Most agencies don’t have unlimited resources. They must use their time and budgets wisely to get the most bang for their buck.

Reaching out to every contact via one-off emails is an inefficient (and unrealistic) communication method. So, how can your agency connect with its audience effectively without overwhelming your staff? It's smarter to keep up with your email marketing efforts, even with a small team, by building automated email workflows.

Whether you’ve been using workflows in your email marketing strategy for years or planning to add them soon, this article can help you elevate your efforts and bask in better results. We've included seven actionable insights to boost your agency’s outbound marketing efforts with email workflows.

What is an email workflow?

One-off emails serve some purposes but grouping them creates a more efficient delivery and stronger message. An email workflow is a series of emails sent to a segment of an email list because those recipients performed a specific action. When agencies take the time to build high-quality workflows, they can target the right audience at the best time with a relevant message.

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How email workflows can advance your agency’s marketing efforts

Sometimes in business, timing is everything. Sending the right message at the wrong time may leave you empty-handed.

Email workflows are integral in compelling the audience to take the action you want them to take. Since a predetermined action kicks them off (like a person downloading an e-book or subscribing to a blog), they’re more likely to hit their mark than arbitrarily sending out marketing emails. 

Let's explore a few of the most powerful capabilities of automated email workflows.

They guide leads down the sales funnel

Without assistance, leads may languish at the top of the sales funnel or eventually seep out of it altogether. By understanding the customer lifecycle, agencies can create automated workflows that share relevant content with them. By addressing pain points with this workflow, agencies can start building trust, which helps move leads through the sales funnel more quickly (and with less chance of losing them).

They can be automated, saving your team time

Automating your processes saves time and lets your team focus on high-priority tasks. Email marketing automation, which is frequently a component of robust project management software, gives agencies many features to automate their email workflows. Set workflows to send the first email once a lead has acted, schedule the number of emails that go out in advance, and stop the workflow if the lead performs another action (like scheduling a consultation with your team). 

Not having to remember these steps (and build new emails for every lead) has the potential to dramatically free up your team’s time.

They personalize your communication with customers

In a recent survey, more than 50% of consumers say they’re willing to share information to receive more personalized discounts and offers. Nothing turns a lead off faster than feeling like they’re just one of many receiving a generic email. 

Luckily, automation software knows this and provides agencies with ways to tailor the message to everyone, improving the lead or customer experience. Add their first names to the subject line, refer to the action they just took (“we saw you just downloaded our new e-book"), and more with easy-to-use personalization tokens.

They strengthen your overall email marketing strategy

Well-executed workflows can improve the customer journey and directly add to an agency’s bottom line in numerous ways. Use them to:  

  • Send a welcome email workflow to build client loyalty.

  • Nurture new subscribers with nurturing workflows.

  • Employ re-engagement workflows to lower unsubscribe rates.

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Types of email marketing automation workflows

We’ve touched on how email workflows can help agencies connect with leads, build trust, guide their audience down the sales funnel, and directly impact sales revenue. Let’s dive deeper into the common ways agencies use specific workflows and what they accomplish.

Lead nurturing workflows

Once a lead takes action to get on your email list (like completing a form or registering for a webinar), you can nurture them. This email series can share blogs, e-books, videos, and infographics with helpful content the lead will find valuable. Topics that address the lead’s business pain points work best in this workflow.

Behavioral workflows

These workflows hinge on a “trigger” or action the lead takes. The behavior automatically triggers the workflow to begin. Triggers can be anything from a lead subscribing to your blog to them filling out a form on your landing page. Trigger emails are great at getting your message to your leads while your agency is on their minds.

Loyal customer workflows

Nobody should feel your love more effusively than your loyal existing clientele. After all, keeping a client is much easier than wooing a new one. A consistent but not crushing (avoid causing "inbox overload") diet of special offer emails that include exclusive discounts and add-on services can keep existing engagements growing while maintaining a positive relationship.

Onboarding and welcome workflows

Once a new client signs on with your agency, welcome workflows are a great way to introduce new clients to your agency and build rapport. They can set the tone for the business relationship, which can set you up for success from the very beginning. 

In these welcome workflows, include a personal touch: a “meet your team” feature and a quick outline of what to expect from your service in the coming weeks (meetings, project timelines, outstanding items needed to get started), and contact information for their dedicated account executive is usually sufficient.

Re-engagement workflows

Sometimes, leads simply stop opening and clicking on your emails. It could be due to many reasons — however, you can address them with a re-engagement workflow. Dig deep for compelling content and can’t-resist offers to use in your re-engagement emails. Aim for information that reignites their interest in your services, and presents opportunities for your agency to send follow-up emails.

Milestone workflows

Special milestones, like a client’s anniversary with your agency or even the holidays, are great opportunities to keep you top of mind while strengthening your professional relationships:

  • A “happy anniversary” (six-month, one-year, three-year, etc.) message thanking them for being a client and highlighting accomplishments during your time together.

  • A "happy New Year!" email with a discount coupon for 10% off of a new add-on service.

Milestone workflows add a personal element to your communication. Fortunately, you can store all the information you need (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) in your customer relationship management (CRM) software.  

