When it comes to automated email campaigns, many companies are falling short.

According to the recent Email Marketing Industry Census in association with Adestra, a mere 55% of the marketers surveyed said their company’s in-house automated campaigns were ‘quite successful’.

In even more mediocre news, just 7% deemed them ‘very successful’.   

So why is email automation such a tricky tool to master? 

Here are some key findings from the report.

Pulling the trigger

Automated emails are triggered by consumer behaviour, but it seems a lot of companies feel comfortable focusing on just a few core actions.

With 46% of automated emails being triggered by new customer sign-ups, the welcome email has long reigned supreme. However, it is certainly not the only trigger worth using.

Thankfully, some organisations are slowly starting to catch on to other types of consumer behaviour.

The below graph demonstrates how lapsed customers, abandoned baskets and content downloads are also being targeted.

Breaking the barrier

For those client-side, the biggest reason cited for letting automated emails fall by the wayside is not having the time to make it happen.

Despite this seeming at odds with the very reasons for using automated emails in the first place – saving you the hassle of sending out multiple manual emails – a lack of resources does seem to be a big issue. 

Meanwhile, for agencies, low budgets and a lack of skills are called out as the biggest obstacles. 

Going automatic

So how can automated email be used to its full potential in future?

Here are three ways companies can begin to reap the rewards of this widely underused marketing tool.

1. Be creative.

Whether it’s a birthday, social media plug, or a simple a thank you for buying – marketers need to expand the reasons they reach out to customers.

Often, the more creative the trigger, the greater the customer engagement.

With the likes of Ray Ban demonstrating the success of the long-game, it’s important to remember that there are no set rules to follow.

2. Mobile-optimise the customer journey.

With 46% of company marketers aiming to use automation to enable one-to-one communication with customers, being ‘mobile-first’ is key.

With more than half of emails now being opened on a mobile device, it is not simply about how the email appears on a device, but how it can increase conversion rates.

3. Be customer-centric.

Finally, while technological innovation is important, consumer relevance should be the core reason for any automated email campaign.

Whether the customer receives an email via an app or on desktop, if it’s not relevant, it’s not worth opening.

To find out more on this topic, you can download the full Email Marketing Industry Census 2016