November 14, 2012
Case Study

Marketing Automation: 25% more engagement, 0% unsubscribe in 4-email series

SUMMARY: B2B marketers can add automation and lifecycle targeting to increase relevance and sales. But, can automation do more?

The marketers at a Canadian job portal integrated a series of triggered emails and phone calls to help improve customer satisfaction. The program has a 0% unsubscribe rate, and open and clickthrough rates are up as high as 25%.
by Adam Sutton, Senior Reporter

The marketing team at Workopolis updated its email strategy last year.

"We are moving away from from a batch-and-blast approach and really taking a lifecycle approach with all of our email programs," says Travis Wingate, Email Marketing Analyst at Workopolis.

The website is the leading job portal in Canada, and its marketing team launched a variety of email automations to improve relevance and performance in the channel.

"Everything is built around behavior and where customers are in the lifecycle," says Wingate.

Not every campaign is designed to sell. Some deliver helpful information to increase customer satisfaction, engagement and retention. One such campaign reaches customers who purchase a job posting.

These employers are often small- and medium-sized businesses, and are "a large portion of our audience," says Anne Valeri, Marketing Manager, SMB, Workopolis.

After purchase, the campaign delivers four automated emails and at least one phone call from the team. The program’s first eight weeks ended with these results:
  • 20-25% higher open and clickthrough rate averages compared to the team’s untargeted emails

  • 98-100% delivery rate

  • 0% unsubscribe rate with 1 opt-out since launch

The team expects to see greater retention when it measures results at the campaign’s six-month milestone.

"We send extremely relevant content at the right time," Wingate says. "We have seen a significant lift in engagement."

The campaign works in four steps:

Step #1. Integrate departments and data

The goal of the program is to help customers earn good results with their posts, and thereby increase engagement, satisfaction and retention.

The program was a collaboration, combining efforts from the marketing, sales, customer service and IT teams at Workopolis, along with the company’s email service provider.

The business intelligence team at Workopolis also played an important role. This group handles much of the company’s data, and maintains performance benchmarks for job postings across industries. These benchmarks helped Workopolis accomplish two things:
  • Identify customers who needed help

  • Gauge how much help they needed

Combine email and business data

The team planned to feature performance data for each customer’s post in the campaign. To accomplish this and other goals, the team executed the significant project of integrating its business data and email marketing platform.

Step #2. Create three automated emails

Customers who purchase a post on Workopolis are entered into the campaign. They then receive an automated series of emails on days 7, 14 and 30. The emails are sent at 11 a.m. each day, and include updated performance data for the customer’s post.

The first email, sent on day 7, slightly differs from the others. Here are its key features:
  • Sets expectations – The message greets customers by first name, thanks them for posting, and explains the coming emails.

  • "We’ll be sending you regular updates on the kind of response your job is getting -- these are your first week’s results."
  • Metrics – A chart lists metrics on the post’s number of searches, views and intentions to buy. The chart is automatically updated in each email with data from the business intelligence system.

  • Metrics defined – The first email also defines each metric. Searches are considered the number of times a post has appeared in a search results page on the site. Views are the number of times the post has been clicked and read. Intentions are the number of engagements with the post, such as clicking the "learn more" button, clicking through to the company’s website, or by clicking the "apply by email" link.

  • Salesperson signature – The end of the message is written in the first-person and tells customers "please don’t hesitate to call" if they have further questions. The signature comes from a specific salesperson, and includes a phone number and email address.

The emails sent on day 14 and day 30 are very similar to the first. They provide updated metrics, a link to the job posting, and are signed by the same salesperson, but they do not include the metric definitions.

Step #3. One or more phone calls

A Workopolis salesperson calls each customer 15 days after purchase. The goal is to ensure customers feel satisfied with the posting and to help them understand its performance compared to the team’s benchmarks for the category.

The salesperson offers advice to customers with underperforming posts. Some receive paid upgrades to the ad to give it more prominence or emphasis on Workopolis. Other customers receive suggestions, such as to change the style or placement of the ad.

"Sometimes the posting is in the wrong location," Valeri says. "The customer may have entered an inaccurate job title, used a job title that is not easily searched, or posted it in the wrong language."

Follow up with poor performers

Many customers receive only one call in the campaign. However, some receive additional calls if their ad continues to underperform. The team’s business intelligence system monitors performance and flags any laggards.

"Our customer support team will get a list of those jobs, and we will go in and look at the postings and reach out to those customers to help them fix the mechanical errors so they will get better results," says Valeri.

Step #4. Send a customer survey

The goal of the program is to increase customer engagement, satisfaction and retention, so the team solicits feedback from the audience in the final email.

The email goes out 45 days after purchase, which is about 15 days after a post expires. The message includes:
  • First name greeting

  • Short body – 37 words

  • Green call-to-action button: "Answer Now"

  • "Thank-you" message and signature from "The Workopolis Team"

Track ad performance

The survey helps the team monitor customer satisfaction. The team’s business intelligence system also collects the data, attributes it to the specific post, and archives it. The goal is to later customize emails to reach customers who purchase a type of posting that is often problematic.

"Now we are able to build out predictive modeling of the jobs we think may underperform and that we can better tailor our messages to these clients ahead of time," says Wingate.

Creative Samples

  1. Email #1 – day 7

  2. Email #2 – day 14

  3. Email #3 – day 30

  4. Email #4: survey – day 45



Related Resources

Online Cart Abandonment: 12% lift in captured revenue through customer service-focused email remarketing campaign

Trigger Happy: Why emails are the magic bullets of marketing automation and shopping cart recovery

Marketing Automation: 416% higher customer lifetime value from auto-email strategy

Email Optimization: 72% of marketers test subject lines

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions