Marketing automation platforms can produce fantastic results, and the key to that success is using the right campaign—striking the balance between one that just scratches the surface and one that's so complicated that any expected return wouldn't be worth the expended effort.

The secret, then, is to create relatively simple campaigns that are also highly effective. When that's the case, marketing automation tools can create results that feel like magic.

Here we look at seven marketing automation campaigns that are so effective, they should get you promoted.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 1: Offering the Right Follow-Up

Imagine someone has downloaded content, asked for information, or signed up for an event. Your first campaign is following up. It's one of the most basic marketing automation campaigns, but one of the most important.

You'll need to send at least one email in response—preferably a sequence. The most important thing is to add value by including information related to the reason the person signed up or filled out a form. It will give you a good indication of the topics the person is interested in, and maybe even the role-related problems the person is facing.

Each email should also try to move people from one stage to the next—from awareness to interest, interest to desire, and desire to action. Your follow-up offer should feature content suited for people who have moved a little bit further along the customer journey, and who are a little bit closer to making a decision.

When should you send that email? As quickly as possible.

Marketers imagine that anyone who fills in a form and downloads a whitepaper will be reading that whitepaper for weeks, but that's just not the case. Don't be afraid of putting short intervals between your follow-up emails.

Of course, the only way to identify the most effective interval is to A/B-test both shorter and longer intervals between emails to see which ones get the best response.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 2: Warming Up Your Cold Leads

There are many ways to re-engage cold leads, but essentially it's all about trying to get a response that shows those prospects are still interested.

You may simply ask whether they are still interested, and give them the option to be taken off the list if they're not. You might give them a content offer or some other reward for staying in touch.

One good trick is an email that just reads, "Where are you?" At Napier, we've used that email with a lot of success.

Another option is to ask to schedule a time to talk. The idea is to say, Look, give us one last chance. That approach will often trigger some action from the contact.

The "breakup email" is a good way to have one last go at trying to get people to engage.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 3: Newsletters

Including newsletters in a list of campaigns that will get you promoted might come as a surprise. A lot of people think they are outdated. But one of our biggest sources of new clients is our newsletter, which regularly prompts inquiries after we send it out.

A great newsletter requires great content. Let's assume you're trying to reach engineers from the electronics industry; you'll get good results if the newsletter includes content relevant to those engineers, you have a good database, and you are sending them content they want to read.

Creating a newsletter requires a frequent supply of really good, strong, engaging content, but it is definitely a marketing automation campaign that could get you promoted.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 4: Taking the Pain Out of Event Follow-Ups

Following up after events is a bit of a dirty secret between marketers and attendees, because most salespeople hate the cold follow-up after tradeshows—particularly if they haven't even met the person—and simply will not call all the leads.

Marketing automation can make for a great follow-up campaign. Use a couple of emails to thank people for visiting your stand and casually ask whether anyone has an immediate requirement.

If people do come back to you, it's a great way to grab salespeople's attention without having to give them a long list of people who are "possibles but probably won't respond."

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 5: Making Mass Campaigns Look Personal

This is the sales connect email, which can get overlooked when using marketing automation tools. The point is to create emails that look nothing like marketing emails.

They don't have to be in HTML. It's not about the look, it's about making it feel personal. Call the person by name, then immediately personalize with the salesperson's name.

It does require some complex logic in the back end of your marketing automation system to make sure that all the contacts entered into your database are allocated to the right person—so they get an email from the salesperson who will be working with them. But it's definitely worth it. Writing a personalized email will have a much higher response rate than sending a standard marketing email.

It's also important that it be easy for recipients to schedule a meeting or conversation, if that's what they want. Most marketing automation systems offer a scheduling tool.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 6: Keeping Track of Responders

You don't have to always use marketing automation tools to send emails to your contacts. Sometimes it's just as important to send automated internal emails.

At Napier, we have a list of potential customers we really care about—companies we're pitching for, or companies that we just really want to work with.

So, we have an automated email send based on tracking those people. If they visit the website, we get an email notification with a URL that gives the name of their company, the country, and the lead owner. We include that info because the email goes out to multiple people, so we have to know who the person is who need to take action. If that's not us, we'll certainly be chasing whoever owns the lead to make sure they take action.

This email can often trigger a great conversation with a potential customer you really care about.

Marketing Automation Campaign No. 7: Getting Prospects Onboarded

Onboarding emails can be useful at increasing engagement, and they are often massively underestimated.

An onboarding campaign is for a client who just started working with you, or perhaps a customer who bought a new tool or product. It's to reassure them that they've done the right thing.

For example, when copy hackers were asked to create onboarding emails for Wistia, leads became three and a half times more likely to become paying customers.

The writers increased the volume of content, adding a huge amount of information and value. They knew that whoever they were sending the email to would be interested in Wistia because the person had already signed up for a free trial. All the extra information increased engagement and made Wistia's onboarding campaign much more successful.

More Resources on Marketing Automation Campaigns

How to Prepare Your Organization for Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation 101: Start Learning With Content, Experts, and Training

Marketing Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How AI Helps Automate Marketing [Infographics]

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image of Mike Maynard

Mike Maynard is the managing director at Napier, an integrated B2B technology PR agency. He has 20+ years of experience in B2B technology marketing.

LinkedIn: Mike Maynard

Twitter: @Mike_Maynard