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Nine Key Marketing Automation Sequences

by Randall Craig on July 31, 2015

Filed in: Blog, CRM, Growth, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing

Tagged as: , , ,

Back in the dark ages of the internet, building “the list” was a best practice for email marketing. The theory was great: send a monthly ezine, sales offers, and any other buzzworthy content down the pipe and a certain percentage of people will “convert.” Money automatically transferred into your account as the list was monetized.

Today, however, there are a number of flies in the ointment that have significantly reduced the effectiveness of this strategy:

  • Who is actually interested in reading low-value ezines?
  • Who really wants to be a member of a list?  Or be “marketed to”?
  • Who has the time to read the newsletter?

One approach to these problems is to stop producing the ezines/newsletters altogether. Another is to shorten them to their essence, and increase the value provided.  (My Make It Happen Tipsheet follows this strategy.) And a final parallel strategy is to develop stakeholder-relevant communications: that’s where marketing automation comes in.

Marketing Automation can be defined as the family of initiatives (and underlying technology) that automates the improvement in the relationship between your organization and a particular stakeholder. At the most basic, consider Marketing Automation as a sequence of interactions – usually by email – that both educate and increase trust.

Here are nine key marketing automation sequences that every organization should consider:

  1. Web lead generation forms: A whitepaper download form that tags the user with a number of attributes, sends the PDF, and later asks if there are any questions. Here is an example for a white paper that describes how social media can be used for events.
  2. Lead capture from traditional advertising or tradeshows.  A series of emails that are triggered by the user’s registration, that provide more information, usually with a follow-up call-to-action.
  3. Drive to Social Media engagement campaigns. These are campaigns that drive selected segments of your database to engage within your social media communities.
  4. Webinar/event follow-up campaigns. These sequences encourage registration, add value post-registration/pre-event, and then continue the conversation post-event.  See how we do it by registering for one of our webinars.
  5. Long-term nurture-marketing sequence. A sequence of emails that continue a conversation after an initial touchpoint. When the subscriber is ready to commit, the subscriber will be both better educated and predisposed to work with you. Here is an entire tipsheet on nurture marketing.
  6. Mini how-to education sequence. This is a short sequence that provides specific education on a topic. Here is one example Six Steps to Strategic Blogging, and another Five Quick Reads: an Executive Social Media Briefing.
  7. Sales trigger/Onboarding campaign: This is an email (or series of emails) that kick off when a new organization comes into the fold. It might start with an automated “thank you” email, then perhaps a short series that helps educate them on how to get the most value from their relationship with you.
  8. Referral and testimonial capture campaign: This campaign is designed to capture a testimonial, and generate referrals.
  9. Service delivery campaigns: These are the family of campaigns that either improve the efficiency of the delivery of your services, or reduce your customer support costs.

Done right, Marketing Automation can do it all: improve relationships, educate prospects, improve efficiency, and grow the organization. But if you are clumsy, Marketing Automation can kill your brand.

This week’s action plan:  If you currently are using Marketing Automation, how do you know that you are getting the most from your efforts? This week, look carefully at the metrics: what is the one thing that you can do to improve your numbers?

If you don’t have a marketing automation program in place, maybe it is time to look into it. (Shameless plug: happy to provide an open-the-kimono demo of what this type of system looks like: just ask me at

Marketing Insight: While choosing the right technology is clearly important, a successful marketing automation initiative is grounded in the strategy, copywriting, and implementation.  Don’t believe the product vendors when they say it is “quick and easy”.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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