• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • Duo Consulting
    Michael Silverman on October 15, 2014

    4 Reasons Drupal Is the Best Social CMS

    It turns out Drupal and Social Media are a match made in heaven. Because of Drupal’s system of modules, integration with external websites can be as easy as installing a module that fits your site’s needs. And once these modules are installed, you will have a central place to manage profile information and plug-in modules, such as follow and share buttons.
  • Google+ is the home to the largest engaging audience. According to a Forrester study,G+ posts generate as much engagement as Facebook and twice as much engagement than Twitter. It’s striking because the other two are much popular than G+. The equation is simple. Not everyone joins and continues with G+. And if anyone does, he does it for a purpose.
    If you are asked to share your first thought that pops in your mind when you hear “Social media”, your answer would probably be Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, but not Google Plus for sure. Then why experts keep vouching for the network? Google Authorship was one of the reasons. But since it’s dead now, what are the driving forces to motivate Google Plus marketing?
     
    First reason would be its high engaging audience. As it’s not crowded by anyone and everyone using internet, Google Plus is the home to the largest engaged audience. According to a Forrester study,G+ posts generate as much engagement as Facebook and twice as much engagement than Twitter. It’s striking because the other two are much popular than G+.
     
    The explanation is simple. Not everyone joins and continues with G+. And if anyone does, he does it for a purpose. This works for G+’s engagement quotient. 
     
    The secret also lies in these G+ stats: 
    • Google+ has 540 million monthly active users and 20 million unique mobile monthly users.
    • Engagement on a Facebook post per user is .073% while it’s .069% on a Google plus post.
    • Google+ mobile app user growth from December 13 to May 14 is 14%.
    • Percentage of G+ user interaction with positive brands is 53%, with negative brands is 18%.
    • G+'s percentage of total social logins on websites is 32.9%
    • Average duration of one G+ session is 3.46 minutes
    If you are still not enticed to explore the vast possibilities, here are 5 areas where Google Plus can overshadow Facebook.
     
    Better exposure in Google search results: It doesn’t take much to figure out that Google would give preference to Google Plus, when it comes to getting social signals. If you post regularly on the platform, chances are that the people, who follow you or have you in their circles will see your post when they search with a related keyword on Google. Here is an example:
     
    [[{"fid":"188236","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    I typed “Sunday Flowers” and got a related Google Plus post of Matt Cutts, who I follow on the platform. 
     
    Similarly, your followers too can get your G+ posts in their Google search results. The more you share on G+, the more your authority will be on Google. G+ Business page posts too appear on search results. Here is how I searched for a new Levi’s collection and got one result from the brand’s G+ page.
     
    [[{"fid":"188241","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    No other social network gets such an upper-hand on Google search results. 
     
    Double the reach with Google+ Communities: Google Communities work more like Facebook groups, but they can get you higher traffic. There are almost every kind of communities on G+. You can find them here. And if you want to create your own, you can do it too.
     
    Choose the communities that create maximum stories and conversations. Not necessarily the most populated communities would be the most engaging ones. Select wisely. Don’t join for the sake of fetching traffic to your website. You need to be active in order to get attention from the fellow members. 
     
    Comment, +1 and share others’ content. When you will leave a comment, make sure to add a little value. Avoid commenting generally like “Nice share” or “thanks for the post”. 
     
    Always post in the right category for content segregation. It also helps your content to appear on the most relevant thread. The categories can be found on the left-hand side of the community page. Let’s see when you click on a category, how it segregates related content from other posts within a community. 
     
    [[{"fid":"188246","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"height: 876px; width: 800px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    You can see the results from “Nails” are different from that of “Skin”. This feature is effective because no matter how old is your post, it still stands a chance to appear on community front page, if someone searches with categories. 
     
    Moreover, you would notice a significant growth in your social shares as well as follower count if you use Google+ Communities efficiently. However, follow the respective Community rules and watch out for the time slots, when the members get active. 
     
    Google+ ads work differently: Google Plus post ads work in an entirely different way than that of Facebook. Unlike the latter, Google+ post ads don’t run on the network, but on the entire Google’s display network. This not only makes the reach of these ads higher, but also keeps the social network an ad-free zone. 
     
