7 Email Workflows You Should Use in Your Marketing Automation

By Bill Acholla February 11, 2018

I can still recall my early years in sales and marketing when I had to create content for email campaigns and manually send them to a long list of contacts.

I would always try to make each material catchy and engaging. But every time the sales team began doing follow ups, not even half of the recipients would respond.

There is nothing worse than putting a lot of time and effort into coming up with an email campaign only to realize that it is not reaching the right people.

Fortunately, the right people have now become easier to get in touch with because of email workflows.

What Is an Email Workflow?

An email workflow is a form of email marketing automation through which a series of pre-composed email messages is sent to different leads based on their behavior.

A lead is any person whose recent action shows his interest in the business or in its products and services.

Businesses see leads as potential customers and this is why they take each lead’s behavior as an opportunity to market their products or services.

A lead’s behavior can be anything from downloading a manual from the business’ site, checking the business’ product pricing, reading newsletters in the business’ site, or any other action that may be connected to the business.

These behaviors serve as main triggers that prompt the business’ marketing automation software to send automated email workflow to the leads’ registered email addresses.

A marketing automation software is a customer relationship management or CRM software that is used to facilitate online email marketing practices.

An example of which is the Automation 360 from SendPulse which is a multipurpose software that is great for businesses who want to strengthen their brands effectively.

SendPulse’s Automation 360 involves a 5-step process that can easily be set by any business.

The steps include setting an event, creating an autoresponder, triggering the event, activating email automation, and tracking the results.

The first thing that you need to do is to add an event to your Automation 360 software that will serve as the trigger.

The picture below shows a simple workflow (made in Automation 360) that starts with a condition or an event.

Next, you need to create an autoresponder which will perform the action you want — send web push messages, SMS, or email — once the event is triggered.

The workflow in the picture shows that the event can trigger either an SMS or an email depending on which filter condition is met.

However, you may opt to remove this filter condition and connect the event directly to your SMS and/or email.

The messages you set in your autoresponder may be an advertisement email, price list, promotional offer, donations solicitation, business update, or other lead magnet ideas that will help you expand your contacts database further and establish new customer relationship.

Automation 360 will do the next three steps on its own. When a customer triggers any of the events that you have set, the software will start sending the email, web push message, or SMS that you have also set for that specific event. After that, the software will save the process to keep track of the results.

Keeping track of the results is one of the advantages of using Automation 360. It has visual statistics where you can review which among the events you have set gets triggered more often.

Another advantageous feature of the software is its multiple channels which allow you to send not only email but also web push notifications and SMS.

SMS is a great alternative to email as a significant portion of your leads are possibly using mobile device instead of desktops.

It is important to take note that SMS templates should not be the same as your email templates as these two are viewed from different devices.

Justine Jordan, Litmus’ marketing director, said in Marketing Sherpa Email Summit 2014, that a horrible mobile email look can negatively impact the impression of your customers to your business.

In Automation 360, you may provide a different template for SMS and a different one for email.

Different triggers call for different messages so you want to vary your SMS and email workflows.

If you are new to email automation, you might want to start with these seven basic email workflows to strengthen your business’ brand.

1. Content Download Workflow

A content download workflow is an email workflow that is triggered when a lead downloads content from your site.

Content is typically in the form of a pdf (e.g. kits, manual, eBooks, etc.) whose title is about or is connected to your business’ products or services.

For an instance, if your business is a pet grooming business, you want your customers to learn more about pet grooming.

So, when a lead downloads a pdf manual with a title, say, “How to Prepare Your Dog for Grooming” from your website, you want to take it as an opportunity to send him an email or a message containing your business’ promotional offers for dogs or other contents that may add up to his knowledge about dog grooming.

You want to help your customers not only by providing them the services your business offers, but also by providing other tools that will help them further understand the nature of your business.

2. Lead Nurturing Workflow

If a lead downloads multiple top-of-the-funnel offers from your site, it might be a sign that he is interested for more.

In such case, you can use lead nurturing workflow to assist the lead further down to your middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers.

In the customer lifecycle stage shown in the picture above, most customers often end in conversion stage where they simply purchase your products or services.

