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A detailed guide on email automation

You must have heard of email automation if you work in sales or marketing.

As a marketer or a business owner, you have to stay connected with your prospects & customers. With email automation, you can send personalized and automated emails at the right time to your target audience.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about email automation and how it can be implemented in your marketing process.

The following topics are being discussed in this guide, so you can directly jump to the one that you want to know about:

What is email automation? 

Email automation is created using predefined rules that trigger email messages when a specific action is taken. You can send personalized and highly-targeted emails to your subscribers at specific intervals to stay connected.

Moreover, email automation can also be used to send emails as a response to the user’s activity. For instance, a payment confirmation email is sent(action) when the user completes the transaction(trigger).

The above pie chart reflects how more and more businesses are now implementing email automation software.

How does email automation work?

Email automation allows marketers to create automated email workflows for every email marketing campaign. In these automated workflows, you can add actions, events, and conditions so that when a condition is met and action is completed, the email gets triggered.

Here are the most common email automation triggers that are used by marketers and salespeople – 

  • Welcome email
  • Pageview or product view
  • Abandoned cart
  • Post-purchase
  • Subscription expiration
  • Upsell/Cross-sell 
  • Milestone achievement

Based on these triggers, you can create automated emails for your marketing, sales, or customer service process.

6 Benefits of email automation

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches- at scale.” – David Newman 

Businesses are busy tasks, and most of them eat all your precious time. One of the most tiring yet crucial tasks is to send emails. Creating an email list and drafting each email for hundreds of your customers manually can take ages.

And even if somehow you decide to do it all on your own, you won’t be able to deliver them on time, and you are bound to make mistakes.  

For every dollar spent on email marketing, ROI can reportedly reach $44.  Moreover, automated emails have comparatively higher click rates as well.

Here is how Email automation comes into play- you can do it all right on time while saving your precious hours as well as energy.  

But this is not all; let’s see how else your business can be benefited with email automation. 

1. Re-engage lost customers

You might have a list of customers that don’t buy your services anymore due to some reason. Their requirement might have changed in recent time, and this is the point where you need to connect with them. You can get them to engage again with your business by adding them to your mailing list and bringing them back on board.

Re-engagement can be highly effective if you do it the right way. In the below graph, five types of re-engagement campaigns have been surveyed, and the results are completely unbelievable!

You can create a list of all those customers who haven’t been active in maybe, two or three months, or even six months, depending on what works best for you, and craft compelling emails that make them check out your new offers.

2. Deliver the right information to the right people 

Email automation allows you to create workflows for every action that a customer performs and sends emails based on those triggers. These automated emails are specially customized for each trigger.

For example, if you want to greet a new customer who recently signed up as a trial user, you can automatically send a welcome email. Thereafter, the automation will start working based on the subscriber’s actions.

This increases the relevancy of your emails, which is important to retain your customers. After all, 55% of customers like email messages that contain relevant products and offers. 

3. Increase your revenue

You can create several campaigns with the help of email marketing automation. These marketing campaigns will help you increase your sales, bring back lost customers, spread word of mouth, which will, in turn, grow your revenue.

You can create cart abandonment campaigns and send reminder emails so the customers purchase the products in their cart. Along with those products, you can also upsell/cross-sell by sharing recommendations based on their search history and persuading them to buy them. 

4. Improve team efficiency

If your sales team is still sending manual emails, then this solution can be a game-changer for your team’s productivity.

Your sales team must be in constant touch with the leads, and this process requires sending emails at the right time so that no lead goes unnoticed.

Your team can automate all their sales emails so that they can focus better on closing the deals! 

5. Provide a personalized customer experience

We know what you must be wondering, how does an email automation system help write a personalized email?

Email automation enables you to send hyper-personalized emails based on the user’s actions and preferences. Moreover, you can also tailor the emails and send them to your segmented audience.

Today, just personalizing the receiver’s name isn’t enough; you need to go the extra mile and create hyper-personalized emails for your subscribers.

6. Retain more customers

With CRM email automation, you can nurture your existing and past customers by sending engaging emails such as product launches, special offers, event reminders, etc. By implementing such a practice, you can stay in touch with your customers and retain them for a long time.