    You can create these ads from any public Google Plus post with your AdWords account. But you need to have at least 1000 followers on the network to be eligible to run these ads. You can have the complete guide here
     
    Here is a famous example of a G+ post ad, displayed on a third-party website.
     
    [[{"fid":"188251","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"width: 800px; height: 529px; ","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    Facebook ads are limited to the network, while G+ ads’ reach is much greater. Moreover, as supported by Google AdWords, G+ post ads have more sophisticated targeting options. Moreover, you can comment, share and +1 on these ads real-time. 
     
    Learn the best Google+ hashtags practices: Google+ hashtags too work differently than Twitter and Facebook. It’s more to explore content than to curate, like any other channel.
     
    G+ suggests hastags with every post. However, you can add your your own hashtags as well. Let me share a trick to know which hashtags are suggested by Google and which are the user-created ones. 
     
    [[{"fid":"188256","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    On the above post, you can see 2 labels of hashtags: Grey and blue. The grey labeled tags are added by the user while the blue ones are suggested by Google. 
     
    Use maximum 3 hashtags with a single post. You can add many more than that, but Google+ gives utmost importance to the first three tags. If you click on the hashtag from the list, it will flip through related posts. You can hop from one post to another by clicking on the side-arrow buttons. 
     
    [[{"fid":"188261","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    Go to https://plus.google.com/explore/ and explore suitable hashtags for your posts. Let’s search with #contentmarketing and see what results we have. 
     
    [[{"fid":"188266","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    This way you can explore related hashtags for your posts. It’s an effective way to find out popular hashtags in the niche. 
     
    On the other hand on Facebook, there is no integrated tool to find out popular hashtags, unless there are a few in the trending topics. 
     
    Use Google+ to identify power-users:  Google Plus is populated with technology early adopters and industry influencers. There are plenty of them in your niche as well. Circle Ripples and G+ Circles are two tools, which you can use to identify people, who belong to your niche and have a significant influence. 
     
    Let’s talk about Ripples, as Circles are well-known to all G+ users. Google+ Ripples is a tool that can show you who shares your post and the reach of their shared content. It’s a graphical presentation of your content reach. 
     
    [[{"fid":"188271","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"width: 700px; height: 614px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    In the Ripples graph, you can see the content is originally shared by Pierre Far, which was re-shared by Matt Cutts and other 472 people. Since Ripples show data about public posts, you can track only 375 shares. 
     
    When we’re talking about power-users, the bigger the ripple, the bigger the influencer. This is quite evident from the circle that is formed around Matt Cutts. Similarly, if you zoom in to a specific ripple, it shows the re-shares from that particular person.
     
    [[{"fid":"188276","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"height: 582px; width: 700px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
     
    So, if you want to identify the most powerful people in your G+ community, track Ripples for every post.  As you find out each one of your industry influencers and power-users, note down every user and make a list. You can create alliance with them for your future content marketing efforts.  Finding the power-users for your business on Facebook is a bit tricky as well as time-consuming, unlike G+, where you can find ripples for every public post, even if they are from your competitors. 
     
    Over to you
     
    It’s your choice if you will start taking G+ marketing more seriously. However, considering the fact that G+ is packed with amazing features and some of them are more efficient than Facebook, you can ignore it at your own risk. 
    The market for smart city technology solutions is still very young and in formative stages, which means there's plenty of room for midsized companies to enter this solution space. Midsized technology vendors who fully understand the needs, desires and challenges that midsized cities have for smart city initiatives will find success in this market.

    The term "smart city" is becoming familiar around the world as urban areas realize that a great deal of benefit can come from connecting physical and digital worlds to better serve the needs of citizens and the administration of the city. A smart city doesn't just result from changes in infrastructure and technologies – it must embody new ways of thinking and planning.

    And smart cities aren't just limited to large metropolitan areas. Many midsized cities need smart city technologies to better manage growth and provide quality of life and work for their citizens. Just like large metros, many midsized cities want to ensure the sustainability of resources and services, by using technologies and digital systems to improve operations and efficiencies, and to innovate how cities and citizens interact.

    At the core of smart cities is the Internet of Things (IoT) – where many systems and networks interact with each other and often run without human intervention. The Internet of Things for the smart city can include not only municipal systems, but machine-generated data created by citizen-owned items such as home environment management devices, smart appliances and vehicle sensors.

