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Implementing Marketing Automation and Drip Programs in Your Business

Marketing automation and drip programs are what we’re chatting all about in today’s episode. While monthly newsletters are great, new contacts are only seeing information after that point. Drip campaigns are sent on a certain time interval or based on a certain behavior. Listen to see how you can implement drip workflows and marketing automation in your business.

Bonus, you’ll find out just how close the Foremost Media office is to a train track. Brownie points if you let us know what timestamp you hear the train.

Time Stamps:

  • 00:00 - Intro
  • 02:12 - Getting started with drip campaigns.
  • 07:33 - How marketing automation can improve your onboarding process.
  • 09:40 - Capitalize on engagement.

Resources Mentioned:

Find more marketing insights and show notes here


Intro: You're listening to the Foremost Media Marketing Chat podcast with Jon Ballard and Evan Facinger.

Evan Facinger: All right. Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Foremost Media Marketing Chat podcast. How are you today, Jon Ballard?

Jon Ballard: I'm good, Evan, thanks. How are you?

Evan Facinger: I'm doing good as well, I appreciate that. I'm excited for this topic. It's one that's near and dear to my heart, right? We're going to talk about marketing automation and drip programs.

Jon Ballard: Yeah, I think it's something for us as a company that's really changed the game. And we've been using it for a lot of our customers and they're seeing similar results. I think it's something that you can get on right away and see a pretty good instant return on investment.

Evan Facinger: Exactly. It's taking what most people have been doing and know they should be doing with email marketing, and just taking it to that next level. And we've been preaching this for quite a while now. And we're watching the adoption of marketing automation really take hold and people understand, "Yes, I need to have these automated programs. They're a little bit more to set up, but then they're running, I don't have to worry about letting any of those types of communications fall through the cracks." But then it's kind of the, "Okay, how do I use those? What types of workflows, and what types of automation and drip programs should I get set up?"

Evan Facinger: So the podcast today, we're going to focus on giving you some of those examples of different types of workflows and different types of drip programs that you can actually implement and use. And I should also note that if you didn't catch the last episode where we announced that we are no longer editing any of these, so there might be certain phrases, certain things that slip out, and we're just going to roll with it. And it's going to turn out great, right, Jon?

Jon Ballard: When I have to pronounce a tough word, I'm going to do it three or four times and you can all laugh at me. I'm good with that.

Evan Facinger: I think I have that in one of the edited versions where you did that.

Jon Ballard: Let's start at the beginning with drip campaigns. What do you need to get started on a drip campaign, and what would you define a drip campaign as? 

Evan Facinger: I think there's always these different types of terminologies. The first thing is that you need to have software to do it. When we're sending out these drip programs, we're sending them out via email predominantly. So we get mostly what's called a marketing automation platform, and there's a lot of different ones to choose from. We work with quite a few different ones. We have Act-On, there's HubSpot, SharpSpring, Marketo, Pardot, I could keep going on. There's just a huge list of these types of offerings.

Evan Facinger: And what these companies are doing, what these software do actually, is you can take... Or one of the things they do, I should say, is we can take these emails, and we can have emails go out based on a certain time interval or based on a certain behavior that somebody is doing. And we can make sure that all these emails are going out and they're all automated. So instead of the old ways where it was you'd send out one email blast, just one email went out and you try to get the highest open rate that you could or the highest click-through rate.

Evan Facinger: Here, we're trying to figure out what is the sequence of emails look like? So what am I sending the first email for? What is that about? Then, when do I want that second email to come out? Do I want the people that open and clicked on the first email to receive a different email for the second one than I do for people that totally ignored it? And really mapping out this entire cadence and the entire workflow of all of these different types of emails to create this whole campaign.

Evan Facinger: Whether it's a lead nurturing campaign, where you're actually trying to take somebody from a lead and nurture them all the way to a closed sale, hopefully, at the end of the day, or if you're trying to take more of just the drip approach, where you're just pinging people here, staying top of mind. Whatever that goal is and whatever you're trying to do, it's taking a look at the overall strategy and making sure that you're building out those email assets and those components, and really paying attention to when you're sending them and why you're sending them to people, and what your ultimate goals are for those emails.

Jon Ballard: Yeah. I like this in the fact that a lot of companies have done email newsletters or whatever blast every month, and it's a lot of work. Every month, you've got to come up with a new topic, you've got to figure out who's going to write what, and it's just time-consuming. And a lot of times you just don't get a lot of return on investment on those. Where a drip campaign, you think about your biggest pain points, okay? And how are we going to solve that? Like for us, what really got us started or what my aha moment, so to speak, was, our sales guys were not doing a great job of following up with people. They get a quote out and then they may or may not follow up.

