What is marketing automation?
First we like to explain marketing automation. Because this is the most powerful function of email marketing. Marketing automation refers to the use of software to create workflows made up of predefined conditions, that trigger the automated completion of certain marketing tasks. The triggers usually correspond to actions that your users take on your site or in your emails. And the tasks that can be automated include the sending of emails and sms, the segmentation of contacts into different lists, or updating information in your contact database (e.g. lead score, interest level, etc.).
Marketing automation benefits
There are countless ways that you can use marketing automation to save time, improve your marketing strategy and customer relationships — the only limit is your imagination! Any marketer looking to increase the number and lifetime value of their customer relationships can simplify the process of achieving this goal with the help of automation. However, automation can also help mature businesses with a clear vision of their conversion funnel become more profitable.
Which provider fits best
So which software package best fits your business management or marketing objectives? Some providers have great automation features while others have the option to track your complete sales funnel. So which one should you pick? Choose wisely, because it’s a real pain in the ass to switch providers.
We started off with MailChimp and later switched to Spotler. Honestly, what attracted us first in MailChimp is that you can use a free account up to 2,000 subscribers. If you get more subscribers or want to use more functions (such as the autoresponder) you have to upgrade to a paid account. You are also required to place their logo (the monkey) in the footer with a free account, which is not always desirable. But it is a great way to get acquainted with MailChimp, without costs.
A lot of providers have similar features, but in the end we picked Spotler because they offer the full package. They are not they cheapest option but they simply offer everything we need to provide our customers with the the best service.
Other providers to consider:
- Active Campaign
How to create a good newsletter:
Creating an effective and efficient newsletter depends on all kinds of factors. The newsletter must appeal to your target group. It is therefore important that you convey the right message. This increases the opening rate, click rate and actual actions. In addition to the message, attention must also be paid to the images, the content and the length of the newsletter. In the following steps we’ll talk about the “filling in” of an existing e-mail template: from defining the theme and goal, to the split test and moment of actual sending it out.
1. Determine theme and goal
Determine in advance what your message is. What do you want to communicate to your target group? Our experience is that a consistent theme often works better than all kinds of different topics in one newsletter. For example, the theme “Social media” or “Customer retention” or the release of a new product. Set goals in advance to determine when the newsletter is successful. How many opens do you want? How many click-throughs? And how many contact requests do you want to generate? So you can see exactly (based on the results) whether your hard work has been rewarded. If necessary you can adjust your goals for the next newsletter.
2. Newsletter planning
In order to steer the development in the right direction, it is wise to make a plan. Think of deadlines to deliver a message, gather content, creating content, have images ready, fill your template, have the newsletter tested and finally send it. Look at your planning like a checklist. Mark deadlines as completed and keep the schedule at hand to make sure you don’t forget anything.
3. Collecting and writing content
Always write as short and to the point as possible. This ensures that people are triggered to continue reading and to take action. It is wise to first collect all content in a document. So you have everything in one place and you always have the most recent version at hand. When you work in different documents, the chance of overlooking errors is considerably higher. Always work in one document.
4. Filling newsletter template
Once you have all the required content and images, you can start filling the e-mail template. Work from top to bottom, per content block, so that you do not forget anything. First the image, then the text. Then you ensure that the correct links are in the text and work properly. When this is all well and good, you can activate the social share options. This way you know for sure that the correct text + link is linked to your content block.
5. Testing the newsletter
When you are writing your newsletter, there is always a chance that you’ll miss things when reviewing your work. That is why it is a good idea that several people (with different backgrounds) extensively test the newsletter. Try to test at least two working days before sending. To ensure there is sufficient time to implement the adjustments and if necessary to do a test round. When all feedback is processed and everything works properly, the newsletter is ready to send out.
6. Split testing and Sending
To find out what best suits your target group, it makes sense to do an A / B test. For example, think of two different subject lines. Which subject line provides the most opens? Make sure that your content matches your subject line, because it leads to an increased conversion. Suppose you have a list of 10,000 recipients. You send your newsletter with one subject line to 1,000 recipients and the same newsletter with a different subject line to a new group of 1,000 recipients. After a short period, at least 2 hours, you compare the results. The winning newsletter is then sent to the other 8,000 recipients.
Sending a newsletter can be quite a job. But if you look back and see what you have made, you’ll be proud as a peacock. Especially if the results are good. So check whether you have reached the set goals one to two weeks after sending. You started with a simple text document and ended up with a cool newsletter and hopefully successful results. Do not start haphazardly, but think carefully in advance what you want to achieve and why. Because the better you prepare, the better your work. The result is an effective and efficient newsletter that continues to trigger your recipients.
The newsletter checklist
Looking for a checklist to see whether your newsletter is complete and ready for sending? Just use our ultimate newsletter checklist. Super convenient!
Want to outsource your newsletter and marketing automation? Let’s talk and see what we can do for you!