I confess. I have been known to let my email schedule slip from time to time. Missed deadlines. Lost opportunities. Major gaps in my communications flow to customers and prospects. All but forgotten by some customers and prospects.
You know the story. You start out strong and committed. And then you get busy and soon your own marketing takes a back seat to other more urgent demands. And so you skip a week, or two … or 10. Ouch.
I suspect you’ve been down this road too. The solutions are largely unsatisfying …
- You need to be more disciplined
- You need to make your email marketing more of a priority
- You need to dedicate a certain amount of time each week or month to developing new content
- You need to …
Yeah, I need to floss more too. Those are not solutions. They are human overhauls.
What you really need is a better system and strategy.
Let’s talk about automation.
One of the major advantages of email marketing is the ability to create an email once – and put it on autopilot. Set it and forget it, as they say – although I wouldn’t recommend the forget-it part.
Within the capabilities of most email services providers (I use and recommend Constant Contact) is the ability to create and pre-schedule automated “drip” emails. They call them auto-responders because they are set up to go out automatically right after someone joins your list.
Automated Drip Emails
Drip email is most commonly used an introductory series to people who just joined your email list.
These new subscribers will get a welcome letter followed by a series of emails designed to introduce them to your company. Once the emails are created, they are pre-scheduled to go out on a specific timetable from the time they join your list. First email goes out on the same day they join, second email three days later, third email three days after that – and so on.
In that way, every new email signup is on a different schedule. But they are all getting your series of emails. I have had a drip email in place for many years now.
The best part is you don’t have to think about it – or do anything.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be an introductory series.
It could be a different series of emails developed for people already on your list. Let’s say you want to create a tutorial in 10 parts. You could create 10 emails (with related links), schedule them out as you like and then offer the series to your subscriber list. If someone clicks on the link in your invitational email, they will be added to a new list and the tutorial series will begin.
Drip email is wonderful option for busy marketer, but let’s not forget, at some point, those drip email sequences come to any end. And now you face the possibility of more gaps – until you can prepare another series or even a single email.
What do you do?
Enter the Foundational Email
Foundational emails are developed specifically to fill in the gaps. They are emails about your company, your mission, your products or services, your applications and solutions, your customers and success stories – whatever is important to your marketing message.
They are written and designed in advance – and then they are scheduled once or multiple times over an extended period of time.
They are scheduled manually – and not part of an auto-responder series.
What makes them useful and different from other emails is that they are timeless or evergreen as some might call them. They don’t need to be changed. They can run anytime without any edits (unless you want to edit them).
You can prepare any number of foundational emails each with a different focus – an overview of your business, separate emails on each product or service, separate case study emails, etc.
In time, you will want to build a library of foundational emails and then use them as needed.
Schedule out a new email once or twice a week, or every other week – whatever you want.
What’s important is that your business will stay in front of your customers and prospects on a consistent basis – and that’s half the battle.
Holiday emails aren’t designed to generate any leads or close any sales, but they keep your name in front of your prospects and customers.
And they show good will. Nothing wrong with that.
Create a series of undated holiday emails and add them to your email schedule.
Please note, if your business runs promotions and events around specific holidays (for example, a restaurant has a Mother’s Day brunch), this automated and pre-scheduled approach doesn’t work. You would need to create new and specific emails for each holiday promotion. (And we can help you with that.)
They are not for everyone, but if your audience would appreciate a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary email, you can set this up on auto-pilot. Just create email, load in the contact information and birthday/anniversary dates – and you’re off and running.
Of course, you will still have those emails that need to be created on the spot – for a specific promotion, upcoming event or just a new piece of content.
These are high priority emails and you need to make room in the schedule when they happen. In fact, all of the above emails will need to take a back seat when these emails are going out.
But for many organizations, these on-demand emails don’t happen that often or on a regular basis.
And that’s where automated and pre-scheduled emails can play an important role.
Want to fill the gaps in your email communications?
We can help you plan, create and schedule your emails to keep you in touch with customers and prospects on a consistent basis.