Using the lead nurturing workflow, you can help your customers reach the retention stage where they continue to check out and avail of more of your products and services.

Sending lead contacts automated emails that contain information about the middle-of-the-funnel offers of your business should be part of your business’ lead nurturing campaigns. These messages may include product demonstration, promotional offers, or free trial offers.

3. Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

An abandoned shopping cart workflow is triggered when a contact does not continue to the Checkout feature after adding an item to his shopping cart.

You can use your automation software to send an email or SMS to that contact and remind him of the forgotten purchase.

Kath Pay, founder of Holisticemailmarketing.com, featured Cloud. IQ’s infographic in one of her articles in Smart Insights. The infographic showed that 88% of shoppers who abandon their shopping cart are open to cart abandon emails after leaving the online shop.

This percent is a good sign that reminding customers of their discontinued purchases can greatly boost your sales.

You may also include promotional and discount offers in your email to entice them to purchase more.

4. Event Workflow

An event workflow is triggered when a contact attends or registers to either a live event or an online event (e.g. webinar).

You can use your software to send an SMS or email to your contacts who are present in the event.

It is, however, important to take note that you should set different emails for each phase of the event.

Chad White, founder of Emailmarketingrules.com, said that a person’s needs during pre-event are different from his needs during the event and after the event.

You need to take each phase as an opportunity to send a distinct and relevant email.

Your emails at pre-event may include information about the nearest hotel accommodations and other information that can guide the leads to the event.

Your emails at post-event, on the other hand, may include session slides, future events promotion, and other contents that will encourage them to stay tuned to your business.

5. Engagement Workflow

An engagement workflow uses customer success metrics that evaluate a contact’s level of engagement in your business.

A contact who has been using a feature or features of your business for a long time may meet the success metrics and may consequently trigger an engagement workflow.

An example of an email in engagement workflow is an invitation message to ask a customer if he would be interested to have his success story featured in your website or in other platforms of your business.

This workflow may also be used to get in touch with contacts who have a low level of engagement. You may include content like product demonstrations or free trial offers in your email to boost their engagement to your business.

6. Re-engagement Workflow

If your contact has completely been inactive since his last purchase, then using a re-engagement workflow is highly recommended.

It is triggered when a contact reaches a certain criterion like the date of his last website visit or his last checkout.

Your email re-engagement campaign depends on you and your business’ capability to provide special offers.

You may include promotional offers, discount coupons, bonus items, and free trial offers in your emails to entice your inactive contacts to patronize your products or services again.

7. Sales Representative Workflow

A sales representative workflow is triggered by conversion events. Conversion events mainly happen when a site visitor is converted into a customer.

Your sales representatives should always reach out to your customers as soon as they show interest to your business’ products or services.

Behaviors such as visiting your site several times and viewing your business’ product and pricing page are considered as triggers to sales rep workflow.

Your sales reps can immediately attend to your leads’ concerns if you use this workflow.

Segmentation—the Key to Successful Email Marketing

All these workflows are anchored to the principle of segmentation. Jordie van Rijn, founder of Emailmonday.com, stated in his blog titled, “Getting Smart with Email Marketing Segmentation” that each distinct group of customers deserves a different email stream with relevant content and offers.

In addition to that, Dela Quist, CEO at Alchemyworx.com, stated that to maximize email frequency, you should not send the same email with the same content to the same contacts over and over again.

Instead, you should consider sending a different content as a separate email to ensure that you are using the appropriate workflow for each of your customer segment.

Indeed, segmentation can make a huge impact to how successful your marketing will be. Dr. Dave Chaffey, founder of Smartinsights.com, even considers it as one of the steps to a successful business, as stated in his 7 Steps to Success guide.

Wrapping it up

With the automation tools available today, there is no need to deal with all the frustration from the lack of results when we produce a single email campaign for all our contacts.

You do not have to commit the same mistake.

Use your automation software now and utilize as many email workflows as you can to maximize your gains from your online marketing efforts!

Now I want to hear from you.

What do you think of the email marketing automation process?

Leave a comment below right now to let me know.

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