There are tangible benefits of implementing marketing automation. You can increase customer retention through automation programs like product replenishment and subscription renewals. Marketers have seen an increase in the average order value (AOV) through implementing upsell/cross-sell initiatives. And you can recover sales with cart abandonment programs and ultimately bring money into the company faster by reducing the sale cycle.

Now we’re going to look at some real life examples of the different automation programs you can create.

1. Welcome email

Boots - welcome email

A welcome email is a quick easy win to kick off your marketing automation. The main thing is that you collect the right data at the sign up point like email address, first name, DOB or company name for example. Be careful not to ask too many questions or you’ll see a drop-out in responses. Then fire off a quick email to say thanks for signing up. Like the Boots example above, use the data you collect to personalize the email and make your customer feel like they’re being treated as an individual. And reiterate the benefits so they know the value they’ll get from signing up.

2. Automated welcome email program

City  & Guilds - welcome program

A welcome program takes it a few steps further. The City & Guilds example above is based on a preference center that has multiple pages. Depending on what pages you complete (and don’t complete) you’ll enter an automation program that will send you emails, prompting you to complete the survey so they can collect the rest of the data.

When implementing your welcome program, think of it like welcoming guests into your home:

  • You say hello with a big smile = send customers a welcome email
  • You ask your guests what they’d like to drink = use a preference center to collect more info about your contacts
  • When your guests leave your house you say goodbye and let them know they’re welcome to come and see you again = you’re giving them the option to opt-in to further communications from you

City & Guilds have a lot of insight into what their subscribers want to see and make sure they reiterate that within the core marketing message of the email.

To find out more about the four-year marketing automation program City & Guilds are rolling out, read their case study here.

3. Anniversary driven program

ODEON - Happy birthday

Anniversary driven programs – like Happy Birthday – are a great way to get in touch with your customers and leave your brand at front of mind. The ODEON email above is an excellent example of them leveraging the data they hold on their customers (DOB) and using it to keep that all important digital rapport with them through their customer lifecycle or prospect nurture.

However, a Happy Birthday campaign doesn’t have to be just one email. You could do a multiple touch point program like Lee. Their four step program includes:

  • First email – to all subscribers they don’t have a date of birth for to collect that information (and incentivize them to do so)
  • Second email – thanks for giving us your DOB and here’s your incentive (15% off)
  • Third email – Happy Birthday on your actual birthday and a gift ($5 off)
  • Fourth email – 6 months before your birthday ‘celebrate your half birthday with a gift’ (save 10% on your next purchase)

4. Winback program

Starbucks - winback program

A winback program is all about timing. To know when to start your winback program you first need to identify when your customers lapsed. Look at your customer lifecycle and pinpoint the lapse by identifying dates like last invoice or last login for example. Once you know the date, send communications from that day forward. Winback programs are important because they drive revenue from existing customers, which as we know, is cheaper than acquiring new customers. However, they also help you clean your data. Deliverability is based on engagement and by removing dead data you’re ultimately improving your deliverability rates. And no longer wasting budget.

Some top tips for winback programs:

  • Make the subject line clear. Phrases like ‘we miss you’ and ‘comeback’ can generate up to 30% open rates
  • Incentivize your customers to come back to you like in the Starbucks example above
  • Keep the core marketing message simple – don’t overload them with too many offers or information

5. Browse abandonment program

Alexandalexa - browse

Browse abandonment programs are based on your customer’s behavior on your website, once you’ve identified them. Whether that be by tracking them from an email or when they’ve logged into their account.

The best abandonment emails, like the alexandalexa example, do the following:

  • Acknowledge what your customers were looking at and include a link so it’s easy for them to return to it
  • Recommend other products that compliment what they were browsing
  • Include customer service details – the reason they might have abandoned your website was because of technical difficulties
  • Have a strong CTA and core marketing message

6. Cart abandonment program

SIS - cart

This is a great example from Science in Sport for a cart abandonment program. They really make the most out of their email template. What we think they do best is:

  • Use personalization to continue the human conversation with their customers
  • Have pulled in information on the products abandoned; images, description and cost – which link back to the products so customers can easily continue shopping
  • Use the preview text to reinforce core marketing message
  • Use the header to push the core marketing message also. Science In Sport know that most of their emails were opened on mobile devices and that the header would act as a summary for the whole email so they used it very cleverly to get their message across

7. Nurture program

Nutricia - nurture

Nutricia were launching a product for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Patients would only start seeing significant results after 3 months of taking the full dosage. So their business goal was simple. Make sure patients took the correct dosage for the full 3 months. They needed a nurture program to increase customer loyalty and a product replenishment program to create repeat business.

To make this campaign possible they needed to integrate three different tools; their CMS, CRM and email marketing automation provider.

8. Product replenishment program

Nutricia - product replenishment

On the purchasing page of their website, patients had different option for dosage. When they selected their choice this information was fed from their CMS into their CRM. It was then pushed into their email marketing automation provider along with other information held on their customers that was needed to make the program a success.

A series of emails were then sent that changed, dependent on the dosage purchased to remind customers to take the correct dosage.

Although this was the core marketing message to ultimately increase repeat sales, Nutricia included Added Value Content to build customer trust and loyalty. That included:

  • Educate patients on benefits of the product
  • Tips on how else to live a healthy lifestyle that will help with their condition

To read more about Nutricia’s marketing automation, driven by salesforce, read the case study.

9. Multichannel program

By creating a multichannel automation program you can touch base with your customers on their preferred channel and make the most out of your content for optimal conversion optimization.

Kurt Geiger utilizes multichannel marketing to increase the results off their special offers. As a Kurt Geiger customer, you might receive promotional emails from them with an offer like 15% off. And you might have also received a nice looking gift card in the post with the same offer if you hadn’t already jumped at the chance when you got the email. This is a perfect example of reusing your content across different channels to drive conversion rates. A good multichannel program, like Kurt Geiger’s, will share some of these traits:

  • The direct mail, email (and social or SMS?) will all have the same look and feel. This goes beyond the company’s brand, it’s the brand of that particular campaign your promoting
  • All communications will have the same personalized information. I.e. who it’s addressed to (Ms, Miss or Dani, Danielle) and who it’s from – a person or the company?
  • Call To Action – if each channel has the same objective make the CTA really easy to understand, act on and be consistent across the different channels. Don’t forget to be able to track which channel the result came from though

Remember – you don’t have to use all the different channels available. Look at what works best for your company and customers then focus your efforts there.