Jon Ballard: And I think that's true in the industry. I think I read a statistic once, like 1 out of 10 salespeople does a good job at following up. So we thought this is a great, great instance to use marketing automation and drip campaign to disrupt that and make our salespeople better at their jobs and automate that process. We thought, "Why don't we build a simple drip for how to follow up after a quote," and that's where we started.

Jon Ballard: So like Evan said, we diagrammed, "Okay, what's the first message that we want to say to them after we've sent a quote." And that was, "Thank you, appreciate it." And then from there, it was how to choose a web development company or how to differentiate between all the quotes they might be getting because we figured there would be multiple quotes coming in. And I think just those two things, and then I think the third drip in that series was an email back to the sales guy saying, "It's time to follow up. Follow up personally." But since then we've built it out a lot. Evan, I mean, what do we have, eight, nine going out?

Evan Facinger: Yeah. And I think there is nine that go out based on that proposal. And some of them are a little bit different too, based on the engagement. And that's what's great about these tools is that you can identify and track. A lot of people hear automation and they think, "Oh, it's going to be a robot, and everything's just going to go out. It's not going to be relevant." But we're tracking so much more. We're tracking whether somebody's opening or clicking on it, if they're going back to the website. So based off that engagement, we can make sure that the next email that goes out to them is still going to be relevant and based on that. So even though it's automated, it's still got that human element part to it.

Jon Ballard: And what's cool about it too is I've been tracking our successful closes. And most of the successful closes that we've had, you can see that they really engage with that drip campaign, they've read the emails. A lot of times we'll get email feedback in between, it's coming from the sales guy to the prospect, but it'll say, "Hey, thanks for sharing this. I wasn't aware of that." Or, "Hey, we're going to do business with you, leave me alone." I've gotten that, but I think that's a lot better than not getting anything... And there's a train, so welcome to the raw. Our office is located next to a railroad track.

Evan Facinger: That'll be great. We can start to have a game where let us know when you hear the train, what that timestamp is, and you can win a prize. So email us this timestamp and we'll figure out what the prize is from there.

Jon Ballard: Perfect. Starbucks gift card for you. If you can even hear us over the train right now. Anyway, we were just talking about engagement and close rate. I firmly believe our close rate, I can prove it has gone up because of these drip campaigns.

Evan Facinger: Oh, definitely. And I think too, then when we talk about other programs that you can put in and other drip programs is you've been sending them, from the prospect, follow up once they're in that campaign, they're getting those emails. Well, let's say they accept that proposal, and now they're an actual customer, but what does onboarding look like? Now, you want to have an onboarding and a new customer drip campaign put together, so you can base it off of your current onboarding process, but you know there's going to be things that you're going through there that you can automate, that you don't have to have somebody do.

Evan Facinger: A lot of times, when we're working with customers on this, we ask, "What's your onboarding process look like now?" And they show us, "Oh, we've got these email templates that this person copies and pastes, and put in here all the time." It's like, "We don't have to do that now. Now, let's take all that copy and paste, and we just create these automated programs and put them out," because then you get more data, you can track the effectiveness of everything overall. That's a big point too. It's not just making sure that you're getting the communication out there, but you're also able to see a lot more insight into how effective it is and make adjustments based on that.

Jon Ballard: Yeah. One of the things I hear a lot when we talk to customers about this is, "I just don't have the time to put all this together." But they're taking the time to do that stupid monthly newsletter that nobody reads, where this you spend the time once and it works for you for years and years. So I just don't think you can say that. I think you can't afford not to do something like this in your business if you have any kind of processes that you go through. 

Evan Facinger: Exactly. Here, they're paying to get it set up once or you're paying every single time to keep recreating it over and over.

Jon Ballard: Yeah. And we've got crazy with this, to be honest. I mean, we even have a drip campaign for new employees on where to park, what the rules are for the refrigerator so that we don't have 13-year-old potato salad in our fridge at work. There's all sorts of uses for this, not even just external, but internal.

Jon Ballard: One of my favorites that I think you came up with, Evan, was a lost campaign. So after somebody says no to us, which hardly ever happens, but does occasionally, then we'll follow up with them six, eight months later saying, "Hey, how's that website going? Can we help you with your marketing?" And we've got some business out of that as well. That customer is so valuable, that engagement or that contact, but you've got to have something to do with it to really make it valuable because if it just sits there, you're not truly capitalizing on it.

