Planning an Automated Email

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A great deal of detail is required when planning an automated campaign, and many elements are often missed by email marketers in the preparation stage. Therefore I decided to put together some key elements which should be considered when planning your automation email programme.

1. Analysis of Opportunity

What areas are going to provide the biggest wins? Start by forecasting what adding an email into a particular part of the lifecycle could do.

Let’s take Cart Recovery for example.

We could say 60% of visitors abandon their cart at an average order value of £50. We could potentially send 40% of these an email as we have managed to capture this data in the abandonment process.

So for every 100 baskets that are filled, 40 are completed and 60 are abandoned. We can send 24 a basket abandonment email, and if we can get just 5% of these to complete the transaction, we will generate an average of 1.2 additional sales.

This means cart recovery would equate to 2.9% of all online sales, which would be a good place to start. The same type of analysis could then be used on all other ideas to see what revenue could be forecasted.

2. Define Messaging

The next stage is to work out the wireframes of our emails and decide on everything we are going to include in them. Never start with working out what data you need, as you can’t possibly know until you develop all of the messaging.

3. Business Rules

Think about who should and should not get these emails and what rules should apply. Should I include people who have ordered in the last 30 days? What if these subscribers are also in another stream of automated emails? How often should they get this email – ensure that you don’t put customers into a loop where they can get this several times in a short space of time. Additionally, you should consider whether you should exclude bounced or unsubscribed addresses when it comes to transactional based emails.

4. Data Specification

Once you have answered all of the questions around what you need to include in the messaging and who should receive it, it becomes easy to create an accurate specification for your data that you need for the email programme.

5. Integration & Implementation

Getting that data into your ESP could be achieved in a number of ways. If this is a real-time email, then API calls can be made to push data into the ESP as it happens. If the email is sent in batches, with one batch every day, then a simple overnight FTP transfer could be the most appropriate route for any additional data.

When testing the emails, you should look at all the personalised data to make sure that there are no quirks based upon what each customer is going to receive.

6. Measurement

Finally a measurement plan should be put in place. You should be tracking online conversions through both your ESP’s conversion tracker such as Maxemail’s ROI Tracker, and Google Analytics. Yet these campaigns will have more of an influence than these reports suggest as not everyone will click-thru as their path to conversion.

Instead, keep a control group back of 10% and measure how many of those subscribers made a booking, transaction or other type of conversion within several days of receiving the email as this gives a true reflection of the impact.

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help with your automated email programmes.

About James Lucas

Former Senior Marketing Executive at Emailcenter UK Ltd, a leading provider of email marketing software and solutions.