In a previous blog post, we covered marketing automation. We learned how it simplifies your business workflows, and how it covers all aspects of your business.
In this blog post, we'll dive into one specific type of automation using email marketing.
Emails are a fantastic way to boost revenues and profits. According to the DMA, the average ROI of email is $38 for every dollar invested.
Email marketing ensures that all your captured leads get followed up promptly.
Let's define email marketing automation.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing automation is a series of contextual email campaigns that automatically run when triggered by a specific event or after meeting particular requirements.
Email marketing automation eliminates all the small and time-consuming background tasks such as sending generic email follow-ups, scheduling appointments and sorting through email lists.
Break down your daily tasks into various workflows. Workflows are steps or business processes needed to complete a task. One workflow could lead to another, and it could also transcend several departments and functions.
When building a workflow, it is far easier to manage later on if you create smaller workflows rather than one giant workflow to avoid problems where you need to find out what went wrong with an automation sequence. Connect your smaller workflows to other workflows.
It's about making your workflow more efficient and helping you move your prospects through a customer journey.
Automation doesn't replace some of the work you need to do; however, it does make things simpler.
Email automation doesn't start until an event occurs. We refer to these as triggering events.
Triggers are customer actions that set an email marketing automation process in motion.
Common triggers and requirements that result in an automation starting include:
- newsletter subscription
- prospect downloads a lead magnet
- a sale occurs
- the prospect fills up a contact form
- the prospect abandons the shopping cart
- when there's a lack of email engagement within your email list over an extended time
Email automation workflows simplify your team's daily list of to-dos.
Your team members no longer get bogged down by the daily grind of sending and replying to repetitive emails.
With email automation workflows in place, your team focuses on the more significant activities, such as reaching out to prospects and customers, customer service, etc.
Within email marketing automation, we identified four distinct categories of emails would fall under:
- Building relationships workflow automation
- Transactional workflow automation
- Engaging prospects and customer workflow automation
- Increasing revenue workflow automation
Getting Started With Automated Email Marketing
You'll need email automation software with the features necessary for sophisticated email automation activities to get started.
Your chosen email marketing automation solution will need the ability to:
- Segment your audience for highly customized targeting
- Create multiple automation sequences
- Offer lead scoring ability
- Offer reporting capabilities such as open rates, click-through rates, email bounces, etc.
- Offer basic CRM capabilities such as maintaining a record of interactions whether by phone or email
- Allow routing of contacts to different users for follow up
At Art Of ROI, when we help clients build their funnels, we also set them up with a complete email automation software needed to power their business.
10+ Essential Email Marketing Automation Workflows You Can Implement Immediately To Get Results
Here are over ten workflows sophisticated marketers use to build an unstoppable business.
We've also included some real-life examples of emails from different companies.
Building Relationships Workflow Automation
1. Welcoming Subscribers
Trigger: When website visitor subscribes or creates a new account
Welcoming subscribers or new additions to your list sets your business up for success.
You'll want to include information that encourages them to open and read your email. You also want to tell subscribers what to expect for being on your list.
It is crucial to getting off on the right foot with your list of prospects.
Here's a template of what a great welcome email looks like:
As you can see from part of the email sample provided, email marketing uses copywriting to a great degree to keep the subscriber engaged.
2. Requesting Information
Trigger: When website visitor requests a quote, product documentation, or wants to ask a question
If you have visitors who submit their contact details for someone to get back to them with a quote or answer to a question, always have an email go out that acknowledges receipt and let them know when to expect a response.
Use this event in conjunction with a chatbot software on the website instead of submitting information via a contact form.
3. Offering Gated Content
Trigger: When a prospect enters their name and email to receive your lead magnet.
If you have a lead magnet, collecting and following up with those who downloaded your lead magnet. Gated content is free and offers a small item of value in exchange for the prospect's contact details.
It's easy to create gated content when you do it as a part of your content marketing efforts.
Send them an email with a link to the download and thank them for their download.
Pro Tip: Continue to build up the excitement and interest in accessing the downloaded content so they will consume it immediately. A lead magnet that sits on someone's computer unopened doesn't help to move your prospect forward in their customer journey.
Transactional Workflow Automation
4. Sending Thank You's
Trigger: When a customer purchases something from you.
Do you take the opportunity to send your customers an email after they purchased something?
