In a time where technology plays such an important part in our daily working lives, it is surprising how much energy can still be dedicated to manual, repetitive tasks.
The humdrum of these kind of tasks not only impacts motivation on a personal level but it also depletes your company’s productivity as a whole.
Luckily, there is a cure: automation. In this article we’ll take a look at what automation means for your marketing activities, the benefits, and where to start when it comes to automating your own marketing processes within your business.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation in a few words…
Marketing automation is technology that uses rule-based triggers to send campaigns and determine a sequence of follow-up actions. Marketing automation software helps you execute your marketing projects in a more streamlined way.
When we talk about automation in the context of email marketing, we are confronted with the concept of triggers, workflows, and automated follow up actions.
To automate your marketing activities, you need to build so called ‘workflows’. These are scenarios of campaigns that will vary, according to the intended goal of the campaign. All communications within your workflow can be tailored to each recipient based on the information in your contact list and behavioral statistics.»
Why use marketing automation?
Save time and gain productivity: marketing automation software saves a lot of time in the preparation of email campaigns. Once a workflow is set up and activated, it runs itself. This will optimize your productivity, so you can focus on other aspects of the project, analysis, reflecting on the results, and keep human interventions down to a minimum.
Build customer loyalty: marketing automation does a great job when is comes to interacting with customers and sending relationship-focused messages. This will show the client that they are valued by your company and help establish a solid relationship – all you need to do, is schedule those loyalty-building emails.
Increasing revenue: marketing automation has a positive impact on your revenue. Sending automatic emails contributes to an increase of expected revenue from each client. This will increase the number of purchases as well as the average revenue of each purchase. But that’s not all… it also results in a higher conversion rate and and improved rate of recurring purchases.
When to use automatic emails and how does it work?
Countless marketeers across various industries rely on automation to nurture leads and generate results. Automatic emails can be useful in so many different situations. To name a few, think of a welcome email for your new subscriber, an abandoned cart email to nudge someone towards the checkout process, a nurture workflow to qualify leads for your Sales team… the possibilities are endless!
So, how does this all work? – you might be wondering. As mentioned earlier, marketing automation is achieved by building workflows. A workflow is a sequence of marketing emails that are ‘triggered’ by certain events or actions taken by your contacts.
Some examples of events are: a birthday, a first purchase, a subscription renewal date. In terms of possible actions, you can think of whether a contact opened or didn’t open your email, downloaded an ebook, registered to a webinar, filled in a contact form, etc.
Here is a simple example of what an automated workflow could look like:
Step 1: You send an email inviting your contacts to download your latest white paper.
Step 2: You send a thank-you email including the link to the content to all your contacts who downloaded the white paper.
Step 3: After some days have passed, you send a follow-up email to all you contacts who downloaded your white paper, inviting them to attend a webinar about a related topic.
Step 4: When someone attends the webinar, send a notification to your Sales team the next day to follow up with them. These contacts are now qualified leads and more likely to take the next steps towards making a purchase.
How to get started with marketing automation?
Now that we have the basics down, let’s take a look at how you can start to set up your first marketing automation workflow.
Here are three types of workflows start off with that really pack a punch to.
1) Welcome workflow
A Welcome workflow is a great place to start with and it’s fairly straightforward to set up. Let’s say you run an e-commerce store, and you want to create a scenario for all your new accounts. The goal of your workflow is for our new account to make their first purchase. Here’s how it’s done:
Email 1: account creation
The trigger we will use is the creation of a new client account – which will manifest as a new entry in your contact list.
A new account creation triggers a confirmation email asking the new contact to confirm their accounts by clicking on the link included in the email.»
Email 2: account confirmed, yes/no?
The next email that is sent depends on your contact’s actions:
1. To those who have confirmed their account, send and invitation to subscribe to your newsletter to receive a 10% discount on their first order, valid for one month. (This actions subsequently enrolls the contact in your Newsletter workflow)
2. To contacts who have not yet confirmed their account after three days, you can send a reminder and includes an overview of the benefits such as, the option to create wishlists, save credit cards for faster check-out, and get notified when items are back in stock, etc.
Email 3: inspiration
After three days, send an email to all contacts who confirmed their with a listing of your best selling products and a CTA to create a wishlist.
Email 4: conversion
Five days before the 10% discount on the first purchase expires, send a reminder regarding this to all your new contact who have not made their first purchase yet.
2) Abandoned cart workflow
An abandoned cart scenario is another essential one to start with if your sell anything online.
It often happens that shoppers don’t complete the checkout processes and leave their items in the virtual basket – this is what we call an ‘abandoned cart’ and although you might not be too pleased with it it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost a sale. Your shopper may have been distracted, needed more time to think, or didn’t have their credit card details to hand…
Our next workflow focusses precisely on that group and our goal is to recover the abandoned carts. Here’s how it works:
Email 1: reminder
As soon as you have identify shoppers who have abandoned their carts, trigger a reminder email. This kind of email should contain an overview of the cart, the total price, and a CTA button to resume the checkout process.
Email 2: urgency
If after one days your contacts has not completed their purchase you can follow up with and email that creates a sense of urgency, for example “Items can sell out fast”.
Email 3: last chance
In this third and final email you can offer a discount in a last attempt to recover the abandoned cart if you didn’t succeed already. Use a eye-catching subject line, such as “An item in your cart just went of sale”.
3) Order status workflow
This workflow is aimed at a client who placed an order with you, and the status of this order just change. In this case, the trigger to activate the workflow is an update on the “delivery status” field in your database.
Email 1: inform
As soon as the purchase status changes from “Processing” to “Sent”, an automatic email will be sent to the customer, informing them of the status of their order.
Email 2: feedback
A second email will be sent to the client after a period of 15 days to carry out a customer satisfaction survey after the order has been delivered – to indicate any aspects that can be improved, such as delivery time, packaging, and so on.»And there we have it – three essential workflows to start your marketing automation. Keep in mind that workflows are very flexible and can be tailored to fit your business model, industry, and marketing goals.
With Mailify you can set up workflows like this in just a few minutes, even combining email and SMS campaigns in one single automation scenario – give it a try if you haven’t already!»