If you’ve read our guide to email automation, you’ll know that it’s possible to automate your communication with leads, subscribers, and customers.
But the problem is, you don’t know where to start. In this post, we’re covering 15 different email marketing workflows that will help you increase sales and reduce churn.
The majority of ROI from email comes from automated emails. Behaviour triggered email sequences (like the ones that follow) are more successful than email blasts because they are highly relevant to the customer’s needs.
What is an email marketing workflow?
An email marketing workflow is an automated sequence that takes place after a triggered event. Event criteria can include making a purchase, upgrading an account, signing up for a free trial, and downloading a webinar.
Unlike email blasts (which can be useful for nurturing), an email marketing workflow always has some event that sets the sequence in motion and is not sent to everyone in your database.
What also makes these workflows different is that they are not a standalone triggered email, but rather sequences. So after an event occurs, you might have as little as 3 or as many as 30 emails that are scheduled to go out.
Other events (such as completing an upgrade) might pause the sequence.
Benefits of automating email marketing workflows
The benefits of automated email sequences come fairly quickly. While 76% of companies get a return on their investment of setting up email marketing automation after 12 months, 44% of companies see ROI after just six months.
The top reasons to set up email marketing workflows are:
- Customise the customer experience – People ignore (or get annoyed by) irrelevant marketing messages. When you set up marketing automation based on triggered events, you can speak to your audience based on where they are in the buying cycle.
- Convert more leads into customers – You can set up email sequences for your blog subscribers, lead downloaders, free trial subscribers and more.
- Increase revenue with your current customer base – Increase revenue with upsell campaigns, cross-sell campaigns, and onboarding sequences.
- Save time on later campaigns – Email automation isn’t a set it and forget it activity. You need to review, test, and update your sequences. However, when you have marketing automation that works, you can spend less time on weekly email campaigns, knowing that the right people are receiving the right messages when they should.
Top email marketing workflows
Now let’s take a look at the top email marketing workflows that can make an impact on your revenue.
For each idea, we recommend that you use the ICE scoring method.
Give each workflow a score from 1 – 10 for each of three areas (impact, confidence, and ease) and then tally up the totals. Prioritize the workflows that will have the most significant impact, that you have the most confidence in executing, and that will be the easiest to pull off.
1. New blog subscriber workflow
Welcoming your new blog subscribers can have a very positive effect. Think of it this way, how many times have you subscribed to an email newsletter and then weeks go by before you hear of the company? By then, you’ve forgotten why you subscribed or what you hoped to gain. You start to ignore that company’s emails.
One of the best things you can do is train people to open your emails by including entertaining stories, suspenseful hooks, and informative tips. Try setting up a subscriber welcome sequence that is 3 to 10 emails long, so no matter how busy you are, new subscribers always get value.
2. Post webinar workflow
Your post-webinar workflow will look different based on your sales process and what stage of the buying cycle the webinar was designed to attract. For example, if you sell only online (no sales team) and your webinar contains top-of-funnel content, then you will want to create an email marketing workflow that educates this audience about your solution to bring them further down the funnel.
However, if the funnel was more directed to people who are aware of your solution—or at least aware that they have a problem—then your post-webinar workflow might be sent to come from a sales rep’s email address and invite the lead to a sales call.
3. Post downloadable guide workflow
After receiving a downloadable guide from your company, readers should get highly specific emails that are targeted towards the pain points or information included in the download. If they get sent only your newsletter and nothing else, they might not feel like you understand their needs.
Create a sequence that includes other relevant content like blogs and videos, and that invites them to take the next step toward working with your company or making a purchase.
4. Abandoned cart workflow
One abandoned cart email simply isn’t enough. You might want to have anywhere from 3 to 10 emails in your abandoned cart sequence. If you sell products, you can use the different emails to showcase the best benefits and features of the product they were exploring, or to introduce related products.
A SaaS company or other B2B company might send followup emails with case studies, reviews, testimonials, and customer results.
A company that sells informational products might follow up with screenshots or videos of what is included in the course.
5. High intent leads workflow
When using marketing automation powered by web analytics, you can target your high intent leads with the perfect email sequence. Here’s an example: let’s say that a lead who downloaded an ebook two months ago all of a sudden does one of the following:
- Visits your website twice in one week
- Views your pricing page
- Views one of your customer case studies
Isn’t it clear that this lead is considering a purchase and getting ready to buy?
You can trigger an email marketing workflow that answers the top frequently asked questions or offers your top resources for social proof so that the lead feels more comfortable making the purchase they are considering.
6. Booking a demo workflow
Setting up a workflow to encourage subscribers to book a demo can have lots of different triggers. You might trigger this email to be sent when:
- A lead downloads a high-intent lead magnet
- A lead visits your website more than five times total
- A lead visits your website twice in one week
You can have this workflow trigger right away when someone meets the criteria for the event, or you can set it up so that it goes into effect after another workflow ends. For example, you could have lots of different post-webinar workflows lead into your demo offer workflow.
