Optimizing Publisher Email Programs with Automation
With the value that publishers get from email, it only makes sense that publishing & media companies would invest more time and resources in this effective channel. Still, more time spent on email doesn’t inherently lead to more returns from email; to reap the maximum benefits from email, you must make sure your time spent is time spent wisely.
That’s why many publishers have turned to email automation. Automating an email program’s more tedious parts frees up publishers to spend their valuable time where it counts. Here are just a few of the ways you can optimize your email program with automation.
First, set up an automated welcome email.
On average, your subscribers will never be more engaged than they are when they sign up for your newsletter. After all, they’ve just decided they like your content enough to hand over their email address. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of this moment by greeting your new subscribers.
Among the other benefits of welcome emails, a brand’s welcome emails tend to earn an average open rate of 50%—twice that of the typical newsletter. Filling these messages with your top evergreen content can give you an easy way to sustain that high engagement, giving your new email audience a quick route back to your content when they’re most interested in it.
By capitalizing on their attention at this moment, you can solidify the email relationship from the start, ensuring maximum lifetime value from your email subscribers.
Curate newsletter content automatically by tagging articles in your CMS.
With an ESP that integrates with your CMS, curating content for your newsletters is as simple as adding a tag or two to your articles from your CMS. Not only does this save time and reduce chances of error, it also allows editors to bypass the ESP and curate newsletter content straight from the CMS.
PostUp’s email platform integrates directly with WordPress, Drupal, and even in-house CMS technology, allowing publishers to control exactly what goes into the newsletter without having to manipulate templates manually.
Incorporate automation into your newsletter workflow.
In some cases, publishers don’t add automation to their newsletter process simply because they don’t know they can. Meanwhile, publishers who do know are sometimes hesitant to automate, wary of losing editorial control. It’s a fair point; after all, one of email’s strengths is the casual, human touch made possible by the inbox.
Regardless, creating newsletters can be a time-intensive process, and in an industry where resources are scarce, top publishers are on the lookout for ways to balance newsletter efficiency with editorial control. PostUp’s flexible automated workflow allows publishers to create a newsletter process that best aligns with their day-to-day operations. You can designate who receives a proof of the automated email, configure the approval process, and even adjust content manually if you see fit.
Scale your email program with automation to maximize the reach of your content.
It’s likely that you create dozens of articles each day, more than can comfortably fit in a single newsletter. Picking the best articles to go in the email takes time, and curating a second email each day would just take even more.
Newsletter automation doesn’t just save time, it sets the stage for you to easily scale your newsletter program. You can use automation to create many types of newsletters, from weekly roundups of top-performing content to newsletters that deliver articles about a specific topic.
Why is this important? If you offer multiple newsletters in your email program, it’s likely that your most engaged subscribers will opt into more than one of your emails. Each additional subscription gives you more chances to engage, monetize, or upsell these subscribers. That way, you drive optimal revenue from every email in your list.
Optimize the performance of every email with automated A/B testing.
Your lead article is the one that’s most likely to be seen. It may even sometimes determine whether readers open the email at all. It’s important to make this one count, but almost impossible to effectively A/B test.
With PostUp, you can quickly A/B test two different lead articles and subject lines with a small percentage of your audience, then send the winning subject/content combination to the remaining part of your list. It eliminates the hassle of guesswork, ensuring optimal success with every send.
Create a re-engagement program to reactivate subscribers.
For all the value of email, if a particular newsletter subscriber hasn’t opened a newsletter in months, it doesn’t do anyone much good to keep sending that same email. At that point, it’s time to change tactics, and automation can help.
It takes less work to re-activate a formerly engaged subscriber than to win over a new one, and re-engagement can even result in subscribers who are more engaged than they were before. Rather than running an occasional re-engagement campaign to hit all of your old subscribers (whether they haven’t engaged in 2 months or 2 years), create an automated re-engagement program. You might try dropping down their newsletter cadence, sending a different newsletter, or providing additional incentives to re-engage (such as a special offer or access to premium content).
Changing what a subscriber receives may just be enough to wake them out of their unengaged state. After all, email audiences tend to do a bit of mental automation of their own:
Email can build intimacy with your audience. @theskimm' @dheerja says when people scan their inbox, they auto-segment in their head the email from their friends vs. promotional emails. You want to craft your email so that it's segmented into the first category. #ona18 #ona18email— Christy Robinson (@christyrobinson) September 14, 2018
Panelists at an ONA18 discussion entitled “Email as a Driver of Innovation and Loyalty (Yes, Email)” pointed out that “when people scan their inbox, they auto-segment in their head the email from their friends vs. promotional emails.” Your long-unengaged subscribers may have simply segmented you into their “ignore" pile, and sending something new might force them out of their routine.
Automating your re-engagement process saves time, plus it ensures that audiences are re-engaged at the point when they’re most receptive to it, ensuring optimal success. The more you optimize your current email efforts with automation, the more time you have to focus on ensuring your content gets audiences to segment you into their mental “must-read” category.
Editor, PostUp PlayBook