Automated emails are a highly efficient method for building your company’s brand awareness, maintaining customer relationships and nurturing contacts through your marketing funnel.
These automated lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts, according to a SilverPop/DemandGen Report, and generate an 8% click-through rate (CTR) compared to general email sends, which generate a 3% CTR, according to HubSpot. In addition, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus un-nurtured leads.
But while the benefits are evident, for B2B companies new to inbound marketing the process of developing and building an automated email campaign can seem daunting — especially if you don’t feel you have built up enough of a content library from which to draw upon — but it doesn’t have to.
Even with a small amount of published content (4-5 blog posts, an initial eBook download offer, a short video or two) you can still build an effective automated campaign and begin to take advantage of all the benefits it can offer; you just have know how to repurpose/revamp it a bit — and apply best practices for creating inbound marketing emails.
Getting started with automated emails
Before you determine what content you can repurpose, you’ll first want to do the following five things that will help you craft an automated email campaign(s).
Identify your targeted group(s). To whom could you send an automated campaign? Maybe it’s prospects who've signed up to download your eBook; maybe it’s current customers who registered at a trade event or signed up for your webinar.
Determine where group members are in the sales funnel. What type of information might your targeted group want and what type of format may they need to receive it (e.g., bite-size, top-of-the-funnel content).
Think about how many emails to send and their frequency. The number may depend on how much content you have and how you can break it apart (but don’t let that be a limiting factor as you may discover what content you need to produce next), while the frequency will depend on the buying cycle; buying large capital equipment is a much longer process, while selecting an apartment can be considerable shorter.
Evaluate what may nurture the customer’s buying journey. Look at what a logical progression of information may be to help propel customers to the next stage of your journey.
Decide what you want customers to do after receiving each email. Beyond the main content you provide in these emails, what is the next step for engagement you can include? Is there another event for which they can register? Is there a web page on your site that would be helpful for them see? Do you want them to register for blog post notifications or engage with you on social media?
Repurposing content for automated emails
There may be part of you feeling that repurposing is a lazy way out, but don’t think of that way. Instead, think of it as a resourceful and efficient way to get the most value from the content you already have.
So, what content could you start your repurposing to create an automated campaign? Here are a few ideas to get your thought process going:
Current blog posts. Are there some that outline key purchase considerations or pain points that would fit into a logical progress of automated emails? Can you combine 1-2 of these posts into a single email (providing a key summary of each and linking to your blog)? Could you edit one down to fit within the body of a single email?
Case studies or whitepapers. Could you provide key takeaways from a case study for an email, providing a shorter, bulleted problem/solution format and link to the full, detailed version?
Demo videos. Think about writing a brief overview about what the demo will show or the problem the item demonstrated can resolve, and link to the page where it lives on your site.
Sales presentations. It may not be on your website, but are there sales or engineering presentations that live in PowerPoint that could be broken down into a logical series of steps that take someone through the buying journey?
Webinars or podcasts. Could you make an email campaign based on the transcript and link to additional resources for further information on the topic and be sure to link back to the webinar itself.
Media coverage. Was your operation featured in a trade publication article? Might that information be relevant to your target audience for these automate emails? Then share it.
Testimonials. If it’s appropriate for the stage of your target customer’s journey, include a current testimonial in your chain of automated emails.
Product manuals. Your product manuals may have a great set of content that can be “chunked” to help you a series of emails that explain a process, help customers understand how your product was designed and/or operates.
Customer service scripts. Customer service or inside sales scripts may also contain content ideas for how to address customer issues.
Automated email campaigns can be a highly efficient method for delivering value and nurturing contacts, but creating them doesn’t require you to have a ton of content created. It just requires a little additional thought and creativity.
Posted by Tim Holdsworth
Tim has vast experience executing B2B marketing plans in a number of industries, including manufacturing, health products, and business technologies. He manages the mechanics of our clients' inbound marketing programs, including marketing automation setup, email marketing, and digital content creation.