An email list is invaluable to your business. Sure, you might have a lot of Facebook or Twitter followers, but both of those platforms can change their algorithms overnight and leave you out in the cold. Right now, it’s estimated that around 90% of businesses don’t automate their marketing. The 10% that do have a huge advantage. Here are seven email marketing automation tips for your perusing pleasure.
1. Segment Your Email List
Segmenting your email list allows you to provide an inclusive and customized experience for your subscribers. You can segment your list based on when someone’s joined, what emails they’ve opened, their demographics and so on. By segmenting your list, you’re able to communicate directly to the consumer – every email they read will be relevant to their life. That keeps them invested, and it keeps you out of their spam folder.
2. Test Your Timing
There are no shortage of articles written on the topic of what the best times and days of the week are to send an email. When the moon is in the seventh house on an odd-numbered day in a month starting with the letter J… you get the idea. The fact is the answer differs from brand to brand, which is why you need to test, test, test. Send emails at 9 in the morning and see how often they’re opened. Send them on a Sunday afternoon. At midnight on Friday. Track your open rates. You’ll notice that some segments of your list respond more positively at different times – so take advantage of that, and automate your email blasts to correspond with the best time for your subscribers.
3. Use Text Emails
Your email message might look great in your inbox, but consider this – the vast majority of your subscribers will be using an email program that blocks out any additional images. All of that time you spend ensuring that your message looks great? It’s a waste. Automation is all about speed, and by having to manually insert and adjust images, you’re losing time. And worst of all? You’re losing it doing something that most of your subscribers might not even see.
4. Allow Your Subscribers To Manage Their Preferences
You want the ultimate in automation? Then let your subscribers work for you. Give them the opportunity to change their subscription preferences. How often do they want to be contacted? What kind of things do they want to hear about? Essentially, your subscribers will segment themselves for you. You won’t have to do anything, but thanks to their updated preferences, you’ll be able to improve on your attrition rates.
5. Select the Right Solution
Too many small and medium-sized businesses end up in over their heads because they select the wrong software right at the start. Instead of being wowed by all of the features a particular email subscription service presents, consider what you need before you start shopping. Make a list. What’s important? What’s not? What’s your budget? Then, when you’re looking for a solution, only consider those that are within your budget, and don’t bother considering features you know you’ll never use.
6. Whittle Down Your List
While having a large subscriber list might seem ideal, it’s not the number of total subscribers that counts – it’s the number of active subscribers. As such, you should constantly be trying to refine your email list. The best way to automate this? Send a break up email to members of your list who haven’t opened one of your emails in a while. If they don’t reply to the break up email, you know you can safely have them removed from your list. And don’t make it difficult to opt out – those aren’t the kind of people you want on your list.
7. Ask Your Subscribers What They Want
This may be the most obvious of these tips yet also the most often overlooked. The first email a new subscriber should see (after the confirmation email) should ask them why they signed up for your brand’s email list. Do this and pay attention to the answer, and you’ll know how you should segment your new subscriber. This allows you to individualize their experience, resulting in a longer and deeper relationship. Ask and ye shall receive, kids.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.