Indeed, it's easy to take it for granted after they make a purchase. Remember, you worked hard for a customer, continue to follow through, and maintain an excellent experience throughout the customer journey.
You can also include other links such as for package tracking or to edit the order like what BayPhoto did:
Thank You emails are great emails to send to express your appreciation and acknowledge the leap of faith they took to buy from you.
Besides thanking them for their purchase, remember to include information that helps them get the most out of it. You can even provide an email to top management where you can collect feedback. Doing so shows your customers that you genuinely appreciate them, and you reinforce your words with action.
Be creative with your emails. Consider adding videos and gifs for added interest and engagement.
Here's what Marriott sent to their members on Mother's Day along with a thank you video message.
5. Requesting Feedback/Reviews
Trigger: Shortly after customer completed an interaction or transaction
Use emails to get feedback on your service and continuously look for ways to improve. Take any negative feedback in a positive light and intensify your efforts to make things right for the customer and future customers.
According to Gartner Research, customers experience a psychological lift when given an outlet to share their experience with the company directly.
Asking for feedback is another way of showing you care about your customers and want their continued support.
Here's a feedback request email from a local BMW dealer.
If your customer had a positive experience, you can also take the opportunity to ask for a review with a convenient link to your Facebook page or Google My Business page.
6. Shipment Notifications
Trigger: When the purchased product is ready to ship.
If you sell a physical product, send them a shipping notification and keep them updated with a link to the package tracking information. Remind your customers of the good feelings they had when they bought them.
Amazon does a fantastic job of updating a customer on the status of an order. How happy would a customer be to learn their stuff arrives earlier than promised?
7. Lead Nurturing
Trigger: One or more Top-of-Funnel (TOFU) conversion events
If your prospect downloaded one of your TOFU lead magnet offers (ebooks, reports, cheatsheet, checklist, guide, etc.), use email to move them further down the funnel with lower-priced Entry Point Offers related to what they downloaded.
Your goal is to move them from the Top-of-Funnel to the Middle-of-Funnel (MOFU).
Warm the lead up with content such as success stories, case studies, free trials, or product demos to remove any doubt about your product.
Nurtured leads result in larger purchases 47% of the time compared to un-nurtured leads.
According to Aberdeen Group, nurtured leads also experience a 23% shorter sales cycle.
Say your prospect downloaded a short, free ebook (lead magnet) on vegan recipes. To jump right to offering your core product/service that costs hundreds or thousands from a free ebook download is a tough sell.
Instead, you can follow up with an offer of an ebook or physical book. An ebook on 'How to Prepare Healthy Vegan Meals In Half Hour or Less With 100 Sample Recipes' for $20 would probably be of interest to that prospect.
If the prospect declines because they are not ready to move ahead, use more content to win them back and continue nurturing them.
By offering a low priced Entry Point Offer, you've done something magical - turn a prospect into a customer.
A person who bought once is more likely to purchase again and move up your customer value chain if nurtured correctly.
Engaging Prospects and Customer Workflow Automation
8. Re-engaging Inactive Subscribers
Trigger: When a subscriber has not clicked on any of your links or opened your emails over a prolonged period, usually 90 days.
Life gets busy. People are inundated with emails daily, and yours is among them.
For the health of your email list, it's always best to re-engage your inactive subscribers. If you find someone is not opening or clicking on any of the links in your emails, make sure to find out why.
Remind them why they got on your list in the first place.
Consider using something to win them back. Follow up with your subscribers and offer them a useful paid item for free. If they are still interested, they'll be happy to click on one of your links to receive the win-back gift.
Never continually email someone who remains inactive even after multiple re-engagement attempts. Doing so lowers your email deliverability for those people who genuinely want to receive your emails.
Check out the way 9th and Elm did it below:
So before dropping them from your email list, give them a chance to re-engage.
Trigger: When your new customer just signed up, you want to indoctrinate them on what to expect.
Nurturing new customers will lead to more sales, so look for ways to enhance/remind them of their experience with your product/service.
Help them learn how to get the most out of the purchase through links to informative videos or documentation.
If you sell Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) with a free trial offer, help them understand how to get started with the software.
Never leave them hanging, wondering what to do next. The quicker they get up and going with it, the higher the chances they will continue as a paid customer.
Onboarding a customer properly pays dividends when you wish to upsell or ascend them up the customer journey ladder to increase lifetime value.
