Why automated workflows are important post-GDPR

3 powerful options

So GDPR is finally here – the world hasn’t ended but your lists may be somewhat depleted! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Firstly, your recipients are those most likely to be engaged with your brand because despite a deluge of emails they still said ‘yes, contact me’. Those who didn’t click are not interested at worst and apathetic at best.  Some will no doubt come back when they miss your dulcet tones in their inbox!

Secondly, understand if ‘legitimate interest’ is a basis for processing data (link is to an interesting video from Suzanne Dibble who is an expert on all things GDPR).

Finally, pick yourself up and start building a list of highly engaged recipients who want to interact, buy and engage with you.

How? With timely, relevant emails delivered through automation and workflows.  I am not talking those intrusive emails saying get this freebie and then be bombarded with bright bold offers. I am talking building up a relationship by offering ongoing value to your recipients whether they are prospects, customers of advocates.

You can set up workflows for different stages of your relationship which add value, give you more opportunities to engage and enhance your brand.

What is a workflow?

A workflow is a triggered set of emails. They are more timely as they are sent in response to recipient actions and this increases their relevance and engagement levels.

  • A ‘non-responsive’ workflow is a series of emailed triggered by a single action
  • A ‘responsive’ workflow has different paths depending on recipient actions throughout the process.

Post-GDPR, using a ‘hook’ such as an ebook maybe less effective as you may need separate opt-in for newsletters and ongoing communications.  If this is the first time someone has visited your site they may not be so keen to tick that box and your one opportunity has gone – unless they decide to come back and opt-in later!  However, if you send a series of emails (with the recipient’s permission) you can include a link to your newsletter in each one. This may be more enticing after 3 good quality emails filled with mind-blowingly awesome content!

Note: It is debatable whether such offers will be considered inappropriate incentivising for newsletters (for the record I think ‘sign up and get this free ebook’ should be allowed,  but I’m not a lawyer).

3 popular workflow ideas you should consider

Nurturing workflow

This starts with a ‘hook’ which can be used to get peoples email address and start their relationship with you before getting them to agree to further communications such as a newsletter.  You invite recipients to sign up for an ‘e-series’ whereby they agree to receive several emails on a particular topic.

This gives you multiple opportunities to invite them for further communications, but the e-series can also draw on relevant case studies and testimonials to help recipients become more interested in your brand and services. Remember they have opted in for quality, helpful content, so ensure everything is relevant to their original opt-in request and not a marketing message.

A workflow can also go on off on different strands depending on the direction taken by the recipient (for example, if they click a specific link this may trigger a slightly different journey than not clicking that link).

You may want to run a number of nurturing workflows to attract different audiences or appeal to different problems commonly faced by your target customer.

Onboarding workflow

One of the biggest reasons that many businesses lose customers is because they don’t know how to use a product or service effectively or get the most out of it. An onboarding workflow can be considered in the legitimate interest of the customer since it is helping them use your products more effectively but they still need to be given the chance to say no.

An onboarding workflow may include a number of videos over the early stages of your relationship to help customers get the most from your product. It could also include helpful contacts or product information. A favourite example of mine is ‘How to correctly hang pictures’ from an online retailer for framed prints. The email stuck in their customer’s minds, but also made sure the chances of their purchases sitting behind the sofa gathering dust were reduced!

Lifecycle workflow

These are emails triggered based on the purchase or activation date of a product or service that relate to their lifecycle stage with you. The onboarding may be a part of this, but you can go further with emails triggered after a period of time that show more advanced features or a reminder of your services.

For example, an insurance company often sends a reminder email a couple of weeks before a policy renewal, but emails sent at 3,6,9 and then 11 months are more likely to generate a feeling of having a relationship than a reminder email after 11 ½ months of silence.

Whilst these are also an opportunity from cross and upselling, their value is in making you a trusted supplier / brand / partner so ensure any marketing is in line with their marketing preferences or can fall under ‘legitimate interest’ and doesn’t harm your relationship.

Want to do something?

If you’d like help putting together a workflow to deepen your prospect and client relationships, please get in touch on 01707 258 959 or email me.

I also offer training courses on using workflows and automation effectively and can include Mailchimp Automation training within that course.