Event invitation workflows

Extending invitations to your paying clients can make them feel special and optimize your relationship. If your agency is hosting a webinar, make sure your existing clients get an email invitation guaranteeing them a spot. Highlighting the event’s exclusivity can add value and loyalty to your existing customer relationships. Plus, they increase your sales.

7 tips for improving your email workflows

Smart agency owners are never completely satisfied and are always looking to improve their efforts, increase click-throughs and open rates, and maximize conversions. Even if an email workflow strategy is performing well, there may be small changes that could take it from good to great. Here are seven valuable tips that your agency can use to boost your email workflow success and see even more positive results.

1) Lean on automation for your email workflows

As with any process, marketing automation software can make workflows function smoothly and with less manual input. The more you can automate a workflow, the easier it is to employ them and reap lucrative results. Pre-determined triggers and scheduled times between emails are two of the many ways automation makes the workflow process function seamlessly.

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2) Schedule the email to send within 24 hours of the trigger action

If you wait longer than a day to send out a trigger email, you’ve missed your window of opportunity. At that point, chances are good the lead has moved on and is no longer thinking about your agency. Make a point of setting a triggered workflow in motion within a few hours of when the behavior occurs.

3) Plan and collaborate with a project management tool

Email workflow software is an efficient way to access templates, easily design and personalize emails, and schedule their sequencing. However, when it comes to the comprehensive marketing strategy, it’s only one component of the larger picture. That’s why project management tools that offer built-in email workflow capabilities provide excellent options for a cohesive email marketing strategy.

4) Personalize your email workflow content (and go beyond the client contact’s first name)

Segmenting your email list allows you to tailor the content to each lead. Personalized emails take this premise to a much higher level — and while using a client contact’s first name is great, you can do even better than that. 

Be specific. Use the client's city, appeal to their business’s unique pain points, and make good use of any other personalization available within your email marketing software. Make the email seem like you wrote it just for their business; it will resonate better and be more persuasive than a plain, generic email (which they probably get dozens of every week).

5) Test your email workflows

Test, test, and test some more. Send your emails to yourself and a small group of team members. Read it closely for errors, click on all the links to ensure they’re live, and pay special attention to how the subject line renders.

Once you resolve the preliminary issues, use some A/B testing to experiment with different subject lines and calls to action (CTAs). That way, you can see which ones perform better for your audience before sending them to your entire list.

6) Have fun and experiment with the email design

An engaging and compelling design for the email is vital. You can probably think of some interesting, engaging emails that have landed in your inbox.

Stay within your agency’s branding guidelines, but experiment with the layout of your emails, graphics placement, and text. Don’t be afraid to try different methods for creating your message, and always follow these tests with #7...

7) Analyze performance for continued improvement

...Reviewing and measuring your results. This is pivotal in ensuring your email workflows accomplish your goals. Decide on a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that will tell you what you need to know and analyze them against the results. These may be the conversion ratio, click-through rates, purchase rates, or other metrics based on your agency’s specific goals. If your results don’t line up with your objectives, continue to revise the workflow until you begin to see the desired results.

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Benefits of email workflows

Agencies wouldn’t sink time and creativity into building email workflows if they didn’t return powerful results. But what’s in it for you — besides helping you acquire and retain clients? Let’s look at just a few of the most significant benefits of using email workflows.

They create a consistent, engaging buyer’s journey

The journey from lead to signed client may be a long one: Everyone makes buying decisions at their own pace, and some businesses are working with layers upon layers of approvals before they can bring on any new service. 

Workflows allow your agency to share interesting, relevant content and information with the lead as they decide whether or not to do business with you. Over time, these emails build trust and make your agency memorable — this way, then the lead does decide to sign on with your agency, there’s less “buyer's remorse” and greater confidence in the decision.

They’re a high return on investment (ROI) tool for lead generation and nurturing

Lead generation initiatives bring in viable leads that could turn into clients. Nurturing leads properly keeps them from falling out of the sales funnel. Both actions (which can be done relatively inexpensively with well-designed email workflows) can potentially increase your agency’s number of closed deals. Great returns with a low investment equal a high ROI, and it's estimated that email efforts return about $44 (£36) for every $1 invested.

They help you understand client interests & pain points on a deeper level

Building successful email workflows requires digging deep into what clients want and what they’re trying to accomplish with their services. Once your agency understands these things, you can better engage with and build connections with your leads by giving them information they’re looking for.

They improve targeting & segmentation (across all marketing channels)

Drilling down to the specific message each lead responds to is easier when you segment your audience. Regardless of the client’s industry, location, company size, or place in the buyer’s journey, email workflows based on segmented lists can build rapport and nurture leads.

Streamline your email marketing workflows with Teamwork

Knowing how to build and implement workflows (and which type to use) is crucial, from lead generation to client loyalty campaigns. Email workflow software, ideally part of your project management tool, can help your agency create personalized, engaging content, send it to specifically segmented lists, and thoroughly analyze relevant metrics.

Done well, email workflows can be one of the biggest marketing successes and directly impact the agency’s bottom line.

Does your agency want to improve its email workflow initiatives and achieve greater ROI? Find out how Teamwork's project management software can help improve your email marketing processes.