Should Social Responsibility be Selfless?

Should Social Responsibility be Selfless?

by David Hagenbuch – professor of Marketing at Messiah University –
​author of Honorable Influence – founder of Mindful Marketing

While people gave gifts to loved ones last month, the world’s largest pizza chain was providing presents to some very surprised recipients—other restaurants.  True, “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” but was Domino’s philanthropy actually aimed at putting itself on the receiving side?

As you may have seen in the 60-second spot from its feel-good campaign, Domino’s bought over $100,000 in gift cards from local restaurants and gave them to its own customers.

It doesn’t take much business background to know that the goal of an enterprise is to build market share for itself, not competitors.  Even Vickie Corder, one of the restaurant owners who appeared in Domino’s commercial, was astonished by the action: “I can’t believe one restaurant is buying another restaurant’s gift certificates.”

Why would Domino’s want to support its competitors’ sales by buying their gift cards, and even worse, giving them to its own customers, making them less likely to buy Domino’s pizza?  Some of the ad text suggests an altruistic reason:  “Domino’s wants to help the people and restaurants in our local communities.”

One might take that explanation at face value.  After all, the firm did fork over $100,000.  However, for a company with annual revenues of $4.37 billion and operating income of $801 million, $100,000 is immaterial.  There’s also some understandable skepticism–Why haven’t we heard before of Domino’s feelings of responsibility for other restaurants?

Instead, some of the chain’s social responsibility has looked more like ‘marketing gimmicks,’ such as its “Paving for Pizza” program, aimed at filling potential pizza-delivery-wrecking potholes, and its “carryout insurance,” guaranteeing free replacements for customers who inadvertently fumbled their pies.

The vast majority of people probably never had a poor pizza experience resulting from either of those issues and never will, so it’s realistic to suggest that in both instances Domino’s was making much ado about nothing, positioning for the free publicity that each unconventional campaign elicited.  So, is gifting other restaurant’s gift cards just another attempt to gain exposure through oddity?

The gift card campaign certainly seems like it could be another gimmick; yet, there are some notable differences, namely that COVID has put unprecedented pressure on restaurants, causing many to shutter their doors permanently.  In fact, Domino’s commercial mentions that “over 110,000 U.S. restaurants have closed since March 2020.”

That to say, unlike the exaggerated ideas of potholes pummeling delivery vehicles and consumers carelessly dropping carryout orders, the pandemic’s negative impact on restaurants has, unfortunately, been very real.

The ad also mentions a related phenomenon that COVID didn’t cause but did increase:  the use of third-party delivery companies.  During the height of the pandemic when most restaurants’ sit-down dining was paused, more and more people started getting restaurant food delivered to their homes and offices by providers like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.

grubhub uber eats doordash

Although selling food, whether for dine-in or delivery, seems like a good thing for restaurants, apparently the math doesn’t work well when third-party delivery companies are involved.  Irene Li, another restaurant owner interviewed in Domino’s ad, affirms the profit predicament: “[Third-party delivery fees] take a huge chunk of our bottom line; all of that comes out of our pocket and goes to them.”

Others have echoed her concern, including NPR, which reported that apps often charge commissions of 17% or more, in addition to delivery fees.  Likewise, the LA Times found that one local restaurant paid $35,000, or roughly a third of its annual rent, in delivery fees, which led the Times to recommend, “The next time you order takeout, call the restaurant [directly].”

Domino’s suggestion that delivery apps wreak havoc on restaurants’ bottom-lines is on-point; however, the pizza chain is also very well-known for doing its own deliveries.  Does that mean that Domino’s is selflessly looking out for others?  Not exactly.

Apparently, some of the many people who have grown accustomed to the third-party apps for food delivery have also used them to place orders for pizza, doing to Domino’s the same fiscal damage described above. In fact, another Domino’s ad has suggested such delivery difficulties, warning consumers that third party delivery firms charge “surprise fees,” but it will reward certain loyal customers who use its app with “surprise frees,” or, free food.”

