Automating certain marketing tasks is not only a great way to be productive, it’s also an effective strategy to strengthen your company’s brand. With marketing automation, you can guide prospects through your various marketing channels, turn leads into customers, and cultivate those customers to become your brand’s ambassadors.
There are many tools available that include marketing automation features. Before committing to a tool, it’s important to understand what marketing automation is and how it can be incorporated to improve your marketing efforts.
How to use Marketing Automation
Your automated welcome message can still be personable and reflect your brand’s voice
For example, let’s use the fictional CPA firm, Smith & Smithe Tax Services. This small tax services company has various verticals and some areas of specialization. Like most other CPAs, they prepare taxes for individuals, families, and a wide variety of businesses.
And, due to their geographical location, they specialize in the dragon breeding industry (hey, this is my blog post and I love dragons, so don’t judge). Their business clients include dragon feed manufacturers, dragon incubator fabricators (careful, they’re hot!), and dragon-related service businesses such as grooming, training, and dragon sitting.
Below is a lead-conversion workflow that Smith & Smithe uses with great success:
Step 1: Email a targeted list inviting prospects to download the “Six New 2018 Federal & State Tax Deductions for Dragon-Related Businesses” checklist.
Step 2: Send a thank you email to those who downloaded the checklist.
Step 3: Three days later, send a follow-up email to those who downloaded the checklist. They can now download the “S&S 2018 Tax Prep Workbook for Dragon-Related Businesses.”
Step 4: Finally, an S&S sales rep contacts each individual who downloaded the workbook, asking if they’d like to schedule an appointment with one of the CPAs before year’s end.
This workflow is effective thanks to:
Email List Quality: The email list used to send the initial checklist was not a purchased list, but rather a list that has been cultivated by S&S with their inbound marketing programs.
Segmentation: The offered checklist and workbook were created specifically for certain companies, so the individuals on that email list were all within that industry.
Qualified Phone Calls: The sales reps contacted only the people who downloaded both offerings. Through their behavior, these leads have expressed interest in the company’s tax prep services and that they recognize, and trust, the Smith & Smithe brand.
Because this process is automated, you can set it up and forget it until you do your next quarterly marketing review. (You are having quarterly marketing reviews, right?)
Below are some must-have “starter” workflows for your business.
Blog Subscriber Welcome
Marketing automation is an effective, efficient strategy to optimize the buyer’s journey
Once someone subscribes to your blog, send an automated welcome. This is a great opportunity to thank people for subscribing, highlight some of your best-performing posts, and request your “send from” email address be added to the recipient’s address book.
Yes, everyone knows this is an automated email; however, your welcome message can still be personable and reflect your brand’s voice. The email below from Scott’s Cheap Flights gets a kudos for friendliness and warmth. Alas, it would have sat even better with me if the email had been personalized.
New Customer Welcome/Training Workflow
Another must-have workflow is the “new customer welcome.” Create a series of emails to introduce your customer to your company’s offerings or to help them learn about the new product they just purchased. I encourage brands to challenge themselves with this workflow. Think about how you can keep your customers engaged, but also how you can delight them into becoming one of your company’s vocal advocates.
Think about how you can keep your customers engaged, but also how you can delight them into becoming one of your company’s vocal advocates
Opposite of those vocal advocates mentioned above, most companies have contacts in their CRM that are languishing. This is the perfect workflow to reawaken those inactive contacts. Start by determining what criteria you’ll use to decide who will belong to your re-engagement workflow. Perhaps it’s been three months since they last submitted a form on your website, visited your site, or opened your email.
Use this workflow to send something that will get these contacts excited about your brand. As a consumer, I find “We miss you, here’s a gift” emails quite engaging.
And, don’t ever underestimate the power of cute:
There are a myriad of other automation workflows you can use to improve your marketing. Some of them include:
Event promotion workflow: for when you’re hosting a live event or webinar or you’re presenting at a conference
Topic-based workflow: engaging prospects and customers with specific topics they’re interested in
Cultivating brand advocates workflow: for folks who visit your website often, interact with you on social media, and download your various offerings
Abandoned cart workflow: reminding folks about the products they’ve left in their cart
Free trial or Freemium sign-up workflow: for SaaS companies who offer a free trial or a free plan in their tier of offerings. Send a series of emails to entice them to become paying customers.
In a world where we’re constantly challenged to “convert, convert, convert!” marketing automation is an effective, efficient strategy to optimize the buyer’s journey—and keep those customers coming back once they learn the value of your product or service.