As we near the end of Marketing Automation School, let’s quickly reflect on the ground we’ve covered so far in the marketing automation space.
In our first chapter, we agreed on a marketing automation definition that has continued to serve us, and will also do so in this chapter as well. Next, in our second chapter, we explored deeper into some of the most common and essential marketing automation uses, that businesses are taking advantage of today. And then, in our third chapter, we took a deep dive into the world of marketing automation software, including common types and the premier companies that build them.
Now, in this penultimate chapter of Marketing Automation School, we’ll dive into real-life marketing automation examples and workflows. Throughout the entirety of this chapter, you’ll see case studies of real businesses, real marketers, and real marketing automation strategies that have been implemented, with much success. You’ll learn how businesses are generating more leads, segmenting their lists, launching products, and turning shoppers who abandon their carts into new and repeat customers.
While each of these examples will be explained using features from the Drip ECRM platform, any and all of them can be recreated in the solution of your choosing. The strategies remain; only how, where, and when you execute them will change.
So buckle up, and let’s start building your business with big marketing automation results from the real world.
Lead Capture Workflow Example
How Marketing Automation Helps Bidsketch Generate More Leads and a 30% Lift in SaaS Trials
Bidsketch CEO, Ruben Gamez spent years wrangling emails for Bidsketch, his SaaS (Software as a Service) startup, using an email marketing tool. Bidsketch relied (and continues to rely) on email as its main flywheel for growth, with a specific arrangement of sample proposals designed to provide value to people and grow its email list.
By changing over from an email marketing tool to Drip’s marketing automation platform, Bidsketch was able to reduce spam complaints and test complex concepts with ease. As a result, it saw trial users increase by 30%.
Recently, Bidsketch tested a time-based incentive to convert email subscribers to trial users of their product. The test was designed to see whether an incentive would increase trial conversions. For this test, Bidsketch automatically sent an email to people who downloaded a resource or a template from them, asking if they wanted to start a free trial of Bidsketch – a simple yes or no question.
In this email, Bidsketch offered half of their new subscribers a $30 Mixergy Video Course for free if they signed up for a free trial of Bidsketch, with 24 hours to take advantage of the offer. The other half didn’t get this offer.
The half that were tagged with a 24-hour time limit were moved into a “Bonus Mixergy Video” campaign as a holding place. If after 18 hours they had not converted to a trial, and received a “Trial” tag, they received an email letting them know they had only six hours left to redeem the offer.
People who converted to trials didn’t get the reminder email because Ruben created an automation rule for anyone tagged with “Trial” to be removed from the campaign that would have sent them the reminder email.
In Drip, the setup was simple and Bidsketch was able to test this complex idea without any code. Here it is in Ruben’s words:
“I thought the initial email, with the 24-hour buffer and not sending it if they converted to a trial, would be tricky. There would be no way to do this in MailChimp.”
Because Bidsketch gets nearly all of its trials through email, a growing email list is critical to Bidsketch’s overall success. Since switching to Drip, they’ve seen remarkable growth:
- 35,000 new people on their email list in six months.
- An average of 9,000 new people each month.
- A 30% increase in new trial conversions since switching to Drip.
Bidsketch has grown from their single founder, Ruben, to a small team of full-time employees. According to their CEO Ruben Gamez, switching to a marketing automation tool Drip played a critical role in this success.
Checkout Abandonment Workflow Example
How Marketing Automation Helps NinjaOutreach Save Abandoned Shoppers and Generate More Monthly Revenue
Imagine you put an item in your Amazon shopping cart. You leave to go check Facebook without buying… and you know it’s coming. The next time you open up your inbox, chances are, you’ll see an email waiting for you, gently reminding you to come back and buy. It works.
These emails are money-makers because they send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. And the same goes for SaaS email marketing. In every industry, a percentage of people inevitably abandon a checkout process or shopping card, when asked for their credit card. That’s why it pays to have a system for following up with lost leads.
It’s worth noting here, that cart abandonment is a massive and well documented problem in online retail. Business Insider estimates that ecommerce companies lose a combined $4 trillion in revenue per year to abandoned carts. Whether you sell digital products, services, physical products, or subscription software, you will benefit from limiting those who abandon their purchase with you.
Ninja Outreach has found a way to turn lost trials into sign-ups and paid users automatically. And they’ve done it without hiring a consultant or paying $2,000+ mandatory setup fees for one of the big automation platforms. Without further ado, let’s see how they started rescuing more SaaS trials and how you can do the same.
So how has NinjaOutreach used marketing automation to help with abandonment?
Beneath each of their software plans on their pricing page is a call-to-action for their 14-day free trial. When clicked, instead of hitting a prototypical page to enter your credit card, you see a popup that requests your email address to get started.