Likewise, during an interview on CNBC’s Mad Money, Domino’s President and CEO Ritch Allision suggested that third-party delivery apps have, to some extent, stunted the company’s growth.

All this to say, by buying and giving away other restaurants’ gift cards, Domino’s has brought added attention to an issue that doesn’t just hurt its local restaurant competitors.  It also  bruises Domino’s own bottom line.

The question, then, becomes, Is it right for Domino’s to help itself while helping others?

Before considering the ethics of this query, it’s worth noting that Domino’s strategy does seem to be effective marketing.  The unconventional approach gains attention, and the corporate social responsibility builds goodwill.

What’s more, because delivery is both the focus of the ad and a key component of the company’s value proposition, the promotion is more meaningful and memorable.  When people consider Domino’s brand, the company wants them to think of food delivery, which the commercial accomplishes.

So, what about the marketing’s morality?  One consideration could be the amount Domino’s spent on the gift cards ($100K+) versus how much it’s paid for the ads.  Excluding  production expenses, U.S. television broadcasting costs alone, average about $115,000 per 30-second spot, which means the campaign’s promotional budget certainly far exceeded the value of the gift cards.

The extreme imbalance may make some rightly question the company’s motives.  Although Domino’s franchisees did assume some risk by giving other restaurant’s gift cards to their own customers, most people who eat out probably patronize multiple restaurants, making it unlikely that Domino’s lost business.  In fact, free gift cards may have led some of their recipients to reciprocate by buying more pizza.

All said, it’ hard to paint Domino’s promotion as selfless:  The company benefited from the tactics as did the other restaurants and those who scored the free gift cards.  So, is such mutual benefit problematic?

Most business exchanges result in win-win outcomes.  From the clothes we wear to the computers on which we type, we’re usually very glad we have those products and not the money we paid for them.  Meanwhile, the marketers are grateful for our money and don’t want back their products.

Mutually beneficial exchange, in commercial and noncommercial contexts, is a very good thing. Some may argue that such a philosophy shouldn’t extend to corporate social responsibility, but why not?

Several years ago, two colleagues and I conducted research in which we identified three unique types of corporate social responsibility: donation, volunteerism, and operational integration.  In the study we affirmed that helping others was very good, but implementing philanthropic acts that simultaneously furthered the economic goals of the organization was even better.  The positive response to this article and another like it suggests that many others share the same viewpoint.

The reality outside business isn’t much different.  When individuals give of their time, money, etc., benevolence in some form usually comes back to them.  The stories found in the Go Giver artfully describe that phenomenon.

Domino’s did a good thing by buying and giving away other restaurants’ gift cards.  Although it wasn’t a major act of corporate social responsibility, it was a meaningful one.  The fact that the philanthropy also benefited the pizza chain, doesn’t stop the strategy from being “Mindful Marketing.”

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021

AMA Pittsburgh Members Encouraged to Participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and all members of AMA Pittsburgh are encouraged to participate. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

For specific ideas about how AMA Pittsburgh members can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.

Social Information:

Website Resources:

https://askjan.org/ – Job Accommodation Network

https://askearn.org/ – Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion

Image Resources:

Large red text that spells hashtag NDEAM
Image with text that says “America’s Recovery Powered by Inclusion – National Disability Employment Awareness Month”
Image with text that says, in Spanish, “America’s Recovery Powered by Inclusion – National Disability Employment Awareness Month”
The background color of the 2020 poster is royal blue. All lettering is gold. To the left, in upper case letters, is the theme INCREASING ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY. Under the theme in upper and lower case lettering are the words Celebrating 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under this statement is blue space.

