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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2018-10-24

The human touch will always matter but when it comes to optimizing email marketing – including ROI, engagement and efficiency -- today’s businesses need to embrace automation. Email is ideal for automation: it is data-driven and therefore easily measurable, and because it is the preferred contact medium for a majority of prospects, it makes sense to invest in streamlining it, scaling it and getting the most out of it.


Combining the latest email automation tools with quality prospect contact data can create a powerful approach to making emails more relevant for recipients, leading to more customer growth and incremental revenue.


But implementing automated email campaigns can be tricky. Here are five top trends and issues that marketers should understand in order to get email automation right:


  1. It’s about leads and revenue: According to a new report by SharpSpring, the top objectives for leveraging marketing automation include increasing lead generation (65%), improving lead nurturing (59%) and growing sales revenue (42%). For those marketers whose success is measured by their ability to generate leads and revenue, the motivation to use email automation as an enabler for achieving these objectives – faster, more efficiently and more effectively -- should be high. As you finalize your marketing plans and budgets for 2019, don’t underestimate the impact of automation.


  1. Challenges remain: While the SharpSpring report indicated that a vast majority (94%) of agencies say they are reaching their goals leveraging marketing automation, challenges to implementing it still exist. To be successful with automation, a solid strategy and series of achievable objectives are essential, including adequate system training. If necessary, turn to an outside expert for guidance in implementing your strategy.


  1. Outsourcing popular: Less than a third (31%) of marketers in the report said they rely entirely on in-house resources to manage their marketing automation systems; 15% completely outsource everything while the rest (54%) leverage a combination of outsourced and in-house resources. The most popular functions to outsource include analytics and reporting (52%), email marketing (45%), lead nurturing (43%) and campaign management (42%). These results point to the need to ensure you have adequate resources to successfully implement your email initiatives. And, to retain those resources, it’s important to document email ROI and track benchmark data and trends over time. In fact, it’s never been more critical for marketers to demonstrate the value of their efforts to the overall business.


  1. Insight into the conversion funnel: The top metrics reported with marketing automation include conversion rate (61%), revenue generated (51%) and engagement rate (37%). These results indicate marketers’ desire for hard data to justify their automation spend and gain insight into what’s working to engage leads, close sales and generate revenue. So while we point to the need for marketers to “always be automating,” there is also the need to “always be measuring.”


  1. Prove fast ROI: As time is of the essence when reporting back automation ROI, 68% of marketers in the survey said they expect to see return on their automation investment within six months of implementation, and almost all (98%) said they have twelve months or less to provide this. Again, to reach these aggressive deadlines, marketing automation should be implemented with clear a strategy and objectives in mind.


Email automation is complicated but it can be one of the strongest assets to your marketing program and one of the best investments you’ll make for driving business growth. With more than two decades in the email marketing industry, we’d be happy to offer our insight on the ins and outs of email automation. Contact us at OMI to speak with our consultants at no cost today.


Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects – including top-level executives -- and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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