It seems like just a few years ago that everyone began raging about marketing automation. The coolest guys in marketing were all bragging about their “welcome series” and how they could make money from this set-it-and-forget it approach.
While companies using Infusionsoft were way ahead of the game, for the everyday punter like you and me, what it really came down to was a coin toss between Mailchimp and Aweber.
I remember building my first email sequences in both. It was always so exciting – creating a message that would be sent out to people for years to come, as if I had written it just for them. Dynamic text that would insert the recipients name made me feel like I was doing magic.
The truth is, it really did work! People believed they were receiving personal messages from me. I would get replies from them and build relationships, which ultimately grew my business.
That is until everybody started doing it. All of a sudden they were on to us. People no longer believed our personalised messages and we had to up our game.
Jump to Section:
From Email Automation to Marketing Automation
I’m not sure at what point email automation became marketing automation but a lot has changed since those early days.
First our emails could be sent out based on time lapsed. You would build your email sequence and set each email to go out a certain number of minutes, hours or days after the user had subscribed.
Then, the geniuses that build these tools took it to the next level… They started allowing us to send out emails based on other triggers.
- Email opens
- Page visits
- Button clicks
OMG. Email just became the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
Someone opens an email and it suggests they’re interested in buying your product.
Someone visits a landing page but doesn’t click through to your store.
Someone made a purchase but hasn’t come back for 30 days.
I think you get the point. Email is king. Hashtag.
There’s a Massive Problem with Email
All of this email stuff is great. It really is. And I’m honestly a true believer that email is the most important marketing channel.
But there’s a big problem.
Anyone can do this stuff. Like, even your dog.
Nowadays there are some incredibly powerful email automation tools around for as little as $10 per month. Most of them even have a free plan to get you started.
This means that every Tom, Dick and Harry (and your dog) is sending out automated emails.
And what’s the result?
System overload. Saturation. Spam
As consumers, we are overwhelmed with content. Our inboxes are being constantly pounded day in day out.
Well, now there’s something you can do that will give your brand the competitive edge. It won’t be long before everyone’s doing it, so now is the time to cash in.
Before we dive into that, I want to talk very briefly about another area of marketing automation…
Automated Targeting Through Ads on Google Adwords and Facebook
That’s right, it’s not just email that can be automated. You already knew that. But it’s important to highlight just how cool this really is.
What exactly am I talking about?
The Custom Audience
The introduction of remarketing through custom audiences quickly became one of the coolest ways to target your existing leads. Platforms like Facebook and Adwords gave us two options:
- Create audiences based on page visits – This is amazing because it means that we can target users even if they haven’t given us their contact information. By dropping a cookie on the user’s browser, advertising patforms can add the user to a custom audience and you can then display banner ads to them to try and reengage them.
- Create audiences by uploading your contact list – This is great if you’ve got a specific segment of customers that you want to display a message to. You can download the list emails in a CSV file, upload them to Adwords or Facebook and then show ads to them.
The first option is awesome. It allows us to automate the entire process. Our custom audience grows as people visit specific pages on our website. You can create an audience as simple as this:
“Include people who have visited any page on the website” AND “Exclude people who have visited the order confirmation page.”
This automated audience gives you a list of people who have been on your website but haven’t yet bought anything, allowing you to automatically display ads to them (perhaps offering a discount), bringing them back to your website to make a purchase.
Do you not realise how cool this is?! IT’S AMAZING!
BUT, what if it could be even more amazing.
Because there’s still a problem…
What if you want to segment the people you display ads to even more? What if you want to display ads to people who have abandoned their cart? Or people who have made a purchase but haven’t returned in a while?
The only way to do this is by creating the segment in your marketing automation software, exporting the list and then uploading it to Facebook or Adwords.
Well, that sucks.
Nobody likes CSV files. And nobody likes manual work.
Turning Your Marketing Automation Up to 11
So here’s where marketing automation gets super exciting. What I’m about to tell you is the thing that has allowed me to see massive automated growth in my own businesses as well as my clients’.
You may already know about it, but if you’re not using it properly then that needs to change NOW.
Because it won’t be long before everyone is doing this and us marketing folk will have to come up with new ways to stand out from the crowd.
What is it?
Syncing Customer Segments with Custom Audiences
Here’s the key to marketing automation success:
If you’ve had any experience at all with marketing automation software, you’ll know that you can segment users based on their behaviour.
- If someone visits a particular page, you can add them to a segment.
- If someone makes a purchase, add them to a segment.
- If someone abandons their cart, add them to a segment.
Segmenting your contacts can be done automatically. Great, as you may have guessed, automation is the name of the game in this post.
Then, you can set up sequences of emails that go out to users once they are added to a particular segment.
This is the perfect example of email marketing on auto pilot. But, remember what we said earlier. Everyone’s inboxes are saturated with emails from companies just like yours.
How are you ever going to get noticed in an inbox full of cart abandonment emails, customer buy back emails, and so on?
In order to stand out from the crowd and get noticed, you’re going to have to target users with the same message in multiple locations.
And you can do this by syncing your user segments with custom audiences. This then allows you to display ads to the user that contain the exact same message as the emails you’re sending them.
There Are a Couple of Catches Though…
First off, this is only possible on Facebook.
For now the Google Adwords API doesn’t allow companies to integrate in this way so there’s no way to sync your segments with custom audiences on Google.
But, who needs Google when there are 2.07 BILLION people on Facebook!?
And don’t forget Facebook also own Instagram which is host to 800 MILLION users as well!
Oh yeah – Facebook also has Facebook Messenger which is pretty much an entire platform of its own now.
So, with this one sync to your Facebook custom audiences, you can now send the same message to people via email, Facebook, Instagram AND Facebook Messenger. Instead of just email.
Thank you and good night.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Let’s say I have a segment in my marketing automation tool that my customers get added to automatically when they haven’t come back to purchase something the last 60 days.
I decide to set up an email sequence that gets sent to them automatically when they are added to this segment. This sequence is made up of a couple of emails that offer a 15% discount to the customer to try and bring them back to my store.
I then sync this segment with a custom audience in Facebook. Now I can create ads on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger that offer the same discount.
But what if someone uses the discount? I don’t want to keep paying to display these ads to them.
Not a problem. Once the user has made a purchase they’ll be removed from your marketing automation segment, which will also remove them from your custom audience on Facebook.
Secondly, there are only a couple of marketing automation tools that do this.
I first found out this was possible a couple of years ago when I was using Klaviyo. As far as I’m aware, they were the first market automation / email marketing tool to intergate with Facebook. At least they were the first I knew of.
This made Klaviyo absolutely priceless to me. But Klaviyo is built for ecommerce. What about blogs, software companies, apps and service providers?
Well, I’ve just seen that Drip has also released this feature! In fact, that’s the very reason why I’m writing this article.
No matter what type of business you have, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t apply this strategy to your email marketing right now!