October 19, 2020

10 Marketing Automation Workflow Examples That’ll Get You Results

Reading time about 17 min

Marketing automation workflows are a lifesaver for time-strapped teams. Not only this, but they can also enable marketers to build better customer relationships, boost conversions, and dramatically increase revenue. To ensure your business reaps the benefits, here are 10 marketing automation workflow examples and details on how to set up your own.

So, you’ve already got a grasp of what marketing automation is, and you’re itching to get started. But wait — what are the best marketing automation workflows to try and how exactly do they work? 

Below you’ll find 10 examples of marketing automation workflows, along with how they can help your business and instructions for setting them up. The workflows are separated into the following categories, based on what you’re looking to achieve:

But first, let’s go over some key terminology…

Understanding Marketing Automation Workflows

In a marketing context, an automated workflow involves the following elements:

  • Different touchpoints in the customer lifecycle, such as when they visit your website or contact your customer service
  • The conditions or triggers for steps within the workflow, which may be a customer characteristic or behavior 
  • The actions automatically triggered by such conditions, like sending a subscriber an email or adding them to a list

an example of an abandoned cart automation flow

If this all sounds a bit complicated not to worry. Brevo (ex Sendinblue)’s marketing automation software offers a range of ready-to-use workflow templates for common scenarios.

So, no need to start from scratch!

Plus you can give it a try for free, with access to Brevo’s full suite of marketing automation features for up to 2,000 contacts on the Free plan. 

Now, let’s explore some of the best marketing automation workflows and how you can put them into practice.

10 Marketing Automation Workflows and How to Set Them Up

Here are some examples of how your marketing team can use automated workflows to boost your results. 

Workflows for building relationships

Automation can play a crucial role in your relationship marketing strategy. It not only helps you to secure new customers but also to ensure they remain loyal to your brand in the long term.

1. Welcoming subscribers

An effective welcome email is a must for subscribers who sign up to content like your newsletter. This simple email automation example shows your audience you care and lays the foundation for a lasting relationship.

You can use welcome workflows to:

  • Re-state (or elaborate on) your value proposition. What makes you special?
  • Set expectations for your subscribers. What can they expect to gain from your content and how often will they receive it?
  • Welcome new subscribers to your community and give them a taste of your charming personality!
  • Surprise subscribers with a bonus. This could be a coupon if you have a store or a bonus piece of content that they can download immediately.

Example of an automated welcome email for the Robbie Richards marketing blog newsletter

How to set up the workflow

This workflow is a type of email autoresponder. It’s among the more straightforward examples, with fewer variables and conditions involved. So, the perfect workflow for those just getting started with marketing automation! 

The trigger is the submission of a signup form on your website, which adds the subscriber to your chosen list. Once they join the list this automatically initiates the workflow and sends the welcome email campaign you have prepared. 

Screenshot of a welcome email workflow using Brevo (ex Sendinblue)’s marketing automation platform

For more detail, read our tutorial on creating welcome workflows with Brevo (ex Sendinblue)

2. Offering gated content

Lead generation is never a one-way street. If you want information from your prospective customers, you need to give them a reason to share it!

Gated content is one of the best ways to achieve this. You provide something valuable to users, such as a downloadable ebook or a webinar. And in exchange they provide useful information like their name, company, email address, and other contact details. 

Gated content is particularly effective as a lead generation tactic because it attracts people who are likely to be interested in your offer. A well-crafted automation workflow can help capitalize on this. 

After automatically sending subscribers the content they signed up for, you can nurture leads by following up with more content tailored to their interests. 

How to set up the workflow

Your starting point is to create a popup or landing page for your gated content that is connected to your database. When someone fills out the form to access the content, they are added to an email list. This initiates the workflow.

From there you can create a series of actions so that subscribers receive relevant content at the right time. 

3. Lead nurturing

As the above example demonstrates, marketing automation can make nurturing new leads easier and more effective. 

