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by Gillian
on June 10, 2015

Email automation, in particular, HubSpot's email workflow feature, can be an amazingly effective inbound lead generation tool. But email workflows can only do the work when they are are actually set up and when that setup is done correctly.

Here are five ideas for critical email workflows that can help you to collect and nurture high-quality leads and ultimately improve your inbound ROI.

1. The Content Offer Workflow That Moves Users Through Your Funnel

Creating great content is an essential step to any inbound marketing campaign. But just putting up your content and letting visitors download it is not enough. Once someone downloads any content offer, they should be enrolled in a workflow that lets them know you have more to offer.

For instance, if someone downloads an ebook about how to negotiate a manufacturing contract, you can send them an email with a link to a piece of content that moves them through their buyer's journey. Something like a manufacturing contract template or a link to sign up for a webinar about negotiation tactics. The beauty of workflows is that it doesn't have to stop with one follow up email. You can set emails to send every few days depending on how your new contacts interact with your messages. People who click through can go to one workflow branch while those that don't will be sent to another. This is truly the best way to jumpstart a relationship with an interested party.

2. The Event Workflow That Maximizes Your Face Time

Events should play a part in your inbound marketing strategy - webinars, meetups, and even trade shows. Use an automated email workflow to remind people about your event, and to follow up afterward. For example, if you host a webinar and a certain question or topic keeps coming up, you can put together an email to send out addressing that issue after the event, compiling blog posts and content offers on that exact topic.  Remember that when you meet someone in person, you can always manually add them to an automated workflow, too.

3. The Persona Workflow That Proves You Know Your Customers

Technically, all of your automated email workflows should be based around your personas. Use forms on your site to ensure that your users are categorized correctly and then take advantage of all your dedicated persona research to enroll certain people in certain workflows. Remember that you don't want every email you send to be a sales call in their inbox. Does one of your personas tend to have an affinity for football even though your company has nothing to do with the game? Send out a workflow email when the preseason starts to let them know you care about what they care about. The whole point of developing your personas is so that you can better communicate with your leads and customers, so don't let that work go to waste.


4. The Lead Nurturing Workflow That Sends The Best MQLs to Your Sales Team

Automated email workflows are all about lead nurturing but if you can't use them to actually generate more sales, then they lose a lot of their value. Create an automated workflow that enrolls users who you know are nearing the buying decision. Perhaps they have requested a quote or are nearing the end of a free trial. This is the perfect time to let your sales team know that you have a marketing qualified lead ready to be followed up on. You can use marketing automation to notify sales when anyone is enrolled in this particular workflow.


5. The Engaged User Workflow That Delights

Workflows are great for nurturing leads, but that's not the end of the line for this tool. You can also use them to delight your already existing customers. Once someone becomes a customer you don't want to forget them, you want to delight, surprise, and engage with them just as much as you did before -- and now you have more information to do it with. You best customers, who visit your site regularly, read your blog, and share your content should always be on your radar. Create a workflow that lets you know who these engaged users are, then send them content you know they'll like and make it easy to share.

Automated emails and workflows are only as good as you make them. With some diligence and time spent crafting the ones that make sense for you and your business, you can watch your revenue increase while your time spent sending emails decreases.

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