Using Email Automation to Nurture Prospects

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lead nurturing with email automation

Since going into quarantine, emails have had a huge resurgence in popularity. That’s not surprising. They are easy to draft, quick to send, can reach a large number of people at one time, and are very cost effective. However, sending lots of one-off emails can be tedious and even worse, can be generalized where you are not targeting your prospects or customers based on previous activity. That’s where email automation fits in!

By automating your emails, you have the opportunity to nurture your prospects and customers in multiple ways simply by that prospect or customer taking a single action. Here’s how you go about doing it.

Plan Out Your Email Campaign

As marketers, sometimes we want to just get things out in the world fast. However, when setting up email automation it is best to take some time and think it through carefully. Get the team together and spin up a whiteboard. And when I say team, I mean the entire team – include your sales team and maybe some others depending upon how your company is structured. Have an idea of what you want the campaign to look like and what you want to promote but do not come with all these “here is what we are going to do” notions. You want to get input from the team and come with an open mind.

Consider the content and lead generation offers you have already created as it relates to the product or services campaign. This could be blogs or guides or videos, you name it. But don’t force it. If you do not have all the content you need to set up an email automation, you will need to plan out the time and resources. Start by conducting a content marketing working session to align on what’s missing and how you want to approach it.

Get All Your Ducks in a Row

As I already mentioned, if you are going to use marketing automation tools, it’s imperative that you have all the content you need before setting up your workflows. A workflow is a simple series of steps you want a contact to take as they navigate through the content you have to offer. To set up an email workflow, the emails must be created in your marketing platform and ready to be sent.

Most marketing platforms have a workflow tool that can be used to facilitate this process. We use HubSpot for all our marketing needs. HubSpot allows you to create all the assets necessary for automation and even has the ability to create a campaign. This helps to keep all of your metrics in one central location for determining its overall success.

Once the content is complete, emails can be created promoting those assets in a logical, nurturing fashion that relates to the buyer’s journey. In a nutshell, you want to make sure you are following the way in which a person will purchase your product or service.

For example, let’s say you’re a motivational speaker. If the ‘trigger’ that enrolls a contact into a workflow is downloading a paper on the best motivational speakers of all time (which of course includes you 😃 ), you do not want to next email to ask them to book you at their next event – it’s just too soon. It might be best to have your next email highlight a recent success story of a high-profile event or a video snippet of you speaking at a recent event. It’s always good to include ways to contact you directly (email, phone, form, etc.). But the focus needs to be more on where a contact is believed to be in their journey and not just go right for the hard sell.

Create Forks in Your Automated Email Road

Speaking of the buyer’s journey and where they are, some people may move through the journey faster or slower than others. Workflows should have, what HubSpot calls, “branches.” Branches are kind of like forks in the road – they lead the contact through the workflow based on actions they take or do not take. When someone does not take an action, they are telling you they are not yet ready to move on. Give them more time. Make their workflow move slower giving them time to catch up.

On the other hand, when a contact keeps opening your emails and sucks up all the information about you they can, they want to move fast. The nurturing process may be quicker and the sale may close faster. Notice how I use the word “may”. Nothing is for certain but experience tells us that the more interested someone is in what you have to offer, the more likely they are to become a customer or grow as a current customer. 

To Nurture or Not To Nurture?

There is no question – nurturing is the best way to keep your company in front of a prospect. You can choose to nurture manually – sending one-off emails, segmenting your contacts based on their activity (or inactivity), and so on. Or, you can choose to join the millions (not really sure if it is millions but saying for dramatic purposes) who nurture via automated emails and workflows. Not only is it easier for you (once all the content is created), but marketing automation offers the best experience for your prospects, and customers, by giving them the information that they are looking for at a time when they are ready to digest it.

Looking to create your own automated email marketing campaigns but not sure on where to begin? Start by creating your own content calendar by using this free Excel worksheet.

At Creative MMS, we believe in a goal-focused and data-driven strategic approach by creating engaging. optimized content and pairing that with creative design to help convert prospects into qualified leads and nurture them into loyal customers. Learn how we can work together to achieve your Email Automation goals by reaching out to the experts at Creative MMS today!

Jennifer GreenjackJune 24, 2020by Jennifer Greenjack