The goal of lead nurturing is to guide potential customers toward conversion. You could use this type of workflow to:

  • Maintain customer engagement throughout their research and shopping process
  • Provide prospects with the relevant information they need to make a purchase

How to set up the workflow

Your lead nurturing workflow should start at the earliest possible point in the sales funnel. This might be when someone subscribes to your newsletter or requests a demo of your product. 

Once a lead enters your workflow you can track their engagement to further tailor the customer journey. For example, depending on which pages they visit on your site, you can follow up with an automated email campaign with relevant content based on their interests.

4. Getting Feedback

Customer feedback is a valuable tool not only for improving your service or product but also for building trust. And with an automated workflow collecting feedback and gauging customer satisfaction is much easier!

How to set up the workflow

First decide the touchpoint that should trigger a request for feedback. Some possible scenarios include a product purchase or a customer’s interaction with your support team. This should prompt a message asking the customer for feedback on their experience. 

And you can go even further with a multi-step workflow, based on the customer’s response. For example:

  • With satisfied customers, add them to a loyal customers list where you send them exclusive offers and discounts to keep them coming back for more. Another option is to take the opportunity to request a review from the customer so you can share their positive feedback more widely. 
  • With unhappy customers, send a personal thank you message for their honest feedback and try to learn more about their negative experience. You could also offer refunds or discounts to try and remedy the situation from a customer service perspective.

Example of an automated review request by company SiteGround


Workflows for improving engagement

Once someone subscribes or becomes a paying customer, you still need to work hard to sustain their interest and stop them from falling through the cracks. These marketing automation workflows will help you do just that!

5. Onboarding series

Onboarding emails are an important tool for ensuring customers stick with your company. You can send these automated emails following an account creation or after a customer purchases your product or service

When a user creates an account on a website, there are usually several steps they must take to complete their profile. There are also things they must learn to be able to get the most out of their account. Your onboarding series can address some of these issues for a smoother customer experience. 

In the longer term this can have benefits such as:

  • Increasing customers’ engagement with your products or services and improving retention
  • Identifying low-engagement users or those who have not properly set up their account for further outreach campaigns

How to set up the workflow

When a user signs up or makes a purchase, they submit a form that adds their details to your database. This action sets the rest of the workflow into motion.

Once the user receives your initial email, you can include a condition that sends a follow-up message if they have not completed the required steps after a certain amount of time.

And if they have completed their profile, you can send them a final email that shows them how to get the most out of their account.

Optimizing your email timing and monitoring whether recipients completed the last key action is essential. This ensures users receive value from your onboarding emails and reinforces that your brand is there to help.

Example of an email from an automated onboarding series for G Suite that guides users through the setup process


6. Celebrating birthdays or anniversaries

Give your customers the VIP treatment by automatically sending them a special discount for their birthday or the anniversary of when they became a customer.

Personalized campaigns like this are a great way to build loyalty and keep your brand top of mind. Plus they give customers an incentive to buy from your company again or maintain their subscription. 

Example of an automated Birthday email by brand Anthropologie

How to set up the workflow

This is one of the simplest examples to get started with automated email workflows. 

For birthday messages you’ll need to ask users for their date of birth during sign up. For other scenarios you can use the date a contact was added to a particular list. 

Using this contact data you can then create a workflow that automatically sends a pre-prepared message to subscribers on the same date each year. 

If the customer doesn’t redeem their promotion, you could also trigger a reminder to be sent after a certain period of time. 

Screenshot of using Brevo (ex Sendinblue)'s Anniversary Date workflow template

To learn how to set up a birthday email workflow with Brevo, as well as best practices for your email design and content, check out our guide to birthday emails.

7. Re-engaging subscribers

If you want to combat low engagement with your content or product, a re-engagement workflow is the way to go. 

There are a variety of possible scenarios for this, such as:

  • Asking email subscribers with poor engagement if they still want to hear from you
  • Luring back a customer who hasn’t bought in a while with a discount
  • Reaching out to users who haven’t logged in or used your product in a while

Example of a re-engagement email by company Clear


How to set up the workflow 

The first step is to define an inactive subscriber and thus the conditions for a contact to enter the workflow. This might be a subscriber who hasn’t opened your emails or bought something for a certain period of time. This then triggers either a single message or a series of emails that aim to win them back. 

