Automated marketing programs are one of the most powerful, yet underutilized features of marketing automation. Merely setting up a few lead score alerts or triggering sales emails when someone fills out an online form does not utilize marketing automation to its full potential. To get the most out of your marketing automation tool, you should be creating email marketing programs that trigger relevant content to targeted prospects based on their profile and activity on your site.
A great place to start is by creating automated programs for leads at the top of your funnel. The top of your funnel generally contains the most leads. By setting up automated programs for early-stage prospects, you help ensure no lead is forgotten and all your content is being utilized.
Below we’ve outlined three top of funnel automated programs we recommend setting up. The first is for leads that enter your marketing database through an early-stage web form, like your blog digest signup. Another is for sending targeted content to prospects based on their profile information. The final program is for promoting relevant gated marketing material to leads that have shown interest in a particular topic.
Email Signup Confirmation and Follow Up
Setting up an email signup confirmation and follow up program confirms an action the visitor took on your site, but more importantly, it provides immediate value to them in the form of educational and helpful content. Emails that are sent as confirmations are more than twice as likely to be opened. This is important; since the former email sent from your domain was interacted with, your next email is more likely to get into the prospect’s inbox. By not setting up a confirmation email, you risk the prospect forgetting about what they signed up for when they receive an email weeks or months later.
The suggested program flow is to send a confirmation email immediately after a visitor has filled out the blog digest form on your site. The confirmation email can be a simple unbranded ‘thank you’ message or a designed confirmation email. Listing one or more of the most popular or relevant blog posts in this email can also be a nice addition.
Following the initial confirmation email, you can wait a few days or weeks and then follow up by promoting a key piece of educational gated content that that aims to resonate with the prospect and provide immediate value to their inbox. For example, you could utilize an educational white paper or e-book that outlines the solution to a common problem your prospects face. However, be careful to not promote a self-serving piece that is all about your company or your offerings. The second email helps to qualify the lead by identifying how active and interested the prospect is in the content you’ve sent. You can obtain valuable qualifying information about the prospect if you have progressive profiling in place.
Profile-Based Automated Program
The second early-stage automated program we recommend setting up is based on information the prospect may have already provided to you. This could have come from them filling out a form, or information you already had on the individual– like their job title.With job title, for instance, we would recommend creating a segment of all CEOs; you could then send an email, or multiple emails, dripping content written specifically for CEO leads that meet these criteria. This program could be replicated and adjusted for various titles or for other information obtained through progressive profiling.
Action-Based Automated Program
The final early-stage automated program we suggest creating promotes relevant gated marketing material to leads that have shown interest in a particular topic. Like the previous program outlined, the goal is to provide valuable content to the visitor and nurture the prospect. However, in this scenario, the lead has not yet had to fill out a form or provide specific profile information to enter the program.Instead, the action or actions a prospect take(s) on your site enter them into the program. For example, the prospect could have read three separate blog posts on content marketing. By reading three separate posts on one topic, the lead is indicating an interest in that topic; this would trigger an email to the prospect highlighting a gated white paper with more in-depth information on the said topic of interest.
You could create multiple versions of this program based on the different topics you’ve written about on your site. The more relevant the content, the more likely the visitor is to engage with it. By creating automated programs based on actions leads have taken on your site or information they have given you about themselves you’re more likely to keep the prospect engaged with your emails and website.
If you’ve invested in marketing automation software, get started by creating some top of funnel automated programs. Now that we’ve outlined three easy to setup options, you have no excuse not to!