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Automated Email Workflows: There’s a Time and a Place for That

Katelyn Ahern Digital Project Manager
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing
Published on May 19, 2014

Learn about some common types of automated email workflows and how they can deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.

As I’ve discussed previously, an email workflow is a great tool for delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience. But while it’s important to understand the key ingredients for a successful email workflow, before implementing a workflow, you must first determine the parameters of the workflow and its ultimate goal. Here are some common use case scenarios for automated email workflows:

Lead Nurturing Workflow

Entry Activity: Converted on "specific topic" offer

End Goal: Complete X, Y, and Z to become a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

I discussed a version of this type of workflow in the previous blog, but I believe it warrants another mention. Lead nurturing workflows are a great way to continue delivering value to your leads before they are ready to buy. The great thing about this type of workflow is that a lot of the parameters will have to be determined by your business goals and dependent upon your content offerings, but this can also make it tricky. In order to find the right mix of offerings, you will have to experiment with these parameters and track the analytics to define the best mix.

Customer Nurturing Workflows

Entry Activity: Contacts in List who have become a Customer

End Goal: Engagement in your company's community (e.g. blog subscriber, social media participant)

For this workflow, you have some flexibility with the parameters, but not as much as for a lead nurturing workflow. Keep in mind that for each workflow, you want to pick a specific, measurable end goal, and then move on to another workflow and goal. I would recommend starting with the blog subscription, but this depends on the purpose of your blog content. In order to lead your visitors to becoming blog subscribers you may want to send them emails with blogs that pertain to their interests, and including a secondary CTA for subscribing to your blog in each email. As with other marketing strategies, you must explore and test to find out what resonates with your audience, keeping an eye on metrics and adjusting your strategy where you see fit.

Event Reminders (Before and After an Event/Tradeshow/Meeting)

Entry Activity: Converted on website/added to list as a contact attending a specific event

End Goal: Make an appointment during or after the event

Event automated email workflows can be a great way to remind attendees about the date and time of an event, as well as where to find your company at the event. You can also offer to schedule an appointment to meet with them while at the conference; that way, you can make sure you won't miss each other. This can also be a good way to connect with attendees you didn't get to see at the event. Make sure when you are creating this workflow that you are segmenting your lists accordingly, so you can specify which emails get sent to which recipients. The more specific you can get, the better.

As with most marketing automation tools, there are many ways you can utilize them. The number one rule is to make sure that throughout all workflows, you are keeping your audience in mind. In addition to considering how this will be helpful for your audience, get creative with your workflows. Feel free to try new ideas and track and adjust them to find out what works best. When used properly, automated workflows can not only help drive traffic and engagement, but they can also bring the right content to the right person at the right time. Do you have any questions about workflows and when your business could utilize them? Please leave us a comment below or contact us to get in touch with a marketing specialist.