After entering your email address, Ninja Outreach then takes you to a page asking for your payment details. This way, when leads abandon their free trial page, instead of losing them forever, Ninja Outreach already has their contact information. This allows them to automate follow up sequences based on whether or not they complete their signup process. The results have been impressive.
Here’s a recent breakdown of Ninja Outreach’s abandonment workflow. In 30 days:
- 564 leads entered their “Abandoned Form” follow up email sequence.
- 11.6% of these abandoners came back and finished their trial sign up
- 65 total users were recovered, converting to plans ranging from $29/mo to $249/mo
All in all, NinjaOutreach’s cart abandonment workflow takes about an afternoon to set up with the right marketing automation tool, but the results are undoubtedly worth it. Their “Abandoned Form” follow up sequence is a simple two-email campaign, nudging abandoned visitors to come back. Just like Amazon’s abandoned shopping cart emails.
On average, this pair of emails get a 36% open rate and a 14% click-thru-rate. That high 14% click-thru-rate is the equivalent of clicking on Amazon’s button to revisit your shopping cart. Instead of being annoyed by these emails, the data shows that people are still very interested in signing up for Ninja Outreach. And they’ll still be very interested in buying from you too.
With native one-click integrations with Stripe and Paypal, a marketing automation tool like Drip can instantly remove people from this campaign of “Abandoned Form” reminders as soon as they finish signing up. This way, contacts who complete their sign up won’t ever receives irrelevant emails.
With a rule like this in place, you just might sleep better at night, knowing you’ve put a safety net in place to catch people you might otherwise lose, and the right messages are being triggered to the right people, at the right time.
Ninja Outreach’s overall workflow looks like this:
- Leads that abandon their Free Trial page enter a two-email campaign with reminders to come back.
- Leads can then schedule a personalized demo, because these emails include a link to Ninja Outreach’s online scheduling software.
- They net, on average, 65 new trials per month, amounting to thousands of dollars in extra monthly recurring revenue.
The beauty is that, once you set this system up, an example like this happens completely on autopilot, and your marketing automation software will do all the heavy lifting, saving you both time and money.
Which marketing automation features are most important to your business?
Lead Nurturing Workflow Example
How Marketing Automation Helps David Carta Use Email Lead Nurturing to Land $25,000 Clients From Tradeshows
Do you remember the feeling of coming home from your last industry event? The ideas are flowing, you’ve got a stack of business cards, and you plan to send some emails with subject lines like, “Great meeting you…”
Until Monday morning comes.
Then those business cards get lost on your desk. Or worse, you ping a few new contacts, but then the conversation goes silent.
Marketers and business owners know it can take many touches to generate a qualified lead. But with everything on our plates, sometimes we’re simply without the time and energy to have all of those simultaneous conversations, hoping those leads make their way to the bottom of our funnels.
Even worse than wasting that time and energy though, is not engaging with those leads at all. If you were to skip nurturing a dozen prospects per month, you’re inevitably missing deals and leaving revenue on the table.
David Carta, a trained engineer and CEO of a manufacturing firm called Telaeris, recognized this problem and found a solution. David’s automation workflow lets him stay top-of-mind with his leads without the manual effort, resulting in:
- more qualified leads.
- more sales conversations.
- more $20,000+ client engagements.
At Telaeris, Inc., David relies on trade shows as a critical source of leads. David explains how he turns handshakes into lasting business contacts:
“To speed up how we capture leads, we have badge scanners that we use at trade shows to automate lead collection. But we also collect tons of business cards. These are all people who have expressed interest in our solutions and give us permission to send them more info. In Drip, we then have an email drip sequence specifically tailored for each particular trade show.
For example, after a lead gets captured, they’ll automatically receive an email saying, ‘Thanks for stopping by our booth, it was great to connect.’ This gives us a base to continue the conversation.”
Then following the event, Telaeris uses marketing automation to move people from their “trade show” campaign into a longer, more product-specific lead-nurturing sequence, automatically. The latter emails send leads occasional articles and FAQs about Telaeris products.
Here’s what a typical Telaeris trade show campaign looks like:
- One hour after being added, an email saying: “It was great to connect.”
- Broadcast email, on second day of the trade show: “We have free beer and snacks at our booth, come grab a drink and say hi.”
- Final day of the trade show: “Come by and see if you won the raffle for the iPad at 2pm! You must be present to win!”
- One day after the trade show: “We hope you made it home safely. Here’s more info about our products that you requested”
- Three days later, added to ongoing lead nurture campaign.
No contact accidentally falls out of touch. But the question is, does it work? Here’s David:
“Our lead-to-sale time is really long, about 6 months—and sometimes longer for bigger contracts. We recently closed a deal 3 years after first making contact with a client. Our average sale is $25,000, so we need a lot of touch points. I’ve found that, if you don’t have people in some sort of automation followup, you will eventually lose track and drop them.”
