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3 Straightforward Automated Email Programs to Nurture Top-of-Funnel Leads

Automated email programs are one of the most powerful — yet underutilized — features of marketing automation. Many firms stop at setting up a few lead score alerts or triggering sales emails when someone fills out an online form, but these tactics do not utilize marketing automation to its full potential. 

To get the most out of your marketing automation tool (whether it’s Act-On, HubSpot or another software) you must create email marketing programs. These programs should be triggered by engagement and/or conversions and deliver relevant content to targeted prospects based on their interests and activity on your website. 

Where to Start with B2B Automated Email Programs

A great place to start leveraging your marketing automation technology is by creating email programs for leads at the top of your sales funnel. That’s because the top of your firm’s sales funnel generally contains the most leads. By setting up automated email programs for these early-stage prospects, you help ensure no lead is forgotten.

Below we’ve outlined three top-of-funnel automated email programs we recommend building:

  1. Newsletter signup confirmation automated email program. As the name states, this is for leads who sign up for your newsletter. 
  2. Content download automated email program. Next is for people who provide their email addresses to access a piece of gated content on your site. 
  3. Contact form automated email program. The last is for those who fill out your “Contact Us” or equivalent site form. 

Sidenote: These programs are merely a starting point. And your work with automated email programs is never truly done. In fact, a network of programs triggered by engagement on your site is one of the most powerful ways to turn content into leads.  

Let’s explore how each program makes good use of your marketing automation platform and nurtures right-fit, warm leads. 

1. Newsletter Signup Confirmation Automated Email Program 

Setting up a newsletter signup confirmation and follow-up program confirms an action the visitor took on your site — signing up to receive emails from you. But more importantly, it provides immediate value in the form of educational and helpful content. Confirmation emails are a unique avenue for you to present your best, most relevant content to a fresh lead who’s new to your site. You can highlight what you’re best known for and even share a case study or two to solidify your expertise. 

Because of the power of confirmation emails, they tend to have a higher open rate. This is important. If a lead opens your newsletter signup confirmation email from your domain, your next email is more likely to snag a spot in their inbox (as opposed to bouncing or winding up in their spam folder). It will probably even get opened and clicked

On the other hand, if you neglect to set up an automated confirmation email, you risk the prospect forgetting about what they signed up for. Then, when they receive an email from you weeks or months later — even if it’s the newsletter they asked for — it might end up in their trash folder. Or worse, it could get actively marked as spam

All to say, this newsletter signup series is critical. Here’s the program flow we suggest to nurture these leads: 

  • Send a confirmation email immediately after a visitor has filled out the newsletter signup form on your site. The confirmation email can be a simple unbranded ‘thank you’ template or a designed confirmation email that promotes one or several pieces of content. Listing one or more of your most popular or relevant blog posts in this message is also a nice addition.
  • Enroll the prospect in your regular newsletter/content emails. Obviously the prospect should now receive your marketing content as a matter of course since signing up for it landed them in this automated email program to begin with. 

Sidenote: If you do include a link to more content in your confirmation email, don’t make it a self-serving piece that is all about your company or your offerings this early in a prospect’s journey. 

2. Content Download Automated Email Program 

When a prospect willingly provides their email address to access a piece of gated content, they’re telling you they’re interested in what you have to say about that topic. In other words, it’s prime time to promote additional, related content. 

Remember, confirmation emails can have higher-than-average open rates. Take advantage of that fact by sending an email to the prospect that thanks them for downloading the content and includes a PDF link to the resource they downloaded. Doing so solidifies: 

  • Their immediate interest in that subject matter  
  • Your company’s name and brand in their minds 
  • Your domain’s place in their inbox 

As mentioned, this confirmation email also provides you with an opportunity to give the lead another piece of relevant content for further reading. And — bonus — further familiarization with your brand. 

3. Contact Form Automated Email Program 

It’s exciting when a prospect fills out your “Contact Us” or “Let’s Talk” website form. Maintain the  momentum by setting up an auto response to these inquiries. Confirming your receipt of their form response via email shows the prospect you care about the reason they contacted you. By extension, you care about the pain point that led them to you to begin with. 

Hot tip: Be sure this follow up email sets expectations for when they can expect to hear from you. Alternatively, offer them a Calendly link to set up a call with the appropriate person within your organization. The important part is ensuring they understand what’s going to happen next, positioning your company as responsive and attuned to their needs. 

Take Advantage of Your Marketing Automation Tech Today

You’ve already invested in marketing automation software. Don’t let it go to waste. Jumpstart your contact with engaged prospects by creating some top-of-funnel automated email programs. Now that we’ve outlined three easy-to-setup options, you have no excuse not to!

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