15 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation – Barcode Brand Consulting

15 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation

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August 22, 2020

15 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation

Are your contacts going with the flow, or are they just sitting dormant in your marketing database? If you don’t have any automated email workflows set up, your answer is probably the latter — which means you’re missing out on some¬†major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing¬†contacts.

Did you know that¬†marketing automation can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity? But wait … there’s more.

Lead nurturing campaigns¬†aren’t the only type of email¬†marketing automation¬†you can use to¬†get more out of your¬†contacts¬†database. Think¬†about the contacts¬†who are already your customers. Email automation can¬†not only help you convert leads into customers, but it¬†can also help you delight your existing customers and encourage activity like greater¬†product adoption, upsells, evangelism, and additional purchases.¬†

Email marketing automation is useful because it eliminates small but time consuming tasks, such as preparing email lists, sending generic messages, or scheduling events manually. This allows marketers and salespeople more time to work on more productive projects or bigger deals.

If you want to get more out of your contacts database, this post will give you some ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate all different types of contacts in your database.

Setting Up Email Marketing Automation Workflows

If you hadn’t already guessed, email workflows need to be set up using marketing automation software. Different software providers will have different features and functionality, but the concept of marketing automation is pretty universal.

If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows App, for example, you can create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered¬†in a number of different ways — when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a marketing qualified lead.¬†

You can also set up email workflows based on any information you have about the¬†contacts in your marketing database, such a page views, email or social media clicks, content downloads, contact properties, or any combination of these and more. That’s some pretty powerful stuff!¬†

And¬†that’s just the beginning¬†of what you can do with workflows.¬†Workflows can also enable¬†you to automate other actions besides email, such as setting or clearing a contact property value, updating a contact’s lifecycle stage, adding/removing a¬†contact from a list, and other administrative tasks that allow for more targeted, effective marketing to your¬†prospects and customers. But we’ll save all that for another post. ūüėČ

Now let’s walk through some examples of automated email workflows you can set up to start getting more out of your contacts database and marketing automation tools.

13 Examples of Email Marketing Automation Workflows You Should Try

1. Topic Workflows

Main Triggers: Page Views or Content Offer Downloads

Create a workflow for each of the industry-related topics you create content about. So if, hypothetically, you’re a unicorn breeder whose main content¬†topics include unicorn diets, unicorn gear, and unicorn boarding, you could bucket your content marketing offers (e.g. ebooks, webinars, kits, etc.) and blog posts by these topics, create an email workflow for each topic, and trigger the appropriate workflow when one of your contacts views a page or downloads an offer centered around that topic.

You can trigger a content download workflow based on a form submission from a tool like HubSpot‚Äôs free conversion tool, HubSpot Marketing Free. (HubSpot customers: You can add Lead Flows, HubSpot’s pop-up forms,¬†as an add-on by following the instructions here. To trigger an automated workflow in HubSpot, you can use the ‚ÄúLead Flow Submission‚ÄĚ option as the starting condition.)

So if a contact downloaded your ebook called¬†10 Tips for a Balanced Unicorn Diet, your “unicorn diet” workflow would be triggered, sending that contact other helpful content, like blog posts about unicorn dietary tips.

Main Trigger: Subscription to Your Blog

Give your brand new blog subscribers a nice, warm welcome with a blog welcome email. You can use this email to thank contacts for subscribing,¬†remind them what they’ll get out of reading your blog,¬†review their subscription settings (and allow them to make adjustments), and promote your blog’s best-performing articles or other offers.

Get tips for creating a successful blog welcome email here, and learn more about optimizing welcome emails here.

3. New Customer Welcome/Training Workflow

Main Trigger: Lifecycle Stage

While we’re on the subject¬†of warm welcomes, consider¬†setting up a series of welcome emails when a contact converts into a paying customer, which you can trigger when a contact’s lifecycle stage gets updated to “customer.”

Not only is this a great way to¬†kick off your new customer¬†relationship on a positive note, but it can also keep¬†your customers engaged after they buy. And if your product or service requires a little training on your customers’ part, use this workflow as an opportunity to introduce helpful training materials on an incremental basis.

4. Engaged Contact/Evangelist Workflow

Main Triggers: Visits, Clicks, or Form Submissions

Create a dynamic list (we call these Smart Lists in HubSpot’s Marketing Platform) that automatically updates to include contacts who are really engaged with you. To create this list, use trigger criteria such as a high threshold of visits to your website, clicks on your emails¬†or social media¬†posts, or form submissions. Then create an email workflow to leverage this list as a way to encourage evangelism of your top content in social media.

Because these contacts are highly engaged with you already, they’re more apt to share your top content. You¬†can¬†also consider adding list criteria¬†to pull in¬†contacts with a certain number¬†of Twitter followers so you can leverage the power of those social media influencers in your database.¬†

5. Lead Nurturing Workflow

Main Trigger: Multiple Top-of-the-Funnel Conversion Events 

If a contact has¬†downloaded¬†several¬†of your top-of-the-funnel marketing¬†offers like ebooks and webinars, it might be a good sign they’re ready for a little bit more. Set up workflows that help to advance these contacts further down the¬†funnel.

