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If you’re not using marketing automation workflows to advance leads down your sales funnel, it means you're missing out on some major income opportunities. You can use marketing automation to nurture and engage your existing email subscribers on autopilot.

You don’t need to leave your contacts sitting dormant in your email marketing service because of lack of time. Now that marketing automation is incorporated in most email marketing platforms, like MailChimp, you can set up email workflows that will do the work for you.

email marketing automation

There are 7 main types of email automation workflows. Each of these categories can have a lot of variations, depending on the industry and business goals, but here are the basic email autorespoder sequences.

First though, let's talk about what a marketing automation workflow is and how it can be used...

Marketing Automation Workflows Explained

Marketing automation workflows and the things that a marketing automation agency will set up are what will generate revenue for your business faster and more consistently than pretty much anything else. Plus, it'll be a little bit more hands-off and headache free.

Here's what I mean. Somebody comes to your website and they are there for a reason...  Whether they are filling out an application, signing up for an appointment, or they want more information about your products and services...

They're there for a reason.

A marketing automation workflow lets you send out marketing in a very structured, very systematic way. When somebody fills in an opt-in form because they want access to a lead magnet or download that you offer on your website, you get their email address...  That email address is added to your email marketing list.

Now, with that email address, you're able to market to them. And we'll start by sending them a welcome email sequence. In that welcome email sequence, you can talk about yourself, your business, your team, why you do what you do and why they should work with you in the future.

Getting Started In Your Marketing Automation

The point with a welcome automation email sequence is that you want to introduce yourself. You want them to know a little bit more about you.  Keep in mind though, with the right marketing automation workflow, you aren't actually physically hitting the buttons on your keyboard to send these emails. You're assistant isn't sending each email to each lead who signs up, all from their Outlook account...  You have a piece of software, something like Axis CRM that does all of that for you.

That's the importance of marketing automation!  All of your outbound marketing activity should be happening for you behind the scenes.  You don't have to think about it and it's all handled in a very systematic way. All of your emails, text messages, tasks, and triggers are hitting the contact record without you needing to press a single button.

What that lets you do is warm that person up to do business with you!

Keeping Contacts Grouped Together In Your CRM

Now a vital piece is that you segment them into different buckets.

Every action your prospect takes could send them down a different path in your marketing workflow.  So whether they:

  • Fill out a survey a certain way
  • Download one report and not the other
  • Go to one page and not the other
  • They're engaged in your marketing or not

Those are all different ways that you can segment your email list to make your automation work.

If somebody fills out a form and says they're interested in landscaping but yet you're trying to sell them interior design, that doesn't work. Or if they're opening every email you send, but the system puts them in a re-engagement sequence...

These are all different types of segmentation that you want to pay attention to in setting up your marketing automation.

Keeping Sales Automation In Mind With Workflows

The same is true with sales automation. When you are actively trying to sell a product, service, mastermind, coaching program, consulting program, or a physical product; you want to make sure that your marketing automation doesn't overlap each other.

Here's what I mean.

Let's say you're doing a big promotion like a Memorial Day sale.

You lead up to the Memorial Day sale with a couple emails linking to your storefront or your offers, with the special pricing. Now, the promotion usually goes on for three or four days with the big push towards the end.  Your entire marketing focus should be on the Memorial Day sale!  You don't want to then send an email or text that doesn't have anything to do with the promotion!  You don't want your customers to be thrown off track. You want them thinking and buying because of the sale - not entertaining some new offer.

Another thing about sales workflows - there are different stages you need to be aware of.

If you're selling on webinars, you have a webinar promo email sequence AND a webinar replay email sequence.  Then once somebody has watched the webinar replay, you send them a very concise call to action that get them to take action on that offer.

And if they don't take action then, you give them a couple of days' break and then you send another very concise set of emails to either try to bring them back or you move on to the next promo...

Nurturing Leads On Autopilot

Another big marketing automation workflow that you need to have in place is lead nurturing.

We talked about this a little bit with a welcome sequence. Lead nurturing is where you introduce yourself, your team, your services, and your offers. You talk about some of the great things you did. Maybe you throw out some case studies.  And you talk about all the different reasons why this new prospect needs to do business with you.

Automation Workflows For Upsells And Cross-sells

When it comes to upsells, downsells and cross-sells; your marketing pages do a lot of the work.  But what happens if someone doesn't take an upsell and it's into a one-time offer?

Well, for these types of special transactions, you want to put them in a marketing automation workflow that then sells them the next thing in the process!

They come in and buy an Ebook, then they are up-sold into the video course...  If they don't take it, they should get emails telling them to make the purchase!

Or, if they come in and buy the video course and they are up-sold into the mastermind or coaching program...  They should be prompted through email to complete the transaction!

There are lots of different things you can do with upsells and cross-sells, but marketing automation will handle all the heavy lifting if you set it up the right way.

Marketing Automation For Re-Engaging Your Email List

When it comes to re-engaging your list, you need to send something catchy and oftentimes free to get them to re-confirm that they're interested to receive emails from you.

If somebody hasn't done anything with you (ie. opened an email, visited your website, clicked a link, etc) in 60 days or more, you want to send them something automatically from one of your marketing automation workflows...  Think of it as a last chance offer.

You need to send them an email that basically says:

  • "Hey, where are you at? Do you want to download this report?"
  • "Come visit the website, we have this great sale going on."
  • "Here's 20% off, we miss you."

If they come back, they're successfully re-engaged...  Which means they're hot on your list again.

However, if they don't, then you would just delete them out of your CRM because they just don't want to be bothered anymore. They've moved on.

Marketing Automation For New Customers

Onboarding new customers is another great place for marketing automation workflows.