Bonus tip: you can also use re-engagement emails to clean your list of contacts who are no longer interested. Add a step to your workflow so that if a contact doesn’t engage with your “last chance” message asking them to re-opt in, they are automatically removed from your list. 

For information on how to send automated re-engagement emails with Brevo, along with examples to inspire you, check out our guide to reactivations emails

Workflows for increasing revenue

With the right workflow, marketing automation can do wonders for boosting your sales. Here are some examples of exactly how you can put this into practice. 

8. Following-up abandoned carts

Abandoned cart workflows are a must for any ecommerce site. Why? Put simply, by giving customers a nudge you can secure more sales and boost your conversion rate. 

Abandoned cart follow-ups generally involve a message reminding a shopper about items left in their online cart, along with a link to take them back to complete their purchase. 

Example of an abandoned cart email by clothing retailer Everlane


Aside from this basic format, where possible your message should address issues that may have led to the cart abandonment. For example, you could offer the shopper a discount or provide details for contacting your customer service.

Further reading: Abandoned Cart Email Examples & Best Practices to Recover Lost Sales

How to set up the workflow

The trigger for this workflow is based on shoppers’ activity on your website, specifically when they add one or more items to their cart. After a contact enters the workflow, have it wait a certain period of time (24 hours is usually sufficient). Once the waiting period is over, the workflow should check to see if the purchase was completed. If this is not the case it will automatically send your abandoned cart message.

Example abandoned cart email workflow

For more detail on setting up this workflow using Brevo, check out our step-by-step guide to abandoned cart emails.

9. Upselling/cross-selling

Even if a customer completes their purchase first time you can still take the opportunity to boost revenue using marketing automation. Use purchase history to give relevant recommendations, such as complementary products or items popular with the rest of your customers. 

This workflow is particularly effective for encouraging new customers to buy again. Not only can it increase revenue but when done right you’ll also add value to the shopper experience, which will keep them coming back for more. 

How to set up the workflow

This workflow is based on customers’ past purchases. To implement it, create a segment for customers who purchase a certain product and set your workflow to launch when a contact matches the segment conditions.

Then you can send them personalized recommendations they won’t be able to resist!

Post-purchase automated email by Allergy Buyers Club (part 1)

Post-purchase automated email by Allergy Buyers Club (part two) that uses cross-selling by recommending related products


10. Lead scoring

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know which contacts are your most promising leads and how close they are to making a purchase? With a lead scoring workflow you can do just that! 

Lead scoring is exactly what it sounds like—assigning points to prospective customers based on their behavior. This helps you better target your marketing to the leads who are most likely to convert. Lead scoring can also be used for automated list segmentation based on the score of each contact. 

Illustration demonstrating a lead scoring workflow example

How to set up this workflow

A lead scoring workflow automatically adds points to individual contacts when they perform actions that suggest they are likely to convert

Before starting on your workflow, you must first create a column in your customer database for “score”. This value will change based on customers’ behaviors. You will also need to determine what actions prospects generally take before converting and how many points each of these actions should be worth. 

Once you’ve got the planning out the way, you can create workflows that will check whether contacts perform the various actions leading to conversion. 

For more detailed instructions, read our guide on creating a lead scoring model.

DID YOU KNOW? Brevo (ex Sendinblue) lets you build automation workflows including email, SMS, WhatsApp, and more channels!

Start Building Your Own Marketing Automation Workflows

Hopefully these workflow examples have whet your appetite and inspired you to put your knowledge into action! Be sure to also check out our list of marketing automation best practices for tips on getting the most from your efforts.

And if you’re looking for a solution to get started with marketing automation, why not give Brevo a try?

Our Free plan includes all marketing automation features and allows you to target up to 2,000 contacts in your workflows. Or, if you’re looking to scale your marketing, you can get unlimited automation starting from $65/month.

You’ll get ready automation workflows, ready segments of customers to target, and a very flexible workflow builder that can use any event as a trigger.

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