If the contact is a lead, try sending them emails containing more middle-of-the-funnel content that might upgrade them to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or an opportunity in your sales process. This workflow could include content and web pages you’ve identified from an attribution report¬†analysis as influential in converting leads into customers — perhaps content like customer success stories/case studies, free trial offers, or product demos.¬†

(Bonus: If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows, you could set up a condition that automatically upgrades these leads to a new lifecycle stage as a result!)

6. Internal Sales Rep Notification Workflow

Main Triggers: Bottom-of-the-Funnel Page Views/Conversion Events

On any given website, there¬†are certain page visits and conversion events that indicate product interest more so than others. First, identify these pages and conversion events using an attribution reporting tool like HubSpot’s. You‚Äôll notice that, more often than not, the pages you unearth will be your pricing page, your product pages, etc. — pages contacts view when they’re truly evaluating your products or services.

Use workflows here to trigger an internal email notification to your sales rep informing them of these high-value activities. Using personalization, give the rep all the information they need about the lead in question, including relevant mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel content that they can send to the lead in their outreach email. This allows you to connect sales reps with the best possible leads at the right time.

7. Re-Engagement Workflow

Main Trigger: Inactive Contacts

Reawaken inactive contacts with a re-engagement workflow, enrolling contacts once they’ve met certain list criteria. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it’s been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. For more tips about launching an effective email re-engagement campaign, check out this post.

8. Event Workflow

Main Trigger: Registration or Attendance

Hosting a live, in-person event? Or maybe an online event, like a webinar? Use email workflows to automate your communication to event registrants and attendees before, during, and after the event.

For example, create a workflow that delivers important information registrants should know leading up to the event, such as hotel accommodations and agenda information for live events, or webinar log-in information for online events. When the event ends, set up a workflow that gives attendees online access to session slides and continues to nurture them with additional content or promotion for future events. 

9. Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

Main Trigger: Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you’re an ecommerce business, you’ll likely benefit from an abandoned shopping cart workflow. The concept here is simple: When someone¬†adds an item to¬†their online¬†shopping cart but leaves your¬†site without completing the purchase, you can trigger an email workflow that reminds them of their forgotten purchase and motivates¬†them to complete the transaction by offering a special¬†discount code or some other incentive to buy.

10. Upsell Workflow

Main Trigger: Past Purchases

Communication with your customers shouldn’t stop after they make a purchase. This is especially true if you sell a variety of different products and/or services. Use workflows as an opportunity to upgrade or upsell your existing customers, or sell them complementary products and services depending on what they’ve already purchased.

Create dynamically updating lists of contacts who purchase a certain productor combination of products — and create workflows aimed at recommending other products/services or encouraging upsells or add-ons.

11. Customer Happiness Workflow

Main Trigger: High or Low NPS Scores

If you administer regular Net Promoter surveys of your customer base, you can use customers’ Net Promoter Scores as a property to trigger workflows.

Simply determine what your ideal customer happiness score is, and use that as the threshold for your dynamic list¬†of happy customers. Then trigger a workflow for¬†customers with “happy” scores and reward them¬†with exclusive content, offers, or discounts.

Trigger a different workflow for your “unhappy” customers that includes¬†content/offers aimed at helping to¬†improve their happiness. We’ll give you a few bonus points if you segment those unhappy customers by the reasons they’re unhappy, and send them even more targeted workflows aimed at addressing the issues that are making them so grumpy.

12. Customer Success/Engagement Workflow

Main Triggers: Success Metrics or Product Usage

If you keep track of customer success metrics, you have a prime workflow opportunity on your hands. For example, if you’re trying to build up your arsenal of customer case studies, you could automatically trigger an email that asks customers if they’d be interesting in being featured as¬†a success story once certain customer success metrics were met.

Furthermore, if you keep track of customers’ product adoption or feature usage, you could trigger a workflow for users who are exhibiting low product engagement,¬†providing resources that educate and train them on how to use the product features they’re not taking advantage of.

13. Upcoming Purchase Reminder Workflow

Main Trigger: Purchases Made on a Cycle

Does your contacts database include customers who typically purchase on a cycle? Enter those people into a workflow that gets triggered when they make a purchase.

For instance, let’s say you sell eye care products, and a customer purchases a six-month supply of prescription contacts. Enroll that customer into a workflow that sends them an automated email five months later as a¬†reminder that their six-month supply is about to run out, and it might be time to order a new batch of contacts.

14. Customer Service or Ticket Workflow

Main Trigger: A customer or prospect contacts customer service via email or an online form.

Sometimes, your customers or prospects might have trouble using your free or paid software. When this happens, fielding a bunch of customer service emails and messages can take tons of valuable time from your schedule. 

One way to avoid this it to create a workflow that categorizes that makes customer concerns into tickets that can be categorized, labeled and assigned to customer service reps on your team. These tickets can also help you keep tack of ongoing problems as well as when issues with a customer or prospect are resolved. 

15. Deal-Based Workflows

Main Trigger: When someone e-signs a quote or contract.

Sealing the deal is obviously key to successful sales. Automating small aspects of this process, like emails someone might get after signing a contract or quote page with you, can allow you to spend more time nurturing the client over the phone, during demos, or through other messages.

With a deal-based workflow, you can trigger confirmation emails when a prospect becomes a client or qualified lead by signing a quote or contract. With systems like HubSpot, you can also set the workflow to change the contact’s status to show where they are in the sales lifecycle.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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