Maintaining a positive buying experience ensures they are more likely to be future advocates and refer other customers to you.
Increasing Revenue Workflow Automation
10. Following Up on Shopping Cart Abandonment
Trigger: When the prospect adds items to cart and leaves without checking out
You worked hard to make prospects aware of what you offer. They are almost over the finish line, and bam!… they abandon their shopping cart.
You could leave them alone and hope they come back, or you could follow up with them.
Sure, it could have been a mistake, and they could come back. What if the prospect doesn't?
Some people might argue that consumers find these types of emails annoying. That may be true if you don't offer anything new.
Here's where you can follow up with their items in their cart.
Remind them of what they placed in their cart and offer an incentive to complete the purchase. You can offer them a $5 or a 10% off coupon to checkout within a limited time.
If they want the items, they will complete the checkout process.
Vitacost followed up a day after adding items to the cart with an email to complete checkout to get 10% off the order with a system-generated coupon expiring in a few days.
11. Upselling/Cross-selling Automation
Trigger: When your customer purchased from you previously.
It costs up to seven times more to sell to a new customer than to an existing customer.
Capitalize on automated workflows to upgrade or upset your existing customers.
If your product/service catalog is limited, think about what else you could offer to your existing customers to add to your catalog. You may also consider reselling other people's products through affiliate offers and joint ventures for additional revenue.
Personalization is key!
Create automated email workflows that recommend them only relevant products/services. Offering something completely irrelevant will only turn off your customers who'll think you're blindly broadcasting to your entire list.
What better way to continue to stay in touch than by offering special deals they'd be interested in via email? Send special emails to your members on different occasions to increase the lifetime value of your customer.
REI capitalizes on the different seasons regularly to clear past season and excess inventory. Included in their emails are also useful articles and stories to engage their readers.
12. Renewal/Re-Order/Replenish Purchase
Trigger: When you expect to replenish customer stocks as it is running low
Based on the product's usage, you can send your customers a gentle reminder that their supply of the product is running low.
Say you sell supplements. You know they purchased a 90 capsule bottle of a specific supplement that runs out in about 45 days. People get busy and forget things. Do them a favor and send them a reminder to top up their stock levels to avoid running out.
You could also apply this to dog food. Knowing your customers will need to replenish their dog's food, you're giving them a timely reminder to buy some more and avoiding the hassles of frantically running around town searching for the same dog food brand at the brick and mortar stores.
There are so many other possibilities to apply this idea: prescription contact lens, razors, cleaning supplies, spring water, makeup, etc.
TeaPigs did a great job of this with the combination of visuals and convenient buttons to reorder the specific items that need replenishment.
13. Lead Scoring
Trigger: When your prospect performs certain actions that indicate buying intent increased/decreased
You've got a list of nurtured prospects. Do you call to follow up on all of them? Doing so consumes a lot of time.
Lead scoring allows you to know who is most likely ready to move forward. Knowing who is close to making a purchase enables you to focus your attention on getting the sale quickly, saving time, and boosting profitability in one fell swoop.
Lead scoring essentially gives you the ability to assign points based on certain prospect behaviors. You can also segment your list based on scores achieved by people on your list for specific targeting and follow up.
Here is the lead scoring (labeled as contact scoring under this software) option within our email workflow automation software:
Everyone has 24 hours a day; how you decide to use it makes the difference between a mediocre business and an exceptional business.
With any email campaign, maintain regular contact with your list. Not emailing your list over an extended time causes your subscribers to forget about you and risks spam complaints.
Take every opportunity to lead your customers where you want them to go. Use the customer journey to map what automated workflow actions need to be taken at a specific stage.
Always remember to engage them with exciting and insightful content and stop seeing them merely as dollar signs.
Treat them like you would a friend. The friendly approach is also evident in the tone of many emails from the best companies. Nurture them, and you'll develop a hyper-responsive list that will return many-fold what you were able to craft in emails just only once.
Let us know below if the specific must-have workflows here helped you plan your own workflow. Any specific ones you already implement? What improvements did you see for your business?
If you still struggle with your email marketing automation needs, contact us today.
About the author: Anthony Yap is a certified email marketing specialist who creates custom email automation workflows and funnels for businesses to double their sales. He'll work with you to craft email automation sequences that engage your list members, get opened more frequently, and sell more. Contact us and let us know what your requirements are.