Learn To Close More Home Improvement Sales with Email Automation

Marketing automation will have you rolling in the dough

Why You Should Be Using Email Marketing Automation

Email automation is all about nurturing the leads in the middle of your sales funnel. MailChimp provides robust segmentation and scheduling tools to help you implement an effective email automation strategy. This means that you create multiple campaigns to roll out to your leads over consecutive hours, days, or weeks. But just because you gain ease of use doesn’t mean you lose design. You still have the opportunity to craft each email in MailChimp’s email designer and track their effectiveness through MailChimp reports.

Email automation can help you close more sales because it takes some of the burdens off of your sales outreach. This is particularly useful if your staff is currently overwhelmed by the number of leads you’ve been able to generate.

Email Automation Using MailChimp

If you’re new to email automation, don’t be put off by the new terminology. Automation is nothing more than a series of emails you can send to subscribers based on a trigger - an action they take or don’t take, like a product purchase or website view—or an absolute date, like an anniversary or birthday. The combined emails that follow a trigger are known as a workflow. The workflow contains the emails, the schedule of emails, and the configuration details of each. Within MailChimp, regular marketing emails are typically called campaigns because they reach a wide swath of your subscriber list; emails within a workflow are called emails because they’re more targeted, going to a sole recipient following a specific action.

The delayed schedule for your workflow can center on an absolute or relative date. The aforementioned exact dates are fixed points in time around which you can schedule an email. If you sell remodeling services, you can choose September 1 as your absolute time and set up a series of "Remodeling before the Holidays" emails to head out in the days and weeks before the big first day. Relative dates follow triggers. A lead may become a customer on any given day, and you can set up a workflow to follow-up after purchase with related products, user information, or a simple thanks.

In MailChimp, any group of subscribers that meets the workflow criteria and is awaiting the next email is said to be in the queue.

The Advantages of Automated Marketing Workflows

Automation is about ease of distribution and personalization. Typical email campaigns send messages to entire lists or segments of a list, regardless of subscriber actions. Workflows, on the other hand, are far more targeted, sent as response to a particular characteristic or action taken by an individual subscriber. Because automation offers a customized experience, your subscribers are more likely to connect personally with your content. If you’re trying to move them down the sales funnel, this is an incredibly useful tactic. And, best of all, once you’ve set up your workflow, there are no added expenses or resources necessary to provide this customization.

Tweaking the timing of your workflows also means that you can use consumer buying habits to time automated emails to perfection. If you have the metrics that show consumers typically wait two weeks after visiting your site to make a purchase, you can set your workflow to get back in touch with them after one week, ten days—whatever schedule proves most effective. This works especially well with absolute date campaigns that target upcoming events closely connected with consumer purchases. For instance, in the weeks leading up to the first day of spring, a landscape designer might send design suggestion to a customer that purchased services the year before.

Marketing Automation Limitations and Best Practices

Any given subscriber can pass through a workflow only once, and every email will be received in sequence. This is true in all cases except annual recurring events, like birthdays or holidays. For trigger-based events, make sure that the trigger is one the vast majority of your leads complete. If the lead doesn’t complete the trigger, like filling a shopping cart with a certain product, the workflow will never start, keeping your lead from receiving not just the first email but all emails in the workflow. If you’re devoting time and energy to creating a long, comprehensive workflow, you need to ensure that the first trigger will start a worthwhile number of leads down the path.

Once a workflow starts, you have limited ability to change that workflow. You can always pause active emails to edit content, add new emails at the end of the workflow, alter segmentation, or delay settings. But you cannot change the workflow type, email list, or email sequence once a workflow is in motion.

Any data a workflow needs to function must also be present. If you have information on the city location for only half your clients, avoid choosing such an incomplete data point for as a key to your workflow. Data from your website or other services, like eCommerce360, can be connected to your MailChimp account to provide a broader range of metrics for your workflows.

Automated Workflow Ideas To Get You Started

MailChimp has default workflow types, as well as the option to create a customized workflow. Birthday messages are one of the most common workflows, which allow you to send a personalized birthday greeting or coupon to your subscribers. You can set messages to appear on the day or in the days or weeks leading up to the occasion.

If you’re able to incorporate purchase history into your subscriber information, you can create a workflow that will provide feedback after a purchase. If you want to know how your website performs before the sale, you can also send a feedback request after multiple site visits or use of your online store’s shopping cart. Likewise, setting a purchasing threshold that establishes your best customers can help you put in motion a workflow that thanks them for their patronage with special offers.

Getting workflows up and running today is the best way to focus your business and your sales staff on personalized care for your customers. With successful implementation, you’ll have a whole lot more of them.

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About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds email marketing campaigns using MailChimp, Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising campaigns. We work for for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems.