Harnessing the power of automation is key if you want to maximize the impact of your marketing efforts. With automation you can schedule emails and other mailings to occur at significant dates or times, engaging and re-engaging with customers to ensure that your brand stays close to their mind.
While you could attempt to manage all of your marketing blasts and other drops by hand, bringing automation into the mix will ensure that you never miss important mailings (and will also free up your time so you can tackle other important business).
There are plenty of email marketing workflows that you could use as part of your automation plans, but be careful when choosing: some workflows are missing vital components that can help you connect with both new and established customers.
For example, many workflows focus solely on the email side of things, completely forgetting the impact that targeted direct mail can have. If you really want to get the most out of automation, here are five email workflows that incorporate direct mail for a powerful effect.
The Welcome Workflow
You’re probably aware that just because someone creates an account on your website or joins your mailing list doesn’t mean that the person is ready to make a purchase. You may already have a “welcome!” email that goes out to new signups with useful links and other essentials for making a good first impression. Maybe you even try to sweeten the deal with a free shipping offer or other incentive to and coax them into placing that first order.
There’s more that you can do here, though. By adding a direct mail component to your automated workflow, you can also send an order to a printer and have a mailer on its way soon after the opt-in.
Direct mail gives consumers a physical reminder of your company and is a great way to offer up discounts or advertise deals to those who have just signed up. On top of that, direct mail is effective enough that it offers a 13-to-1 return on your marketing investment. The mailer you send out will help cement your new signup’s first impression of your company, and if you’re lucky, may help create a new customer for life.
The First Purchase Workflow
A new customer places an order, so your server fires off a follow-up email to thank them for shopping and perhaps offer a coupon for their next order. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and more often than not, it’s effective. A 2018 study found that 68% of respondents said that they wouldn’t shop online without some sort of coupon code. That makes your standard follow-up pretty much a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
The only problem here is that consumers usually get at least one or two emails (and sometimes more) after a purchase simply confirming the purchase and providing shipping information. Sending off an email with a coupon code after a first purchase is a good idea, but you have to time it right so that your email isn’t lost in the inbox and eventually deleted. This is where direct mail automation comes in.
Set up your email and have it fire off once the order is on its way. At the same time, queue up a mailer that will contain a couple of additional coupons that the customer can use on future orders. If the email code is used, that’s great. If it’s not, the mailer will provide even more incentive for the customer to return.
Either way, you’ve made contact in two different ways and offered at least two or three ways for that customer to save money on repeat orders. If you’re dealing with one of the 68% that wants coupons for online purchases, you’ve given them exactly what they need to come back again.
The Re-Engagement Workflow
Here’s another classic that can be reinvigorated through the use of direct mail as part of the marketing automation workflow. Your system should be set up to identify inactive profiles, meaning that any customer who hasn’t logged in or placed an order for quite a while gets flagged as no longer being an active account. Once flagged, an email goes out offering a special “come back and see us!” discount or other incentive to try and bring the customer back to your shop.
The email discount is a great idea, but some former customers will just delete emails from a store that they haven’t shopped at in a while. Fortunately, you have direct mail on your side. A few weeks after your email goes out, send out a mailer with a slightly better discount to try and win that customer back. This way you can get your deal offer and re-engagement pitch in front of that customer even if they never took a look at your original email.
The Holiday Workflow
Remembering and recognizing important dates for leads and customers is a great way to build a connection and cement a long-term relationship. Email notifications about special birthday deals, holiday promotions and maybe even a special offer for the anniversary of the customer signing up really help to strengthen this connection. Around 54% of customers expect these sorts of emails anyway around key shopping holidays, so if you’re not engaging them, you may lose customers to competitors who are.
This is a great opportunity to incorporate direct mail into your marketing automation workflows, though. You’ve likely seen this in your own experiences: a week or two before a birthday or anniversary, a card arrives in the mail with a special coupon code included. You can create similar mailers for the Christmas holiday shopping season, key dates related to your business or any other dates that might be relevant to your customers. The more personal the mailer appears, the greater impact it will have on bringing repeat business back to your company.
The Product Launch Workflow
New product launches are exciting times, and you definitely want to let customers know that your new product is something they’ll want to have. Automated product launch email campaigns are pretty standard these days, with many retailers supplementing the initial launch emails with additional reminders before the Christmas shopping season and other key shopping holidays.
Product launches are also a great time to add direct mail to your marketing automation.
If you’re making a big push on a new product, you want your customers’ awareness to be high. There’s only so much information that you can put into an email without it being overwhelming, however, and you can only send so many emails within the launch window without potentially turning off those same customers you’re trying to impress.
Focus your emails on a few key points, making your pitch over the course of two or three messages. At the same time, send out a well-designed mailer that briefly highlights your top points and gets all of the product’s essential information out there in one go.
Scheduling is important for these launch campaigns, of course. You’ll likely want your mailers to trigger before the email series, giving them enough lead time that they can show up in mailboxes on the same day that your first email drops. The mailer makes your big impression, the emails flesh out the details and if all goes well your new product enjoys a very profitable launch.
Using Direct Mail
Keep in mind that these five workflows are just suggestions on how you can use direct mail as a supplement to your email workflows. You may have additional ideas, and you may find that for your specific business some of these workflows are better suited than others. That is the best thing about using direct mail with automation: there are so many options that these suggestions are only the beginning.
Hopefully, these suggested workflows will show you how much of an effect direct mail can have on your traditional approach to marketing automation. With reasonable costs and amazing returns, including direct mail in even a few of your automated workflow designs could have a major impact on your marketing efforts in the future.