How To Set Up Your Very First Marketing Automation Workflow

By Vee Tardrew - December 18, 2013

Struto-What-is-a-Marketing-Automation-WorkflowIn order for your inbound marketing campaign to be effective and deliver great - no wait – make that awesome results you’ll need to create a number of digital assets. These include the actual content offer (an eBook, checklist or case study), a badass call-to-action, a dedicated landing page with a form, a thank you page and an email to confirm their download. But what happens after that? This is the point at which your automated workflow kicks in.

What Exactly is a Marketing Automation Workflow Though?

In a nutshell it is a series of emails that are scheduled to go out to your leads over a period of time, based on certain criteria that I’ll get to in a moment, presenting them with further offers. It is reported that up to 50% of leads generated are not ready to make purchasing decision so the automated workflow is a great way to keep you top of mind with your leads and guide them further along the buying cycle.

HubSpot marketing software makes setting up your lead nurturing incredibly simple using the Workflows tool. Next up is a step-by-step rundown to get your first automated marketing workflow up and running and reconverting leads. Right, so, let's do this!

Select Your Segment

We know that not all leads are equal and therefore you’ll want to select the leads to enroll for the workflow based on certain actions they take or characteristics they hold. For example, you could choose to enroll leads who have downloaded a specific eBook, those that have a lead score of a set amount or higher, or perhaps someone who has viewed a specific page on your website. This is your trigger criteria to activate the workflow.

Plan The Steps

Next you’ll need to determine the individual steps your workflow will have. This can be as simple as a single email – like I use when people subscribe to our blog as a welcome and thank you – or a complex 12 step series. The number of steps required will come down to the objectives of your campaign.


While workflows are excellent for nurturing prospects, delivering content that they would find interesting and helpful, it is worth mentioning that they hold benefits for the sales team too. It is possible to set up a workflow based on lead behaviour on the site or contact information updates. Imagine a lead that has downloaded a few of your offers and is edging closer to being a sales qualified lead lands on your pricing web page. That is a pretty good indication they are taking your product or service under serious consideration. Now imagine if your sales team was instantly notified that this hot lead just visited your pricing page. Wouldn’t it be great if they could reach out while the lead is in the process of looking for information? Indeed, workflows allow this process to happen.

Determine The Execution Times

Once you have the individual steps mapped out, you can turn your attention to deciding about the timing for each step to be executed. The idea here is to define the time between the follow up emails. For example, my automated 'welcome to the blog' email goes out instantly while in another campaign I send one email 2 days after a specific action, the next goes out 3 days thereafter and the last 5 days after that. Most B2B companies will complain about a longer buying cycles, but it has been shown that lead nurturing campaigns can speed up the decision making process.

Take Your Workflow Live

Alrighty! All that’s left to do is to take that bad boy live by activating the workflow. Check in on your workflow performance periodically to identify if any changes or optimisation needs to be addressed. As a broad benchmark, according to HubSpot, lead nurturing emails generate an 8% CTR compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% CTR. The Workflow overview pane plots your overall workflow beautifully for easy reporting.


Are you making use of workflows to nurture your leads or streamline your sales and marketing processes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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