We’ve entered the age of artificial intelligence, that much is certain. All that’s left is for Amazon to rebrand to Skynet… (no offence Bezos). And to your local business clients, Amazon may as well be Skynet, because the internet giant is threatening the livelihood of every retail based local business that we know and cherish.
However, as a marketing provider, you enable your local business clients to fight back against the internet titans of 2018 by providing them with world-class marketing solutions that don’t come with big-brand costs.
Let’s explore how you can leverage email campaigns to better convey your value to these local clients and prospects while simultaneously improving product adoption and increasing new client acquisitions.
Table of Contents
The Birth of Email Marketing
Ever since the late 80’s when our buddy Bill released the first electronic-mail platform for Mac (Microsoft Mail), email has proved to be one of the most frequented and effective forms of communication for the workplace, home, and otherwise. More recently however, businesses have realized the potential in leveraging the email service as a tool for enabling sales and marketing efforts.
Email automation is a subcomponent of the broader marketing automation movement. This is a movement centered around the use of artificial intelligence to automate a lot of the repetitive and redundant digital marketing work that has been plaguing marketers and business people over recent years.
Specifically, email automation involves the use of software to create automated email campaigns and virtual sales funnels that steer prospects towards a purchase. This process occurs with minimal direct involvement from sales and marketing teams until the prospect is ready to start the physical conversation.
The application of these tools across businesses has saved valuable labour and immeasurable time with the creation of repeatable and automatic processes. Other benefits in leveraging marketing automation tools include the ability to build a more consistent brand, connect with new prospects, reengage old prospects, test new ideas, and at the end of the day, drive increased sales.
But what kind of campaign works best for which goal? And how are they constructed? And what are the best tools to enable them?
The 6 Most Frequently Used Email Funnels
The true beauty of well-executed email campaigns is the fact that they can deliver a personal feel to clients at scale. Whether your motive is sales, event promotion, or simply knowledge sharing, there are email workflows, campaigns, and applications to drive all of these goals.
Here are some of the most frequent email workflows and campaigns:
This is one of the most frequently utilized campaigns on the market today. Whether it be the new loyalty program that you just signed up for at Old Navy, or your new Pizza Hut points account, it has become common practice to have a welcome email sent to each new account.
This same methodology is often applied for new blog, podcast, or webinar subscribers. Although a welcome email is not going to directly influence purchase habits, it does prove to build a certain level of rapport and trust with these new contacts. It also can act as a gateway for you to share new promos and amplify new content releases in the future.
- 1 or 2 emails
- Less text, more context
- Show off your brand!
- Skip the sales pitch
Sales and Marketing Campaigns
This is the meat and potatoes of email marketing. These are email sets that are prepared with the intention of persuading prospects to buy-in to your product or service.
Sales and marketing campaigns are designed to engage with a prospect after they have taken some form of meaningful action with your business, such as the submission of a demo form. They deliver key components of your value proposition, demonstrate your ability to relieve prospect pains and maximize gains, and may include relevant content or testimonials to support your position.
- One of the most complex funnels to build properly
- Multifaceted and could also involve direct mail, social media, direct calling, and physical appearance components
- Require creative tactics to generate interest and convey value
Whether your event is a free webinar or a massive conference, the goal is generally the same: to drive registration or attendance. These campaigns are time-sensitive, which you can use to your advantage in framing your event.
Under this umbrella, there are two primary event categories:
- Pre-Registration. Recipients in this category are generally people who may be of interest in your event and you are contacting them to promote their signup.
- Post-Registration. These recipients have already registered for your event. In this case, campaigns may consists of helpful information and reminders leading up to the event, interesting mid-event content, and post-event follow-up.
Here is a pre-registration example:
- Pre-registration campaigns are essentially sales campaigns
- Post-registration campaigns can be longer form, more informational
- Use FOMO (fear of missing out) and urgency in your pre-registration campaigns to encourage people to sign up
Upsell Workflow Campaign
Often in marketing, we get too focussed on new customer acquisition, and forget the value that can be mined from existing clients who might not be fully aware of new product offerings or growth opportunities.