Evan Facinger: Exactly. And it always amazes me whenever I fill out a form, or I download something, or I'm giving information, whether it's I got a white paper or a webinar, or I just filled out a contact form to get more information or whatever I did to volunteer my information, I am always shocked if I'm not receiving additional emails after that as part of some automated workflow. Because then you're really dropping the ball because there's so many things that so many marketing efforts are geared towards getting more people in your funnel, right? Getting more prospects to fill out your contact form. And then, if they just sit there, you're really missing the opportunity, I think, on a lot of them. But the lost customer one is a great example of that because, like Jon said, occasionally people make mistakes and they don't choose us for the projects. Well, now we can try to give them that second chance, right?

Jon Ballard: Yeah, absolutely. Driving them to other contact forms as well. One of my drip campaigns that I use is when I do in sales is to try and get people to connect with me on LinkedIn. And the reason I like that is because customers change jobs all the time. I mean, your marketing manager today might be with another company in three years or a month from now, you just never know. And the nice thing about LinkedIn is that connection moves with you. So if I lose that email connection, I'm connected with them on LinkedIn and could continue to market to them there. So think about that for one of your drips too.

Evan Facinger: Yeah, definitely. And I also like we used to do a lot with trade shows. I think any time you're having some sort of event built out, and hopefully when things get back, or even if they're virtual right now, you want to make sure that you have that communication, that follow up, just like you would on a trade show already put out. You don't always want to have everything rely on the salesperson that's supposed to handle those. Because not every lead is a good lead when you're talking trade shows and event marketing. Especially now with virtual, where it's even easier to get out there for. So this way you can make sure that you're pushing out some of those leads, and having that communication go out there to wait and see who is actually interested, who wants to take that step.

Jon Ballard: Yeah. And even before trade show, I think you might be talking about after they visited your booth, but before a trade show, you can do a lot with email marketing and drip campaigns to build excitement and get people into your booth. From signups and giveaways to happy hours and stuff like that. If you get the word out there and even have people even set up appointments to come by your booth, you can really maximize your time that you've paid all this money for. I'm not a huge fan of trade shows to begin with, but if you're going to waste the money on it or spend the money on it, I should say, capitalize on that.

Jon Ballard: The other thing I love about trade show marketing is you can do this geofencing right around the arena and you can actually market to people after they leave. Maybe in a week later you can start showing up in their ad feeds and stuff like that. You don't have to necessarily market to them at the trade show, but if you set it up beforehand you can start to capture that data. See also that we can market to them down the road, which is pretty amazing too. 

Evan Facinger: Yeah. And then too, a lot of times, when we're taking these over there's a... Or a lot of times, when you have these sort of systems running, you do a lot of trade shows, you've been taking these leads but you don't have a lot of automation and these drip programs set up. A lot of times, there's going to be a huge database that you have, and maybe it's not a huge, maybe it's just a significant database, and they haven't been touched in a while. We're talking a year, two years, before they've received any communication from you whatsoever.

Evan Facinger: You can take all of those leads, all those contacts that you have, and not all of them are going to be valid anymore, but there still might be some really good potential customers in that list, because at some point they were a good prospect. So what you want to do is take that list and you can actually set up a drip program to reengage them. Send out a couple emails. I always like to send one and just have another short gap for the next send, just to try to see who I can get somebody to raise their hand with it to see, "Yes, I'm interested. Let's start that communication again."

Jon Ballard: Yeah. That's a great point. Thanks again, for your time here, Evan. Hopefully, for you folks out there listening, we've spurred some ideas for you and you'll dive into this. If you have any questions about it, there's even some of the cheaper marketing automation softwares are doing this now, even the Constant Contact, I think, have a limited way to do this. But the more you can automate this process, I think the better return you're going to get because people forget, people get lazy. They don't always put people in drips automatically. So look at your processes and if you need help, reach out. Love to be of service to you.

Evan Facinger: And don't forget to subscribe, because it'll be a lot easier than have to remember to come in and listen to the episodes. And if you did hear the train, make sure you shoot us an email, let us know.

Jon Ballard: All right. Happy Friday, everybody.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Foremost Media Marketing Chat podcast. Don't forget to like and subscribe, so you can stay on top of your game by never missing an episode. You can find even more marketing insights and show transcripts at foremostmedia.com.

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