7 Examples of email automation  

Email automation can be implemented in many ways, you just need to find the right one for your email marketing campaign. So, let’s look at the examples of email automation for every business.

1. Welcome emails

These are the ice breakers. They are also useful in branding yourself among your customers. The below example is of real estate automated emails, where the new users are welcomed to the group.

Such welcome emails provide value to your prospects and get them interested in your value proposition.

2. Relationship building emails

These emails are mostly personalized to meet the needs of your customers. You only send them what they want to see. The below example has cleverly crafted this email for selling the house when their subscriber is getting married, hence they must be looking for a new place for moving in.

3. Targeted SaaS promotional emails

These are the core emails for any online business; they are used to introduce, promote and sell new products. Although many use the free version of Grammarly, it never fails to send you an email to try out the Grammarly premium.

4. Birthday emails

These are the emails sent on a specific date every year for a special occasion. So, you can set up automated emails for birthdays and anniversaries of your customers and send a special email on that day.

5. Abandoned cart emails

Buyers always get distracted while online shopping and abandon their cart before making the purchase. This is where automated emails can help the website to get their almost lost customers back.  

6. Post-purchase follow-up emails

Sending an email once the purchase is made shows that you appreciate your customers and ensure their satisfaction. You know whether the customers are satisfied and what you can do for the betterment of their experience.

7. Re-engagement emails

People have different choices and opinions, and they keep changing frequently. One time they purchase from your website, and the next time they might forget how much they liked your products and then go for another. Hence, re-engagement emails are essential to remind your customers why they bought from you in the first place.

4 Best practices to keep in mind before emailing your customers

Once you are ready with your well-crafted and automated email workflows, there are a few practices that you should keep in mind before you hit the send button.  

1. Timing  

Consider the best time to send an email to your customers. If you are sending a series of emails, then make sure to keep a gap between each email so it makes an impact.  

2. Volume  

Sending the relevant messages to your customers is great, but sending too many of them can drive the customers away. Focus on the right opportunities, and only send the emails that are helpful to them at the right time.  

3. Allow opt-outs

It’s understandable that sometimes, your business is no more relevant to your customers. For such a situation, you should provide an easy unsubscribe/ opt-out option in your emails so that your email subscribers don’t mark you as spam to avoid your emails.  

4. CAN-SPAM and CASL  

The primary purpose of your automated emails is to divert the customers back to your website from where they subscribed to your mailing list in the first place since these emails are considered a form of marketing communication.

So, you need to make sure that all your automated emails follow CAN-SPAM and CASL laws.

How to get started with email automation? 

The process of getting started with email automation is quite similar for whichever industry your company belongs to. So, let’s hop in and find out how you can start with your automated email marketing campaign.

1. Find out who you want to attract  

You need to first identify which target audience you want to connect with. You can analyze the customers who have bought from you in the past or subscribed to the mailing list, segregate them based on their interests and behaviors, and then tailor your approach towards them.  

2. Do research about the issues of your existing customers

Keep your existing customers happy. And to do that, you can start digging into the challenges your existing customers are facing. Based on their challenges, you can improve your product/features and create more happy customers.

Working on the existing issues can help you retain more customers and provide an enhanced experience to the new customers.

3. Tagging

To ensure that you’re sending relevant information, you can use tags based on the user’s actions. For example, if a customer is registering for an event, you can them under the tag “webinar registration.”

These tags can help you segment your audience so you can have individual data for each sales or marketing campaign you run.

4. Direct people towards the action you want them to make  

Tell people what to do. Create a map before you start any sales or marketing  campaign as to how a customer will reach the CTA.

A welcome email, then some follow-up emails followed by the guide you created in the step above- what’s next then? 

You either move the customers to a sign-up list or if they’re not ready to purchase your product/service, then you can encourage them to subscribe to your newsletters.  

5. Carefully draft your email 

Now your emails can either seal or break the deal and decide the fate of your campaign. A compelling, well-crafted email can get the customers to convert, or at least subscribe. 

With every email you write, make sure you deliver quality content worthy of your customers’ time. You can find some helpful email tricks and tips here for the next one that you craft!

6. Create an email sequence

The sequence is an order of emails created by you to decide which emails will be sent and when. Your sequence of emails will vary depending upon the services that you offer and who you’re targeting.  

