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10 Marketing Automation Workflows You Can Actually Use

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on October 12, 2016

10 Marketing Automation Workflows You Can Actually Use

Marketing automation platforms are powerful tools that create sophisticated automated workflows based on highly targeted list segmentation and behavior. As result, marketing automation has become an essential part of many successful marketing strategies.

Whether you are a seasoned marketing automation veteran looking for fresh ideas, or a beginner wondering where to start, the following workflow examples are designed to help you get the most out of your marketing automation platform.

1. New Lead Drip Campaigns

New Lead Drip campaigns typically start with gated content, such as a white paper, eBook or webinar, that visitors find valuable enough to provide their contact information in order to obtain. At this time, the lead is not quite ready to buy, but is interested enough to read the information. At this stage, the visitor is referred to as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). New Lead Drip campaigns send MQLs a series of timed emails that are designed to guide them through the buying process and transform them into what is called a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

Nurturing new leads allows your sales team to focus their efforts on leads that are ready to buy instead of leads that are only looking for more information. For your marketing strategy to be successful, you must understand what information your potential leads will find valuable at each stage throughout the buyer’s journey.

New Lead Drip campaigns should be eight to ten emails long, and incorporate both HTML and plain text emails to provide a personal element to the campaign. Companies with a long sales cycle find success with longer wait periods between emails than those with a short sales cycle. Depending on the length of the sales process and the amount of lead engagement, the wait time between emails can be anywhere from five to 45 days. Less than five days between emails has been shown to negatively impact campaign performance, and longer than 45 days causes the lead to forget the brand equity you have built with them.

2. Top-of-Mind Drip Campaigns

Top-of-Mind drip campaigns are designed to make sure a lead doesn’t forget about you. When a lead isn’t ready for the Sales team, letting them sit untouched in your database doesn’t help anyone. Instead, you need an email campaign that will engage them and keep you on their radar.

Top-of-Mind drip campaigns should have wait times between 25 to 45 days, and focus on providing a lead with informational content that isn’t “too salesy”. Leads in this category aren’t actively engaged with you or your company and a campaign that only sends emails asking them to purchase will cause them to unsubscribe from your emails or mark them as spam.

3. Reengagement Drip Campaigns

When we initially implement a marketing automation solution or consult a client that already has a marketing automation system in place, we regularly encounter clients with a database of leads that have sat untouched for more than six months. In many cases, there are great leads hidden in the database, but it’s unrealistic to manually go through and contact them one by one. This is where a Reengagement drip campaign can be setup to find out who might still be interested.

Reengagement drip campaigns are setup with short gaps between when the first and follow-up emails are sent to ensure that we are able to break through the clutter of the recipient’s inbox. This is followed by longer pauses between emails that provide informative resources to further educate the lead. When a lead takes action and responds, your Sales team can take over and follow up with them.

4. After Quote/Proposal Drip Campaigns

Many marketing departments focus much of their time and energy on obtaining and nurturing MQLs to become SQLs, but the opportunity to continue these efforts after providing them with a quote or a proposal is often lost.

Revenue is not generated by lead opportunities; it is generated by actual closed deals. A successful After Quote/Proposal campaign provides prospects with the information they need to help them make their decision. Interviewing your salespeople to determine common questions and concerns among prospects will help you to craft content for your emails that address their concerns and overcomes their objections.

Delivering the right content at the right time is critical to the success of an After Quote/Proposal campaign. The length of your sales cycle determines the wait time between emails. You don’t want a lead to receive an email after they’ve already made their decision, but sending the email prematurely negatively impacts their perceived value of your quote or proposal. Integrating your marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, enables you to schedule workflow tasks for your Sales team so they know when to send a personalized follow up email. This provides your Sales team with invaluable insight into the lead’s behavior and interest, so they can effectively identify and overcome any potential roadblocks to closing the deal.