That’s the power of staying in front of people over time. At Drip, we’re thrilled to see Telaeris use marketing automation to bring in more business in the B2B space.
Churn Reduction Workflow Example
How Marketing Automation Helps Drift Reduce Customer Churn and Automate Onboarding
“If Slack is a messaging app to help you run your business, Drift is a messaging app to help you grow your business.”
That’s how Cara Herrick describes Drift, the sales and customer success app she helps 10,000+ businesses wield as Drift’s Customer Success Manager.
“Customers use Drift for live chat, in-app messages, email, and more so they can talk their website visitors, convert more leads, and keep customers happy,” says Cara—and it really is that simple.
We use Drift on our own website at Drip, and we also have a really cool integration that lets you retarget and market to people using the combined power of email and in-app messaging. But even the world’s best software companies face challenges. One nearly universal goal for any SaaS company is accelerating customer onboarding in order to reduce customer churn.
Ever since they switched their marketing automation platform to Drip, Cara and her team are successfully onboarding and retaining more customers using Drip’s behavioral targeting capabilities and visual workflows. As Drift got started with Drip, the team realized that this was a tool that could grow with their rapidly rising company and let them track their success.
“Our main reason for switching was just that Drip had a more digestible aspect to the experience that helped us better understand the success of our campaigns. And as we continue to grow and develop new features, Drip was able to better handle bigger campaigns or one-off emails.”
So what have Drift’s results been like? Well, with increased open rates and a higher number of clickthroughs, Drift is seeing less customer confusion. In addition to the enhanced user experience, Drip has aided Drift’s operations and performance in a couple of very tangible ways.
What would you most like to change about your current marketing automation software?
Timeline-Based Onboarding Sequences:
“Our primary use case for using Drip has been to properly onboard new customers to get them up and running with Drift. We’ve successfully set up Drip campaigns that send out triggered emails based on customer timelines or actions.”
Using Drip’s campaign builder, Cara and her team can automatically send out onboarding emails at the ideal intervals they’ve observed based on past customer experience. These automated email sequences keep new customers on track and make sure they’re hitting the milestones that make for a successful Drift experience.
But not every customer’s the average customer. That’s why Drift also takes advantage of Drip’s ability to track user behavior in great detail—and trigger emails in response.
Behavioral-Triggered Outreach Sequences
“We’ve found specific points where customers get caught up or don’t know what to do next. Maybe they’ve hit a wall and just don’t quite know how to use the product yet. We built a Drip campaign to recognize these clues and send an email offering help at these points, bridging the gap and increasing our customer success.”
For instance, Cara says, one of their behavioral-triggered campaigns consists of activation emails. Drift has identified the number of chats that one of their customers has had with customers on their website as massive sign of success and engagement. If Drift notices that someone hasn’t hit their magic success number for chats, they’ll automatically be sent an email asking if Drift’s customer success team can help.
Speaking of those open rates—they’re exceptional. Cara says:
“Since we’ve been able to trigger Drip to send emails to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time, we’ve been able to provide a very tailored onboarding experience. Our open rates for the emails sent offering help have been approximately 66 percent, with a click through rate of about 10 percent. [This is] very high engagement since we’re really speaking to a problem they’re experiencing.”
These workflows put together have driven efficiency increases for Drift, Cara and her team, as well as their customers. All of these efficiencies combine to create a better onboarding process and overall customer experience—and happier, more successful customers leads to less churn.
Product Launch Workflow Example
How Marketing Automation Helped SamCart Engineer a 7-Figure Product Launch
For checkout page software company SamCart, the decision to switch to Drip was a crucial decision at the last minute. SamCart couldn’t afford to make any mistakes leading up to their most recent product launch, but they took the calculated risk to switch to Drip. And it paid off big.
SamCart makes it simple for users to create customized checkout and upsell pages. Leading up to their big launch, SamCart wanted a marketing automation platform that was as user-friendly as their own checkout pages, and had the segmentation they needed to send daily broadcasts to only the subset of people on their list who expressed interest in SamCart.
About a month before their big launch, the founders of SamCart heard about Drip. According to Cofounder Scott Moran, within 30 minutes, they knew Drip was the tool they needed:
“Drip let us do enough of the advanced stuff that we knew we needed, while keeping the UI simple so we didn’t need to hire a consultant to use it.”
After switching to Drip’s marketing automation tool, SamCart made a seven-figure return on their product launch. Here’s how they did it.
If you currently use a marketing automation platform, what did you primarily use to do your marketing before?
5 Marketing Automation Strategies SamCart Used to Generate a 7-Figure SaaS Launch
Send Daily Emails to Move Prospects Through a Series of Videos
At the center of the SamCart launch was a series of three videos that they sent to people starting two weeks before the cart opening. Their shopping cart was only open for four days—from a Monday morning to a Thursday evening.
