A common excuse we hear from clients as to why they don’t use email marketing is that it “takes too much time to do right.” While it’s true that plain, static emails month after month can be boring and tiresome to your customers, and there’s not enough hours in the day to personally tailor messages to different contacts, there are ways to minimize effort and boost your return. One of those ways is to use the versatile autoresponder tools in your email service to create drip campaigns.
We’ve written before about how drip campaigns can shorten your sales cycle for potential new customers, but with a slightly more creative approach, you can use autoresponders to drive repeat business from your established clients too. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how small businesses can use automated email to their advantage.
Email Marketing Example: Jenny Flowers
Jenny Flowers runs a small florist shop in the Midwest. She regularly provides beautiful floral arrangements for weddings, but she wants to be the go-to flower shop for those customers year in and year out. Wowing them with her beautiful bouquets is just the start. She collects email addresses from every new groom and adds him to a drip campaign with three autoresponder emails:
- The first is scheduled for 27 days after the wedding, with the subject line Say “I love you” with a single rose on your 1 month anniversary. The messaging inside the email presents the idea of one rose for each month they have been married and offers the groom a chance to buy one rose or an entire year of flowers to be delivered every month on their anniversary.
- The second is scheduled 6 months after the wedding, with a subject line of “Celebrate a half year together with a live plant”. This email focuses on the plant growing as their love grows.
- The third and final communication is sent right before the one year anniversary. The subject line “Wow her on your first anniversary” is followed by an offer to send a bouquet of flowers similar to what she carried down the aisle just a year ago.
Jenny targets customers whose wedding (and her services) are fresh in their minds, and at a time when they’re most likely to want and need a florist’s services again. This drip campaign maintains her presence in her customers’ minds, creates additional sales opportunities by presenting suggestions when her clients may not be thinking of buying her product and well timed, targeted messages when they are.
Email Marketing Example: Teddy Cargill
Teddy owns Cargill & Son Motors, small automotive repair and body shop. Much of his business comes from new customers, but he wants to increase his repeat business for simple jobs, such as oil changes and regular tune-ups. To target those customers down the road (no pun intended), he sets up multiple drip campaigns, each with a single special offer.
- The first drip campaign he calls “Customers – Oil Changes,” and creates an email to be sent every three months after a customer is added to the list with the subject line “It’s time for your next oil change.”
- The second campaign is “Customers – Spark Plugs” with an email to be sent 12 months after a customer is added. The subject line is “Spark plugs need to be changed every year.”
The program is easy enough to replicate as he adds other regular services, its easy to create separate email marketing campaigns tailored to those services. Like Jenny, Teddy will target customers at a time they’re likely to make a purchase, and even nudge them along the way with those car care reminders.
Email Marketing Example: You
If repeat business is something you count on or something you want to drive, there’s probably a way you can use autoresponders. Think about when it may make sense for a customer to come back to you for your service – what time frames naturally exist in the customer’s purchase cycle (such as an anniversary or product service period)? Though automated email campaigns may seem a difficult task to manage at first, with just a little bit of work at the outset the dividends they can pay for your business make them invaluable.
Want to learn more about auto response campaigns? Check out the recording of our Automate Your Marketing webinar, sign up for a free trial of Constant Contact to see how easy it is to create your own campaign or give us a call! You will be glad you did.