Would it seem a little strange to get a gift wrapped in red flocked paper with green foil trees on it? Do you crave a hot pumpkin spice latte in the middle of July? How about fireworks in the middle of September? Timing is everything in marketing, and that includes your email marketing efforts. It’s not just what you send; it’s when you send it that counts.
Traditional email marketing campaigns go out according to marketers’ timetables, and that’s as much of a problem as sending valentines in May. Untimely campaigns not only attract less interest, they can also make marketing seem out of step with a lead’s needs. If a customer is fully sales-ready, the last thing you want to do is continue a barrage of discounts and specials that could delay the sale as your lead holds out for the best bargain.
Marketing automation, by contrast, sends emails out on the lead’s schedule. Messages are always relevant and timely because prospective customers trigger them. Relevance is a major influencing factor for conversions; when you ensure greater relevance, you earn more business. Here are some of the most timely and effective mailings your marketing automation software can deliver along with the actions that trigger them.
Trigger: Viewing Specific Content
What to Send: Customized Follow-Up Content
Marketing automation systems track accounts by behavior as well as demographic and firmographic information, allowing you to tailor content to what each lead needs. Let’s take a marketing company’s website as an example. A visitor who spends time researching marketing automation topics might get a personalized offer to sign up for the firm’s marketing automation newsletter. Another lead visiting the same main page who clicked through to SEO and SMO topics might get an offer to subscribe to a content marketing newsletter or notification about the company’s latest white paper on content creation.
Trigger: Sharing Email Address for a Download
What to Send: Opt-In Confirmation Autoresponse
Your content is valuable, and so is your lead’s accurate information. An invalid email address in exchange for your content is an unequal trade, so to ensure you and your lead both get full value from the transaction, send an autoresponse letter that requires a confirmation click-through to unlock gated content. This step makes sure your lead has typed in the email address and other information correctly and guarantees that the email address is valid for future use.
Trigger: Downloading Educational Content
What to Send: Targeted Email with Next-Step Information
Once a lead moves from requesting information to downloading and using that information, you know that lead’s farther along in the buying journey. This is the ideal time to follow up a confirmation email with an offer of next-step content that requests a little more information to obtain. You already have the lead’s email address and perhaps one or two other salient pieces of information; you can now ask this lead to provide more details when clicking through to a landing page offering access to a topically related webinar or white paper. Other information you ask for might include firmographic data, job title, or phone numbers.
Trigger: Starting an Action Without Completing It
What to Send: Follow-Up Content with Alternative Action Plans
You may not know why your seemingly interested lead abandoned a shopping cart or didn’t click through on a confirmation email, but you can help them overcome that obstacle by giving them another route to the same place. Some prospective customers have more questions before sharing their information, and this is your chance to answer them. The direct route is often best, and you can simply ask what you can do to get them the information they need. “What can we do to help?” is a welcome question to anyone who’s reached an impasse in the decision-making process.
Trigger: Requesting a Trial, Making a Purchase
What to Send: Thank-You Emails and Tracking Follow-Up
Whether they’re sampling your product or placing a large order, thank customers for their interest. Then, stay connected by giving them updates on the progress of their order when applicable. Send them a tracking number if one is available so they can chart the progress of their order and know you’re responding promptly.
Trigger: Ghosting, Radio Silence
What to Send: Reengagement Email
When a previously interested lead or customer suddenly goes dark on your radar, try to discover why. Often, time passes without your lead realizing it’s been so long, and your reengagement email acts as a reminder to make a decision. Sometimes it happens because the interested lead has no more need for your product or service. You might learn your lead’s project is on hold and can then offer to stay in touch for future needs. You could find that your prospect decided to buy from someone else. Even this information can be valuable to you if you ask the right questions and learn how your lead arrived at the decision to go with a competitor.
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