Creative Uses for Marketing Automation in Your Digital Agency

By James Rose / 13 March 2019

Automating processes beyond email and sales can save your agency time and improve interaction with your clients.

Many agencies already have marketing automation systems in place for email and sales, but the uses don’t have to end there.

There are plenty of creative ways your digital agency can use a marketing automation tool that goes beyond just marketing.

These are some of my favorites.

Automate Client Onboarding

In the beginning stages of a project, there are a lot of details that have to be communicated to clients. These include:

  • Project process and timelines
  • What information you’ll need from clients and when
  • How the feedback and revision process works
  • What to think about when they are writing copy, choosing images, etc.

Sometimes these are covered in meetings, but you can also include this information in a series of emails. This provides clients with something to reference later if they need it.

Trigger this email sequence right after they sign their proposal or even before if it makes sense for your business.

A great way to implement this series is to convey most of the information as pages on your site and link back to them from emails. For example, you might have an “Our Process” page, which you reference in an email in the series.

Taking this a step further, include a video that walks your client through that page and provides further explanation. Loom is a great tool for this.

Automate Education and Communication

In the early stages of a project, your team could be working hard on a preliminary design, but your client can’t see this work happening. Some clients get anxious without regular communication, and sending automated emails during this period can help ease that worry.

If you have a “standard process” that spans a few weeks, use automated emails to explain what the team is working on each week. This makes the most sense for productized services, where the delivery is similar every time. With bespoke work, this is more difficult.

However, another option is to send out educational material for your clients. A good example is prompting them to begin thinking about something you will need from them later.

For example, if you’re building a website, include information about website maintenance, ad campaigns, social media, or SEO. This plants a seed for upsells.

Automate Getting Feedback, Reviews, and Testimonials

When you’ve finished a project, use automated emails to check in with your clients for feedback. If that feedback is positive, escalate it to ask for reviews or testimonials.

Feedback form

You can, of course, do this manually, but an automated system is less likely to forget. If you’d prefer to personally email your client, check if your CRM or marketing automation tool can create “tasks” for your team. If so, assign tasks to your team, or yourself, to check in with your client.

If you don’t have a CRM with this capability, use an integration service such as Zapier to create a task in your project management system.

To implement this, you’ll need a small feedback form on your website. Almost any forms tool would work. If you’re using WordPress, my choice is Gravity Forms.

Ask questions such as rating your service out of 10 and a “free text” area for them to write in whatever they like.

Ask clients to say what they disliked most about working with you. The results of this are extremely helpful in improving your service.

With the form in place, your automated sequence would look something like this:

  • Two weeks after the project, ask how things are going, ask for feedback, and link to the form
  • Wait for the submission
  • If the score is 9 or 10: Send another email saying “thank you,” and link to Google Reviews or any place you would like them to submit a review
  • If they don’t submit the form after 1 week, send them a reminder email

This doesn’t have to be time-based. If you have some kind of engagement metric, use that instead.

For example, we have a SaaS product that helps agencies collect content from clients. After an agency’s client has submitted some content, we know the agency is getting value. That’s when we ask for a review.

If you don’t like the form idea, you can leave this part out. Instead, just send an email asking for feedback.

Automate Client Check-ins

After the feedback request, use an automated sequence to continue to check on clients in the future to see how they are doing.

Again, if automation doesn’t sit well with you for this, automate tasks for someone on your team to check in with a phone call or personal email. We use a tool called Bonjoro, which occupies a middle ground and makes it really easy to send personal videos to clients.


A simple sequence here might send an email to clients every 2 months to ask how everything is going with their project.

Sometimes, these emails come back with opportunities to do more work with the client. For example, if they say they aren’t ranking well in search engines, you can offer to help them with SEO.

Automate Asking for Referrals

An often-overlooked marketing strategy is asking current clients for referrals.

Automate asking for referrals

The client check-in emails we just discussed are a great place to ask — provided they were happy with your service.

The truth is that unless people are reminded, they will forget about referring work to you. That’s why being top-of-mind is so important. A common way to stay top-of-mind is sending a weekly newsletter, but regular check-ins and simply asking if “anyone you know is looking for a web developer” can lead to many referrals.

You may even choose to offer incentives for referred work, such as a discount for both them and the person they refer.

Automation Saves Time

There are so many ways you can use a marketing automation tool outside of marketing and sales. Depending on what tools you use, they can be used to automate many other processes and save your business a lot of time. They can also help you land more clients through reviews and referrals and help you improve your service delivery with feedback.

This is only just scratching the surface. Once you start diving in, you’ll find plenty of other things you can automate.

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