A lot of small business owners shy away from email marketing and marketing automation out of a lack of understanding. Email marketing automation is a lot like dating, like a person seeking a mate. Now, hear me out and you’ll see the correlation in a minute.


A person seeks a mate, so they go through whatever rituals they believe will attract what they believe to be the right “type” they envision to be ideal. So, they go on this crusade of finding the right candidates. The more the person knows who is really an ideal suitor, the better the results, right?

In email marketing automation there is a lot attraction work that occurs once the ideal audience is determined so well that the work is effortless. The best content will resonate with the best audiences. Success in attraction comes from engaging content like blog articles, videos, infographics, calls to action, landing pages to capture information, and email sequencing to communicate with them. There might be an offer, a downloadable information piece, free gift, and so on. As content is consumed, you can learn more about the prospects.


As this person progresses through meeting what might be interested parties, there is a lot of sorting going on. Too tall, too short, too thin, too wide, too much hair, not enough hair. You get the picture. Segmentation is just a fancy name for sorting.

In email marketing automation, interested parties can be sorted into groups in any way that makes sense. These individuals can be sorted by gender, interest, age, income level, you name it. However it makes the most sense to be able to speak most directly to them in words that will resonate. You can create segmentation lists as specific as you want. We do that to create more personalized messaging that speaks to the pain or need a particular segment has as opposed to the other segments.


When our person seeking a mate selects someone to lavish their affections on, there is a point when it’s time to pop the question. One of three things might happen. Either the invitee says yes, no, or not yet, let’s get to know each other better. If the one being proposed to accepts the promise of marriage, the two eventually become one.

In email marketing, those interested parties that have been consuming your engaging and resonating content that express or imply a buying decision, you can act on it. The transaction culminates in a purchase. Chances are that these will be not as frequent an occurrence as most small business owners hope for, but unless you are selling a commodity, it takes time to reach a buying decision. Remember, yours is not the only content your prospective customers are consuming.


Dating is like nurturing the relationship takes time. Depending on the chemistry of the two individuals dating might lead to engagement, then marriage, or break up. It may take a long time, or it may end up in an elopement. Getting to know, like, and trust each other has no fixed time period.

In email marketing, nurturing is one of the steps that occurs in several different steps along this path to purchase. The ideal audience might express enough interest to ask for more by signing up for your newsletter, or downloading information you offer for free. This begins the first time a party shows some level of interest. Until they “raise their hand” and express some interest, they are nothing more than a suspect. You nurture them until they become a lead, then a prospect, then a customer.

This is the fallacy of what marketers refer to as the “funnel”. If you look at the typical funnel you see the wide opening at the top (where leads enter by expressing interest), and a narrowing to the end of the funnel (where only the customers come out). Most marketers never talk about the ongoing relationship you must maintain with your customers so they will continue to purchase from you. That too, is nurturing.


Each one of our singles is evaluating the other along this courtship journey they have been under, and it will continue to be present in the relationship, albeit less stringently once they are in a comfortable relationship. The pay attention to the big details and those less obvious. Like table manners, social etiquette, work habits, personal hygiene, and the list goes on.

Email marketing automation works in a similar fashion. An effective marketer will use lead scoring to analyze at what specific stage in the buyer’s journey the prospective customer is so an offer to purchase doesn’t come to soon or too late. A/B testing, which is measuring the effectiveness of various forms of the same shared information performs. Testing subject lines, the body of the email, images, videos, even the signature and post script.


As you can see, there is a lot more to this email thing than most small business owners relate too, so that is why if a business depends or utilizes email marketing as part of their marketing and communications to their ideal audiences (suspect, lead, prospect, customer, former customers), they should learn the importance of each step in the automation sequence.

The great news about using email as a vital piece in the business owner’s toolkit is that it is the most cost-effective form of marketing available for the past thirty years.

The good news is that people are getting married much later in their lives than ever before. The divorce rate is tumbling. Hooray for better, more compatible relationships.

At Zen Marketing we have a whole lotta experience with email marketing and the automation of it. As a seasoned veteran of multiple platforms, I have what you need to create terrific email marketing campaigns. Or, if you find you need someone to do it for you, feel free to call us. We won’t give you any dating advice, just good information and education on how to make email marketing automation work for your business.

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