During the last few years, the word “automation” has gained power and territory in the digital world.
Each day we do our best to find ways we can do our job, our homework and everything we can a lot easier and faster to boost effectivity. In the digital marketing world, "automation" has gained a well deserved good reputation by letting us, the marketers, do so much more with less effort. There is a fair significant amount of automation tools with different objectives and purposes.
One of these tools is a fantastic automation tool called "Workflows.”
I know what you may be thinking...what is a workflow? How can I use it? How can I build one?
When I first started using them, I can assure you I had all these questions. However, worry not. Like all things in life, it gets easier as you get better.
A workflow, according to Hubspot is "an automated set of marketing and/or sales actions that execute based on a starting condition." Workflows are a great automation tool. They can help you set up email campaigns, internal processes, out of the office emails or something as simple as an email reminder. Have you ever thought about the infinite possibilities you’d have for your company by automating so many of these time-consuming processes?
Workflows work under a fundamental logic, and even though at first it can feel overwhelming to have so much power at your fingertips, over time, you'll love it.
Throughout this article, we’ll go through some of the easiest and high-converting workflows. Buckle up! You might be surprised how much time you’ll save after reading this.
1. Main pillar strategy
This is one of the best ways to cover all of the lifecycle stages with valuable content that will make your traffic convert in a snap!
This strategy is laid out including one workflow per stage. In each workflow, you may include specific actions to be completed. Therefore, making your contacts a good fit so they can go into the next lifecycle stage.
There are a few key elements we want to cover regarding this strategy, let’s debunk them.
How many pieces of content should we include per workflow?
In this type of workflow, I usually include at least 3 pieces of content, mostly marketing emails in which I do my best to add either a submission form in exchange of an ebook or a template for something useful like a marketing plan...you get the idea!
What kind of actions should a contact complete to qualify as a particular lifecycle stage?
This solely depends on what you and your company decide, based on your business goals. No customer journey is the same, and you must think of all the possibilities and cover as much as you can.
Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona! What would you like to get from this service? What would make you happy? What would finally convince you to buy that product or acquire that service?
This is a stringent process, and it is of crucial importance you DO NOT, and I repeat, you DO NOT underestimate the planning process before execution.
How do I know if a contact is really qualified to be a particular lifecycle stage?
Each company decides this. No company is the same, and it is worth it to take a sit and put some thought and time. After all, these bases are being built for your prospects to turn into customers.
How many workflows do I need?
Personally, I like to build one workflow per lifecycle stage and one workflow per deal stage. Usually classifying my workflows as Marketing workflows and Sales workflows for this main pillar. Marketing workflows are pretty much all automated, just fresh and valuable content being sent to your contacts with the aim of engaging them and convert them into opportunities.
Sales workflows are where the real fun is. Like I previously mentioned. I create more specific and detailed workflows for this stage, assigning tasks to contact owners/sales staff and creating a real conversation between sales rep and prospects while subtly taking them through the sales pipeline.
One of the most important things I’ve learned while creating my main pillar is to keep in mind the conversation a rep and the prospect are having at that particular point. At times you may lose track of it, and that’s ok. Remind yourself the end goal for your strategy. Who am I talking to? How do they want to feel at this stage? What do they want to hear? Create a flow that feels real and effortless.
You'd also like to keep in mind to not feel overwhelmed by all the possible scenarios. No customer or prospect will be the same, and while workflows are an excellent automation tool, you cannot really expect them to cover the full range of possibilities and thought patterns of all your prospects. Sometimes the process will not apply at all. That is also ok.
What if a contact doesn’t convert at all?
You need to be ready for the fact that not all people will be ready to convert. This could be either because they have not seen enough about your company, or maybe because they don’t need your services or products at the moment, but that’s ok!
Remember, marketing and sales never have the perfect formula. You have to test and see what works for your audience, what doesn’t and what’s the best approach.
Your audience will slowly but surely tell you what they're looking for. Pay close attention, and you'll see the results coming together right in front of you.
