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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The last two posts described walking the tightrope between spam and genuine engagement. After an initial engagement with an email list, the discussion of further automated conversations continues this discussion. 

Generally, automated emails direct email traffic to a known audience. This audience has already demonstrated an interest in the mission of the business owner. The path has been paved. The rest of the journey should include proper enticements for your already engaged user base. 

Automating an email marketing plan may include four considerations. (1) An engaged audience should direct your goals. (2) The right automation software, (3) Using this software to generate enticing auto-responses, (4) Welcoming new subscribers.

First, engagement with the audience is key to successful email marketing. Remember that once emails become automated, proper routing becomes especially crucial. No one likes robocalls, as we all know. Emails are certainly less obtrusive but still should not cross the fine line into spam. 

Marketers should segment customers to ensure relevance. Recipients should be split into groups based on qualities such as gender, age, or location to ensure that offers stay relevant to each segment within the target audience. Other segments could include classes of customers based on their stage in the sales funnel, whether as a prospect or an ongoing customer. Each segment should stay relevant to the marketing effort. 

Remember that cold leads also have value and can reveal information that may result in an eventual sale. Segmenting cold leads can provide insights about alternate directions for future correspondence.

Even on an individual level, fictitious buyer personas can illustrate the personal characteristics of buyers from a market research standpoint. Construction of relevant buyer personas can inform the construction of emails and help design effective offers. The construction of such personas can humanize the potential target and allow a more detailed construction of marketing content. In other words, the creator engages a human being they have come to understand rather than a cold demographic.

Second, good automation software facilitates the process.  Automation software should not only be usable but also flexible and integral with other platforms. Also consider the potential for client support, as well as simple procedures to optimize email lists. For example, software should make it easy to remove bad addresses and redundant users. 

Third, the auto-responses should continue to engage, and not bother, the subscribers. Auto-responses continue the conversation after the customer has engaged with the initial email. These responses should add humanity to the content of the interactions, and not provide mere cold confirmation of the initial encounter. Consider different classes of auto-responses for different situations and types of customers. For example, post-appointment emails may comprise one list, and post-purchase emails can go into another category. Auto-responses may ask for feedback, further information, or provide deals or continuing information such as jokes, quizzes, or inspirational quotes. 

Fourth, always consider the expansion of the pool of brand enthusiasts moving forward. When plausible, recipients should be encouraged to forward messages and share information with others in their brand segment. However, always ensure that your brand leaves a positive impression. Blasting potential customers with frivolous communications leave the impression of a cheap company desperate for any kind of response. These bad practices may annoy the recipient as well as get you blocked as a spammer. Remember to maintain dignity and professionalism, keeping directed marketing relevant and interesting. In this fashion, customers will look upon the company as a partner rather than a pest.


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