the funnel, but it'll keep past clients coming back for more.
Here are a few applications.
When a user signs up for your list – regardless of the medium – one of the first emails you send should be the Welcome Email.
I can’t tell you how many times I've submitted a form on a site and received nothing for weeks or months.
But then one day, they send me a promotion.
(All I can ever think in those scenarios is, "Well, that escalated quickly.")
By sending a welcome email with key information when someone signs up for a newsletter, blog posts or even a download, you will set expectations for the relationship.
They will also be more likely to engage with future messages. To build on that, you can really impress them with a small series of emails set to go out over a set time.
Educate the recipient and don’t make the goal to sell to them. Offer enough value and eventually, they'll buy.
Emails automatically sent when an order is submitted, fulfilled, and delivered keep the customer posted on the progress of their order.
A simple way to "WOW" your customer is to send order tracking right to their email, instead of making them hunt for it in their account or contact customer service.
If you're in the service business like Flight Media is, then send a "Welcome to the Family" email to begin your service process. (This is similar to a 'Welcome Email' but for confirmed customers.)
Here's an example of what ours looks like:
Regularly check the cadence of emails. Sometimes, if you combine feedback requests and other post-transactional emails, the amount can be overwhelming when sent too close together. This is particularly true for regular customers that place frequent orders. It’s always best not to annoy paying customers.
The process of submitting forms doesn’t always go through as expected.
Fact: Stuff happens.
It makes the person submitting so much more comfortable with the process when they get an email letting them know the action was successful.
You can impress visitors when they submit a contact form or support request by sending information letting them know what will happen, such as how long until you respond, who’s going to respond, etc.
A great example of a 'Download Confirmation' email by Jen Gluckow:
Match the message in the email to the message on the form. If you are telling them you will send them a quote, don’t send a message asking if they want a quote.
Before you can really set up an effective automated email funnel, you'll need the proper software.
Flight Media uses Hubspot. (We're a partner!)
I always start with determining all the touchpoints and the purpose emails will serve for the customer – how the automated emails will fit into the customer encounter and meet their needs and expectations.
Be sure to list what information they may need or questions they may have, so you can proactively answer them. (The “wow” factor.)
Your next step is to map out each interaction from when the customer first lands on the page contact page, purchases, download request, etc. to the messages that would be triggered.
Include a note on how much time will pass between any messages you send:
A key element is fresh, personalized material.
If your customer receives the same email every time they've ordered from you, emails lose their intrigue.
Make sure you give your automated emails a fresh new update as often as you update your website – they both deserve attention.
Sometimes adding a seasonal greeting such as "Happy Fall!" is all it takes.
With a simple automated email, you can transform your customer's experience from frustrating and leaving money on the table to one that’s smooth and builds relationships with customers.