Workflows are the backbone of any marketing automation strategy. Workflows are an indispensable link between the main actions of a company’s marketing team, saving valuable time and optimizing available resources, which can then be invested in higher-value activities. It’s a matter of cost-effectiveness, convenience, and common sense, coupled with higher and more complex motivations that are fundamental in today’s customer-centric marketplace:
- Build better relationships with customers
- Increase conversions
- Significantly grow revenue
If we continue with the mechanical metaphor, we can then identify in the content, and in personalized content, in particular, the fuel to make the automation engine work to the maximum of its possibilities. Later in this post, we’ll see how interactive and personalized tools, such as those in the Doxee ix – interactive experience line (Doxee Pweb® dynamic microsites and Doxee Pvideo® personalized and interactive videos) are at the heart of any content strategy developed to make the most of the immediacy of automated workflows.
Designed to channel the potential of marketing automation workflow in the construction of a quality digital customer experience, Doxee Pweb® and Doxee Pvideo® enhance the value of customer data, the wealth of information from which the most advanced digital marketing starts, to transform them into articulated and responsive conversations, in a path that intersects with the contemporary customer’s journey, offering content, special offers, and information in line with his needs and expectations.
Marketing automation workflow, personalized and interactive content: Let’s identify all the essential elements from the outset. But how do these three objects, the cardinal points of every organization’s marketing strategy, relate to each other? And how should they be managed to contribute achieving the brand’s business objectives? In this post, we will try to provide some answers.
Inside the logic of marketing automation: how workflows function
Before we go any further, let’s dwell on a few definitions. First, what is marketing automation? Marketing automation refers to both the methodological approach and the technology used to automate certain manual tasks, usually the most repetitive ones, according to a set of rules or conditions. Here is an excerpt from our post on Marketing automation: what it is and how it works:
“Marketing automation software allows you to implement digital strategies without having to manually press “send” to send every email or message, to trigger every single step of a campaign or distribute targeted blog posts or video content. Good automation tools are key to identifying target audiences, designing appropriate content, and automatically triggering actions based on schedules and customer behavior.”
A different and more sophisticated way of thinking about marketing, in short: a total multilevel approach enabled by digital technologies. Automation in marketing acts on processes by eliminating redundancies, redistributing workloads, and allowing people to focus on more creative activities.
And what are workflows? How do they fit into this “total and multilevel approach” that we have described so far?
Workflows are nothing else but command structures – we are used to visualize them as a flow because they foresee consequential instructions – that make marketing automation strategies operationally possible, i.e. they put them on the ground. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Workflow building blocks and functions
Workflows typically have an “if/then” structure, meaning that the moment a certain condition is met, a certain action occurs. In a digital marketing context, an automated workflow always involves the following elements:
- Different touchpoints in the customer lifecycle, such as website visits or chatting with customer service
- Conditions or triggers for steps within the workflow, which may be a customer feature or behavior
- Actions automatically triggered by such instructions, such as sending an email to a contact on a list or adding a new contact to a list (source: sendinblue.com)
In general, every workflow is configured like a predetermined succession of instructions put in action to obtain two objectives:
- In the contingency, to facilitate the transition between the two states in which the user-consumer finds himself, from the initial phase as a visitor to the final phase as a customer,
- In the medium and long term, to trigger a virtuous circle of lead nurturing and thus create greater awareness and motivation to purchase.
In particular, workflows
- Distribute content and profiled messages created from the company database (master data, behaviors, feedback)
- On the different touch points provided by the digital strategy, which correspond to different moments of the customer journey
- To give the decisive impulse to the activation of a conversion
- With the ultimate goal of creating interactions and, above all, consolidating relationships
Workflows in lead generation and lead nurturing strategies: Opening communication channels and enhancing relationships
Setting up the most appropriate workflows can play a crucial role in both lead generation and lead nurturing strategies. In particular, lead nurturing strategies that exploit automation offer the enormous advantage of nurturing an important process of enhancing brand-customer relationships along the entire customer journey and, for this reason, they are at the core of the most advanced forms of digital marketing, as we have described in this post about lead nurturing.
On the other hand, an adequate marketing automation workflow strategy is also indispensable to deploy the power of lead generation actions, so that a communication process aimed at acquiring and qualifying contacts is activated.
Therefore, workflows help companies acquire new customers and help ensure their loyalty over time. Workflows are designed for each of these two objectives, involving different channels and controlling specific moments of the customer journey.
Lead generation workflows: Opening communication channels and acquiring new customers
- Sending welcome emails: In this case, the workflow sets up and regulates the flow of newly acquired contacts. An effective welcome email is an excellent presentation of the brand, which simultaneously fulfills a number of functions:
- Welcoming new subscribers, for example to the company newsletter,
- Giving an idea of the tone of voice and the quality of the content in order to establish realistic expectations with respect to the average level of the proposal,
- Re-affirming (or elaborate) the value proposition.
The trigger, most often, is the completion of an application form. Once the form is received, the contact list is automatically updated, and the workflow related to welcome communications is automatically initiated.