By creating client lists based on current purchases, you can build campaigns that promote suitable product or service pairings and aim to drive greater average spending per account.
- Don’t get pushy, these are paying clients
- Show lots of value before you ask for business
- Mid-length campaigns, these are busy people
Evergreen Content Campaign
Evergreen content is a designation given to any content that is deemed to be hyper relevant and of interest to readers across large periods of time. This type of content generally comes in the form of major blog publications, news stories, or case studies.
This high-value content generally receives a much larger share of marketing efforts than other publications might. One tactic to get more traffic to evergreen content is by leveraging email campaigns. For example, campaigns could be targeted to specific customers who have purchased products that align them with the content you’ve produced.
- Purely informational campaigns, can be longer form
- Identify problems and point to the content for the answers
Content Drip Campaign
These campaigns are designed for leads that enter your field of vision at the very top of the funnel (TOFU). TOFU content is generally comprised of articles, infographics, and other material that is created on an informational basis and simply helps readers solve problems that they may be facing, or learn new skills.
Following content downloads, content drip campaigns are designed to appear informational in nature, but slowly direct prospects towards more middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content and develop an interest in your offering. At this point, these prospects can be better evaluated to determine whether they are qualified in nature. If qualified and interest is shown, they may be suitable for a product demo or free trial.
- Build knowledge to build interest
- Campaign should be the length of possible downloads
- Less text, more content
5 Hot Tips for Shaping a Conversion-Driven Email Funnel
The nurturing portion of the sales and marketing funnel is among the most valuable that a company can invest in. A study conducted by MarketingSherpa identified that 73% of all B2B leads are not sales ready.
As daunting as this number may feel, it’s actually a massive opportunity. It’s an opportunity for you to focus on your value proposition rather than pushing a sale before a prospect is ready, something that will likely differentiate you from 9 out of 10 of your competitors.
But, what are the best nurturing tactics?
Most of us in the marketing space don’t have the capacity to take all of our prospects for coffee or send them cute packages to help nurture them towards a sale, so the most economical option is to defer to our reliable old friend: email.
Here are the key components in building out a successful email funnel:
1. Set Goals and Identify Success Metrics
What open rate are aspiring for? Do you have a call-to-action (CTA)? What kind of click-through-rate (CTR) are you aiming for?
Here are some industry standard numbers from MailChimp:
With creative tactics and the right tools to guide your work, you should have no problem knocking these B2B numbers out of the park.
2. Analyze Your Audience
Whether your audience of potential clientele is broad or narrow, you should be able to draw upon common problems being faced and relay suitable solutions to your recipients.
Local business example:
Although local businesses occupy vastly different industries, they still face many of the same challenges, such as: lack of time to fulfill marketing and operational tasks, competition from large chains/the internet titans, and staying current in local markets.
By addressing these problems and alluding to solutions, you can speak to a local shoe store just the same as the local restaurant on the other side of the city.
3. Add Those Personal Touches
The greatest email campaign should seem so personal that your recipients think it was written specifically for them.
Here are some tips for making your emails feel more personal:
- Address them directly. Use email lists to pull unique names, company names, and other personal data to customize each email on a campaign.
- Use their language. If you’re speaking to local businesses, drop the marketing jargon (impressions, CTR, etc.), and use familiar terms.
- Use an alias. Ideally, you sign your email campaigns with the name and picture of a real person at your company. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the person who is actually sending the email, but it gives the impression. Here is an example:
P.S. Dew is probably the hardest worker at Vendasta since she sends out about 3,000 emails a day.
4. Inspire Action with CTAs
Direct readers to take some form of action, whether that’s clicking through to a piece of relevant content, or simply an ask to consider something.
Some tricks to improve your CTAs on campaigns include:
- Use action oriented text (get, read, reserve, try, download, etc.)
- Make the CTA a large, bright colored button
- Use the first person (“Start your free trial”)
- Use white space to showcase the CTA
5. Tell a Story
Each email in your campaign should feel like a continuation of the previous one, so ensure that there is an ongoing theme or message that is preserved across each email in your campaign.
By using funnel-building tools, you can easily visualize your email campaigns and map out the story that you want to tell clients/prospects.