After somebody buys from you, what happens?

When somebody purchases a course or a coaching package, what else do they need to know?

First of all, they need to be thanked, of course, but then do they need additional training? Do they need to see a welcome video? Are there calls to be scheduled? Is there a course that they need to log into?

That's that customer onboarding piece!  You want to make sure they have a great experience with your company.

Marketing Automation Workflows Examples

1. Welcome Email Sequence

The welcome workflow is sent to all brand new email subscribers. It is sent only once, so even if someone opts in for a different freebie down the road, they won’t get the welcome sequence a second time. This workflow is designed to welcome new subscribers only.

You don’t want your new contacts to forget you soon after they sign up. With the welcome sequence, you instantly give a brief orientation and say more about your brand. You can also use the welcome email to get them involved and reinforce the relationship.

The welcome email sequence doesn’t need to be too long. Three or four emails are adequate.

2. Segmentation / Engagement Sequence

This is one of the most important types of marketing automation workflows. It is often neglected but if you set this one up you will be delivering ongoing value to your list over the long-haul. Instead of running a promotion to your general list you’ll be able to send laser-targeted content to those who are actually interested.

If you keep people in segments then the chances are that you can keep them engaged as well.

See, you want to place your leads into little buckets so you know what their needs and interests are.

marketing automation segmentation

You can segment people according to the:

After you place them into a bucket, then follow up accordingly with relevant content and promotions.

NOTE: You can use surveys to segment your prospects as well! For an inside look at survey segmentation, click here...

3. Sales Automation Workflow

The purpose of the sales sequence is to make a sale. It is a product or service promotion, essentially. It is designed to turn your leads into paid customers.

You don’t want to send your sales autoresponder sequence to everyone on your list. In fact, you will get better results if the sales workflow is delivered to a segmented and highly-engaged list.

The success of the sales email sequence depends heavily on how well you’ve set up your segmentation/engagement sequence.

For example, right after a new subscriber opts in for a particular lead magnet, you know that they’re interested in that kind of content. The new lead would be presented with a low-priced offer. If they don’t click or even open your email you can try a different type of offer, to see if another segment would be a better fit. When they open or click, the actual sales sequence is triggered and it runs until they purchase.

Looking to promote a Flash Sale? Use this four-part email autoresponder sequence, that you can plug into your email service, to close your next sale and make profit. And here's a preview of how it works:

4. Lead Nurturing Sequence

The whole idea of email automation is to move the new subscriber further down your sales funnel automatically. After they have expressed interest in what you do, by downloading the lead magnet, you want to nurture your leads into customers. In essence, that is your ultimate goal, isn't it?

So, you want more sales. Potential customers need time before they know you, trust you and decide to buy. The good news is that you don't need your sales reps calling people all the time. Instead, automate the lead nurturing process by setting up a marketing automation workflow.

lead nurturing workflow

Using a workflow in your email marketing software means that you craft a series of emails which deliver the freebie. Then those emails follow up with interesting content over a period of time.

The lead nurturing sequence needs to take into account what stage of the buyer's journey that your leads are in. If you manage to address your subscribers' concerns effectively and demonstrate the value of your offer, some of them will eventually buy.

5. Cross-sell/Up-sell Sequence

With email automation, you don’t need to leave money on the table. Once a subscriber has purchased a front-end offer, then your emails need to focus on getting them to enroll in some higher-priced offer, either it is a product or a service. This is called up-sell.

Since your new customer has just confirmed that they trust your brand, you need to be ready to offer them more value. While they still have their credit card at hand, why not offer them another relevant product. This is called cross-sell.

Either way, the cross-sell/up-sell sequence is used to sell more to a newly-acquired customer. So, this sequence is a kind of sales sequence, but it is targeted only to people who have already made a purchase in order to get them to spend more.

6. Re-Engagement Email Workflow

As your list grows, there will be people who will stop reading your marketing emails. They become disengaged. Interests and availability change. It is just a fact of life. that you’re going to have people opt-in for your list who then just become disengaged.

You want to get those people back to opening your emails and clicking on links. You don’t want a lot of people to be sitting dormant. If you just keep emailing these non-responsive leads over and over again, it will actually harm your email deliverability.

So, the purpose of a re-engagement workflow is to get subscribers who have dropped off the radar to become engaged with your brand again. The purpose is to get them open your emails again and then to click on something.

Watch the following video to learn more about how the re-engagement sequence works.

Here's a copy-and-paste autoresponder sequence that will help you build your re-engagement workflow for free. Click the image below to download it.Re-engage email template

7. Onboarding Email Automation

The onboarding autoresponder sequence can be identical to the welcome sequence in the case of service-based business. If you have a SaaS, mobile app or any type of software business basically, you need a different onboarding workflow. Onboarding can be used for training programs as well or any kind of membership or subscription sites.

The goal of onboarding is to get the new free-tier subscriber or paid customer to actually use your app as much as possible. In most cases, if they abandon your software immediately, it’s hard to get them back.

With onboarding, you want to engage your people. You want to show them your product features and how easy and beneficial it is to use these features. You want to retain them immediately and help them see the benefit of using your app frequently.

Onboarding email workflows are usually coupled with in-app onboarding prompts.

Work faster with marketing automation templates

The thing with marketing automation workflows is that they’re set and forget. Take these ideas that we’ve outlined here set them up in MailChimp or any other email service and rest assured that they’ll be working for you 24/7.

Most email marketing services provide their subscribers with marketing automation templates. And some of them are also free. For example, in MailChimp it's free to use automation workflows and templated for up to 2,000 subscribers.

Automation templates will make your life easier, as the basic workflows, triggers and actions, are already in place. You only need to customize them to your liking and, of course, add the email content.