At the bottom left are four elements:

Two logos side-by-side: 30th/ADA ANNIVERSARY 75th/NDEAM ANNIVERSARY
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
#ADA30 | #NDEAM75 | dol.gov/odep
DOL’s logo with the following, in upper case letters, to its right: OFFICE OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT POLICY UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

To the right, cascading down to the bottom of the poster, are triangular shapes containing images of people with a range of disabilities working in various settings.
The Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

The Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing can be thought of as the use of email to promote products or services while developing relationships with potential customers or clients. It’s a way for you to get in front of your customer base and keep them up to date with what’s going on within your company. It is essentially the electronic version of direct mail, with the biggest benefit being that your content is sent out instantly and at a specific time and date determined by you.

Marketing Statistics

•       Marketing Weekly- 73% of marketers said email marketing is the number one digital marketing platform for ROI.

•       Adobe- As much as 58% of millennials claim that they prefer to be contacted via email.

•       Mailigen- 89% of the marketers agree that email is their primary lead generation channel.

•       Blue Kangaroo Study- 7 out of 10 people say that they have used the vouchers/coupons given to them via email marketing in the last week.

•       Litmus- 82% of the consumers check and open the emails sent to them by a company.

•       Experian- Every $1 spent on email marketing yields a $44.25 return on investment.

• Emails convert 3 times more than social media.

• Email marketing is more likely to drive sales than social media marketing

•       61 percent of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. 38 percent would like emails to come even more frequently.

• 60 percent of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email they received.

Email Marketing Dos:

There are certain things you should be sure to adopt in your email marketing strategy. They will help to ensure that your email campaigns are successful and reaching the right audience.

Build a Contact List

If you’re relatively new to email marketing, building a contact list is one of the first things you should do. In order to send emails, you need contacts to send them to. One of the easiest ways to develop your content list is through form submissions on your website. People can subscribe to your newsletter through these form submissions or submit their contact information to receive more information about your product offerings.

You can also put gated content on your website that requires a form submission to access it. In terms of social media, you could hold contests or giveaways that require users to submit their contact information to be entered. There are so many unique ways to get these contacts, but it’s the first step in successfully implementing email marketing into your overall marketing strategy.

A/B Test Emails

A/B Testing involves sending one variation of an email to a specific subset of subscribers, then sending another variation of the email to another subset of subscribers. The variations can be in terms of subject lines, email templates, an email campaign with images vs. no images, and so on. The ultimate goal of A/B Testing is to see which email variation performed best in terms of how many people opened it, overall clicks, people who unsubscribed, etc. It’s a great tool to test out different concepts or ideas when it comes to your email marketing, so then you can analyze the results and draw conclusions of why certain emails performed better than others.

Practice Email Segmentation

Email segmentation involves dividing email subscribers into smaller subsets or lists based on specific criteria. Some examples would be separating contacts based on whether they’re customers, employees, or their job role or industry. Email segmentation helps deliver more relevant information to customers based on their interests, purchase history, and geographic location. Ultimately, email segmentation helps to avoid the one size fits all mentality. It helps to cater content to specific email lists rather than sending the same mass email to everybody. According to a statistic, segmented emails make readers 50% more likely to click on a link within the email!

Utilize Email Automation

Email automation is just as it sounds – Emails that are sent automatically to customers and prospects. By using an email automation system, it will ultimately help to save time and money for your company. Based on the criteria you required on the form submission, the information can be used to send automatic emails to customers and prospects. Examples would be a welcome email when they first subscribe, happy birthday emails, monthly newsletters, or items left in your cart reminders.

Follow Email Marketing Laws/Regulations

Certain laws and regulations must be followed in email marketing, which are laid out in CAN-SPAM and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The basics of these laws and regulations are as follows:

• Don’t use false or misleading header information.

• Don’t use deceptive subject lines.

• Identify the message as an ad. 

• Tell recipients where you’re located. 

• Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails from you.

• Honor opt-out requests promptly.

• Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. 

Analyze Campaign Analytics

Finally, once you’ve successfully sent out an email campaign, you need to ensure you’re analyzing the analytics. The analytics help you better understand your email campaign’s success and areas you may have for growth. Some examples of email analytics would include the following:

Open Rate: What percentage of subscribers opened the email.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): How many people clicked on one or more of the links found in the email.