    With midsized cities pursuing smart city strategies, opportunities are quite promising for midsized technology companies to help these cities realize their plans. Cutting edge and forward-looking initiatives – using the latest technologies – are often thought to be the domain of large vendors working with large cities. But many midsized and smaller cities need and want to take advantage of similar technologies and capabilities to operate more effectively. Often smaller technology vendors are the better choice as a strategic partner for midsized smart city projects that are frequently implemented incrementally and at lesser scale.

    The market for smart city technology solutions is still very young and in formative stages, which means there's plenty of room for midsized companies to enter this solution space. Midsized technology vendors who fully understand the needs, desires and challenges that midsized cities have for smart city initiatives will find success in this market. Part of meeting midsized needs includes in-depth understanding of what will work for the people in these cities. So the right solutions aren't just about technologies but must have a strong focus on the sociology of living in a smart city today and into the future.

    Midsized Smart Cities Need Big Data Analytics

    One important technology solution area for midsized smart cities: big data analytics for the volumes of data created every day by city systems. This data increases exponentially as more smart city technologies are implemented. Technologies for transportation, utilities, communications, and many other aspects of urban life are evolving faster than overall management strategies. All cities lag on fully gaining advantage and innovative benefit from this information.

    Big data analytics technologies are continuously evolving to better collect, integrate, process, and analyze this highly disparate information to both improve the systems of the smart city and to apply results to other needs and opportunities. Midsized technology companies have new ways to deliver cost-effective services and solutions through cloud platforms, lower priced data analytics tools, and mobile applications.

    As a solution example, midsized technology vendors could provide services for midsized cities for the continuous data analytics needed to govern and improve urban transportation:

    • Real-time operational responsiveness
    • Personalized interactions with citizens using transportation systems
    • Creating new services and changes to policy more quickly and accurately
    • Measuring the effectiveness of current decisions and actions

    Such services and solutions should be tailored for midsized cities to keep costs down and provide exactly what these cities need for faster, more effective implementations. Understanding future direction will help midsized technology vendors build in the right scalability, usability and interoperability capabilities to keep smart cities continuously smart in real time.

    Image source: archivenue.com

    This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit  IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

     

    This is a growing problem in other areas of the online marketplace, as tech start-ups designed for the share economy are being encroached by commercial interests looking to increase their own profit margins

    Time.com recently published an article lamenting that the share economy, otherwise known as the ‘peer-to peer-economy’ is being co-opted by the“interests of venture capital and its insatiable demands for rapid growth and high-value exit-strategies.” The share economy has given commercial credibility to the citizen over the corporation, as disruptive technologies “blows up the industrial model of companies owning and people consuming, and allows everyone to be both consumer and producer”. AirBnB, a platform that lets consumers rent from their peers, is now being used by landlords to buy up property for that very purpose, and consequently driving up land values and rents through gentrification.

    This is a growing problem in other areas of the online marketplace, as tech start-ups designed for the share economy are being encroached by commercial interests looking to increase their own profit margins. According to Time.com, TaskRabbit, a platform designed to outsource skilled tasks to people in your local community, has become “a glorified temping agency leaving its participants in the same precarious boat as those on zero-hours contracts”.

    This poses a great problem to freelancers or ‘digital nomads’, who depend on these tech platforms that enable remote working as their main source of income. Freelancers now have to compete with agencies and professional contract winners masquerading as freelancers, who often flip the job they’ve won by re-advertising the job at a lower price. As a result the job is done for a fraction of the price paid by the hirer, and businesses begin to lose faith in seeking online freelancers for quality work.

    There is nothing wrong with businesses looking to tap into the online marketplace to remain sustainable and competitive, however it should not be done in a way that will disenfranchise citizens looking to participate in the share economy. For example, several car manufacturers have responded to the threat posed by car sharing start-ups by launching their own car sharing services. Ford recently launched its FORD2GO service in Germany, and BMW entered the market with a premium car sharing service called ‘DrivenNow’ in Germany and San Francisco.

    The growing risk of online marketplaces being flooded with commercial interests and vested interests masquerading as skilled workers will only seek to create further inequality between the citizen and the corporation. Corporations can opt to participate in the share economy in a positive way, and smart businesses will inevitably find innovative and more sustainable ways of connecting with consumers.

