Is your inbox feeling a little crowded?  I know many entrepreneurs feel this way so they decide that emailing their subscribers less frequently (or not at all) is the best course of action.

Talk about a missed opportunity!

Email is still one of the most effective marketing tools available.  According to a HubSpot survey, more than 50% of respondents said they read most of their email – proof that email is a great way to reach current and potential clients.

There is so much that companies can be doing to capitalize on email marketing.  And I’m not talking about simply increasing the frequency of your newsletter.

Instead, it’s about providing more customized content that appeals to each buyer persona, and tailoring it even further based on where they are in the inbound marketing methodology – are they a stranger, a lead, a current customer or a promoter of your business?

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Email marketing, automation and workflows

If you want to build a community of people who help promote your business, you need to consistently communicate how you provide value.  This needs to begin as soon as someone starts to interact with your brand.

So having that digital newsletter with an opt-in form on your website is still very important.

But you can also use what we call email workflows, or a series of automated follow-up emails.  This sounds complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward.  You write a set of emails and save them for distribution.

You can set various triggers that will result in a set of emails being distributed:

  1. Someone downloads your eBook or white paper
  2. Someone subscribes to your blog
  3. Someone becomes a customer
  4. Someone donates to your organization or cause

Yes, it takes time and planning to create the emails.  You have to think through many details and consider the value you’re providing and the specific goal of each workflow.

But it’s well worth the effort.

Each set of emails is targeted based on the trigger action, so the content is much more relevant and engaging to the individual – and this is what consumers have come to expect.

Most entrepreneurs are familiar with email platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact or AWeber which provide varying levels of automation.  Personally, we use HubSpot because it’s an all-in-one marketing automation tool that includes not only email, but also blogging, social media and more.

There are many options available, so evaluate a few of them to see what will work best for you.

Below are four ways you can use workflows to improve your email marketing and start building a community of promoters for your business.

Topic workflows

The main trigger for this type of workflow is when a site visitor downloads an eBook or a white paper.  Your follow-up emails provide more insight on the topic with links to other blogs, videos or more in-depth eBooks.

In general, the goal here is to convert this lead into a paying customer.  In order to do that, you’ll build trust, answer questions and position you and your company as the expert.

Remember that nurturing internet leads takes time.  A sale doesn’t typically occur the first time someone visits your website. The time it takes to convert a lead into a customer will vary depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey, and topic workflows can help move them along.

Here is what the buyer’s journey looks like:

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Blog subscriber welcome workflow

You can have another email workflow in place for when someone subscribes to your blog.  Give them a warm welcome with a friendly email.  Thank them for subscribing and remind them what they’ll get out of reading your content.

You can also use this workflow to promote your best-performing blog content and other e-books and white papers.

New customer welcome workflow

When you’ve obtained a new customer, there are often numerous steps in the onboarding process.  And information overload might happen if the project is moving quickly.

You can help streamline this process with a series of welcome emails that serve as a way to start your relationship off on the right foot.

Use the emails to provide additional insight (and reminders) about your process so customers understand what’s going on.  Anticipate what questions they’ll ask, and have answerers ready to go in your emails.

This is a great way to keep customers engaged and happy after they buy.

Customer success workflow

Once you’ve wrapped-up a successful project with a client, don’t let the communication stop there. Testimonials and case studies are necessary for every business.

Once a project is complete (or the product has been delivered) you can trigger another workflow that asks customers for feedback.  Consumers today regularly check online review sites so it’s wise to ask for feedback on sites such as Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Avvo or whatever review sites are most common in your industry.

It’s also wise to follow-up with additional content that further educates the customer and encourages referrals or repeat business.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there is more to email marketing than your basic monthly newsletter.  Consistent communication with your audience through all stages of this process is incredibly important.  Workflows help ensure ongoing outreach with specific content that will appeal to the individual.

If you like the idea of workflows, make sure you do some further reading on marketing automation and inbound marketing.  Inbound marketing is the overarching strategy that ties email, content, social media and lead generation together.

Have more questions about email marketing automation? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!

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