Unsubscribes: How many people opt-out of receiving your emails after opening the email sent to them.

Email marketing Don’ts:

Of course, in email marketing there are also things you should avoid, as they may deter someone from opening the email or remaining subscribed to your email list. Here are a few examples.

Don’t Lead with a Sales Pitch.

Leading with a sales pitch will ultimately cause your subscribers to unsubscribe from your emails or lose interest in opening them. Sales pitches are expected at some point, as the primary goal of email marketing is to draw in conversions. However, don’t make every email a sales pitch or automatically lead off with one. Consider what customers previously showed an interest in and send them similar information down the road. If they have a need, establish yourself as the industry experts so when it’s time to buy, they turn to your company!

Don’t Sound Spammy.

Sounding spammy is just as it sounds. Don’t make email content that could potentially be marked as spam to your subscribers. Subject lines are critical to whether subscribers open or don’t open your email. If your subject line sounds like spam, they’re less likely to open it, or they may never even see it as their email automatically sent it to the junk box.

Don’t Forget About Mobile Users.

In today’s day and age, many people open their emails from the app on their smartphone. Because of this, you can’t forget about mobile users in your email strategy. You need to ensure that the email is formatted so they can open it on a mobile device. For example, ensure that your type size is readable and keep subject lines short. Most sources recommend a subject line of 30 characters for mobile emails. Also, you should limit navigations and links, as this could become burdensome to the subscriber on a mobile device. (You should still have a clickable logo and other external links, just not as many). Today, mobile devices account for nearly 60% of email opens, and email open rates from mobile devices have increased by over 100% since 2011. Because so many people now utilize mobile devices for their email, it’s crucial to account for that in your email strategy.

Don’t Send Everybody the Same Email.

As stated previously, don’t send everybody in your subscriber list the same email. This goes hand-in-hand with email segmentation. Not all of your customers, prospects and subscribers have the same interest. Develop lists based on their interests and send them content that is relevant to them.

Email marketing is crucial in today’s day and age, especially when it comes to having a solid marketing strategy. Although getting started can seem somewhat difficult, by understanding the basics, you can begin to implement email into your marketing efforts and learn as you go. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to the author below!


MEET THE AUTHOR: JACLYN KING

Jaclyn King is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Butler Technologies. Butler Technologies is a printed electronics solution provider that develops User Interface and Printed Electronics.

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Don’t Be Naïve About Native Advertising

Don’t Be Naïve About Native Advertising

by David Hagenbuch – professor of Marketing at Messiah University –
​author of Honorable Influence – founder of Mindful Marketing


Christmas Story fans remember Ralphie’s excitement in receiving a long-awaited Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, only to be disappointed by the unexpected product plug: “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”  Slipping commercial messages into media content is nothing new, but digital media have exploded that potential with more and more companies trying to make their ads look like they’re something else.
Native advertising is the term used to describe “paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.”  Think of the approach as camouflage for commercials.  Just as hunters wear green and brown to blend into a forest, native ads mimic the look and feel of their media surroundings so people don’t perceive that they’re promotion.

Native advertising has likely existed for more than a century, one of the earliest examples being John Deere’s agricultural magazineThe Furrow, which contained “articles on agriculture and farming tips” alongside ads for the firm’s agricultural products.  The entire magazine was, in essence, subtle promotion for John Deere; still, readers could probably easily distinguish the publication’s articles from its advertisements.

Today’s native advertising is much more stealthy.

Scrolling through a Yahoo.com news feed recently, I saw sandwiched between a Telegraph article about Prince Harry and a MarketWatch piece on COVID-19, an interesting black and white photo of a woman playing pool along with the intriguing caption, “Pics Show A Gross Past To How We Used To Live.”  I barely noticed in small type “Ad Autooverload” before hitting the hyperlink.

