In email marketing the fact that anything which lowers input from humans is good has to be balanced against the need for pesonalisation. Make your subscribers feel that they are just a number and that number will go down.
Automated responses should be specific to the individuals on your email marketing list and the best way to ensure this is to only use an automated response to an action, or inaction, of a subscriber.
For instance: a person subscribes to your email marketing list but buys nothing for two weeks. An email which thanks them for their interest in your company and includes a voucher for money off their first purchase might galvanize them into action.
An effective tactic is to identify those circumstances where an automated response could be useful. Whilst these will vary from company to company, here are some other suggestions:
1. Inactive periods
If the norm for purchasing rate is once every two weeks (we can dream) then the trigger point should be, say, after eight weeks of inactivity, which allows for time away.
2. Double checks
Depending on your method of obtaining subscribers, you might find it useful to request confirmation after someone subscribes. Say two days following the date they are entered on the list, an email is triggered informing them that you have received their application. You could include a questionnaire asking them for more details and their preferences.
3. After a certain purchase
They have bought a camera. Your statistics show that the next purchase of those who bought similar items was a tripod, about a month subsequently. So an email after three weeks will not only make it easy for those who were going to buy one but also put the idea in the mind of those who hadn’t yet thought that far ahead.
4. If all else has failed
Inevitably, you will have those who will unsubscribe from your list. A follow-up email to confirm that you have removed them from your list within a couple of days to ask why, might cause them to think again. However, do not try to sell to them of course. They have unsubscribed.