The developments in email automation have the potential to help publishers— whether traditional, new, media and entertainment or B2B — drive more Web traffic and encourage readers to visit their sites.

Yet, although publishers are creative producers of content, many are not taking full advantage of the potential that email offers to serve up that content. Automated email campaigns can help them reach the right audience at well-timed moments to drive more Web traffic.

Here are three ways that publishers can and should automate to retain and increase readership and site visitors:

  1. A welcome email or welcome series
  2. A weekly newsletter
  3. Re-engagement campaigns
  1. Welcome Email or Welcome Series

Virtually all publishers have some sort of welcome email. However, most are generic and not always helpful for on-boarding your new subscriber.

Automation can help to improve your welcome email or email series and drive more engagement in several ways, including the following:

  • Triggered messaging: As a best-practice, the first welcome message should be automated triggered messaging, allowing you to send a real-time message to each new subscriber. Many companies will bundle welcome messages and send them all at one time each day. However, by using triggered messaging, you can continue to engage with your readers when you know they are engaging with you—right after they visited your website.
  • Audience segmentation: If you have collected information from a preference centre during the registration process, use that information to personalise your welcome messages so that they are more targeted. Doing so will allow you to set a precedent with your new subscriber that future messages are going to be of interest to them.
  • Waterfall mailings: If your company has a wide variety of services, products, or offerings, you may want to consider upgrading from a single welcome email to a welcome program. By sending a series of emails, each focused on one topic or theme, you can better demonstrate your full offerings. The welcome series can be automated using a waterfall mailing, which sends out targeted emails that respond to a decision tree based on customers’ interactions.
  1. Weekly Automated Newsletters

Many publishers today are still manually creating their weekly newsletters. By automating newsletter creation, marketers will have more time for reporting, analysis, and improvements to their existing email program. Plus, automation can allow for customised content:

  • Automated assembly: Automate the creation of your newsletters with tools that allow you to automatically pull content from websites into your newsletters. The automation process will retrieve the content at the time of message assembly and immediately execute the email.
  • Personalised content: Publishers should also be using tools that allow them to personalise subscribers’ content based on preferences they have chosen or on Web browsing behavior. Automated tools can dynamically populate content for the reader and deliver a custom newsletter for each subscriber.
  • Audience segmentation: If you email program is still in its infancy stage, at a minimum you should use audience segmentation tools to send different messages to different audiences. The data and knowledge that you will gain from this manual segmentation will prove extremely useful when you are ready to automate your newsletters.
  1. Re-Engagement Campaigns

Regardless of how customized, personalised, or targeted your emails are, sometimes subscribers will stop engaging with your emails. How can you get those subscribers active and engaged again?

If you have not done so yet, create an email program that’s specifically designed to engage with your inactive email subscribers:

  • Establish business rules: Using the targeting features in your email system, establish a business rule that executes an email on a daily basis to subscribers who have not opened or clicked on your emails in a certain number of days. Ideally, this program should be automated, requiring a low level of ongoing effort and maintenance.
  • Offer incentives: Give your subscribers reasons to want to become engaged once again. State any upcoming deals or specials you may be having. You can also include a discount or offer to entice them to re-engage with you immediately. If your brand has anything you can give away in the form of a raffle or free prize draw, use those as well. For publishers, consider asking for updates to your subscriber’s profile or ask the subscriber to participate in a survey.
  • Additional reasons to implement re-engagement programs: Each ISP uses different filtering technology to determine a message’s inbox eligibility, and although they do not provide specific details about their technology, ISPs do monitor how often their users are engaging with your brand’s emails. When a user has not opened or clicked your brand’s emails for an extended period of time, you run the risk of your emails’ being directed to bulk folders or marked as spam.

Virtually every publisher has the same need: drive more people to your online content. Automation helps publishers do so by delivering their messaging efficiently, to the right audience, with personalized content. The result will be to drive higher engagement in the form of more email opens, more email clicks, and more visits to your website—ultimately driving a higher ROI for your entire program.