Use Marketing Automation to Build Authentic Customer Relationships

Do you want to save time on your eCommerce marketing while still keeping quality relationships with your customers? In this article, you’ll learn 5 marketing automation best practices to help you do just that!

It’s easier than ever to automate marketing tasks and that can make it more likely that authentic customer relationships will fade. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s completely possible to save both time and relationships. Here’s how…

Marketing Automation Best Practices

Constant Contact is one of the best marketing automation tools around.

constant contact email marketing service

We love Constant Contact because it’s beginner-friendly and offers quick and easy setup. Plus, you’ll also get lots of support with this email marketing automation tool (if you need it) since Constant Contact rates highly for world-class support, extensive online training, and webinars so you always know what you’re doing.

Constant Contact can help with managing event invitations, registrations, and tickets (Email Plus plan). If marketing automation is something you’re looking for, you’ll be particularly happy with this choice.

Now, let’s dive into our best practices.

1. Use a Welcome Email Series

We all know the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” right? What better way to make a great first impression than to let your new subscribers know that you’re thinking of them and want them to get the most out of their time with you?

Enter the welcome email series.

Of course, you can’t possibly send a personalized welcome email series to every new subscriber. But, with marketing automation, you can make each new subscriber feel like you’re writing just to them.

A welcome email series is one of the most effective and important types of marketing automation you can use for successful email marketing. That’s why it tops our list of marketing automation best practices.

Your welcome email series puts you in touch with subscribers and customers right after they sign up. This helps you set expectations for the rest of your interactions.

Why are welcome emails so important? Let’s take a look.

Welcome Emails Get High Levels of Engagement

Marketing automation for eCommerce lets you reach customers at exactly the right time and welcome emails are a perfect start.

When people sign up for your emails, they’re clearly interested in your content. It just makes sense that a welcome email sent right after signup would get high engagement rates.

In fact, a GetResponse report showed that welcome emails received nearly 4X the opens and 7X as many clicks as other emails.

email engagement welcome emails compared to other emails

That’s why it’s so important that you know how to write a welcome email that connects with customers when they’re most engaged.

For inspiration, see our roundup of effective welcome email examples. Or, if you’re an OptinMonster customer, you can enroll in our course, How to Create a Welcome Email Series That Sells.

Welcome emails are so much more likely to be read, making them a great opportunity to…

Make a Good First Impression

Because welcome emails get so much attention, they are the best place to kick off your relationship with customers.

Take the opportunity after customers sign up for your emails to make a strong first impression. To do this, you should consider including some of the following elements:

  • Initial reward for signing up for your emails: Including a discount coupon code or special offer in a welcome email is great because customers have a much higher likelihood of seeing it. It’s also a great way to make people happy right off the bat!
  • Outline of email frequency and content: It’s always a good idea to set customer expectations for how often they can expect emails from you and what those emails will contain. This prevents any unwanted surprises on the receiving end of your email campaigns.
  • Relevant content that provides value to customers: Including helpful articles can establish your business as a trusted resource in your industry. This will keep your business top of mind when customers have questions.
  • Brand personality: Most importantly, you should give your customers an idea of your brand personality. This is a great way to humanize your business and build trust with customers. A great example of this is Magic Spoon Cereal’s quirky cartoons:

marketing automation welcome email

Need some inspiration for your own welcome emails? Check out these welcome email examples that build trust with subscribers.

2. Track Your VIP Customers

To rapidly grow your business, you need to make your customers so happy that they start selling for you.

How do you do that? Loyalty. You need to develop a sense of loyalty between your customers and your brand.

Marketing automation can help to inspire loyalty while saving you time. Here are 2 great ways to do it:

Make Customers Feel Special With a Loyalty Program

People like to feel like they’re part of the “in-crowd.” This need leads to a feedback loop of increased engagement as a person feels more connected. You can create this positive feedback loop with your business too.

And, it’s really easy. By simply inviting your most engaged customers to a loyalty program, you’re telling them they’re a part of your family.

Marketing automation helps you target the right people to invite. You can do it through a lead-scoring workflow or finding an eCommerce marketing automation system that integrates with your eCommerce CMS or website builder.

