Big Data is an overused buzzword in business and technology. It refers to the massive increase of data gathered and stored in many modern information systems.
The term is often discussed in the context of business intelligence (BI) and analytics – the ability to properly analyse the data, make sense out of it and act upon it. However, many companies, especially in the midmarket space, don’t have the time nor the innate background that is relevant to tap into this resource.
More than ever before, Big Data and analytics have a lot of relevance in the field of email marketing. While mid-sized organisations are not grappling with the same massive volumes of data as larger enterprises, they still have access to much more data today than they did before. This ‘small’ Big Data can easily be leveraged through automated email marketing to generate higher revenues.
What is email automation for midsize business? Traditionally, email automation for this size of business has been in the form of newsletters and/or promotional campaigns. But real email automation is a lot more than just firing newsletters and promotional campaigns to your database, regardless of the size of your business. It is the application of various automation techniques to the email marketing process – so that specific content are sent to a specific group of contacts in your email database at specific times. This is based on an enterprise approach known as the Customer Lifecycle Communication.
Use the data you have about your customers and prospects to segment them and create targeted automated email campaigns. These emails can be triggered by certain events, and based on knowing specific things about those customers.
Emails are then sent automatically, based on these triggers. Automation therefore allows you to reach your subscribers with the right message, at the right time.
Though automation may conjure up images of robots and machines, it is actually a more personalised way to interact with your subscribers because it allows you to send content that’s catered to their individual needs and interests.
Below are some interesting stats around the effectiveness of email automation:
A good example of email automation is a welcoming letter, triggered by your first contact with someone – an enquiry, a sale, a referral. MarketingSherpa found that the average open rate for welcome emails is 50 percent, making them 86 percent more effective that email newsletters.
Other effective types of email automation that you could incorporate into your email marketing strategy include reactivating customers who have been quiet, personal events like birthday emails, content updates and post product purchase content.
Launching your automated email campaign should not be ‘set and forget’ – rather it is a living program that you should continually review and improve. Take a look at your reporting regularly so you can determine the effectiveness and if you need to make any changes. Do you have the right number of emails? Should you change the frequency at which emails are getting sent? Aer you using the right subject lines? The reports will reveal if there is a decrease in open rate or click-throughs throughout each of your email campaigns. From that, you can make required changes such as testing sending your emails closer together or with more time in between to see how it affects engagement levels with your subscribers.
Today’s consumers are bombarded with information, and marketers are continually looking for ways to cut through the noise in order to create a healthier bottomline. Email marketing is one of the most impactful techniques to grow your business. Setting up automated emails can help you drive significant results without having to spend the time and resources by continuously reaching out to each subscriber individually with personalised emails. Sending automated emails has proven to increase engagement levels, build relationships with your subscribers and prompt them to take actions.
If you want to get the maximum value out of your ‘small’ Big Data and put it to good use, there is no reason not to give automated emails a try! The data you gather and store about your subscribers are your most valuable – and often most overlooked – resource to achieve increased revenue.
About the author:
Simon O’Day is vice president of global for email marketing company Emma. He is one of Australia’s most experienced email marketers, with 14 years working with companies like Qantas, Telstra, News Corp, Suncorp and BMW. He was co-founder of the successful Australian-based email marketing firm Eservices, which was acquired by Oracle Responsys in 2011.