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What is Email Automation Software? Learn What it is and How it Works

by Chelsea Smith

The beauty of modern technology is that we are now able to utilize online tools to help make life easier for us.  Email automations are just that– they lessen the need to communicate with customers manually.  You may have found yourself setting reminders, forgetting essential steps in your sales cycle, or rewriting the same-old email for the hundredth time.  By setting up triggers, segmenting customers by specific needs, and prewriting email templates, you can save yourself time and energy, all the while making your business professional and seamless.

 
So, what exactly is email automation?
 
Email automation is an effective way to communicate useful information with clients without having to remember, create, or send the message manually.  In this article, we will explore the essential functions of email automations and list helpful examples that you can apply to your business workflow.  By the end of this blog, you’ll also understand how to segment your customers based on their individual needs and create triggers that remove the need for manual admin labor.
 
Here is an example of how email automation works for your business as a freelancer:
 
  1. Customer visits your webpage and fills in their information 
  2. An automatic email is sent out based on qualifying elements of their form (i.e. time, interests, tags, location, behavior)
  3. The customer is updated on important information about your business, product/service, or even given the option to schedule a session with you.
 
Here are some great use cases for popular automated emails:
 

1. Welcome Emails

Sending a confirmation email will help secure your potential customer by assuring them that you’ve received their form and helping to (immediately) start the conversation.  At Bloom, we recommend that your welcome email is simple and personable, so potential customers aren’t intimated by an overly structured and needlessly long intimidation.  

2. Transactional Emails

If you need to inform your customer on the progress of their deliverables, you can create a set of triggers that will push out messages by utilizing pre-made templates within your client relationship manager.  For example; once an invoice is paid, the customer can automatically receive a thank you, a survey, or a call-to-action.  

3. Lead Response

Often times leads are not ready to convert, book, or buy immediately.  It may take a considerable amount of nurturing before they sign on the dotted line.  Instead of remembering to “follow up,” automated emails make it easy for you to touch base with prospects throughout the following weeks or months before they book you.  Bloom’s recommendation is to start with simple, non-invasive, friendly emails that focus on the benefits of working with you or buying your product.  Need help with lead generation? This blog will teach you how to get clients.

4. Feedback Emails (Questionnaires and Surveys)

In the marketing world, it is generally accepted that “if you can’t track it, you shouldn’t do it.”  Although this is sometimes not the case, finding out more about who your clients are and why they did (or did not) use you can really help you master your skills and grow your business in a more intentional way.  Feedback emails can ask for specifics on problems, pain points, shining moments, and areas of opportunity for growth.  You can also set up A/B testing to see what types of emails get more responses.  These insights can help you master the art of the sale.  Learn about defining your ideal client here.

5. Newsletters/Product Updates

Let your followers know about new feature launches, current events, new content (like videos or blogs), as well as help educate them on your business as a whole.  It’s just another way to stay in front of your customers, stay front of mind, and deliver them value on a consistent basis.

6. Customer Retention

Sometimes people need to be reminded that you are in business and ready to serve them.  If you’d like your clients to return, you have to stay in touch and remind them that you’d like to work with them again.  Retention-focused emails can elevate perceived value, remind them how important your product/service is, and keep your business from dying out.  In the end, it is much cheaper to retain clients than acquire new ones.  A few automated emails can fill up your calendar with upcoming projects in no time.  Here are 5 Steps to Better Client Management.

7. Birthday/Anniversary Emails

Most people find remembering birthdays a pain, even in one’s personal life.  Imagine trying to remember every client’s!  With an automated email, you can surprise your customer with a personal note that appears to be genuine, authentic, and “on time.”  This is just another way to connect with your customers so they feel heard.

Now that you know what emails you’ll need to run a successful freelancer business, you’ll need to know how to set it up.  There are two essential parts of a successful automation setup.  One, triggers.  Two, segments.  The two work in tandem to successfully work for you while you’re sleeping.
 

Triggers

An email trigger is an event that causes the email to go out.  
 
You may want to send a specific email when:
 
  • A lead form is filled out
  • An estimate is created
  • A payment is processed
  • You’ve reached or passed a project date
  • A project is created or has a status change
  • A contract is signed or sent
  • A contact has an anniversary or birthday
  • An invoice status is changed
Using Bloom you can automate a specific response to these triggers based on:
 
  • The contact’s specific specialty (i.e. a wedding, maternity, or newborn photoshoot for a photographer)
  • The status of the lead (if he/she is still a prospect or has been converted to a client)
  • A specific lead tag – a way of labelling customers (i.e. leads met at trade show, project type, etc.)
  • The lead source (automatically separating if you received the lead from your website, Instagram, messenger, or a link) 
  • The date the lead/project was created
  • The project status (in progress or completed)
  • Whether the invoice has been paid
 
Successful triggers often have three parts; an action, a condition, and a time of execution.  If this seems confusing, here are a couple workflow examples to break it down:
 
Example A : You want to send an immediate welcome email when someone fills out a form specifically from your website
 
  • Trigger Part 1 (Action): The client fills out your form
  • Trigger Part 2 (Condition): The form was filled out specifically on your website (not somewhere else)
  • Trigger Part 3 (Time): Immediately 
  • Response: Email sent based on these two specifications
 
Example B : You want to send an email to leads you met at the ABC Conference downtown.
 
  • Trigger Part 1 (Action): Lead tag entered (i.e. ABC)
  • Trigger Part 2 (Condition): Lead tag matches ABC
  • Trigger Part 3 (Time): Email will be sent after 2 weeks of ABC tag has been entered into lead’s contact
  • Response: Successful & timely email to prospects from that event
 
Once you understand the basics of email automation, you will start to get the hang of it.  We recommend that you plan out your automations on a scratch paper or google doc before you start to implement them into Bloom.  You can copy paste this sequence and replicate it for every interaction before you start to input your email automations:
 

Email #1: 

A : Who is this email sent to?
B : What is this email about? 
C : When should this email go out?
D : Under what condition will this email be sent out? (Circle)
  • Payment Processed
  • Project Date
  • Project Status Change
  • Contract Signed
  • Lead form filled out
  • Contact Anniversary/Birthday
  • Invoice Status Changed
  • Estimate Created
E : What will this email say? (Write here and then create a template in Bloom)
 
If you still need help setting up automations with Bloom, you can schedule a Zoom call with a member on our team.  Sign up for a free 14 day trial of Bloom.
 

Segmenting

 
Though segmenting is not a necessary function of successful email automation, it is a great perk.  Why would you send a general email if you could send something specific to the needs of the receiver? 
 
You can segment by:
 
  • Demographics (age, sex, marital status, occupation, income, etc)
  • Behaviors (actions, timing, usage rate, loyalty)
  • Geography (location)
  • Stage of the Business Cycle (potential lead, new customer, returning client)
  • Various Product/Service Type
 
Segmenting your clients with tags is a great way to market, but it’s also a great way to reach the specific needs of each customer and send a unique solution, providing optimal value in your client communications.  In Bloom, you can add multiple tags to your clients’ profiles in order to segment their individual needs.  
 
Here are some examples of tags to help segment your customers in Bloom:
 
ABCConference
2020Senior
LovesRoses
FamilyPhotos
ABCClient
 
With the combination of triggers and segments, you can create a successful business workflow that uses email automation to streamline the process.  Start your free trial with Bloom and create a seamless email sequence to elevate your customer communication and grow your freelancer business.
 

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