Sending the right emails at the right time to the right person is a big deal in business. You don’t want to send a brand new subscriber the same email as a long time loyal customer. And you don’t want to send promotional emails to subscribers who have already purchased the product.
Enter the email automation tools of 2021. These tools are legitimate methods for growing your business. It is an essential form of marketing almost any business can benefit from.
The best email automation tools go above and beyond communicating a scheduled newsletter or announcement. Some services offer numerous other tools such as managing contacts or creating detailed marketing plans.
Let’s take a closer look at why it may be time to add these services to your marketing gameplan, and which ones are worth considering as you build your business empire.
What is an Email Automation Tool?
Before we move on, what exactly is an email automation tool and who needs to use them? Simply put, it’s a service you use, often paid for, to manage your multiple email campaigns in one place.
Email automation sends out a series of emails to specific email subscribers at certain times. For example, this could be a series when someone first signs up for your email list and then another series when they make their first purchase.
Think about the different types of people your business comes into contact with, plus where each person is on their purchase journey with you. Your email base may consist of those who are:
- New subscribers
- A subscriber celebrating a birthday
- Someone who recently purchased from you
- A person who abandoned their cart
- A first-time purchaser
Each recipient should have their own message, which ultimately allows them to move them along the purchasing journey or create a more meaningful relationship.
Pretty much any business will benefit from streamlining your email marketing and using a tool to automate the many tasks required to run effective email campaigns.
As business owners know, taking time to craft specific messages and send them out to each individual is virtually impossible. An email automation tool takes care of this for you.
What to Look for When Choosing an Email Automation Service
There is a wide array of services available, knowing what to look for up front may save you a little frustration.
First, understand how many campaigns can you have going on at once. Think about your customer’s journey. How many different email sequences will you need? It’s likely more than you first realized.
Look for a service with advanced communication capabilities, so you can send as many emails to as many different users as possible at once.
Second, look for a service providing quality statistics. You need to know more than how many people are subscribed to your newsletters. You need details behind who is clicking and converting, and when it happens.
You need to understand your open and click rates, plus details when people leave. All of this information helps you craft a better message, but you can only get this through advanced analytics.
Then you need to know which integrations the service provides. This is especially true for e-commerce operators, since you need your email campaigns to tie directly to different types of purchasers. You won’t be able to feed this information to the email automation service without choosing one with the right integrations for your site.
Lastly, there are other important considerations too, such as your monthly budget and ease of use.
These are all worth understanding before you decide which email automation tool to choose.
Email automation tools for consideration
With so many choices in the market and with many offering cool advantages for emails, here are a few for your business worth considering.
If you are a blogger or have a growing social media presence you want to nurture even more, then you may find the options with ConvertKit are too good to pass up.
Email automation is easy with ConvertKit. You can set up a series of emails that go out on the exact schedule you choose to exactly who you want to receive them.
They use what they call “visual automation” so you can see the path that each subscriber will take.
For example, you can set it up so that a new subscriber might begin on an email series that promotes a particular product, but if they purchase the product you can have them automatically moved from the promotion sequence into a walk through of their new product.
If you’re stumped on what to say to your various groups of email subscribers, then you don’t have to worry because Convertkit provides numerous templates for you. Whether you’re reaching out to someone who just joined your community, or need fresh messaging to your longtime subscribers.
Opt-ins are also easy to create with this service, and are another great way to grow your list of subscribers. ConvertKit makes it easy to offer free downloads and use them as triggers to start email campaigns. Or you can create a landing page if you have a special product or project you want to promote.
What’s appealing about Convertkit are the number of sales functions you have, in addition to email automation.
From creating landing pages, to selling digital products, and the ability to add a custom domain to name a few. Not only can you market with automated emails, but you can grow your business through a vast array of extra sales and marketing features.
Free Plan: With the free plan you can have up to 1,000 subscribers, send one time blast emails to your list, and use unlimited landing pages and forms. You can even sell digital products. However, the free plan does not include automations, which is a big deal. It does allow you to automatically deliver a lead magnet though.
The free plan is great to try it out and see if you like the feel of ConvertKit but plan on switching to the Creator plan pretty quickly.
