Marketing automation takes digital contact with customers so much further than en masse generic email sends. Through a series of steps—a workflow—the automation process delivers the right content at the right time, helping to maximize conversions and sales.

In short, a workflow defines the business processes that the marketing automation system needs to use, in concrete terms. Crucially, because it is automated, the workflow is completely scalable.

These are the four basic elements of a marketing automation workflow:

  • Triggers: The action that starts the workflow, such as registering on a website or purchasing an item
  • Delays: The time differences between steps of the workflow
  • Conditions: Explain what must occur for each step in the workflow to take place: for example, if a customer buys one type of product, you might take a different action than if they buy another type
  • Actions: State what should be done whenever any specific conditions occur

There are many valuable marketing automation workflows that can drive customer conversions up, so you need to decide which work best for your situation and brief.

This article outlines seven automation workflows that can be especially useful.

1. The Welcome Workflow

Trigger: A user signs up on your website or app.

How it works: Welcome workflows usually consist of a single email or a series of successive mails that build upon each other. The key point is to send an email as soon as users have registered so they feel acknowledged. Give a friendly and appreciative greeting, confirm account information or get them to select the specific services they need.

Why you need it: Welcome emails are opened four times more often and generate five times more clicks than regular emails. The welcome email or series is an opportunity you simply can't pass up to make a strong first impression on your customers.

2. The Anonymous-User Workflow

Trigger: The time a user spends on the website has exceeded a specified amount, or scrolling action indicates an intention to leave the website.

How it works: Your site software can deliver focused, high-value content in the form of overlays, at exactly the right time, to keep users engaged. For example, an anonymous survey could pop up when the individual has been on the site for 30 seconds.

Why you need it: Casual browsers' attention spans are notoriously low, and if they leave too early they might not really understand what you are offering and why it's right for them. When that happens, a visitor who could have been successfully converted to a customer has been lost.

3. The Feedback Workflow

Trigger: A customer completes an action with your team.

How it works: Typically, you'll ask customers to complete a small questionnaire or feedback form on your website, or send them an email or text message asking them to do so after they've spoken with Customer Service or tried a new product.

Why you need it: You can get valuable information on how your clients perceive your customer support team, a new product, or a website redesign. Customer input is important for delivering the right final product and for engaging users so they're likelier to make purchases.

4. The Cart Abandonment Workflow

Trigger: Potential customers who have added items to their cart leave your website before they complete the checkout process.

How it works: Your software could be automated to send an email reminding shoppers of the items in their cart, complete with reviews or additional special offers. Web push messages are also a good way to remind would-be purchasers of their intent.

Why you need it: That customers found your site online and were using a cart are signs of clear intent to purchase, so it's worthwhile finding out what made them abort the process. For instance, the pricing or the mobile website experience might be problematic. Whatever the issue, if you know about it you can take steps to fix it.

5. The Re-Engagement Workflow

Trigger: Contacts are inactive or have not opened the emails you've sent over a specified timeframe.

How it works: Use re-engagement campaigns to remind contacts of a product, service, or company, emphasizing what that they had found appealing about it to begin with, and reinforcing the benefit of your items or services. Special offers work well here.

Why you need it: Acquiring new customers is expensive: It costs seven times as much as retaining the customers you already have.

6. The Topic Workflow

Trigger: Users register their email address in return for gaining access to content.

How it works: When users want a digital download or other content they consider valuable (e.g., a lead magnet), they're prepared to "pay" for it with their contact information. Now, they have become a lead; moreover, you can engage them with content you know they find interesting. This process primes them to associate your brand or company with quality, which nudges them (effectively) into the sales cycle.

Why you need it: If you already implement content marketing or you are planning to do so, the significance of this workflow should be obvious. You can segment your content based on topics to achieve nuanced communication.

7. The Lead Nurturing Workflow

Trigger: A contact has spent a pre-set amount of time near the top of the funnel, or the start of the customer journey.

How it works: Having collected good-quality leads, you now need to nurture them before handing them over to Sales. Nurturing could be done through a series of informative posts or emails that inform and encourage the leads to make a purchase.

Why you need it: If your product is complicated, for example a suite of administrative software, lead nurturing can supply information that shows customers how well it works and convinces them to buy it.

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Once you know what marketing automation workflows you need, you can start looking at which software to use. Workflows can transform your conversion rate and ultimately your business, so take your time making that important decision.

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Seven Crucial Marketing Automation Workflows You Need for Building Campaigns

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Bibi Raven is the unofficial cheerleader extraordinaire at Linkody.

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