5 Steps to Successful Email Automation

by Tyler Hardekopf, Director of Digital Products - 04/11/18

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Achieve effective digital marketing through email automation.

It's a modern marketer's dilemma: While incorporating automation and other new technologies is essential to evolve as a marketer, it often consumes valuable time that we simply do not have. Those who excel in this environment have learned the importance of making investments that not only produce results, but where time is spent optimizing results and not dominated by the ongoing production and distribution of content.

It’s easy to get lost in the details that targeted digital marketing requires — and email is no exception. Email is still an effective tool for ongoing communications with prospective and existing patients. When communicating processes and experiences around your services that are highly repeatable, it’s a perfect opportunity to automate the narrative within each journey.

So where do you start? Glad you asked! We’ve stripped away the complexity and outlined a five-step approach that can help you maximize the benefits of email automation.

Step 1: Plan the Journey

For email automation to work effectively, the workflow for your process and the content for the journey need to be planned and developed up front. Your workflow can be as simple as a triggered message from an initial action followed by short set of timed drips over a few days, and as complex as messaging and nurturing messaging following each and every action and inaction over the course of a year.

To guide the planning, break your process into a series of unique steps and ask yourself the “if then, what” as it relates to the call-to-action in each step.

Step 2: Establish a Quality Lead Source

One of the best insertion points for email automation is connecting it to a landing page where you’re capturing information from prospective patients and can then begin delivering messages immediately that are aligned with their action.

While you may have an existing list with the ability to segment your audience, if you haven’t emailed them within the past 60 days, plan on below average conversion rates and consider adding some reengagement steps to your automation.

Step 3: Choose a Marketing Automation Tool that Meets Your Needs

The email automation tools available range from simple to complex. Choose the tool that offers level of complexity you desire and make sure you have the internal (or external) resources to manage the campaigns. Most email service providers have some level of automation capability and the ramp up time is minimal. If you’ve already invested in an enterprise marketing automation system or have one through your CRM, plan for additional time to learn the tool.

Step 4: Test Your Workflows

With most every digital campaign it’s important to test what you’re doing to ensure success. There are two things to be mindful of when it comes to testing your email automation workflows.

One, when your workflow has drip messages that are sent over days or weeks, you’ll need to adjust the timing for your test so you can receive all messages within a shortened time period to ensure they’re firing correctly and avoid the time delay between scheduled messages.

Two, your messages will have calls-to-action that may require follow up from other team members, like a care coordinator for a service line. Make sure they’re aware of how they’ll be involved and that you’re operationally prepared to fulfill any requests that come through your automations.

Step 5: Optimize Your Magic

Congratulations! You’ve made big strides in implementing your automations and streamlined your operations. However, automation doesn’t mean ‘set and forget’. The journey can always be better.

Learn from the results you’re seeing and be sure to make adjustments to your automation journeys that maximize your prospect’s expectations.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Content Marketing

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