5. Lost Customer Drip Campaigns

Regardless of your marketing efforts, not every lead you close will stay a customer with you forever. Whether they leave and choose a competitor, or cite some other external factors that require them to leave, every company experiences losing a customer. But, making sure your former customers aren’t forgotten can lead many of them to return to you. Assuming the business relationship ended on good terms, even a simple “How Are You?” email can go a long way to reestablishing your relationship with them. If they left you for one of your competitors, the grass may not have been greener on the other side, and you have an opportunity to get the customer back.

Lost Customer drip campaigns should have a wait time between four and six months before you send the first email. This gives your customer time to adjust to their new environment and form their opinions. Starting out the campaign with an email that asks them how everything has been allows them an opportunity to express anything they aren’t satisfied with so your Sales team can take over and offer them solutions. Even if the customer doesn’t express any dissatisfaction, you should continue to email them resources every 20 to 45 days. This helps the customer view your company as a thought leader in the industry instead of an annoyance.

6. Onboarding/New Customer Drip Campaigns

Onboarding new customers can be a delicate process, but automating some of your new customer onboarding tasks frees up time and ensures none of your new customers slip through the cracks and end up without the information they need.

Successful Onboarding/New Customer drip campaigns are based on your current new customer onboarding process. Create an outline of your current new customer onboarding process and identify the types of information your Sales team shares with them, such as training resources, FAQs, support information, etc. This provides you with the typical timeline for when the information is shared with an ideal starting point for you drip campaign. You can also use the analytics data from your marketing automation system to optimize and scale your new customer onboarding process to upsell when appropriate and increase your customer retention rates.

7. Sales Enablement Drip Campaigns

When your Marketing Automation campaigns turn your MQLs into SQLs, your Sales team will take over the process. Sales Enablement drip campaigns help your Sales team close the deal with materials your leads will find useful. Providing your Sales team with access to a customer information portal may seem like a quick way to make the content available, but it’s inefficient to expect your Sales team to review every document and commit it to memory. Instead, treating your Sales team like your customers and provide them with the content they need to close deals with SQLs.

8. New Employee Drip Campaigns

New leads aren’t the only people in your database that rely on information from your company to get up to speed, your new employees need to be educated as well. New Employee drip campaigns start on the day the job offer is accepted. Emails for this type of campaign should include all of the information the new employee will need, such as: where to park, their employee manual, and other necessary documents they’ll need to bring with them on their first day. Your company can also track the information your employees have viewed and store the data as part of a digital record using your marketing automation software.

9. Advocate Engagement Drip Campaigns

Going above and beyond for your customers will convert them into brand evangelists for your company. Brand evangelists are more likely to share your company information with their network, so it makes sense to capitalize on this opportunity and include these kinds of customers in an Advocate Engagement drip campaign. These types of drip campaigns regularly send useful content from your organization to prospects in your advocate’s network. Bombarding your advocates with “salesy” content too often will quickly cause them to quit being a brand evangelist for your company, but if you send them emails between 30 and 45 days apart, and make sure the content is something they think their network will find useful, you will reach an entirely new audience of potential customers.

10. Trade Show/Event Drip Campaigns

Marketing automation platforms are an essential tool for events and trade shows. Trade Show/Event drip campaigns enable you to design and build dedicated landing pages and workflows so you can calculate your return on investment (ROI) for specific events and trade shows to provide you with the insights you need to evaluate the effectiveness of exhibiting.

These types of drip campaigns begin before the trade show even starts, with targeted email messages that drive trade show attendees to visit your booth. Marketing automation systems let you choose and schedule the times these emails are delivered to your audience’s inbox to avoid being lost in the shuffle. You should also design and setup dedicated landing pages to pre-schedule your appointments or demonstrations, or offer special discounts and incentives to attract the interest of attendees to your booth.

Instead of sending your trade show leads directly to your Sales team and hoping they follow up, you can send MQLs directly to an automated workflow that takes them to content they find valuable. The workflows we set up generally start with an initial follow-up email that thanks the visitors for stopping by the booth to remind them of your company, since they will have visited many vendors at the trade show. In weeks following weeks the trade show, we also schedule emails that include industry related content that pertains directly to the trade show and a plain text email from their sales representative.

Associating each lead with a specific trade show campaign allows you to track the amount of sales that can be directly attributed to the trade show.


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