The link opened a new browser tab for autooverlaod.com with header menu items that included “Racing” and “Supercars.” The page also featured the start of a slideshow titled “Amazing Wild West Photos.”  What Lamborghini’s have to do with Wyatt Earp wasn’t clear, but one could imagine that the prolonged progression of “wild west” photos enhances Auto Overload’s web metrics (e.g., time spent on the site, page views) for purpose of appeal to advertisers.

The use of such native ads has been increasing steadily with no signs of stopping.  Media from BuzzFeed to The New York Times have incorporated the promotional approach, with some suggesting that native advertising “will soon become as mainstream as the TV ad.”

BigCommerce reports that in the U.S. in 2020, over $47 billion was spent on native advertising and that 62% of all digital advertising, or “six out of every 10 digital ads were native ads.”  Furthermore, native ad spending is forecast to increase by 21% in 2021 to a staggering $57.27 billion.

Of course, an increase in native advertising is not a problem unless native advertising is a problem.  So, why are 51% of consumers who know what native advertising is skeptical about native advertising?

The example above from AutoOverload serves as a good case for analysis.  People are rightly wary of the ethics of native ads like this one because they have a propensity to deceive in two closely-related ways, which also violate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines.

1)  Clickbait photo and caption: A sultry photo alongside the enticing text “gross past,” “wild west,” and “rarely seen,” represent a hard reach to reel people into something that’s likely different than what they expect, in more ways than one.

The use of these visual and verbal elements fits the FTC’s description of bait advertising: “an insincere offer to sell a product or service the advertiser does not want to sell, in order to sell something else . . . .”  Again, there’s no reasonable connection between old west photos and automobiles.  AutoOverload seems to be taking the somewhat deceptive approach just to increase its site traffic.

The approach can be called “somewhat” deceptive because, the website does deliver a series of old west photos; although, from what I saw, they don’t live up to the promise of “wild.”  The greatest deception actually might be of AutoOverload’s advertisers.  These sponsors, which include Volkswagen, probably believe they’re paying for pageviews from people interested in purchasing cars—a conclusion that likely is often not the case.

2)  Subtle sponsorship: Most of us have regretfully clicked on a sponsored article or post thinking it was an objective news piece or something a private person shared.  The frequency of this common experience is largely attributable to what native advertising so often tries to do: Make people believe what they see is not an ad.

One of the easiest ways to do so is to downplay the ad’s sponsorship.  The AutoOverload ad sought such subtlety by using the shortest commercial identifier possible, “Ad,” instead of “Advertisement” or “Sponsored Post.”  The ad’s commercial nature also might have been overlooked because “Ad” and “Autooverload” appeared in a smaller and lighter color font than that of the headline text.

Such understated endorsements may seem normal, but that’s likely because native advertising has made them so commonplace.  This subtle sponsorship stands in stark contrast to most traditional ads on TV, radio, and billboards where sponsors want to be clearly identified.

Why don’t sponsors of native ads seek the same recognition?  They do want to be known, but they first want to make sure that people click on their ads, which individuals often are not inclined to do if they know they’re ads.  The following two quotes from LinkedIn’s B2B University expose the sneaky strategy:

  • “Native ads mimic the look, feel, and function of a medium’s content, making it more likely that your audience will trust them.”
  • “Native advertising is designed specifically not to look like an ad, making it harder to ignore. Instead, it’s designed to look like the rest of the content on the page. As a result, consumers interact with native ads 20-60% more than traditional banner ads.”

So, native ads pretend to be something they’re not in order to increase the probability that people will mistakenly choose them.  In other words, the goal of most native advertising is to deceive.

