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What is an email workflow?

As a modern email marketer, your responsibilities are many and varied. Converting leads into revenue is, of course, the final goal for all marketers, but customer relationships need to be carefully nurtured to achieve that goal.

There are many stages in a customer’s journey before they decide to invest in your product or service, and there is a high degree of variance in the process from one person to the next. Given the time and effort that would be required, the prospect of nurturing each lead individually is quite impractical — or even impossible.

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Nonetheless, it is something that must be done, and that is where email workflows come in.

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What is an email workflow? What are some examples of email workflows? Lead-nurturing workflows
Sign-up workflows
Abandoned cart workflows
Renewal & re-engagement workflows
Reward workflows
Post-purchase workflows
When should marketers use an email workflow? Conclusion

What is an email workflow?

An “email workflow” is an automated sequence of marketing emails that are sent to users. These emails are sent based on specific triggers related to the user’s individual behaviors and serve to provide them with the requisite information and encouragement to proceed with the desired action — typically a purchase or subscription.

Although email workflows can sometimes require a decent amount of time and effort to set up, their efficiency benefits email marketers. Email workflows can be set up to send messages to users in a range of specific situations and can serve a variety of different functions. In addition, they can be personalized according to the specific user who triggers them, further elevating their effectiveness as part of your email marketing strategy.

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What are some examples of email workflows?

Due to their situational nature, there are many potential use cases for email workflows. Below are some examples and types of email workflows.

1. Lead-nurturing workflows

Lead-nurturing email workflows exist to help progress leads further down the sales funnel. They are typically triggered by behaviors that indicate an active interest on the user’s part, such as visiting a specific informational page or subscribing to a certain blog related to what a company does.

In response, a lead nurturing workflow will send further informative content to that user. This helps them better understand the function and value of the product or service in question and potentially convert that lead into a customer.

2. Sign-up workflows

Sign-up email workflows are most commonly used by companies that offer services, such as in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry. Specifically, companies may choose to employ an email workflow in cases where they allow users to access their service on a trial basis.

This email workflow is triggered by the user reaching the end of the trial period and encourages them to sign-up for a full subscription or membership by providing information about details like pricing.

3. Abandoned cart workflows

An abandoned cart workflow involves sending out emails to users who have begun shopping on a website but have failed to complete their purchase for one reason or another. In this case, the email workflow attempts to attract users back to that website and encourages them to finalize their purchase.

4. Renewal & re-engagement workflows

Renewal workflows have a lot in common with sign-up workflows and are likely to be employed by the same organizations. In contrast to sign-up workflows, renewal workflows target customers who have already signed up, but whose subscription has since expired.

Renewal workflows show customers that your organization has not forgotten about them, and often include incentives that will reward them should they choose to renew.

The function of re-engagement workflows is similar. As the name suggests, their purpose is to bring new life to customer relationships that have gone dormant. In this case, a user may trigger an email sequence if they remain inactive for a predetermined amount of time or have not chosen to sign-up after completing a trial period.

5. Reward workflows

Reward workflows are triggered when users reach specific milestones. This could be a subscription anniversary or a purchasing threshold that they have crossed. In response, users receive emails containing special offers or loyalty bonuses to reward them for engaging with the brand.

6. Post-purchase workflows

As you might guess, post-purchase workflows are a response to customers who make a purchase. These workflows often feature emails that request user feedback or that incentivize customers to refer others to the company’s product or service.

When should marketers use an email workflow?

The scope for email workflow usage is enormous. Regardless of where a customer is on their journey, there is an email workflow setup that can help them arrive at the place they need to be.

When deciding on what kind of workflows you need to set up, it pays to have a comprehensive data-fed software solution, such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, that can help you to track and analyze customer journeys from lead to conversion. Consequently, you can identify specific points where customers have ended their journey prematurely.

Once you have honed in on specific moments of missed opportunity, you can construct your workflows around them to help you to maximize your revenue potential going forward.

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Conclusion

How you go about setting up email workflows will vary somewhat depending on your ESP (Email Service Provider), but the principles of your approach to email automation should be broadly the same regardless of what platform you use.

The key to creating effective email workflows is to understand the customer journey, so having the right data at your disposal is essential. By segmenting your subscribers and analyzing key metrics, you can decide triggers and email frequencies, and employ email workflows at critical junctions to significantly improve lead conversion.

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