Check Under the Hood of Your Email Automation Engines

Aaron Beatty
Senior Manager

One of the best parts of any enterprise-scale email service provider is the opportunity to think through communications a customer or constituent should receive, and to add in automations wherever you can. To recall an oft-quoted Ron Popeil infomercial, this gives you the opportunity to “just set it and forget it.” 

Though we would never truly recommend that you “forget” your automations, the concept does allow the over-worked marketer the opportunity to spend time on other parts of the role that can’t be so easily automated. 

Due to the global pandemic, it’s definitely a good time to review your automations. Many of the images and words that previously evoked feel-good, happy thoughts and feelings now may evoke disgust, fear, anger, or dread. For a brand, university, or nonprofit, that can read as a, “What were they thinking?” in the inbox. 

First, review any images in your outbound automated email campaigns. Look for images where people are not socially distanced, large crowds, or friends close together. Consider replacing them with pictures where people are further apart or masked. Look for images of touching, handshakes, or close-talking that could also make viewers uncomfortable. Your general litmus test should be: Would this image be accompanying a headline in the newspaper about how we should or shouldn’t behave in these times?  

Email Automation, Attain

Second, review your copy and consider the messaging and tone. For many people, this is a time of high anxiety, job loss, and depression. Ensure that your copy is helping to alleviate these potential concerns and not evoke them. Text that includes messaging about taking vacations, dining out, and visiting with friends can feel especially tone-deaf during this time. In fact, it may better serve your needs to write about your current experience—Is your daughter walking into your Zoom frame every five minutes? Is your husband loudly talking on his Teams call while you are giving a presentation? Does your dog suddenly freak out when the locusts whack into the window? If you live it, feel free to use it—it's real! 

Marketing automation is an incredibly powerful tool, and with the promise of easier-to-use tools and AI, all evidence points to increasing utility over time. But the hidden danger of automation is the rapidly-changing environment that we now face—an environment that changes the context, implication, and tone for all our communications. Let this post serve as a friendly reminder to review those automations and set a reminder for yourself to review them every few months moving forward. Our culture is constantly evolving and we must make sure our automations keep pace with that change. 

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About the Author 

Aaron Beatty, Attain

Aaron Beatty is a Senior Manager in Attain’s Salesforce Services Group and leads the Digital Engagement team. Aaron has been working with commercial, nonprofit, and higher education clients to help them get the most out of their Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot investments. He loves the opportunity to automate complex tasks in the world of digital engagement, saving clients precious time and energy. 

By Aaron Beatty, Senior Manager