    You may or may not have heard the term social TV, but it’s not only changing the world we live in but how marketing is done. Defined as the act of social networking while watching television, this new practice is not just a trend but becoming the norm in many households. So what does this all mean for marketers?

    You may or may not have heard the term social TV, but it’s not only changing the world we live in but how marketing is done. Defined as the act of social networking while watching television, this new practice is not just a trend but becoming the norm in many households.

    In fact according to a 2013 study by Social Guide and Nielson, more than 80 percent of American TV viewers now access a second screen for content during a program. They though aren’t just engaged in conversations about what they are watching. They are also shopping, writing emails and reading news content.

    People are watching on average of 35 hours a TV a week according to Neilson. That shows it’s still a very popular medium. People are also watching TV live. That is very important to note! In fact, 87% of all broadcast TV is watched live. That number rises to 93% on cable.

    Social media is also affecting TV ratings, especially with younger demographics. In fact, when Twitter chatter increases about a TV show ratings also increases.

    So you may ask what does this all mean for marketers. Well social media, especially Twitter is all about real time information and by merging live television with people looking at a second screen (tablet or smartphone) during a television show can only mean a huge opportunity for businesses and marketing.

    Through Promoted Tweets and highly optimized social media content, brands not associated with broadcasted shows, especially big event shows like the Super Bowl and MTV Video Music Awards, can add their two cents to Twitter and Facebook chatter, and seize attention from online consumers. We know they are on the social networks looking for content. Why not give it to them!

    By adding a brand-appropriate comment during a hit show or popular TV event in a funny or witty Tweet or Facebook post can create a relatively easy and inexpensive surge of new attention for any brand.

    Obviously you don’t want to spam the network and turn people off. But, by being creative and adding a relevant branded tweet or post during a major TV event can be a great way for a business to get in front of a big audience.

    Marketing automation is a fantastic way to make marketing efforts more efficient, and automated email workflows are no exception. By creating good workflows business can not only boost sales, but also increase the amount of time they have to spend on other tasks. This post explains how to create and use automated workflows, and gives a few examples of workflows that can be applied.

    You’ve built up your email list, you know how to compose emails that convert, now it’s time to make it all more efficient with email marketing automation!

    Think about it, you could sit at your computer all day composing countless emails attempting to bring your potential customers along through your conversion funnel in a seemingly never ending process, OR you could map out a structure that you follow each time and simply create an automated email flow that will do the work for you!

    There are all kinds of things you can automate, from your welcome flow to your shopping cart abandonment flow.

    In this post we will explore how to actually create an automated email workflow, and we’ll take a look at a few sample workflows to get you going.

    Why Email Marketing Automation is Important

    Before we get into how to build a workflow, first we need to establish why it’s so important to use email automation (aside, obviously, for the ease).

    According to a study by Silverpop, automated email campaigns have a 15% higher open rate than regular emails and 79% higher click through rates!

    Additionally, by creating workflows, A/B testing them, and always improving them you can create a highly optimized machine that will work for you to continually boost your sales and build your business.

    How to Build an Email Marketing Workflow

    Now that you understand the importance and significance of email marketing automation, let’s discuss how to go about creating an automated workflow.

    Step 1: Set Your Goals

    The first thing you should do when planning out a workflow is determine your goals. What do you want this series of emails to accomplish for you? There is no purpose in creating a workflow if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.

    There are any number of goals you could be shooting for – sales, returning customers, building trust, generating excitement, and more.

    Step 2: Plan Out How You Will Reach Your Goal

    Once you have your goal set, the next thing to do is to figure out how you will get to that goal. Within this step there are a few things you will need to actually do:

    First, you should think about each email workflow like a mini sales funnel. You want to bring your users from awareness to interest to desire to action.

    Obviously there will be some differences in each workflow depending on your goal, but this is the general formula you should follow.

    To accomplish this you can use a mixture of useful information, reviews, blog posts, coupons, and whatever else you have at your disposal.

    Next, keep in mind that you will not have 100% success in guiding your users through the funnel, so you should have a plan in place for every possible scenario that your users could present to you.

