Your complete guide to effective automated workflows
An automated workflow is essentially a virtual assembly line. It’s a strategy that maximizes efficiency and minimizes error by streamlining the work you already do. With a solid workflow automation strategy, your company can cut down on costs, time and energy by creating automatic, step-by-step actions for a number of internal processes.
Workflow automation can expedite everything from payable and receivable invoices to refund requests and mileage reimbursements. In marketing, an automation platform has the power to keep prospects engaged at a scale that fits your business size. Connecting customers to the right content at the right time can shorten the sales cycle and build brand loyalty.
When to Use Automated Workflows
Businesses most often use workflow automation to eliminate repetitive manual labor, but a robust strategy can do more than that. It can help with tasks that carry the possibility of human error, tasks that must occur outside of normal operation hours and tasks that are not based on your core competencies.
Automation also allows companies to better understand their day-to-day processes. Being able to track workflows can show companies where there are bottlenecks or breakdowns in communication. This, in turn, leads to more holistic changes in operational strategy.
How to Distribute Content Via Marketing Automation
When paired with industry best practices, such as building buyer personas and scoring leads, marketing automation can increase engagement at both the top and bottom of the funnel. Popular automated actions include email delivery and social media scheduling, but possibilities abound. (Be sure to only automate content delivery tasks that do not demand a human touch.)
Email is an ideal touchpoint for almost any step in the sales cycle, and marketing automation makes it easy to track each customer as they progress. When a person makes the leap from visitor to active lead or customer to advocate, trigger an email based on their behavior. You can welcome them to the brand, request that they leave a product review after a service, remind them of upcoming renewals, etc.
Rather than sending a single email, companies can also set up automated drip campaigns. Use sophisticated “if, then” scenarios to tailor and constantly deliver content to a lead or customer based on their actions (or inactions).
With predictive email, you can even send emails at a time that makes the most sense for each customer. This is perfect for international businesses that operate across time zones as well as small businesses that cater to audiences who are active outside of typical working hours, such as older adults who are productive early risers.
Another email marketing automation strategy is to use software to implement A/B testing. You can segment audiences into two groups, control and experimental, and then let the program automatically report on the campaign’s results. A/B testing is possible with all-in-one marketing software such as Enquire Marketing Automation Platform (MAP).
Automate Social Media
Monitoring social media is a 24-hour endeavor. Alleviate the pressure of around-the-clock publication and response by scheduling posts in advance. Social media teams may also save time by setting up autoresponders. To get the most out of automation, connect your social media management tools with other sales or marketing programs to generate time-sensitive posts or ads.
Automation also allows you to retarget landing page or web visitors with social ads. Once your analytic tools have gathered data on customers’ habits or behaviors, automation software can place ads on Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever the system sees the most relevant traffic.
For even more data, use social media listening tools to aggregate information on what customers, clients and competitors are saying about your brand. Popular monitoring options include Hootsuite and Mention. This automated data collection is crucial when it comes time for your team to develop a targeted social strategy.
Automate Other Processes
If your website sees a lot of traffic, set up a chatbot to field frequently asked questions. Chatbots act as experts on your behalf but still give the impression of interpersonal interaction. Once a visitor submits a form fill, use automation tools to populate their info in CRM and lead generation software. Ideally, these systems should then assess which leads to pursue and then automatically make contact via email. You can also set up your software to contact each consumer at various intervals by other methods, such as text message survey after their first appointment or initial instructions when they become a customer.
When to Trigger an Automated Workflow
Once you’ve identified repetitive, error-prone or inefficient tasks, you can then choose which steps in your process are best to trigger automation. Examples include:
- After a website visit. Depending on the goal of your site, a visit may simply trigger a notification in your CRM system to alert the sals team of their prospects’s web activity. Popular marketing automation software options such as Enquire MAP perform this organically. You should also consider issuing an email welcoming the visitor to your brand or targeting the lead with an online ad.
- After content download. Autoresponders offer a fast and easy way to follow up post-download. Smart sales teams may also want to gather data on what type of content the downloader is interested in. Download notifications should be populated in the CRM to alert the sales team of prospect activity.
- After a change in sales stage or probability. Your message must change as customers progress through the sales cycle. This is why CRM integration is so important. Automation is a wonderful method of tailoring your communications to each person without extra effort.
- After a tour. A tour is an intimate and highly personal way to connect with leads, customers and community. However, once the tour is over, the connection can fade if not properly nurtured. Follow up a tour with a survey to gauge their reaction and populate the feedback in your CRM.
- After a phone call. Use call tracking to determine how someone discovered your company, and then retain that information to guide your decisions on customer interaction. Populating an activity and call tracking information into your CRM alerts the sales team when calls come in and also allow you to tie marketing tactics to revenue.
Track and Measure Engagement
It’s important to track and evaluate customer engagement throughout the sales cycle. Marketing automation is only as good as the strategy behind it, so be sure to assess your success by looking at what content works best at what stage. Measure site traffic, click-through rates, email open rates, cost per customer and, ultimately, your ROI.
Marketing automation technology is enabling sales and marketing teams to save invaluable time, boost conversion rates and improve the customer expereince. Utilizing automated workflows throughout the customer journey will maximize engagement with your brand and boost your bottom line.