Now that you know what they key considerations are when writing and structuring your emails workflows, you’re going to need some technological support to save you time, and help you better measure results. Here are some of the best tools for funnel construction, separated by your level of need.
The Top Tools for Email Funnel Mapping
Here is ultimate list of email workflow tools that will help you build more intelligent and responsive email campaigns, whether you are a large organization with a large budget, or a smaller organization that is relatively new to the game.
This software was built specifically for organizing and mapping marketing workflows to enhance the performance of campaigns. An extremely user friendly interface combined with integration and notification capabilities makes this tool the best answer for smaller smaller businesses that need help visualizing their sales/marketing efforts.
Funnelytics is the perfect solution if you’re newer to the game of email marketing or have a smaller client list, as it allows you to map out your campaign plans on the free version.
This sales funnel based software is designed specifically to help businesses increase the efficiency of their sales and marketing funnels. It comes with pre-built funnels that can be used instantly, but also offers users the ability to create or customize their own, with powerful testing tools built in.
Also get access to automation driven features such as ‘actionetics’, a tool for building custom email campaigns where leads can be separated via lists based on different response actions. This is essentially the ability to stack email funnels on top of each other and create a more sophisticated email architecture.
This is a great option for mid-sized companies or small enterprises that might see the value in allocating a share of budget towards email marketing tools.
Price: $97 - $297 USD/month with a free trial option
This UK based company specializes in email and campaign automation, with the ability to build, customize, and tailor efforts based on transactional and behavioral client data. Dotmailer has also grown to include campaign capabilities across other customer channels, such as SMS and social media.
If you have some budget to spare, dotmailer will provide you with more complex email marketing tools that will save you time and better accommodate larger client and prospect lists.
Price: Starting at $150 USD/month with a free trial option
Salesforce is the #1 customer relationship management (CRM) system in the world is Salesforce with over 150,000 customers and a subscriber base of roughly 3.75 million. This end to end marketing platform offers complex email marketing and mapping capabilities in conjunction with powerful sales, lead tracking, business analytics, and application building capabilities.
However, a steeper learning curve and price-point make it better fit for large organizations with complex needs and large client/prospect lists.
Price: $150 USD/user per month plus tiered charges based on account volumes, but prices will fluctuate based on specific needs and add-ons.
Unlike Salesforce, Constant Contact is not a complete CRM, but this Massachusetts based software company is exclusively an email marketing platform. If you are a large enterprise with an expansive pipeline, then this is this most sophisticated email marketing solution available.
The best part about Constant Contact is that you pay based on the number of accounts that you have, so this highly advanced solution can give small businesses the same advanced capabilities as large enterprises, for a much lower price point.
Price: $20 - $335 USD/month with a free trial option
If you are an agency selling marketing solutions to local businesses, you might want to consider a solution that not only provides you with email mapping and marketing capabilities, but also provides you with a suite of marketing products and a full platform that you can resell to clients, so that they can maximize their marketing efforts and conquer their local markets.
Vendasta is just that. With robust campaign capabilities for acquisition, adoption, and upsells, combined with campaign recommendations for core products, as well as the 60+ products found in the Vendasta Marketplace, agencies can be equipped with all of the tools they need to sell marketing solutions, and give their clients great tools like email marketing.
Price: Freemium, $250 USD/month for full marketing automation
These are just a few of the most loved products in the ever growing market for marketing SaaS and email mapping software solutions.
Local businesses need your help, but you need to convey your value proposition before they’ll give you a chance. By building out intelligent email marketing workflows and funnels, you can drastically improve your ability to connect with prospects and drive greater conversions.
Leverage email tools to build out welcome campaigns, sales/marketing, event promotion, upsell tactics, evergreen content promotion, and content nurture drips.
To make all of these funnels successful, the 5 keys are:
- Goals and success metrics to measure campaigns and identify top performers
- Audience clustering to build a stronger connection
- Personal touches so that recipients feel like time was spent on them
- A CTA or request for some form of action after the email is consumed
- A consistent storyline for longer email campaigns
Don’t let Skyne… er, I mean Amazon, don’t let Amazon win.