The irony of native advertising’s casual acceptance of deception hit me squarely as I was scanning a daily newsletter from the American Marketing Association (AMA) and noticed the headline “Transparency Is the Clear Choice for Salespeople.”  The article summarized the findings of a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research (2) titled “Open Negotiation: The Back-End Benefits of Salespeople’s Transparency in the Front End.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the researchers found that “customers to whom the salesperson revealed the cost of a car at the beginning of the negotiation spent significantly more in the back end than others.”  In other words truthfulness and transparency from the beginning of the buying process paid off not just morally but monetarily.

These results reminded me that the AMA has identified five core “Ethical Values,” which include honesty and transparency.  More specifically, one of AMA’s three “Ethical Norms” explains the aim of fostering trust in the marketing system:

“This means striving for good faith and fair dealing so as to contribute toward the efficacy of the exchange process as well as avoiding deception in product design, pricing, communication, and delivery of distribution” [boldface added for emphasis].

Besides flying in the face the AMA’s clearly articulated professional standards, the deception-driven strategy of some native advertising also violates several specific FTC guidelines:

  • “When the first contact between a seller and a buyer occurs through a deceptive practice, the law may be violated even if the consumer later finds out the truth.”
  • “An ad is deceptive if it promotes the benefits and attributes of goods and services, but is not readily identifiable to consumers as an ad.”
  • “Disclosure must be clear and prominent.”
  • “Advertisers cannot use ‘deceptive door openers’ to induce consumers to view advertising content.”
  • “Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that native ads are identifiable as advertising before consumers arrive at the main advertising page.”
  • “Advertisements or promotional messages are deceptive if they convey to consumers expressly or by implication that they’re independent, impartial, or from a source other than the sponsoring advertiser – in other words, that they’re something other than ads.”

The last bullet suggests what is likely the main ethical issue with native advertising—feigned objectivity.  In fact, the FTC understands well the moral rationale as it explains:  

“Why would it be material to consumers to know the source of the information?  Because knowing that something is an ad likely will affect whether consumers choose to interact with it and the weight or credibility consumers give the information it conveys.”

It’s like a new acquaintance inviting you for coffee “to get to know you better” and soon into your conversation, they start to ask your thoughts about cars while sharing their opinions of a particular make and several specific models.  You’re surprised by the topic but support the discussion.  Finally, near the end of your meeting the acquaintance reveals that they’re a car salesperson, and they ask if you’d like to schedule a test drive.

Unfortunately, some of us have experienced situations similar to this one, which felt uncomfortable because we want to know:

  • When the context we’re in is a commercial one, i.e., we’re being sold to.
  • When the person with whom we’re speaking is an agent of an organization or has some other financial stake in the product or company they’re describing.

There’s nothing wrong with a salesperson doing their job when we know who they are and what they’re doing.  We expect them to tell us the good things about their products with little treatment of their weaknesses.  Since, complete objectivity is not expected, we take what they say with a grain of salt.

In contrast, when talking with friends, family, or coworkers about products, we let down our perceptual guards and take what they say at face value because we believe they’re objective and unbiased.

To be fair, not all native advertising deceives to the same extent.  Some ads very clearly identify themselves as sponsored content, and they provide the exact content they promise, offering real value through useful information or worthwhile entertainment.

However, any ad that tries to trick people into taking steps they wouldn’t otherwise choose is on legally and ethically shaky ground.  Relationships that start with a lie usually don’t last, which is why ads that deceive represent “Mindless Marketing.”

How Email Automation Can Save You Time While Improving Your Sales

How Email Automation Can Save You Time While Improving Your Sales

How Email Automation Can Save You Time While Improving Your Sales

What is Email Automation?

In marketing, email automation helps to make personalized email campaigns for individuals as they take a specific action on your company’s site. Some examples would be when someone initially signs up for your company’s email alerts or an email follow-up after an order has been placed.

Let’s use the scenario of an order being placed. After you place an order, an email is almost always instantly sent to you saying, “Thank You for Your Order”, along with an Order Number. Once the order has shipped, another automated email is instantly sent saying, “Your Order is On Its Way” along with a Tracking Number. Whether you realize it or not, this is all done through email automation. The individual, or company, you are purchasing from only had to create the email campaign once, however, the automation continues whether you are the first person to make a purchase, or the 15,000th. Once the appropriate sequence of emails has been created and established, the emails will continue to send automatically dependent on what action the individual took.