- Offer gated content: Lead generation requires significant openness and investment on the part of the user, who must first be convinced to pay attention and then to leave their details. Gated content is one of the best ways to complete a brand-lead exchange to the satisfaction of both parties. In exchange for content that is relevant to the user, such as a downloadable ebook or webinar, the user shares useful brand information such as name, company, email address, and other contact details. A well-designed workflow should, after automatically sending subscribers the initial content, continue by offering content that is increasingly tailored to their interests.
The starting point can be the creation of a pop-up or landing page linked to the customer database, from which the gated content can be downloaded by filling out a form. The name of the contact will then be added to the list by default. From there it will be necessary to design a series of actions to distribute relevant content, at the right time, to the right person in a targeted way .
Lead Nurturing Workflows: Building a tailored customer experience
Lead nurturing workflows need to start as early as possible, from the very first stages of the sales journey: from signing up for a newsletter or requesting a demo, for example. The huge advantage of an early start lies in the fact that once you enter the workflow, you can then monitor the lead’s engagement level and based on that, further customize their buying experience.
- Onboarding: Closely connected with the email marketing activities we’ve seen for lead generation strategies are onboarding emails, which are used to advance the brand-customer relationship in a direction of greater trust and participation. These are the automated follow-up emails sent after an account has been created, for example after purchasing a product or service, reminding those who have not completed all the required steps to complete their profile. There are also aspects that new users need to master in order to be able to get the most out of their account. Onboarding communications, usually delivered through email, can act on these types of frictions, allowing for a smoother customer experience
In the long term, onboarding workflows bring numerous benefits:
- Increased customer engagement and progressive customer retention
- Identification of uninvolved users or those who have not set up their account correctly, who are then targeted on further campaigns
- Perception of greater brand reliability: through automated onboarding activities, the brand shows itself to be attentive and cooperative, willing to provide functional, clear, and timely information
- Request for feedback: Customer feedback is a valuable tool not only to improve the service or product, but also to build trust, strengthen corporate reputation, and improve engagement. Automated workflows allow you to collect comments and opinions instantly, making it incredibly easy to measure customer satisfaction. Feedback is also a great opportunity for free and disinterested referrals: this is the eventuality in which a particularly positive review, with the consent of the customer, can be more widely distributed – primarily on social networks.
Several touchpoints can trigger a request for feedback, for example, the purchase of a product or a customer’s spontaneous interaction with the support team. Subsequent messages can then be articulated around the response of the individual customer (who will have been contextually listed) for:
- Satisfied customers, sending exclusive offers and discounts to invite them to come back for more information
- Dissatisfied customers, sending a personal thank you message for honest feedback that could be followed by a brief, non-invasive investigation into their negative experience
- Recover “dormant” relationships and invitation to conclude a purchase: To contrast a declining involvement, there are particular re-engagement workflows that make it possible to:
- Communicate brand and product updates through content selected based on the individual user’s situation
- Attract a customer who has not purchased for a while by proposing offers or discount programs
The first step in this case is to establish whether a contact is actually inactive and since when: it could be a customer who has not opened the brand’s email for some time or has not purchased its products. Analyzing the user situation also allows you to establish the best entry point into the workflow and the most effective type of message: an email, a series of emails, the most suitable call to action.
Re-engagement emails are also useful for cleaning up and eliminating contacts that are no longer interesting from the contact list, for example by adding the “last chance” step to the workflow, a sort of ultimatum asking the customer to reactivate his position, before removing him from the list.
Similar considerations can be made in the case of “proceed to purchase” workflows, used above all in e-commerce. Here, the follow-ups generally consist of a message reminding the user of the items left in the online cart and containing a link to complete the purchase.
- Upselling or cross-selling: In the case of a customer who has already purchased a product or service, it is possible to activate an automated workflow that, starting from the purchase history, provides relevant recommendations, such as complementary products or items appreciated by customers with similar preferences. To implement the workflow, it is necessary to create a segment in which to insert all customers who have purchased a certain product, and then set it up so that it is initiated when a contact meets the conditions of the segment.
Personalized video in workflows: How to enhance a marketing automation strategy
Workflows are effective not only because they simplify processes and save the cost of marketing activities, but they also allow you to achieve even more ambitious goals: adding value to the customer experience, maintaining vital customer relationships, and increasing revenue.
In the picture we’ve outlined so far, after explaining what workflows are and describing those most frequently used, there’s still one essential piece missing: content. What do automated workflows convey? The messages, distributed by email, can contain text and images, of course, but what represents a real turning point in marketing strategies is another type of narration, that of personalized videos that are widely used in each of the workflows we have analyzed.
But that’s not all. Today, Doxee Pvideo® combines the expressive power of moving images with great opportunities for personalization and innovative interactive features. It allows you to produce videos that can be successfully used as a welcome message or in onboarding content to convey information in a clear and engaging way on any subject, to update the user on the situation of his account or his purchase path, to invite him to perform – putting him in a condition of real operation – the actions necessary to solidify his position.
Doxee Pvideo® is a bi-directional communication tool capable of shortening the acquisition funnel and guaranteeing very high conversion rates. Doxee videos inform, explain, convince, and above all learn – and make the company learn – at every interaction, something more about the world of customers and their desires.