8 Great Marketing Automation Examples
Automaton is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing. But there are so many options that it’s hard to know what the best marketing automation tools are and identify the marketing automation strategy that’ll make the most impact for you.
Rather than focus on choosing specific marketing automation software or solidifying a strategy for your next campaign right off the bat, it’s a good idea to start by looking at what different kinds of marketing automation examples have worked for other companies.
Marketing automation is a $30 billion industry, so there are quite a few options. Do you need CRM automation? Email marketing automation? Help with inbound marketing? B2C marketing automation? B2B marketing automation? Finding great marketing automation examples can help you figure out where to get started.
1. Personalization (Noom)
One of the great advantages of marketing automation is that it can help you offer a personalized experience, enticing new customers and delighting loyal customers at the same time through experiences that feel bespoke.
Noom is an online weight loss program that uses automation to give potential customers the feeling that they’re working with a personalized trainer and nutritionist.
Before even signing up, Noom users must fill out a lengthy survey, providing information about their health, background, habits, and goals. Noom’s automation tool then provides users with a customized weight-loss plan based on their responses.
Of course, it’s not all automation work! Noom’s survey is cleverly peppered with marketing messages as various sections of the survey load, and the weight-loss plan itself is gated content.
After users convert, Noom also uses automated email marketing to feed users welcome emails and a daily dose of articles to help them stick to their plans via automated email campaigns.
Automation is the key. Both before and after that signup and welcome email, the automation of the content they see gives customers the feeling that they’re working through a plan that has been built and tailored for them specifically.
In Noom’s case, email automation is a big part of the product, but marketing automation software can be used to add personalized elements to any point in your customers’ journeys.
It can convince potential customers you’re right for them or show existing customers that you know them.
2. Automated Nurture Emails (Framebridge)
Email marketing automation is one of the most common ways marketers choose to employ automation. And while there are a variety of ways to use email automation, one of the most powerful is via onboarding and nurturing sequences and campaigns.
One great example of a nurture email is this one, from Framebridge, a company that helps customers frame custom artwork, jerseys, and anything else they might want in a frame:
Source: Framebridge The key here is email automation providing a great customer experience – Framebridge is aware that customers are more likely to come back if they’re satisfied with the experience of their first purchase.
This email is part of an automated post-purchase sequence designed to help customers get their artwork up on the wall after they’ve received it.
Automation is key here. An email like this can be triggered to send based on the customer’s shipping data, either right before or right after their purchase is delivered. The automation allows Framebridge to deliver this message at the right time for each individual customer.
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The email itself is also very well done. It presents a single, clear CTA that brings customers back to the Framebridge site, and it presents hanging framed artwork as a simple three-step process. It makes everything look fun and easy.
But ultimately, the success of this kind of nurture message, whether it’s a how-to email or a welcome email, is about timing.
Even if you’re doing B2B marketing or SaaS marketing where there’s no physical product delivery timing to sync with, your users have patterns and rhythms that email automation campaigns can help you take advantage of.
One common feature for email automation tools, for example, is personalized send times for email marketing campaigns, allowing you to click “Send” once, but deliver the same email at many different times depending on when each recipient has opened previous messages.
This kind of email automation can be used for a wide variety of campaigns. For example, email automation can be used to present potential customers with gated content that they might be interested in, allowing you to collect additional data about them.
3. Abandoned Cart Emails (Casper)
Another great example of effective email marketing and email automation is something you’ve probably experienced if you’ve spent time shopping online: the abandoned cart email.
Cart abandonment emails are automated emails or campaigns that get sent to users who add a product to their cart but then fail to check out within a certain time period. The goal is to remind the user of what they were looking at and prompt them to return and finish the purchase.
Often, this email marketing automation strategy is layered with others. The precise time the email is sent, for example, might be determined via automation based on each individual user’s activity patterns.
It could also contain customized content based on the user’s past purchases or past activity on your site. Or, it could sync with sales automation software so that a salesperson can follow up to answer questions if the sale still isn’t completed.
The online mattress company, Casper, is one of many email automation examples we could have chosen here. Most online retailers use some form of cart abandonment email.
Casper’s is particularly nice though because it captures the playful tone of the brand, reminds you of what you were buying, and (later in the email) offers a big, bold CTA button designed to get you back to your cart.
4. Winback Emails (Avocode)
Winback emails are similar to, but distinct from, cart abandonment emails, and they’re another powerful email marketing automation tool to have in your arsenal, particularly, if you’re a SaaS marketing team.
Imagine, for example, a B2B SaaS company. Customers work through its B2B marketing funnel and convert, but they also churn. Winback emails are designed to win back recently churned customers, or better yet, win them back to your site before they’ve actually churned.
That’s where automation often comes in. Email marketing automation software can be linked with your other user data to identify users that are at risk of churn (based on usage patterns, demographic trends, etc.) and drop them into email campaigns designed to win them back.
The Avocode email above is a good example of this. After a software update increased the speed of their product, the Avocode team knew that they’d likely lost some users before the upgrade who were unsatisfied with the speed.
