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Six Things You Must Know About Email Workflows

Marketing automation using email follow-up workflows is a must for success in digital marketing. In today’s world of anonymous research and unlimited product and service options, marketers must be able to help people through their buying journey and remain top of mind when prospective buyers are ready to take action.

There are two essential marketing tools needed to make this happen. The first is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, and the second is marketing automation software to monitor and send email marketing messages. Unfortunately, many companies still lack these critical tools and fail to use them properly or integrate the two. 

Companies without solid integration between their CRM and marketing automation will lose market share to competitors and miss opportunities to maximize their marketing and sales efforts.

Using these tools effectively allows you to communicate automatically with your future buyers as they research your company. Prospective buyers can then be sent targeted email messages based on their online activity. These emails are called workflows. Here are the six steps to take to make sure these emails are effective.

Capture Email Addresses

The process starts with practical methods for capturing email addresses. Make sure to include an email newsletter signup in your website footer, use a pop-up with a unique middle of funnel offer on your website, and have an email field in all your forms and the website contact page. Do these things and more to capture email addresses. You can also capture email addresses in your social media marketing through influencer marketing and offline marketing efforts. Finally, grow your email list to grow sales.

Segment Your Database

Not all email contacts are the same. Unfortunately, most companies still group all their contacts and send the same email blast to the entire list. At a minimum, segment your list by current customers, inactive customers, influencers, and referrals. Review the needs of each market segment you sell to and keep email messages customized to each group. This will improve the results of automated messages and make them more relevant and targeted.

Define the Buyer’s Journey

The key to success with email workflows is a clear understanding of the call-to-actions (CTAs) and trigger points that generate automated follow-up emails. To do this well, you must first have a clear understanding of your buyer’s journey. How do people research your product and services? What are the steps and processes people go through before they buy? What are the goals or milestones you hope for people to achieve as they move through your sales funnel? Email workflows only work as well as your ability to answer these questions. Knowing these things will help you determine the trigger points that initiate follow-up emails.

Develop Workflow Goals, Define CTA’s and Triggers

Once you clearly understand the path people take as they research your company and gather information before they buy, you can now set milestones or trigger points in your digital marketing tactics and content. Automated emails should be sent out when people take any of the actions listed below.

  • Clicking on a website link in your email
  • A website visit from any source
  • Multiple opens of an email
  • Clicking on products on an eCommerce website
  • Abandoned cart follow-up
  • Downloading a PDF or other document
  • Downloading an eBook or brochure
  • Registering for a webinar or event
  • Sending an email or calling a sales rep

All of these touchpoints and more should trigger email follow-ups. You can also score database contacts based on this activity and use that ranking to determine an appropriate follow-up.

Write Story Focused Content

Many marketers struggle with this. Using a story in your content does not mean you tell a story about your company. Instead, story-based content in your email should best connect to the life experiences of your target market in a way that adds value. 

SEE ALSO: Do You Know Your Pillars of Thought Leadership?

People respond to your content when something triggers a desire for change based on their personal experience at work or in their personal lives. When people start buying from you, they are following a need to avoid pain or gain something of value. This is how a story begins and how your product or services play a role in their lives. 

This is why email marketing must be on a regular schedule and customized to people’s activities. Your content must reach them as they make these product and service research and buying decisions.

Measure, Report, Test, and Watch ROI

The beauty of automated email funnel work is that your efforts can be measured. This allows you to learn, experiment, and modify your email and follow-up strategies to get results. The simple fact you are giving attention to the milestones and watching the data in your sales funnel will drive results and provide great insights into your target market.

Develop an email newsletter and send it, at a minimum, monthly. How people interact with your email newsletter will provide insights into their buying journey. This is one of the best ways to collect data and stay in touch with prospects based on their interaction with your brand.

Marketing Automation and Your CRM

Email marketing workflows are effective at selling to people as they research. Once they reach out and talk to a salesperson, your CRM now drives the sales funnel and follow-up from the sales team. 

The data from marketing automation must flow into the CRM so the sales team can see what people have done as they research and vice versa. This is incredibly valuable data. Be sure to score prospects and alert the sales team when to follow-up in person, phone, or Zoom meeting.


Automation is a very powerful tool. From email marketing to ensuring your marketing, sales, and services teams are united, to updating records in your CRM system, to creating repeating processes and tasks for your team, automation can streamline all efforts across departments. When used correctly, automation can deliver the right message to the right people at the right time as well as make your team’s day to day more productive and efficient. 

Get in touch with me to learn more about HubSpot and how the team at Intuitive Websites can make this happen for your company. We can start with a free consultation and a HubSpot demo.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.