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What Are the Key Ingredients for a Successful Email Workflow?

Katelyn Ahern Digital Project Manager
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing
Published on May 13, 2014

Email workflows are a great way to automate the marketing funnel. Learn about what you need to do to create a successful workflow.

If you’re looking to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience, a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) can be an essential tool for keeping your marketing efforts on track. A workflow is a great tool to leverage within an MAP when attempting to fulfill this challenge. An automated email workflow is a series of emails that are crafted for a certain audience based on a specific entry factor that your marketing team will set. These entry factors vary for each workflow depending on the ending goal of the workflow. We will discuss entry factors in more detail below. All the emails in each workflow series are geared toward the list members completing one goal; this varies depending upon your business goals. With these things in mind, let's take a deeper look at the key ingredients for a successful email workflow.

Segmented Lists

Creating segmented email lists is important to make sure you are delivering your message to the right audience. This gives you a smaller, more specific group of people to reach out to. When segmenting your lists for an automated email workflow, you will need to define what activity will give them entry to this list and thus enter them into the workflow. This will ensure that your contacts are receiving the message at the right time. The first email will start when they complete the entry activity, and all subsequent emails will be based off of their personal start date for this workflow rather than a mass-emailing schedule. The entry activity should be a "first-step" that leads them to the ultimate goal.

Ending Goal

Like mentioned above, the entry activity should directly correlate with the ending goal. You also want to make sure that your ending goal is one specific step that audience members can take that can be clearly measured. This ending goal will need to be defined within your MAP in order to take the contact off the list if they complete the ending goal before the workflow is over. There is no reason to continue leading a contact towards a goal that they have already reached.

Example Workflow

For example, you may have the entry factor be that a person has filled out a landing page form for a specific piece of content, but the goal is that they become a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). Your company will have to decide what defines a lead as an MQL. For our example, let's say a lead has to convert on three offers relating to a specific topic before they are considered an MQL. Since the entry conversion content was related to this topic, they are 1/3 of the way to the goal, and you will use the workflow to lead them through the rest of the process. You’ll want to make sure that your entry factors are correlated with your ending goal so that you are providing value for your contacts and not just pushing people in a direction they may not be interested in.

Content offers

As you may have noticed, for a workflow to be successful, you will need to already have several content offers that cover a similar topic. It would be best if these pieces of content also correlate with the several stages of the buyer’s journey. It is beneficial to create landing pages for these offers as well, which will track that your contacts have completed each step leading to the ending goal. Also, you can see if they skipped a step but still completed the ending goal, which may help you determine if some steps are unnecessary for your audience.

Specific Value

While you are creating the emails that are automatically sent throughout the workflow, make sure you are crafting these specifically to the contacts in this list. If you find it hard to cater your messaging to this list of contacts, your list may be too broad, which means that you may want to re-assess your entry activity. All of the elements of a workflow should cater to the audience. Keep in mind that the overall goal of workflow is to create the right message, at the right time, for the right audience, and all elements should reflect this.

These elements are a great foundation to creating successful workflows, but there are many other things to factor in to your strategy as well. Stay tuned for more blogs on automated email workflows, or subscribe to the Diagram blog to get the new blogs delivered to you. In the meantime, if you have any questions on workflows, feel free to leave us a comment or get in touch with a Marketing Specialist