For example, the following is a typical sequence in a marketing automation process:

Once the email sequence is complete, you can add the prospect in the customer list if they sign up, or in the newsletter subscription list if they don’t.

7. Segment your audience

Once the customer opts in for your email list, you can segregate them based on the type of their opt-in. These opt-ins can be based on the following –

  • Pages visited by the user
  • Based on their location
  • On the actions (abandoned carts or purchased products), etc.

You can A/B test these opt-ins to see which ones gain you better results!

8. Analyze and optimize your results

As you A/B test your email automation process, you can analyze the results and make necessary changes in your approach.

To improve the opt-ins, you can change the words, the opt-in style, or the incentives. Similarly, you can analyze your email’s open rates and try new subject lines to understand which one works best.  

9. Create trigger-based automation using behavioral tracking

Behavior-based triggered emails are sent to your prospects based on their actions.

With email automation, you can create workflows that execute a variety of actions based on the behavior of the customers.

The triggered-based actions can be opening an email, registering for an event, visiting a specific landing page on your website, or engaging on your social media channels.

For example, if a visitor is frequently visiting your pricing page, they might be interested in purchasing your product or service. So, you can set up email automation and provide some additional discount or offer and encourage them to make the purchase.

Automating your email marketing and sales campaign based on behavioral triggers ensures that the system executes every part of the campaign at the right time.

How to look for the right email automation tool?

Now that you’ve learned all about email automation, you must be wondering how you can choose the best email automation tool for your business. With a plethora of options available in the market, it’s a task to choose the right fit for yourself. Here’s how you can ease up your task –

1. Establish your needs

First and foremost, you need to identify your needs – what are you looking for in an email automation tool? Of course, the purpose of email automation is to speed up the email marketing process, but considering your specific needs is essential in order to get the best mailing experience.  

You may want to consider the following questions:  

  • Do you need customer segmentation for your marketing campaigns?  
  • Will you only communicate through emails, or would you use other channels as well?  
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you need CRM software as well? If yes, do you want a CRM with an email automation feature?
  • How many people from your team will be accessing this tool?  

…and more.

Once you note down your specifications, dive deep into each one of them and list the tools down that provide the same.  

2. Review the solutions

Now that you know what you want, it’s time to review each option you’ve got.  

Look at product review sites

A great way to find the software is to go through product review sites such as G2. These sites give you a customer review and include reviews from industry experts that will help you narrow your options.

Check which product other companies are using

Even your connections can help you in selecting the ideal email automation tool. You can ask around and do research on what other brands are using. Ask them if they are happy with their current email automation tool and would recommend it or not. Why should you test your email automation?

Best email automation tools in the market

Once you establish your needs, the next step is to hunt for the right tool. I hope this quick list would be useful.

1. MailChimp 

2. Salesmate 

3. HubSpot

4. Mailshake

5. Omnisend 

6. Moosend 

7. SendGrid

8. Sendinblue 

9. GetResponse

10. QuickMail 

11. AWeber 

Check out our detailed article where we have compared the 14 best email automation tools.

Why should you test your email automation?

As you must have deduced by now, email automation can speed up your email marketing process, analysis, and personalization.

Email testing is a QA process that makes sure your emails look and function exactly how they are supposed to. And the good news – this process can be automated too!

You might want to take care of the following errors while testing your emails: 

  • Broken personalization syntax/ merged tags  
  • Inconsistency of different devices 
  • Broken links
  • Proper display of font text
  • Images that don’t display
  • Spelling mistakes and typos

Based on these factors, you can craft error-free emails and improve your brand presence among your subscribers.


There are plenty of articles online stating that emails are dead in 2021. However, reports suggest otherwise. Emails sell as much as 19.8% of all transactions. 

Emails are surely a very effective marketing channel, and when used wisely, they can gain astonishing results. And if you want to witness these results for yourself, then all you need to do is follow the above steps and get started with email marketing automation right now! 

Parijat Lamba

Being an avid reader, Parijat developed a keen interest in writing at a very young age. She's passionate about topics like Spirituality, History, Psychology, and Philosophy. She's now a Product Specialist at Salesmate and strives to write her own novel someday.

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