Email marketing automation is a great way to nurture leads into customers, and customers into champions. However, putting together an email series without the data to support segmentation or audience personalization can bring neutral or harmful returns if you don’t carefully plan for it.

If you don’t have any data, it’s hard to know where to start. And there are definitely cases where you won’t have any data to work with. You should be offering low barriers to entry into your database, asking for a simple name and email address in exchange for content or monetary value. With that, you can start a nurturing sequence. But somewhere in the workflow, you need to learn more about your audience if you want to have a meaningful impact.

With a robust marketing automation platform, there are many ways to insert data-gathering elements into your automated email workflows. Here are a few examples of strategies that you can incorporate.

Include an Interest Path Email

Interest Path Emails are a fantastic way to gather instant interest data on your audience. In an Interest Path Email, you offer prospects multiple calls to action that present different subsets of information on a topic. For example, a company that organizes adventure travel trips might offer different destinations that a prospect could learn about. Or, a summer camp could offer program information for different age groups.

Depending on what a prospect clicks on, you now have data on their interest. If your marketing automation platform allows it, you can even follow up with a triggered email set to send based on a CTA click.

HubSpot, a top inbound marketing and sales platform, has tried this particular tactic with great success. At INBOUND 2017, their annual marketing and sales conference, Director of North America Funnel Marketing Laurie Aquilante offered an example Interest Path Email they used to provide more context on a lead for their sales team.

interest path email example

Incorporate Gated Content

gated content emailAfter you’ve gathered an email address, you can always start a nurturing sequence with emails that introduce yourself to a prospect, establish a base level of knowledge, and provide thought leadership.

Then, prospects could be ready to provide more information in exchange for more value. Send an email linking to a landing page that offers an ebook, a webinar, or a similar piece of long-form content gated behind a form. Use this form to gather interest or demographic data that will impact your nurturing sequence beyond just name and email address.

See this example of a Gated Content Email from Camp Cody, a summer camp located in Freedom, New Hampshire on the shores of Ossipee Lake. The email offers a guide to helping parents understand how camp can benefit their child, outlining the value and linking to a landing page with a form to collect information.

Simply Ask For It!

Sometimes, the most genuine tactics work the best.

Once a prospect has started to get to know you through the front end of a nurturing sequence, you can ask them to provide information in exchange for more relevant content. In our experience, your audience will appreciate the chance to take an active role in what they receive in their inbox.

However, you must follow through with your promise to tailor content based on the data you gather. Do this by automatically moving the prospect to another nurturing sequence or, at least, placing them in a list you can send relevant one-off communications to.

Final Thoughts

Email automations can take a fair amount of planning and content generation to set up, but once in place they offer a consistent and powerful nurturing engine for prospects at any stage of the buyer’s journey.

We’ve worked with companies in a large variety of industries to create marketing automation campaigns that complement their business goals and strategies. Want to chat and see how your company could benefit? Schedule a free consultation with our Director of Inbound Marketing Strategy, Kaitlyn Merola.

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