    For example, if you send out an email as part of a welcome series inviting your readers to sign up for your blog, some will sign up and some will not. Obviously you’re not going to send the same email to the people who do sign up as you would to the people who don’t.

    You can set different emails as responses, resend emails, or even transfer people into different workflows. No matter what you do, make sure that while mapping out your workflows you take into account all possible contingencies.

    Finally, determine the amount of time that will pass between each email that is sent out. The best way of doing this is by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and thinking about how you would react when receiving the email.

    This is a tough balance to find, because on the one hand you don’t want to bombard your customers, but on the other hand you don’t want to lose the flow of your correspondence.

    Step 3: Write Your Emails

    Now that your flow is planned out and all possible contingencies are accounted for you should write up your emails according to our Ten Email Marketing Tips and follow our Tips to Boost your Open Rates.

    Step 4: Test Out and Tweak Your Emails

    As with any other marketing scheme that you implement you should always test out the success of your email workflows. See what is working and what isn’t. Test out different designs, copy, or subject lines. By doing this you will be able to find the formula that works best for your business.

    The other thing you should keep your eye on is if there are people that get lost in your workflows. It’s possible that your email copy is perfect, but you’re sending the wrong email at the wrong time. So keep an eye on which flows work best as a whole and try to optimize that as well.

    Examples of Email Workflows for eCommerce

    In order to help you to truly understand how a workflow works and how it can benefit your business, we wanted to give you a few examples of workflows that you can implement in your business today!

    Welcome Workflow – A Detailed Example

    The most classic email workflow is the welcome workflow. You can use this type of flow any time someone creates an account at your website – whether they made a purchase or not.

    Let’s build this workflow together by following the steps mentioned above. As we go through the steps we will analyze the equivalent emails from HootSuite’s welcome flow:

    Step 1: The goal of a welcome workflow generally speaking is to take someone who expressed interest in your products and gets them to make a purchase, with the idea that they will become a returning shopper.

    Step 2: In order to get this person to move along the sales funnel you could create a flow like this:

    Welcome email: This email should welcome the new member. Make it nice and friendly. You should include a bit of information about your company culture as well.

    • Goal of the email: Educating your potential customers about your business by creating a sense of familiarity.
    • Call to action of the email: Should be something simple like a link to your homepage, or to a page about your business (testimonials, press releases, etc.)
    • Timing: Immediately after registration.

    (HootSuite performed this email and the next one at the same time, so the example will be in the next section)

    Assistance Email: In this email you can ask if your reader needs more information or assistance. This could be either related to your products or related to the broader culture of your business.

    For example, if you sell cameras, this email could say something like “Do you need help choosing your next camera?” or, “Could you use some photo taking tips?”

    You should also prominently display your customer support information.

    • Goal of the email: Raising the level of familiarity between your customers and your business, while also educating them about the products in order to create trust.
    • Call to action of the email: This should link to something educational like your blog or one or two introductory level articles.
    • Timing: 3-7 days after the initial email.

     Hootsuite welcome workflow

    Products Email: Now it’s time to start sending some information about your actual products. In this email you can say something like, “Check out our newest collection of ______.”

    • Goal of the email: Moving your customers along the funnel from awareness to interest in your products.
    • Call to action of the email: You should send your readers to an optimized landing page with some of your highest selling products in order to draw in your potential customers.
    • Timing: Give your users some time. This should be sent about two weeks to a month after the last email.

     Hootsuite welcome email product

    Product Booster: In this next email you are going to want to make your products sound very appealing. You can use some great reviews, press mentions, case studies, free trials, or whatever else you can think of to make your products look great!

    • Goal of the email: Moving your customers from interest to desire by showing how good your products are.
    • Call to action of the email: You can send your users to any number of places. One option is to keep things on your site by sending them to an optimized landing page dedicated to a specific product or line of products that displays benefits and shows real testimonials. Another option would be to go off-site and send your readers to a recent article or review about your products.
    • Timing: 3-6 weeks after the previous email.

     Hootsuite welcome flow product booster

    Coupon Offer: Finally, you are trying to really push the sale by sending a coupon. In this email you can send a “limited time offer” to your readers.

    • Goal of the email: Get your readers to make a purchase
    • Call to action of the email: Keep it simple – “Get this coupon now!” “Offer ends today.” Anything that creates a sense of urgency and encourages immediate action.
    • Timing: A few weeks after the last email.

