Despite the power of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it’s important for brand marketers to keep in mind that the algorithms running those programs are consistently subject to change. An email list is an invaluable asset, and one that is entirely in your control. The vast majority of businesses don’t automate their marketing; the ones that do have a big advantage.

Subscriber Preference Management

Automation, by definition, means that the work is done through efforts outside of your own. Giving the subscriber options to manage his or her consumer experience will save you time, and make their experience better. “You want the ultimate in automation? Then let your subscribers work for you. Give them the opportunity to change their subscription preferences,” writes Steve Olenski of Forbes. “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.”

Text-based Emails

Despite how nice a message looks in your inbox, it’s important to consider that most subscribers will have additional images blocked through an email program. “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,” offers Olenski. “And worst of all? You’re losing it doing something that most of your subscribers might not even see.”

Segment

According to Olenski: “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.”

Trim Your List

High volume in any department does not always necessarily lead to a high conversion rate. In fact, when you have to manage an overwhelming subscriber list — comprised of many people who don’t even engage in your content — you lost out on targeting the consumers that really matter to your brand. “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,” writes Olenski. “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.”

Get Feedback from Subscribers

Believe it or not, but your consumers will actually tell you what they want, if asked in the proper setting. Honest feedback is in everyone’s best interests. Olenski says: “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.”

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