The Ultimate [Quick] Guide to Understanding Email Workflows

You may be wondering – what’s a workflow? Why is it important? How do you create and mange one? At Traktek Partners, we’ve successfully created and maintained workflows for a variety of clients. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, in the supply chain planning industry, or even travel, we’re here to help.

What’s a workflow? Let’s get started. Workflows are automated emails set up to nurture your leads. These can be very simple or very complex.  Think of it like this: it’s an automated set of marketing actions that execute based off a starting condition. Once you enroll a group within a Hubspot workflow, you can make this starting condition based upon three types: Standard, Fixed-date and Contact date property.

Why are they important? The overarching goal of any workflow, whether simple or complex, is to automate your marketing efforts and learn more about your contacts so you are able to provide them with information that relates to their specific needs. With email growing (think 2.9 billion users by 2019), it’s more important than ever to be able to expand and nurture your lead campaigns. [Source: Stastica, 2016] In addition, B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10% [Forrester].

How do you create one? While there are various options for email marketing workflow software, we prefer Hubspot overthe competition. When you create a workflow, you are given three options of the type of workflow you want to create – Standard, Fixed-date, or Contact date property. Standard enrolls contacts as soon as they meet the starting conditions of the workflow. You can also enroll static lists in standard workflows.  Fixed date triggers enrollment when a contact meets the starting date of the workflow that you choose. Property based means enrollment is triggered based upon information in the contact record.

Next, you’ll want to set the enrollment criteria. For instance, you can enroll someone if they filled out a certain form. After this, you set up your actions. Your actions are the emails that you want to send after the contacts are enrolled in your workflow. Remember, you always want to test your workflow before you activate it.

Which ones should you be using?

1. Blog subscription–Convince your audience to subscribe to your blog by providing them with an email- whether it’s promoting your blogs best performing articles or reviewing their subscription settings. 

2. Value proposition –tell your contacts what you can offer them. Whether your audience is B2B or B2C, this is important so they know what sets you apart from your competition.

3. Gather more information – Find out what your contacts are looking for. Provide a link to a contact form or quizzes to acquire new information you don’t already have.

What about client examples? We’ve set up various workflow campaigns and we’ll walk you through a recent B2B email workflow campaign that we set up. In this B2B workflow campaign that we created for a supply chain planning software company, we first created four workflows – new prospect, inventory, supply and demand.   The new prospect workflow enrolled people that were new contacts. The emails that they were sent were as follows: gather more information, subscribe to the blog, and value proposition (what they can offer you). These were all new, fresh emails created specifically for the campaign and targeted towards those individuals. Contacts in the inventory workflow were sent four emails that were spread out over a series of weeks and created highlighting different assets- blog, whitepaper and infographic. The next workflow created was supply. Again, we sent the enrollees four different emails – each also featuring a different asset but featuring supply related topics, opposed to inventory. For the last workflow (demand), the same applied. After creating all these emails and setting up the workflows within Hubspot, we tested and activated them. We monitored them and then after they were running for a while, pulled the email results in order to compare what was working vs. what was not. After comparing, we adjusted the emails accordingly.

For a B2C travel client of ours, we set up a series of emails to group leaders about deadlines and reminders for upcoming trips. These were based upon when their trip would depart. The emails also included details on the importance of travel insurance and other ways to pay for their deposits. These workflows reduced the amount of admin support required for these trips since the emails were sent automatically without any additional intervention.

Traktek Partners is a digital marketing agency that assists B2B and B2C clients on email marketing in ExactTarget, Hubspot workflows and other marketing automation solutions. Let us know if we can help you increase conversions and engagement within your email marketing campaigns.