Creating effective email marketing campaigns for clients gives your digital marketing agency a competitive edge in a crowded market. But it’s not enough just to manage email campaigns for clients. You need to offer more, whether to compete with other agencies who are eyeing up your clients or to persuade your clients not to move email operations in-house.

Agencies must step up with the value that supplements the automations themselves – the strategic planning, platform expertise, auditing and higher-level reporting that go beyond day-to-day, campaign-level reporting and management.

Persuading customers to add automations and strategic planning time can be a challenge, though. Successful agencies draw the line that connects adding services and business outcomes – higher revenue, reduced costs, streamlined workflows that allow in-house team members to move on to more productive and profitable ventures.

Marketing automation helps drive the kind of value customers need to see in order to make a successful case for additional investment. Read on to discover how.

3 ways to pitch marketing automation to clients

A value-added strategic approach should include proposals to persuade clients to add marketing automation to the client services your agency can provide more efficiently and effectively, whether as a partner to an in-house team or as a 100% outsourced service provider.

Campaign Monitor’s guide to email automation represents an excellent introduction to the functions and value customers can expect when they move their focus from a constant round of one-off email campaigns to a strategically based program that revolves around personalized and repeatable communications.

1. Show how clients can expand messaging to prospects and customers, make more money and build engagement without adding team members.

Here’s the message your clients need to understand: Inbox fatigue is real. It’s exacerbated by a steady stream of general messaging with no content that speaks to customer interests, solves their problems or recognizes where they are in their journey with your client’s brand.

Automated messaging sounds cold and impersonal, but the results create highly personalized emails. That’s because the system uses behavior, preferences and other data to create unique messages that speak to customers where they are on their individual journeys with the brand.

2. Show how clients can save time and money and harness the value of their list sooner by partnering with an agency.

New forms of automation, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, take personalization and relevance to even higher levels, but they’re not easy to implement at the customer level without a well-trained staff. That’s what your agency can provide.

Adding automation services to email strategy and operations through your agency allows your clients to gain all the benefits without investing in a platform or committing extra time to setting up, testing, and launching a program.

Your agency has done all the grunt work already and should have people who are trained to get the most from multiple platforms. This frees you from having to learn the ins, out and intricacies of different email services.

Partnering with your agency allows customers to benefit from your experience without spending extra time and money on training.

3. Work up examples of automated messaging programs that show clients the path to increased revenue and engagement.

Many email and ecommerce or CRM platforms already have basic forms of marketing automation baked in through welcome messages, purchase confirmations or abandoned-cart programs.

Once again, though, these often get the one-off treatment, often planned without an overall strategic plan tied to outcomes or goals. An agency team well versed in both automation and strategy can move clients into more sophisticated models of messaging automation that go farther into structure, email segmentation, real-time messaging and deep personalization.

Demonstrate your email expertise with your knowledge of varying levels of campaign complexity and database integration, like Campaign Monitor’s Salesforce email integration.

Our guide to email automation shows your clients how you can create messaging that speaks directly to your client’s biggest problems or major goals.

Here are three problem/solution scenarios you can help your clients resolve.

Marketing Automation Scenario #1

  • Problem: Inactivity begins early in the customer cycle.
  • Solution: An automated onboarding email series.

New customers are usually the most active customers on a mailing list. So, if new customers aren’t even opening emails right away, much less clicking and converting, that means your client doesn’t connect with them at the most important time in the email relationship.

Sending a welcome message as soon as possible after opt-in is pretty much table stakes these days, but you can make the case for automation by showing your client how to add value with a multi-email onboarding series.

This series starts by saying “Thanks for opting in” but then goes on to set expectations for content and frequency, show the benefits of opting in and even add a little sweetener (a purchase incentive, an educational download) that should propel the new customer back to the website to browse and, eventually, buy.

Automation allows you to set the interval between messages, switch in an email that goes only to customers who don’t click on any of your onboarding series, or adjust messaging based on where, when or how the subscriber joined the list.

This lets your client send one message to brand-new customers and another to new customers who opted in after buying (and, thus, represent a higher immediate value to the company).

This email series from The Fifth includes a welcome, a reminder to use the new-subscriber incentive and an educational email that explains the company’s value proposition and company history.

Marketing Automation Scenario #2

  • Problem: Subscribers aren’t buying
  • Solution: A lead-nurturing campaign

Besides helping to reduce inactivity, a welcome series can push new subscribers back to the website to buy (or to register for an account or event, download content, or whatever the client’s goals for new customers might be).

Getting that first conversion can be tricky. You can create an automation that detects which subscribers need a gentle prod to convert and move them into a separate messaging track without requiring team members to monitor statistics and move groups around manually.

This email from Raise addresses that first move directly by sending non-buying subscribers this targeted email:

Raise automated conversion campaign

Marketing Automation Scenario #3

  • Problem: Staying visible in the inbox without sending another promotion or discount
  • Solution: Send a birthday greeting

First, a few stats:

  • Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails have 179% higher unique click rates than promotional emails.

A birthday email can be the simplest automated email to set up and one of the most effective when done right. But you still need to create a strategy first (increase frequency, build engagement to reduce inactivity) and then configure the email.

Our birthday email marketing guide has plenty of great ideas you can use to create a sample campaign for your clients. Here’s one from Birchbox:

birthday automated email example

Wrap Up

Clients may object to marketing automation on price point. Adding a service increases their cost of doing business with you. That is why it’s crucial to prove the long-term value of using automation.

Marketing automation can increase revenue, cut resource costs, and give them time back to focus on growing their business.

Showing reluctant clients success from other client work will move them closer to the consideration phase.

You also can start small. Show improvements with a basic application. Add a second email to a welcome message to create a series. Bump up an abandoned-cart reminder series from two to three emails. Launch a basic birthday email. One email might be all you need to move the needle.

It’s all about results.



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