However, there is a specific workflow for this situation. The fact that someone doesn’t convert right away doesn’t mean they need to be neglected. You should always be providing valuable info for the sake of your pipeline.
The secret is creating content that will tell them "Hey Mr. Prospect. You may not be ready today but maybe next week, or next month, or whenever you feel ready. I'm here for you."
This point takes us to workflow number two.
2. Later Opportunities Workflow
As I have previously stated, not all contacts will be ready to be converted. Some might need days, weeks or even months! Sales and Inbound are two things you will not make overnight.
However, the fact that someone is not ready (yet) doesn’t mean you can’t nurture them.
What a better way to create engagement and interest from a person than offering them monthly or bi-monthly content. And I said before, nurture your leads with valuable content, meaning content they will find relevant, informative and actually useful!
I have set up workflows like this to cover at least 6 months of valuable content (I can't stress enough the importance of your content being useful and necessary).
With a workflow like this, you're not pushy or spammy. You’re telling your database “you may not be ready just yet, but here I am. Whenever you’re ready!”
3. Qualifier Workflows
These are small, but smart and useful! These simple workflows will make your database well segmented, and your campaigns will have skyrocket results! How?
Well...the first step you need to follow is to make sure you have a meeting with your marketing and sales teams. You need to make sure you understand how each lifecycle stage looks for your company. It may vary quite a lot!
Once you are sure as to how a sales qualified lead is different from an opportunity for your company you need to attach those concepts to specific actions your contact takes within your content, your website or their overall activity. It pretty much depends on the limits your workflow software has.
Next step is to set up those workflows. Keep it simple. They should enroll if they meet the criteria for the previous lifecycle stage you set up earlier.
That’s the way you qualify someone as a particular lifecycle stage, and in the long run, this will keep your database more organized and well segmented. This is a great thing to have for your campaigns and any other marketing or sales effort.
4. Workflows for each form inside your website
I’m sure you, like any other marketer, are very busy! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with every email and meeting, but...what a beautiful thing automation is, right?
Well, I’m also sure you cannot manually take care of every submission for any form on your website. You need to make sure every person feels they are being taken care of if they request information. How to do this?
Set up automated emails!
Create a small workflow. Enrollment should be based on submission forms. Then, include a thank you email in which you set up a reasonable and realistic timeframe to get back to them or provide them with the info they requested.
This is one of the best ways to let your prospects know that you care about them and their requests. At the end of the day, your prospects need to be nurtured carefully to make sure we help them and later on convert them into paying customers!
5. Holidays Workflows
Is your office going to be closed for the holidays? Maybe you'll have a different schedule during a particular day?...who knows! Whatever the case is, it is essential to let your customers know that you'll probably not be available as you usually would.
Workflows can help you with that. Hubspot currently offers the option to create date-centered workflows, in which you can undoubtedly schedule your entire year of official holidays, so there are no issues with customers finding out you're suddenly out of the office!
6. Email Campaigns
Opposite to contrary belief, email is more alive than ever!
According to Lifewire Blog, a research done by Radicati Group, approximately 281 billion emails are sent every day! I bet you did not expect that.
Knowing that you can imagine how much of a competition you have. Worry not! You can have a fantastic email campaign and set up workflows to help you run the process smoothly! You just have to create top-notch content, select your audience for the campaign and finally create your workflow while being careful about placing the correct and most beneficial delays in between pieces of content.
Remember to keep it simple, yet elegant.
Workflows can help you with a lot of processes, either internal or external. They are a fantastic automation tool which you can use to the advantage of your company. If you haven't taken the time to explore more in-depth about this excellent tool, I recommend you do so.
Throughout my experience with workflows, I've learned a lot. It is not a static recipe, it's pretty much a trial and error tool. Though there are some basic principles, it's always good to take the time to explore and experiment how much you can accomplish with such versatile tools. Always keep in mind to make things simple for you and your company. Remember that's the primary objective of workflows is to make your life easier and be much more efficient.
Contact us and find out how we can help you develop your brand making the most out of workflows!