Help us design auto-followups in the Outreach Module!




Hi everyone,

Now that we’ve added bulk send to BuzzStream, we’ve begun the work on “outreach sequences” (which will include auto-followups). The feedback we received from all of you during the ‘bulk send’ design process was incredibly helpful and we’re looking forward to your help designing sequences.

I’m hoping you can help by:

  • providing your overall impressions of the value and usability
  • let us know if there are things that would make it more valuable for you
  • provide your thoughts on the importance of some of the things we’ve left off for now.

So here’s a video and a set of screenshots that walks through the capabilities.

 

 

What is a Sequence?

A sequence is a pre-configured workflow that automates steps in the outreach process and helps keep you focused on the right outreach activities.  Each step consists of a trigger (e.g., “if the recipient doesn’t reply in 3 days” or “if the recipient doesn’t open the email within 5 days”) and an action that you want BuzzStream to take (e.g., “automatically send a followup email” or “remind me to followup with this message”).

Creating a Sequence

When you create a new sequence, you’ll be taken to this screen:

In the left column, you’ll name your sequence and add your emails. In the right column, you’ll define the settings for the sequence.

Creating the initial email

You can either write the email by hand or copy it from an existing template. If you want to include a template in your email, you’ll click ‘copy from a Template’ and select the Template.

Adding a step to your sequence

After you’ve added your initial email, you can click ‘Add a step’ to add an automated followup or a followup reminder.

Each step includes the following components:

  • An email message
  • The action you want to take:
    • Auto-followup
    • Reminders to follow up (using the email you’ve included for the step)
  • The number of days/weekdays BuzzStream should wait before taking the selected action
  • The “trigger” for the followup action. The options in the first release will include:
    • if the recipient doesn’t reply
    • if the recipient doesn’t open the email
  • The option to send the followup as a reply to the last email or send it as a new email

Sequence Settings

The settings for Sequences will include all of the options that you currently have for outreach (open/click tracking, reply notifications, etc), plus two “safety settings.” The two safety settings are:

  1. Don’t send this sequence to anyone contacted within the past X days
  2. Don’t allow contacts to be included in other sequences if they’re still active in this sequence

Conducting Outreach with a Sequence

Once you’ve created a sequence, you’ll be able to use it from the outreach module (both ‘bulk send’ and ‘send individually’), contact records and the BuzzMarker.

Using a Sequence from the Outreach Module

To start your outreach session, you’ll still click the Outreach button and select either “Send Individually” or “Bulk Send.” If you select, “Send Individually,” you’ll select your template and you’ll be taken to the personalization interface.

In the ‘Compose’ section of the screen, you’ll be able to view and edit each of the emails that are included in the sequence. You’ll also be able to view timing and desired action for each step (i.e., auto-followup or reminder).

If there are issues with a step (e.g., missing merge fields), there will be an exclamation mark in the step that needs to be addressed.

Sequences in the BuzzMarker

Selecting Sequences in Bulk Send

Give us your feedback!

So that’s the plan for the first release of this. There are a couple of things that aren’t included in this release:

  • “Branching” of followup steps. For example:
    • If they opened the email and clicked a link, but they didn’t reply, take this action
    • If they didn’t open the email, take this action,
    • etc.
  • You’ll have the ability to edit each email during the outreach step, but you won’t be able to change the timing of a step, remove a step, etc.

So I’d love to your thoughts on the following:

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how valuable is this (1 is “not valuable at all” and 5 is “extremely valuable”)?
  • This design assumes that you’ll be putting together your workflow beforehand…and, once you started a sequence, you wouldn’t be able to edit the workflow (i.e., no ability to add steps, remove steps, change the triggers, change the timing). What are your thoughts?
  • What, if anything, should be added to this? What are we missing?

Feel free to comment below…if you’d rather contact me directly, I can be reached at paul@buzzstream.com.

Thanks for your help!

10 comments

  • 5 — Extremely Valuable
    I will definitely be implementing this feature right away in my outreach. I’m wondering why it isn’t possible to change the workflow after it is set?

    I can see scenarios where that might be appropriate, for instance what Natan said above. That happens to me frequently after I’ve messaged a generic email or contact form.

    Thanks!

  • Great to hear, Crystal!

    You’ll have the ability to edit emails for a contact and you’ll be able to pause/end a sequence for a contact. What you won’t be able to do is change the schedule for a specific contact or change the triggers. For example, let’s say you create a sequence that has a followup scheduled to go out if the recipient doesn’t respond in three days. You wouldn’t be able to send it to 100 people with that schedule and use the same sequence for another set of people, but change it to five days. Instead you’d have to create another sequence to support the second set of people.

    Make sense?

  • This is definitely a 5. Very very useful and it’s something I have been waiting for.
    My question is not directly related to the sequence (but it could be).
    Our buzzstream has been set up slightly weird / wrong at this point. Everything is inside of “Websites” and we don’t use “People” that much.
    This actually created an issue with using the Bulk Send feature. We can’t use it properly with this setup.
    Would this also affect the outreach sequence?
    If that’s the case, I think we need to start fixing thousands of contacts? 🙁

  • Good to hear from you, Carlo. Hard to me to answer your question without understanding how your setup is keeping you from using bulk send. I’ll reach out via email.

  • 5 – Great step forward!

    Today I use this platform to send a few emails, but the goal is to be able to scale. I think having 2 follow up options are great because if someone has not responded to you after the 2nd attempt the odds of them responding to a third are really low. I agree with Natan, and believe that it is a must for a website to be removed off a sequence after anyone related to that website responded to an email. One thing I would like to see, that probably can help with Josh’s comment, is that after the 2nd follow up and no response has been received then Buzzstream will start the same sequence for a different email address that a website may have. For example, there are 3 emails related to a site and my sequence would start with one. If I get any reply then it stops, but if there is no reply from the initial, 1st and 2nd follow up, then it moves on to the next email related to that site.

  • All of that makes sense, Jose. I like the idea of at least pausing a sequence for a contact if you receive a reply from someone at the same domain (but not the same email thread) and then notifying the user that they need to review the email.

    Cycling through all of the email addresses/contacts related to the website is something we’ve heard before from customers. Definitely something we’re thinking about.

    Really helpful feedback. Thanks!

  • Josh

    5 – Extremely valuable.

    Agreed with Natan, although I think this will need to be a manual action by the user. Not sure if there is a limit to a number of followups available, but I believe there should be no limit. Thanks!

  • Hi Josh. Check out my response to Natan. Regarding limits to number of followups….we’re not sure yet. The only reason for considering putting a limit is that we have good data that shows that spam submissions go up dramatically once you get to a certain number of followups.

    Thanks for jumping in!

  • Natan

    5 – extremely valuable
    There should be an option to stop the sequence for a certain website if the person has replied from a different email address (and buzzstream didn’t see that reply) so I won’t spam them with unnecessary followups automatically.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Natan…first comment on the post. 🙂

    There will be a way to manually “break the sequence” for a contact. Your comment (and a couple we’ve received over email) has us thinking about ways that we can make it easier for you to automatically break it. For example, we’re thinking of things like adding a section in settings where you can create rules that will automatically move someone out of the sequence (e.g., if relationship stage is changed to any of the following stages).

    I’ll keep you posted.

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