At the end of the first video, SamCart teased this 16-point breakdown of the elements of a checkout page, to get viewers excited for the next video. Once people had watched the first video, SamCart’s team set up their workflows so those people no longer received emails about that video. Scott said:
“We’re not going to talk about angle A over and over again in our emails if that angle didn’t get them to watch the video the first time.”
In other words, Scott and Brian didn’t just blast their whole list with three videos, several days apart, regardless of whether or not people were engaged. Instead, they sent consecutive emails pushing people to their first video, until they watched it. Then they moved on to their second, and so on. Then Scott took this 1-to-1 personalization a step further.
Tag Video Viewers Who Watch At Least 20% of a Video
SamCart tracked whether or not people had watched any of the three videos that they sent. When someone watched 20 percent of a video in Wistia, a tag was applied in Drip that simply identified them as a viewer of the video. The tags would simply says “watched PLC1,” for instance, for those who watched at least 20 percent of the first video.
Exclude Video Viewers from Future Broadcasts
People who viewed the video and were tagged accordingly were removed from the ongoing daily emails. The SamCart team did this simply in Drip, by creating daily broadcast emails but excluding those tagged with “watched PLC1,” for instance.
“Each video played a crucial part in the pitch,” Scott explained, “so it was important strategically to ensure that people saw it, without bombarding those who were engaging with the same content repeatedly. If you haven’t watched the first video, it’s imperative that you watch it, so we were going back those first five days mailing everybody back to PLC1, excluding people who had already watched it, based on tags.”
Send Teaser Content to Your Most Engaged People
Of course, it’s not a good strategy to ignore prospects who are engaging with your content entirely. Those who were tagged in Drip after watching the video continued to receive teaser content about the next video, as well as when to expect the next video and the launch date.
Scott said this was crucial to keep SamCart’s “super fans” engaged throughout the launch:
“As for the people who had taken action, we weren’t hammering them over the head with something they had already seen. But we were still able to prepare them for what was coming next. Those who engaged with the videos got a free trial offer. We weren’t going to ask anyone to start a free trial if they weren’t even interested enough to watch the pre-launch content. For folks who were engaged, we gave them a chance to try SamCart.”
If you have a segment of contacts who have heard about your product but still haven’t bought, consider moving them into a nurture campaign. But for folks who watch every minute of your videos, send them teasers for upcoming videos to build excitement.
Prune Uninterested People to Boost Deliverability
If daily emails seem like a lot of contact, Scott acknowledges that they were persistent with their emails, but the hope was not spamming people, but encouraging them to take action, especially during a big launch like this. This also meant list cleaning, which SamCart does regularly with people who haven’t opened an email in 60 or 90 days. Luckily, Drip can help automate this process, to keep your list full of active readers, not just people who may no longer be interested in hearing from you.
So how did these workflows and strategies work for SamCart? Through this strategy of daily emails, 1-to-1 personalization, and more advanced content for prospects who were engaged, SamCart engineered a 7-figure launch. From a list of 25,000 opt-ins, SamCart signed up over 3,000 new customers.
Drip was a big shift for SamCart right before a big launch, but it was a shift they needed. They moved from complicated systems they had used previously to a simple system that doesn’t require any special skills or consultants to use, according to Scott.
Honestly, the really big benefit is that Drip was just simple. It was everything we needed to get the launch done and nothing else, so that was huge. While Scott admits that the shift to Drip was a bit of a last-minute decision before a huge month for them, he says it was worth the risk.
As we’ve talked about what marketing automation is and what it can do, it’s easy to get lost in the conceptual elements of marketing automation, without necessarily seeing concrete examples of how it works in the real world. We hope this chapter has changed that.
After seeing these uses and case studies, we hope you have an even better idea of how you and your business can specifically benefit from marketing automation. The workflows, examples, tactics, and strategies in this chapter are nothing if not inspiring; you’ll see your business grow if you take the essence of these examples and introduce these same strategies to your marketing efforts.
Whether you’re looking to gain more leads, convert more leads to customers, increase the retention of existing customers, or turn first-time buyers into repeat customers—marketing automation has a solution that can contribute to each of these goals. If you’re interested in learning more about how Drip’s visual workflow builder uses an intuitive and seamless interface to implement the above strategies and help you achieve those goals, click here to check out a quick explainer video and some fast facts.
With that, our next chapter of Marketing Automation School will be our last, as we look forward at The Future of Marketing Automation. We’ll discuss features, softwares, and strategies that are quickly moving from aspirations to realities, as well as the evolving expectations of clients and customers. This chapter will help you look forward, as you plan the future of your business, to best prepare for what’s coming, along with what’s already here.