How to blend marketing automation with email campaigns

Marketing automation opens up a lot of possibilities to offer your readers a tailored reading experience. But these opportunities also come with several challenges. For instance, one main challenge is blending in your manual email marketing campaigns - newsletters, newsflashes, promos, surveys, pr, ... - with automated messages. A possible strategy to get you going is using 2 tiers.

But before we digress: why is this so important? Well, imagine you have a new contact that signs up for your e-communication. You have a series of welcome emails to nurture your lead end eventually you try to convert him. But you also have newsletters and promotions to communicate. A possible scenario could be that you've just sent out your welcome email, and that you're planning to send your fresh contact a promotion or a short survey to inquire about your services over the coming days. It doesn't take much to see that the order of messages is not wrong. But your new contact will be receiving too many emails with irrelevant content, and will most likely end up unsubscribing.

It is however possible to add variables to your database. This will, for instance, make sure people in the welcome program don't receive promotions they don't want. But how do you qualify contacts? Has your contact converted or not? Has he even opened a single email? Eventually, your contact will end up with exactly the same content.

A great way to tackle this issue - and to take your first steps in marketing automation - is to set up 2 tiers : a tier with nurturing content, and a tier with conversion content. And if you really want to crank it up, why not add a welcome program with qualification content?

If a reader signs up, he will start off in your welcome program. This automated program gets your reader engaged with your brand, services and products. You can track how he interacts with your email content, how he browses through your site, and which products he is looking for. At the end of the welcome program you can calculate a score. If he is engaged with your brand but hasn't purchased, he will be put in tier 2. If he hasn't engaged, he ends up in tier 1.

Tier 1 | nurturting content
Your contact has low engagement level, so you need to further qualify the contact. You can implement a manual email program which uses conditional personalization to deliver relevant content. By doing so, you will grow your lead. Add a scoring report mechanic that calculates how he engages with these emails. If he has a higher score, he will be classified in tier 2.

Tier 2 | conversion content
You have a qualified contact - that's your start sign to focus on conversion. This is an ideal situation to use automated content. Deliver personalized content (depending on the browsing history) with a sales incentive (promotion, time urgency, scarcity, …). If the contact eventually converts, you can start a thank you program. If there is no conversion, you can transfer the contact back to tier 1, for further lead nurturing.


Even a basic automation program needs some smart thinking to integrate it into your other marketing activities. But if you get your planning right, you will see conversion grow significantly.

Posted on
Jan 29, 2015