7. Customer onboarding workflow
If you’re a SaaS company, check out these welcome email examples to inspire you. If you don’t offer a free trial and your new users are all paying customers, you might want to include the option for one-on-one support or group phone calls in addition to static resource libraries and guides.
Businesses of any type can include helpful resources, social proof (to dispel buyers’ remorse), and procedural information in their welcome sequences.
8. Free trial user onboarding workflow
A free trial user onboarding sequence might include the following emails:
- Welcome the new user, show them the “Aha” moment feature
- Tell new users where they can go to get support
- Offer your top tutorial or setup resource
- Showcase customer results from users who have utilized your product well
- Present the second most important feature
Whether your product is freemium or free-trial only will affect how you onboard users, but the necessary action initially is to drive them to your “Aha” moment, the feature or action that provides value.
9. Upgrade or upsell workflow
58% of marketers use automation software to upsell products, and for a good reason. Email automation specifically is a smart way to upsell, because you can easily target people who have just made a purchase.
Many companies that sell online (not just SaaS) barely break even or lose money with the first customer purchase because of the cost of acquisition. That’s why, once someone is your ecosystem, increasing their LTV is essential.
You can trigger an upsell sequence to all new customers that will send several emails over the course of 6 months or a year, or you can use web analytics to only send your upsell sequence to the most engaged customers.
10. Newly upgraded customer workflow
Let’s say that your upsell or upgrade workflow is successful. What happens next? If a customer has just bought your most expensive offer and there are no more upgrades, then you’ll want to transition to helping them get results so that they become a repeat buyer of your highest offer.
You might send them additional resources, offer one-on-one support, or even give bonuses such as free tickets to a live event or coupons to give their friends.
11. Free trial ending workflow
Many SaaS businesses have one or two emails that they send when someone’s free trial is about to end. Why so few?
If someone signed up for your free trial, they were at worst curious about the product and at best convinced that it could help them. In any case, you owe it to this person to help satisfy their needs, and email automation is a great way to do this.
Spread out approximately 8 – 12 emails starting from one week before the trial ended to two weeks after. Include support resources, setup guides, case studies, video testimonials, and user reviews to help readers understand the value of your product
12. Encouraging repeat purchases workflow
For companies that sell via subscription, repeat purchases are built into your offers. You don’t need to trigger an email workflow that will encourage repeat purchases. However, there are many companies who sell online that aren’t using the subscription model.
You can trigger email workflows that will encourage repeat purchases at precisely the right time. Maybe this should take place one month or six months or nine months after the first purchase. Perhaps you want to send an extended sequence to encourage repeat purchases from customers who are actively visiting your site or who have a certain level of minimum purchases. You can set up a primary sequence for all customers, and add special emails for people who meet your criteria.
13. Long term nurturing workflow
What if sending a weekly or bimonthly email newsletter just doesn’t feel right to you? What if your sales cycle is long and your offer is complicated? You might want to set up a long term nurturing workflow to replace email broadcasts.
Here’s how this concept works: the long term nurture sequence can be a catchall for many of your other acquisition sequences. Let’s say someone downloads an ebook and gets four emails related to the ebook content. Then once those four emails are done, they get added to your long term nurture sequence. This way, you can deliver them timely content that matches where they’re at and flows logically instead of one-off nurture emails.
14. Cross-selling workflow
With upselling, you’re encouraging customers to buy an upgraded version of something they’ve already purchased. But with cross-selling, you invite them to purchase an ancillary product. This could be a SaaS product with a different value proposition and use case, or it could be an ecommerce product that is related to their recent purchase.
Cross-selling workflows are most successful when they feel highly relevant to the customers’ needs, not an obnoxious money grab. To increase your chances of success, segment the workflow even further so that people are getting cross-sell emails based on what they purchased (whether a particular subscription or product).
Also, consider the timing of when someone might need the ancillary products you’re offering. Maybe it makes sense to trigger the emails to get sent one or two months after purchase instead of right away.
15. Customer milestones workflow
You love your customers. There’s a good chance that many of them love you. Why not celebrate your relationship? Never underestimate the power of forging a deeper relationship with your customers.
Here’s an example of a customer milestones workflow you can emulate:
- Six months of being a customer – Send an email thanking them for their business, and include a team photo to show them who they’re supporting by being a customer.
- One year of being a customer – Send them coupons to give their friends or to use for a different product or service.
- Three years of being a customer – Offer free tickets to a live event or digital event that will help them get even better results, send a free gift in the mail, send swag, offer a one-time call with a senior customer success representative (if dedicated support isn’t already offered).
Triggering email marketing workflows to the right people at the right time can help you increase revenue from new customers and existing customers alike.
Learn more about our marketing automation platform powered by web analytics to help you send email and chat prompts to people based on their purchase activity and their activity on your website.