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Email marketing is a powerful tool for reaching and building a relationship with your small business’s customer. The challenge with any email campaign is remaining efficient at scale. You could send the same email every Tuesday to thousands of your customers, but effectiveness suffers from that one, mass broadcast. Or you could send more targeted emails to any number of segmented lists, but find that puts a strain on your limited time and resources.

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The solution is to combine your existing email marketing with drip marketing and marketing automation technologies. You’ll be able to send more email that effectively targets your customer where he is in the funnel and save time and money in the process. Here’s how it works.

How Drip Marketing Benefits Your Small Business

Drip marketing is a bit like a leaky faucet. You plan a campaign consisting of multiple email messages in advance. Then when a customer takes a particular action, the drip campaign is triggered, sending out the whole series of email at intervals you’ve predetermined.

For example, perhaps your drip campaign is triggered by a lead giving their email address to download your ebook or white paper. After delivering the link via email, the drip campaign would roll out over the next days or weeks. Messaging could be targeted to lead the prospect through your sales funnel.

The effect of such campaigns is powerful. Firstly, it’s a great way to nurture leads. These drip campaigns feel personal, which helps build a relationship with the customer. And email messages get seen. Unlike tweets or Facebook posts, most of which is lost to the memory hole in a few minutes, emails go straight to your target’s inbox, to be opened when he or she is ready. And if it doesn’t get opened, you’ll know, allowing you to iterate your messaging and drip timing for better effect next time.

How Marketing Automation Benefits Your Small Business

Drip campaigns can be a great boon to small business, allowing you send personalized email messaging at the right time to build up customer relationships and close sales. But can you do more? Absolutely!

Marketing automation can be used to take your email marketing to the next level. Imagine having a sales call with a potential customer or meeting face-to-face with a potential client. If they don’t respond to a question, seem disinterested, or don’t even laugh at your clever sales joke, you wouldn’t just keep making the sales pitch. It’s not working. So you’d alter your approach, go over the top benefit again, or make the call to end the call/meeting and follow up again in a few months.

With ordinary email newsletters and even drip campaigns, your messaging and pacing is fixed for all of your prospects and customers. Email automation gives your business the same agility to respond to customer behavior like you naturally would in a call or meeting.

A complex automation campaign can get as fancy as you want. You could have a series of workflow diagrams, decision matrices, and buyer’s journeys mapped out. You would craft email messages for each path at each stage, such that it would be a coherent series for any particular email recipient.

This means that your lead gets a different email with different messaging, should he open your first three emails but not your next one. Or a customer who registers to become an exclusive member, downloads an ebook, or clicks through to a special offer, receives a different line of messages than the customer who didn’t.

The payoff for a well-thought-out automation campaign can be huge. Segmentation is one of the best ways to increase open rates for email marketing and stay relevant to your customer base. The more personalized buyer journey of an automation campaign also leads to better conversion rates and more sales. And with pacing and messaging kept in line with the sentiment of your prospect, your business can stay top-of-mind, without your marketing becoming a nuisance to a potential customer.

Final Thoughts

Email newsletters are a great baseline strategy for keeping in touch with your customers. But with only slightly more planning and budget, your small business can take your email marketing to a whole new level with a simple drip campaign or a more complex marketing automation campaign.

Even in the age of social media and PPC advertising, email marketing remains a powerful way to effectively nurture warm leads. Email drip marketing automation technologies allow you to do this on a much larger scale, with more precision, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Have questions about email marketing automation for your business? Call us at 313-338-9515 or email to learn how our full-service digital agency can help.