Creator Plan: The Creator plan gives you everything the free plan does and adds on the automations. It will also help you migrate from another email service provider. It starts at $29 but the price will increase as you add more than 1,000 subscribers.
Creator Pro: The Creator Pro plan gives you advanced tools such as creating custom audiences that will sync with Facebook for more targeted Facebook ads. They also give you the ability to reward your subscribers for referring friends, and gives you advanced reporting and subscriber scoring.
Subscriber scoring tells you who your most engaged subscribers are.
The price starts at $59 and will increase when you get over 1,000 subscribers.
Mailchimp is another strong option, with a number of email automation features, as well as marketing tools for growing your business. Any type of business too, from influencers to online store owners and anyone in between.
Emails from Mailchimp can be automated based on behaviors, if your subscriber interacts with your content in a particular way. But they can also be sent based on transactions, such as when someone is browsing or puts an item in their cart. No matter where someone is in their journey with your business, there is likely an email timeline already created by Mailchimp.
Not only do you have access to tons of email features, but the marketing and sales features are generous too. Like Convertkit, you can create landing pages for various products, plus a custom website for online sales. One cool extra feature is the ability to create digital ads with Facebook and others, which in turn can help you grow your audience.
MailChimp has a total of six plans plus a free plan. They break the plans into “Marketing” and “Websites and Commerce”.
The Website and Commerce plans come with transaction fees when people make purchases through the emails. You can learn more about those here.
Here is a quick breakdown of the Marketing plans.
Free Plan: Like ConvertKit, MailChimp’s free plan doesn’t offer automations other than one welcome email that will deliver the lead magnet. You can have up to 2,000 subscribers but you can not break them up into segments – which means you can’t send an email to only some of your subscribers.
You do get landing pages and forms to easily collect email addresses.
Essentials Plan: Starting at $9.99 for up to 500 subscribers you get everything in the free plan plus automations and the ability to schedule emails in advance. You also get A/B testing and can break your main list into up to three segments.
Standard Plan: The Standard plan starts at $14.99 for up to 500 subscribers. With this plan you can create what they call “custom journey builder”. This is where certain behaviors, such as a purchase, will trigger events and move people from one list to another. You can break your audience up into five segments.
This plan also integrates with Facebook and Instagram for targeting. It also allows you to schedule social media posts.
Premium Plan: This plan starts at $299 and allows for unlimited audiences and advanced segmentation. You can also custom code your landing pages and have priority support.
Drip is an email automation service working closely with e-commerce store owners, although other businesses may benefit as well.
You can attract new customers with forms and landing pages, but you can grow your business with the email automation tools from Drip.
Drip also uses a visual email builder, where you easily create a “path” for each email, based on how the different phases a customer is in with your business. There are a ton of options with the builder, including sending product recommendations, showcasing top-selling products, reminding customers about abandoned carts, and many others.
Drip integrates with several e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, which is essential if you have an online store you are trying to promote and push sales through. You can also add SMS text messaging to your marketing arsenal with Drip.
Drip lets you start for free with a 14-day trial, then pricing starts at $19 and escalates with the more subscribers you have. You can send up to six million emails a month with a custom plan.
You can also add texting to your plan, starting at $15.
|Features of free plan||Up to 1,000 email subscribersCreate landing pagesSell products and subscriptions||Up to 2,000 email subscribersCreate landing pages and formsSell products and build a website||All features except unlimited emails and SMS texts are available during the free trial.|
|Number of emails each month||Unlimited emails, but features increase if you purchase $29 or $59 per month plan||Up to four million a month, depends on the number of blocks you purchase||Up to six million. If you need more, you can customize a plan.|
|Number of subscribers||Up to 500,000 but can add more with a custom plan||Up to 200,000 contacts but can add more with a custom plan||Each plan is custom based on number of subscribers|
|Add sales functions||Yes, with landing pages, sell digital products, or create sales funnels||Yes, depending on the plan, can launch a website and online store, plus landing pages and forms.||Sales functions specifically for e-commerce stores, such as opt-ins and landing pages.|
The Bottom Line on Email Automation Tools
Email automation is one of the best ways to streamline your marketing efforts and reach subscribers with effective email marketing. The key is to choose one that provides you the most functions for your business, and works for your size of contacts.