     Hootsuite welcome email special deal

    At this point, the idea is that you will have given your potential customer all the reasons in the world to make a purchase, and to make it specifically from you.

    As mentioned earlier though, it is very likely that your readers won’t follow the flow exactly as you expect them to. In order to best display this concept, we’re going to need to really map out the options.

    Here is a sample map of the above flow including potential consumer actions and responses to the different actions:

    Automated welcome email workflow

    Notice how built into the welcome flow map are any number of new flows that customers can be transferred to depending on how they interact with the emails. You can also resend the same email if it received no interaction, but you might want to change the subject line so it isn’t an exact duplicate.

    These maps (as you can see) can become quite complicated, but they are very important! Only by mapping out all possibilities will your automation become truly effective and personalized.

    Now that you have a more detailed understanding of how to put together a workflow we’re going to give you a few more (less detailed) examples of common workflows that you can use to boost your sales.

    Cart Abandonment Workflow

    Cart abandonment is a problem that plagues all eCommerce stores, so why not be ready with a workflow just for it?

    The goal of this flow is to make a sale

    1. Awareness: Send an email as a reminder prompting the customer to complete the purchase. For example, I received this email from Amazon:

     Amazon shopping cart abandonment email

    2. Awareness II/Interest: If that prompt wasn’t enough you can send another email with similar items as a secondary prompt. You can add in something like, check out our top selling _____ (relevant to the department your customer was interested in).

     Amazon shopping cart abandonment follow up

    3. Desire: Send an email with some product reviews or testimonials – “Look at what the New York Times has to say about our _____.”

    4. Action: Send a coupon.

    Purchase Workflow

    Obviously you should engage with your customers after they complete a purchase. Creating a workflow can take this process from simply being a thank you letter, to creating an upsell opportunity.

    The goal of this flow is an upsell

    1. Awareness: Start by thanking your customer for their purchase. Then you can include related products by saying something like “Congratulations on your new ________, you should consider our _______ to enhance the experience.”

    2. Interest/Desire: Send your customer useful information that will help them with their initial purchase – relevant blog posts, articles, and videos. In this content you should display how a related product could enhance the product which was purchased.

    3. Action: Ask your customer to fill out a survey of some sort – how the purchasing process was for them, if they are satisfied with their purchase, etc. – and include a coupon for the products you are trying to upsell as an incentive to complete the survey.

    VIP Customer Flow

    Every store has its most active customers – those that purchase the most, leave the most reviews, or share the most content. You can create a workflow to target your most engaged customers!

    The goal of this flow is to convert returning customers into super customers/brand advocates

    1. Awareness: Thank your most highly engaged customers, and tell them that they have been selected to be part of a VIP list that will include all sorts of “exclusive information” and private deals.

    2. Interest: Mention that you would like to put together an even more exclusive list of people who will get to try and review new products before they are released. Add an opt-in form for this in order to get the most engaged readers to join this list.

    3. Desire: Send an email to those who opted-in welcoming them to the elite club, and then get them started by asking them to review an idea that you have for a new product, or to review an old product which they already purchased. You can include a coupon as an incentive as well.

    4. Action: Thank your customers for their review, and explain that they will be receiving more new products at discounted rates to review, or coupons to review older products. You should then add in that they can receive further discounts by sharing their reviews on social media or elsewhere on the internet.

    Just like that you can take a customer and turn them into a brand advocate.

    Moving Forward

    There are all kinds of email workflows that you can set in place for your business – re-engagement flows, event flows (birthdays etc.), blog engagement flows, and more!

    If you don’t yet use workflows in your business you should definitely start slow. Begin by creating one or two flows, optimizing them, and getting them rolling before you start to create more flows. Otherwise you might not be able to track your flows as well as you should which will lead to inefficient email flows.

    Once you have a few work flows down pat and you know what works for you, then it’s time to start expanding and creating more workflows.

    That being said, I would still suggest mapping out all of the possibilities of flows and changes of direction in advance, and then filling them in with actual content as you move along.

    That wraps up our series on email marketing. If you haven’t already, I suggest checking out our previous posts on building your mailing listgetting your emails opened, and writing emails that convert!