The Best Tool to Plan Your Email Marketing Automation

Imagine this: Your best marketing content is sentmechanically to your audience in the perfect time. You do not need to lift a finger.

You see revenue flow into your bank account. Your business grows. You optimize your own automation. More earnings flows into your bank account every month.

Now, you are saving hours and making more money . . . and it is automatic.

That is the power of marketing automation.

However, there is one hurdle which often prevents people from using automation –– the fear that it will be too difficult to get started.

In fact, 50 percent of marketers think it is hard to implement marketing automation, according to the market research companies Three Deep and Ascend 2.

After all, automation may get pretty complex.

But, there is a tool that can make it much more simple –– an automation map.

What’s an automation map?

An automation map is a visual representation of the automation flow. Just like a map, it could give you direction, and help you plan ahead & avoid missteps as you make an automated series.

Email automation could have a lot of moving pieces. Your automation map can help you take all of that into account & plan ahead. Plus, you could build upon your map as you add more emails & complexity to your automation.

Here at AWeber, we use automation maps often. They help us review the flow & content of simple series & plan every step of complex, branching automation collection.

By glancing at an automation map, I could quickly see whether/not my email automation leadsubscriberswhole the way through the marketing funnel. I could determine whether or not my series contains dead ends. And I can see if I am segmenting my audience in the best method possible.

Whether you are just getting started with automation/an expert, an automation map can provide guidance & level up your efforts.

How to map your series

Before you begin mapping, you should decide what tools you would like to use to map your series. I offer either hand drawing your series with a pencil & paper or planning your series out digitally with a tool such like Google Draw. Which you select all depends on your preferences.

Once you have chosen your preferred tool, you are ready to map your series. Every automation map is comprised of four simple elements:

  1. The emails in the series

You could have a 4-email automation series or a 20-email automation collection. Either way, the aim of the emails within your series is to lead your users through the marketing funnel/persuade them to take a certain action. You could review your automation map to see if your content & emails will accomplish this.

  1. Time delays between those emails

Whether it is minutes, hours, days, or weeks, you could include a time delay between nearly each email. Time delays will deliver your emails at the perfect time, rather than whole at once.

So, what’s the perfect time? That depends on your audience & the expectations you set on your sign up form & welcome email. If you are unsure, survey your audiences to ask them what they prefer. Or, test different time delays to see what works best for your audiences.

  1. Tags or labels you will use to segment your subscribers

Most email marketing & automation platforms can apply tags/labels to your subscribers when they perform certain actions, get an email, or subscribe to a list. These tags could help you segment your audience into groups based off their tags. You could then send automated emails to these groups specifically.

For instance, let’s say you set up your email marketing platform to apply a tag to a subscriber when they click on a questionnaire link in among your automated emails. You could then resend the questionnaireemail to anyone who doesn’t have that tag. That way, you could give non-responders another opportunity to answer your questionnairewithout sending an irrelevant email to those who responded to your survey.

  1. The various paths or journeys your subscribers might take

Action-based/behavioral email automation is when you send automated emails to people based off their actions. If you are using action-based automation in your automated series, your users will go down different paths/journeys depending on what they do.

A subscriber who clicks one email may get another email targeted to them. While a subscriber who opens a different email, may get a 3-part email series based off that open.

The automation map should outline the different paths your subscriber could possibly take. This way, you could avoid sending too many emails to the same subscriber on the same day. You can preview subscriber’s possible experiences.

An automation map becomes extremely necessary when you start using action-based automation. You may think you have a brilliant idea for an action-based automation series. However, once you map it out, you may discover it would lead to a terrible experience for a particular segment of subscribers –– like getting three emails on one day.

An automation map in action

To help you understand how automation maps work, we are going to look at an example. Let’s say you are an author who wants to promote his brand-new novel through automation. You want to send a chapter every week for 4 weeks to your subscribers. At the end of the 4-week automated campaign, you will promote a link to buy your entire novel.

The same automation map made in Google Draw might look like this.
Pretty simple, right? But with this map, you know what your time delays are, you know exactly which emails will launch & to whom they’ll send.

Now, let’s say you need to take it a step further with action-based automation. You will still offer your novel for purchase after you send the fourth chapter, but you will also ask a question of your audience.

Which genre do they prefer? Romance/Thriller.

Depending on which selectionthe subscriber clicks on, they’re automatically tagged with either “Romance”/“Thriller.” You have now segmented your audience into 2 groups, and you could target those segments with his other book titles that fall in those certainly genres.

You could then send two different automated series to those segments. For those who select “Romance,” you could ask them to buy the new romance book. For those who chose “Thriller,” you could promote your new thriller book.

As you map your own series, ask yourself questions:

  • Could you apply a tag at the beginning and/or end of the series?
  • What is the right time delay between each email? Am I sending many emails? Am I sending few?
  • Which emails slot into the different stages of the marketing funnel
  • Is there an email I could add to the series that will make my user more likely to convert?


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