This email, which could be targeted directly at those users via automation, highlights the slow-speed problem and gives those lost customers a good reason to come back: the problem has been solved.
Winning back lost or nearly-lost customers isn’t always quite so straightforward – you won’t always have an upgraded product to promise them – but the automated winback email is nevertheless a powerful tool for reducing churn and reactivating lost customers.
5. Chatbots (Tentree)
Automated chatbots and customer support bots are another marketing automation tool that has quickly become one of the best practices for providing customer support.
Pictured above is an example from the online clothing retailer, Tentree, but these chatbots have become virtually ubiquitous on virtually any website that sells a product. And with good reason! Having automated support has a number of tangible benefits.
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First, it helps customers who want instant gratification. Internet users don’t want to wait hours or days to get an email back from a customer support rep. Giving them a chatbot that can answer easy questions directly offers a better customer experience.
Second, it makes your sales team and your customer success team more efficient because it removes dealing with those repetitive, easy questions from their workflow.
For example, a clothing retailer is likely to field a lot of repetitive questions about sizing, shipping, and returns. Tentree’s AI chatbot can serve answers to these questions that are likely to satisfy most customers.
That’s a win-win: customers get the information they want instantly, and Tentree’s customer service reps can dedicate more time to helping customers with complex problems because they don’t have to waste time emailing twenty different people the same size chart.
Chatbots can also be used to get users to enroll in email marketing campaigns, download gated content such as guides or ebooks, or survey their opinions.
6. Recommendations (Netflix)
One of the most powerful implementations of marketing automation is the recommendation system, a piece of automation software that analyzes user data to recommend products they might like.
Netflix provides a good example of this. To keep its customers engaged, it must constantly be marketing new content to them. And with such a broad variety of content available on the platform, users genuinely often need a bit of help finding the things they might like.
Netflix’s recommendation engine assesses the company’s internal data about the viewing habits of customers and makes recommendations that factor in everything from global trends to the individual user’s long-term and recent patterns.
Most marketers won’t have the resources required to construct a bespoke recommendation engine as Netflix has, but even small businesses can take advantage of automated recommendations using automation software that plugs into their customer data.
It’s worth noting that the more data a recommendation engine can access and integrate, the more effective it is likely to be.
Finding a marketing automation workflow that works with a holistic marketing analytics solution so that it can integrate all of your customer data is a good idea.
7. Surveys (Headspace)
While it’s certainly possible to survey your customers without making use of any kind of marketing automation platform, making use of marketing automation tools can make your surveying efforts much more effective.
Collecting qualitative customer feedback is important for any company. No matter how good your data analytics operation is, there will always be things that your customers can teach you if you ask.
But who do you ask, how do you ask, and when do you ask? That’s where marketing automation can come into play.
Pictured above is an example of a good survey email from Headspace, but what’s not pictured is that that email is also carefully targeted and timed to maximize the chances of getting a helpful response.
In the case of Headspace, that means using some of the email automation strategies we’ve discussed before, such as automated user targeting based on behavior patterns, and custom send times chosen to maximize the chances a user will open the email.
But these same techniques can be applied to survey users in other ways. For example, an automation system could trigger a pop-up window with a survey on your website when users take specific actions or view specific sequences of content.
You could also use automation on the back end to identify and flag the kind of users you’re looking for so that a human rep can reach out to them.
If you’re trying to understand churn, for example, the same automation that can be used to identify at-risk-of-churn users for a winback email could also be used to identify users that a sales rep or customer service rep can reach out to directly.
8. Automated Ads (Hoplark)
Digital marketing is another area of marketing where automation is already playing a prominent role. Particularly on social media, automated targeting can make it possible to reach very specific segments of users – segments you could never reach organically.
One example of this is the hop-based tea maker, Hoplark. As a calorie-free, alcohol-free, hop-based beverage, Hoptea can serve as a kind of beer replacement.
One great audience for this kind of beverage is outdoor athletes and hobbyists – climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, etc. These are the sorts of people who may enjoy beer, but who also might have reason to want to avoid it (hiking is no fun with a hangover).
However, Hoplark would have difficulty reaching this audience organically (on social media or elsewhere). A person who isn’t already aware of it isn’t going to seek out Hoptea or Google “calorie-free hop-based tea” in the hopes that such a thing might exist.
Source: Hoplark social media ad
Instead, Hoplark reaches them with automated ad targeting. On social media, this is often a service provided by the vendor, i.e., the social media platform itself – your ads can target specific audiences, and optimize their own targeting based on CTR.
Typically, these platforms also include a campaign monitor or dashboard so that you can also make customized adjustments on your own, but the automation alone can be pretty powerful.
The Bottom Line
In this article, we’ve looked at eight marketing automation examples, but the truth is that there are many ways to make use of marketing automation in almost any kind of campaign.
Any company, from a startup to Fortune 500 enterprise, can benefit from automation in their marketing workflow.
For smaller companies, a good place to start is often your email list. Find an email marketing automation tool that’ll help you send better-targeted, better-timed emails and you’ll be well on your way to making your marketing activity more effective via automation.