What Benefits Does It Offer?

Saves Time/Money

As mentioned previously, email automation helps to save a large amount of time. With an email automation system, basic information can be entered for each individual client and automated emails will be sent from the information that was input. This ultimately saves a large amount of time, as the work only needs to be done once, rather than continually. The amount of time saved also saves your company money, as you do not need to hire an individual to send out these personalized emails daily. Email automation can even address emails personally to each of the email subscriber’s names, providing the perfect personal touch to your email campaigns.

Same Experience Offered to Every Email Subscriber

Email automation also offers the same experience to every user who interacts with or joins your company’s email list. For example, maybe you are a restaurant, and you are attempting to get people to sign up for your email alerts. For Upon sign up,  each customer will receive an automated welcome email and a coupon code for a free appetizer or dessert. This same experience is offered to everyone who takes the time to sign up for your company’s email updates.

Personalized Emails

While we are still using the restaurant example, email automation can also send out a coupon code on birthdays and other special occasions. However, each of these will be specified to each of the email subscribers. This is extremely beneficial for companies because the work only needs to be done once and the automation will continue once the basic information of the email subscriber has been gathered. It helps to build a valuable connection with the email subscriber and makes them feel important to your company.

Information for your Sales Team When Tied to a CRM

Many email automation platforms have integrations with commonly used Customer Relationship Management Systems so that data can be collected on the user and their interests. Many give your sales team a deep dive into information like what products the user clicked on or what emails they opened. This allows your sales team to be armed with information about each user and speak to them based upon the purchasing behavior they have shown.

Types of Email Automation

When it comes to different types of email automation messages, the opportunities are endless. Here are a few basic email automations many companies today send out.

Welcome/Thank You for Subscribing

Once a person has signed up for your company’s newsletter, you can set up an automated email to be sent out to these individuals. The automated email would welcome them to your email list and thank them for taking the time to subscribe. It may even include a coupon code or special offer for subscribing, as mentioned previously.

Birthdays/Anniversaries

Automated emails can also be sent out to people who entered their birthday or anniversary information in when signing up. It could be as simple as wishing them a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary, or it could even include a special gift/coupon code that can be used with your company to celebrate it. This helps to develop a relationship with your customers, as they feel important and recognized by your company on special days to them.

Items in Cart Reminder

If you are an online retailer, then an automated email may be used to remind people of items that they left in their shopping cart. This can be set on a time schedule, such as 24-48 hours after they abandoned their cart. This automated email could be the difference between them making a purchase or forgetting entirely about their shopping experience on your company’s website. Email automations can also be scheduled to be sent at various time periods when the customer is likely to need to reorder or for partnered products based upon their previous buying history.

Newsletters

Many companies send out external newsletters to keep their customers up to date on what is new and exciting. Automated emails can help to personalize these newsletters, such as by addressing each of them to the email subscriber it is being sent out to.

Events/Webinars

If your company is putting on an event or webinar in the near future, email automation can also be extremely beneficial. As mentioned previously, the emails can be personally addressed to each of the email subscribers. However, emails can also be resent to those who did not open the email the first time around. This can also be done on a time schedule and sent anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days after the initial email was sent out. This will help to increase the email’s open rate, as well as the number of individuals who may attend the event.

Email automation is extremely beneficial to companies today and is more prevalent now than ever before. Email automation can help to send personalized campaigns and emails to individuals, and ultimately helps to build a better connection between customers and your brand. Email automation is the easiest, and most impactful way to continually grow your business, so what are you waiting for?

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Meet the Author: Jaclyn King

Jaclyn King is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Butler Technologies. Butler Technologies is a printed electronics solution provider that develops User Interface and Printed Electronics.

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