How to use marketing automation to grow your business (using the 9 Steps of Email method)?
If you’ve spent days on end searching for tangible information on how to improve your email deliverability, inbox placement rate or email engagement, you’ve probably reached a point of information overload.
Moreover, shallow information overload.
One of the main problems with the email industry is that its rules of engagement are often hidden behind the curtain, and the information is available only to a small group of people. Sometimes even to a select few.
The email industry revolves around selling two things: information and technology. This is why most articles out there are shallow and will just try to lure you in either a free trial or a sales call.
But this article isn’t about that. Not at all.
It’s about giving you a bird’s-eye view on the email framework that many companies have benefited from since 2013.
I’m talking about the 9 Steps of Email method.
The 9 Steps of Email is a method of planning, building and running data-driven email marketing on autopilot. Running things on autopilot will allow you to focus on the things that matter the most. You know, the things that you’ve opened your business for in the first place.
The hard truth is that today almost no one has three months to thoroughly plan their email marketing program. As businesses develop and grow, there’s often an immediate KPI that needs to be met, like revenue, traffic or engagement.
This need urges companies to start sending to a high number of inactive users in order to meet the KPIs. And ISPs don’t like that.
What happens is that more and more emails start getting filtered into Spam and KPI’s go down. Companies usually react to this by sending even more, attempting to raise the falling KPIs. This situation soon escalates to a serious cyclical problem as the list churn and relative costs increase and the email engagement keeps plummeting.
The 9 Steps of Email method is specially created for these real-world situations. Think of it as an unordered list: while you don’t have to strictly follow the steps from 1 to 9, you should ideally check them all.
By the way, I feature the 9 Steps of Email method heavily in my FREE Marketing Automation Master Class, which you can sign up for at the end of this page, after you’ve read the article 🙂
So let’s dive right into it.
What are the Steps of Email Marketing?
Identify Your Goals and User Personas
- Answer the big 3 questions
- What are my goals from email as a channel?
- What are the benefits for the user being on my list?
- Am I ready to commit to this channel?
- Define user personas
What are we looking to accomplish with email? How important is it to our overall business? What are the resources that can be/are allocated? What is the Value Proposition of the Company / Email Channel?
Understand Journeys of Your Personas
- Opt-in (acquisition)
- User flows and conversion points
- Opt out (list churn)
Understand user personas and their journeys. Identify all the potential opportunities to keep the conversation going. Document any existing emails being sent out.
Define Types of Messages and Types of Content
- Types of email messages
- Types of content
- Create a process map
Sync the user journeys and company goals into a comprehensive Email Strategy. Create a 3-dimensional model made of User journeys, Content and Email Types, while having in mind the Goals and Value propositions of the company.
Define the Point of Each Email, Design for Conversion
- Point of each email
- Use the conversion heuristics
Define the point of email for each email instance that you have in plan, paying special attention to conversion and relevance. Use conversion heuristics to craft a plan for every message, and don’t forget the landing pages.
Code and Test the Emails
How to have your emails look good on all devices and email clients? How to approach coding and QA-ing your emails. Use the Email Design Reference document and keep testing every email code before production.
Dynamic Automated User Segments
Define both the stationary and transitional data points and use that logic to enrich your user profile. Make sure you secure your DB sources with a mirror and create a data model that will support both in-email and website engagement metrics in one place.
Send and Deliver
Make sure you know your sending requirements and plan ahead. Choose carefully between cloud and self-hosted solutions in regards to agility, speed, reliability, security and price.
Analyze and Learn
Use real-time testing methodology with incremental changes to learn about your subscribers. Test for knowledge, not results. Analyze to learn and try to disprove your findings with similar tests.
Step 9 :
Iterate and Improve
Discover patterns and find similarities within your data. Try to combine data from different sources. Use smart segments if possible and work towards building a prediction model. Start a new iteration from Step 4.
How to apply the Method to my business?
I strongly suggest that you go and sign up for my Advanced Email Marketing Course, which I offer completely for free. It’s a comprehensive walk through the entire 9 Steps of Email method and will teach you all about planning your email marketing program, getting your setup right and scaling it all up. You will learn which questions to ask and what tasks to give to your team.