Marketing Automation and Opt-in Forms

Rukham Khan

Rukham Khan

Published on

February 9, 2021

Marketing automation improves efficiency and productivity, forming an integral part of any growth strategy. As worldwide privacy and data regulations gain more and more traction, opt-in forms are going to play an even more prominent role in your marketing automation flow. Understand how to boost your conversion rates for the long-run, utilizing these tools to capture an audience that’s genuinely engaged.        

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a must-have for any modern marketing team. When you think about it, most businesses have the same objective; to increase revenue and growth at a lower cost. To achieve this, you need to align your workforce with processes and technology to streamline their goals. Marketing automation is exactly that.

By definition, it’s software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows. Whether it’s platforms like MailMunch, Engagebay, GetResponse, Mailchimp, or Hubspot, you can focus your efforts on campaigns that give you the highest ROI. Best of all, it’s entirely custom, allowing you to curate the perfect option for your business.

Among other things, marketing automation assists with the following tasks:

  • Email marketing
  • Landing page creation
  • Cross-channel marketing campaigns
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Scoring
  • Retention
  • Cross-sell communications
  • Abandoned carts
  • Transactional updates or messages

Most marketing strategies consist of repetitive tasks. The reason you keep doing them is that they’re successful. By implementing marketing automation software, you can convert these highly time-consuming tasks into automated flows, ensuring you tick all the boxes for every campaign. Whether it’s welcome emails, transactional updates, or content marketing, you’ll be able to analyze and build your customer profiles.

[Read more: 7 Awesome Marketing and Automation Platforms to Check Out in 2020]

What is an Opt-in form?

No matter your business’s size, building a database will form a critical part of your marketing strategy. To do this correctly, you need to add opt-in forms to your communications. Typically, “opting-in” refers to email correspondence, predominantly used by eCommerce companies to deliver marketing material.

An opt-in form is a component of permission marketing. It allows customers to decide whether they want to engage with your brand or not. It’s no longer just good manners. The law requires “opt-in” to protect consumers. Since the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, businesses have also had to provide recipients with an option to “opt-out.”

Examples of opt-in forms include:

One of the best ways to ensure you’re sending communications to a real email address as well as a customer who wants to engage with your brand is a double opt-in. It requires users to confirm their email address, drastically improving your prospect quality.  

[Read more: Opt-in Form Types: How to Choose the Best Form for Your Site]

The Role of Permission Marketing in Marketing Automation

Seth Godin coined the phrase permission marketing in his book Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, published in 1999. Godin was initially referring to using a set of marketing techniques to shape your message so consumers will willingly accept it. Rather than snatching attention with interruptive marketing, Godin preaches a concept where customers take advertising voluntarily. A lot has changed since 1999, but this concept still rings true.

“Asking permission is the correct thing to do,” says Godin in a recent HubSpot feature. When consumers agree to receive marketing emails, marketers are better able to understand what to send them. It allows you to cater to their interests, making it more cost-effective.

There are two types of permission marketing:

  • Express: The consumer provides their email to receive messages. Examples include signing up for a newsletter.
  • Implied: The business has an existing relationship with the consumer. Examples include existing customers or frequent website visitors; this is not a new lead.

By signing up for a rewards program, entering a competition, or subscribing to sales updates, consumers willingly accept communications. As marketers, we can use this “sign-up” information to dictate our follow-up content. Whether it’s a welcome series or promotional offer, this customer journey can run through your marketing automation. It’s the ultimate tool to manage the permissions you’ve acquired.

A Guide To Opt-In Email Marketing  

The concept of building an opt-in database from scratch seems daunting. Don’t let this deter you. Instead, make it your goal. Many people believe email marketing is no longer relevant, but the statistics beg to differ.

With open rates hovering at 25% across all industries, it’s a viable channel worthy of investment. Better yet, improve those open rates by cultivating a healthy list of customers who want to hear from you. Whether it’s creating the right content to attract customers, securing the best promotions, or upping your game on social media, it’s possible to achieve this. Here are a few tips on how best to go about it.

  • Don’t just gain permission, maintain it

When a customer gives you their permission, think of it as the starting gun. The clock starts ticking the moment they opt-in. If you don’t communicate within a few days, you run the risk of losing an engaged lead. Leave it too long, and they could consider you spam.

Treat your existing leads in the same way.  If you haven’t communicated to a particular segment for over six months, think of it as an opportunity to gain their permission again.  Deliver another opt-in email, making sure you convert them this time.

  • Set Expectations

It’s essential to set expectations in your first set of communications. Two important things to touch on are frequency and content. Frequency refers to the number of emails sent. The idea here is to get customers into the habit of expecting your emails.

Content refers to the types of emails they’ll be receiving. For example, “look out for our cheeky offers every Monday and enjoy a letter from our CEO every Thursday.” People are much more likely to open your emails if they know what’s coming and when.  

  • Let Subscribers Manage Their Preference

By allowing customers to opt-in, you’re empowering them. Take it a step further by enabling customers to manage their preferences. Most businesses send a range of communications, and not all of it will be relevant to every lead.

Allow your leads to segment themselves. By giving them control over the communications they receive, you’ll notice a dramatic decline in spam complaints. On top of that, you’ll be communicating each piece of content to an even more engaged audience.  

  • Keep Providing Value

Permission doesn’t last forever. It’s something you’ll continually have to earn from your customers. While you may have established strong relationships with your leads, you need to stay welcome in your subscribers’ inbox.  

From subject lines and body text to header images and CTA’s, your emails need to stay relevant.

  • Enable Opt-Outs

It may seem counter-intuitive to enable opt-outs, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid spam complaints. Yes, you’ve spent plenty of time cultivating your permission-based email marketing lists, and now subscribers can choose to leave. But, this is better than communicating with customers who don’t want to listen. Allowing opt-outs cleanses your database for you, removing the customer who isn’t interested in that long-term bond you’re looking for.  

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

Now that you have your customer’s attention, how can you use marketing automation to keep them? By incorporating a marketing automation tool into your strategy, you’ll get the most out of your opt-in list. Here’s what it’ll do for your business.

  • Provide A Scalable Solution

Marketing Automation tools help to streamline communications no matter the size of your business. In fact, the larger you get, the more essential they are. It’s the ultimate solution to bigger and better output with little extra effort.

  • Deliver On Time

A successful email marketing strategy relies on communications delivered promptly. Whether it’s a social post or an offer email, the time the customer receives it plays a role in their next move. Marketing automation tools allow you to A/B test this, finding the sweet spot for your brand.

  • Craft Better Content For Better Leads

Marketing automation tools provide you with a plethora of analytics. By segmenting your database, scoring, and nurturing your leads, you’ll gain better insights into their behavior. Use this knowledge to drive your content strategy.

  • Eliminate Manual Tasks

By eliminating unnecessary manual tasks, you’ll free up more time for your team to work on other initiatives. Marketing automation takes care of the scheduling, eliminating any room for human error with send times or content calendars. Perhaps your team will have more time to delve into the customer insights, coming up with valuable content time and time again.  

You Can’t Have One Without The Other

It may be tempting to looking at marketing automation and opt-in forms as separate entities. The truth is, they’re profoundly interlinked. Businesses use marketing automation tools for email communications, a channel that fundamentally relies on opt-in marketing. Permission marketing is undoubtedly the way forward. Why not use these tools to take your business to the next level?  Don’t be afraid to use them in conjunction. In fact, please do!

Author Bio

Rukham Khan

Rukham is the Content Lead at Mailmunch. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.

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