In an era where digital marketing is changing and expanding every day, email marketing still has one of the best returns on investment. A technique that is cheap and effective – that can also be automated?! it seems like the pluses just keep on coming.If you need even more swaying, how about these facts –Automated email marketing returns a 70.5% higher open rate than non automated content, and a 152% higher click-through rate.Companies/individuals taking advantage of email automation are 133% more likely to produce relevant messages in response to a consumer’s purchase cycle, than those who communicate with general correspondence.These are just two stats from a long list that are practically screaming ‘GET AUTOMATED.’If you really want to take hold of your digital footprint in 2018 – here are 7 huge reasons to get on board automated email marketing.It’ll follow up all those enquiriesBy getting automated – you can almost guarantee that leads won’t get forgotten. Are you sitting there thinking – well who would be crazy enough to let leads go to waste anyways? Turns out a lot of businesses – 20% in fact.Email automation can set up an instant ‘response’ that follows up leads (that may have filled out a form or subscribed to a service) eliminating staff reliance to manually reply to individual enquiries.Let consumers know you’ll get back to them soon, or lead them in the right direction. It’ll streamline the experience and ensure you’re getting the most out of your leads.Events will never be forgottenLast year, I signed up for what looked like an amazing online seminar, and then forgot about it. Last week, I got an email reminding me that an online conference I was apart of was starting in an hour – and guess what? I didn’t forget.Using email automation to set up a reminder and later pursue attendees/participants is the easiest way to organise events and maximise turn out.An example of an event reminder email from General AssemblyNew subscribers will feel part of your community with a welcome chainAutomated welcome chain emails are the perfect way to make a great first impression. Almost like when greeting a customer in a physical store with a smile, light conversation and maybe a coffee – your automated email achieves the same, only digitally.Keep it conversational and related to your company’s core values – this initial interaction sets the tone for all future communication, whilst also encouraging people to feel comfortable enough to engage with your business.A great welcome chain email by Kate SpadeYou’ll always send sales receiptsYou know the type – you buy something and then seconds later your phone rings with a confirmation/receipt that usually has a thank you incorporated. These emails are SO important –They have an open rate of 70.9% (which in comparison to the average open rate of 18% – these emails hold huge opportunities)This email receiver just purchased something from you meaning they already like and trust you – build on that.Use these automated emails to push other products, pump up your social media channels, offer discounts etc.An example of pushing another product on a sales receipt. Photo by Shopify.Build a catalogue of feedback, reviews and testimonials.Chances are – you’ve sussed out an online review before buying a product or utilising a service. In fact BrightLocal have done the research and say that 92% of us do.With this stat in mind – you’d be crazy to not push for consumers to give positive reviews. Plus, it’s also important to learn from your mistakes with some maybe not so good ones.Utilising an automated email program such as Fuseomatic’s net promoter score (NPS) you can get a 1-10 rating of customer satisfaction from an automated email. So simple – so smart.Example of an automated email from Fuseomatic.Nail new customer onboardingMaking sure that new customers don’t fall between the cracks when moving from closing the deal to setting up a functioning and flowing relationship is a big deal.In theory – this process should be easy and not need automation – but – most businesses lose 20-25% of clients at the onboarding stage.There are a large range of CRM (customer relation manager) programs available that can automate this process. What you’ll need is –Forms with information and client profilesDocuments – eg. contracts, legal documentsPayments or auto billingScheduled content for events/information etc.Automated communication in the form of personalised (but automated) messageNurture those leadsCrazily enough – only 5-15% of your leads are sales-ready.So how do you get those qualified, but distant, leads to commit to buy. The answer – is automated lead nurturing. According to HubSpot, lead nurturing emails get an 8% click-through rate, in comparison to 3% for other forms of email marketing.Here are 6 lead nurturing emails that you can add to your automated list –Educational emails that use lead intelligence to inform, teach and let customers in on what they want to know.Connectivity emails that send a warm invitation to subscribe to your blog, or connect on social media channels.Celebrate your leads in the way of free trials, discount codes etc. but make sure they’re relevant to what your client is interested in.Show that you can better your consumer in the way of ROI, personal development and motivation.Re-connect those leads that have fallen through the cracks.Make it personal, everybody wants to feel like they’re being spoken to directly (even though most people know they’re not).You know the saying – work smarter, not harder. There are a plethora of reasons as to why you need to be using the right tools to optimise both your campaigns, and importantly, your time. Take advantage of automation and make your life a little bit easier this year!