Once you have workflows in place to identify your most loyal customers, you can automatically send them an invitation to your loyalty program using your email marketing software.

Keep Them Coming Back for More With Exclusive Rewards

With your VIP program in place, you can set up more workflows to reward members.

When loyalty members take actions that benefit you, such as making a purchase or writing a review, automatically send them exclusive discounts and offers. This encourages them to keep coming back for more and further builds their relationship with your business.

Starbucks is a master of the loyalty/rewards program:

marketing automation rewards program

3. Automate List Segmentation Based on Purchase Behavior

In addition to targeting VIP customers, eCommerce email marketing automation can also help you create dynamic list segments. This makes life a whole lot easier.

Save Time in Your Email Marketing

Trying to figure out the best way to segment lists can be time-consuming.

Marketing automation lets you create segments with automation workflows and will save you tons of time. By tracking the purchase behavior of your eCommerce customers, you can create highly relevant segments easily.

Send more powerful emails

You can use your marketing automation software to create dynamic lists of your eCommerce customers based on purchases. This makes it much easier to send highly relevant email content, including:

  • Complementary or similar product recommendations
  • Product updates
  • Related articles
  • Targeted discounts

Relevant email content = more engagement. And this engagement creates a more positive relationship between you and your customers.

How you implement this, and the segmenting optins available, will depend on the email marketing service you’re using.

4. Reach Out to Your Less Engaged Customers

Marketing automation not only helps you improve relationships with your best customers, but it can also help you reconnect with your less engaged customers too.

Bring Them Back From the Dark Side

Let’s face it, email contact engagement dries up on occasion. Maybe readers have lost interest in your products. Or, maybe they’ve been ignoring their promotional inbox.

No matter the reason, there’s a way to re-engage them and bring them back. After all, they signed up for a reason, didn’t they? You just need to remind them why.

Creating an automated workflow that identifies unengaged customers lets you follow up in a more genuine way to win them back.

Protect Your Deliverability

While re-engaging customers is a great way to win back some business, it’s also good for maintaining a clean email list.

Contacts who aren’t opening your emails should be removed. By making sure you only keep interested contacts on your list, you can ensure that your deliverability isn’t being damaged by low engagement rates.

Maintaining good deliverability keeps you in good graces with your other customers and helps you stay in their inboxes. That’s why marketing automation best practices tell you to routinely clean out any contacts who have dropped off and can’t be won back is so important.

5. Focus on Customer Experience and Relationship Building

It’s easy to get tunnel-vision when building out your marketing automation strategy and focus only on how it helps your business. But, you should always consider how your marketing automation impacts your customers, too.

when automating, don't focus on sales to the exclusion of customer experience

Don’t Get Caught Up Thinking Only About Sales

Focus on truly adding value when creating your marketing automation workflows. Spending too much time thinking about sales comes through in your email copy and turns many people off. This defeats the whole purpose of using marketing automation!

Instead, think about where you can add value to your customers:

  • Product reviews add more information for other shoppers on your site.
  • Relevant content gives readers what they need to get the most out of your products and follow up campaigns for existing subscribers can boost engagement even more.
  • Exclusive information that might be of interest to loyal customers or subscribers helps them plan their purchases.

Use Automation to Scale Authentic Interactions

Using automation, you can automatically send targeted messages at the exact right time. This results in responsive communication that creates opportunities to organically engage with customers and subscribers by responding to specific actions they take.

If you want to capture the attention of your site visitors, be sure to check out TrustPulse. With TrustPulse, you can leverage the power of social proof to instantly increase trust, conversions, and sales by up to 15%!

By focusing on points in the process where you can add value to customers, they’ll be much happier and much more likely to engage. Ultimately, that’s what leads to more sales.

Marketing automation is a great tool for optimizing eCommerce sales and improving relationships with customers. But, if you’re going to use it, it’s important to follow marketing automation best practices and make sure that you’re always adding value for your customers.

Next, check out our guides on eCommerce marketing strategies and eCommerce business plans to learn more tips to grow your revenue.

Jacinda Santora
Jacinda Santora is a writer specializing in eCommerce and growth marketing. She prides herself on her ability to make complicated things easier. When she isn't writing you can find her daydreaming about campervans, drinking coffee, and listening to podcasts.

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