Email Automation 101: How To Use Email Marketing Automation
By Kelly Forst December 17, 2020
Ready to get started with email automation? Read this post to learn what it is and how to use it.
You hear the phrase again and again.
Email automation is powerful stuff, but if you’re new to the email marketing game, you probably have a few questions about it.
After all, automation can increase leads, conversions, and revenue, and it can save you time. The stats prove it:
Automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than other marketing messages, according to Epsilon Email Institute.
So, to help you get a better grasp on what it is, why it’s important and how it can help you get the incredible results you want, here’s a quick guide to email automation and how to use it in AWeber.
What is email automation?
Some marketers send every subscriber the same exact message with one-time emails.
The thing is, this generic content isn’t necessarily relevant or valuable to subscribers.
But, with the creation of email automation, messages send themselves. And, they can be segmented and properly timed, which will make them more relevant too.
But how does it do all of that?
Simply put, email automation is when you set up a series of emails to send automatically to subscribers at a specific time.
With it, you can connect with a person at every stage of their buyer journey (a.k.a. the marketing funnel) — from lead to customer to brand advocate. You can build a relationship with an individual over the long term.
And the best part? It runs on autopilot, creating connections and increasing revenue while you work on other aspects of your business.
You can set up a single series automation — where a person subscribes to your list and is automatically sent email 1, then email 2, then email 3, etc. in a sequence.
In the example below, La Colombe Coffee Roasters uses email automation to welcome new subscribers after they sign up:
But there’s no limit to how you can use automation. It can be used to trigger emails or email series that send based on almost any action: a newsletter sign up, an eBook download, a purchase, etc.
Why email automation works
1. Email automation gives you a direct line of contact to customers
And 66% of online consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message, a higher conversion rate than messaging through direct mailings or social media. This means that email gets you better conversions and overall results.
Want some more statistics? We thought you’d never ask. According to VB Insight,
- 80% of marketers reported increased lead generation with email automation.
- 77% saw conversion rates rise with email automation.
Simply put, email marketing automation works!
2. Email automation helps you send messages your subscribers want
Email marketing automation allows you to segment your list of subscribers based on their interests, purchase history and even actions they take on your site (this is called action-based automation, and I’ll get into this more in depth later in this article).
Want to send an email to all the vegans on your list? The September birthdays? The webinar registrants? The sweatshirt buyers?
For example, let’s say you’re a fitness trainer. You could then send an automated email based on the skill level of the trainee: beginner, intermediate or expert.
This way, you can send each customer targeted information to fit their individual needs.
When consumers get emails with information that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to click through your email. Plus, relevant content reduces the risk of your message getting deleted or ending up in the dreaded spam folder.
3. Email marketing automation saves you time
When you’re running a small business, you don’t have time to write and deliver emails to each individual subscriber.
Luckily, email automation can do all that work for you!
With email automation, you can set a schedule for when your emails go out and to whom. And your email marketing platform will send those emails for you at the right time. This gives you more time to craft relevant and effective messaging, which is the key to boosting click-through rates, conversions and overall consumer engagement.
Email automation gives you a unique and convenient way to nurture the connection you have with your audience. And that is the key to maintaining engagement with your subscribers.
Need help figuring out exactly what to write in your emails? We’ve created 45+ email copy templates to solve this problem! Download them now.
Types of automated emails
Now that you know why automation is so important, discover how you can use it.
There are a ton of different types of automated emails series that you can use for your business. Let’s cover some of the most important ones so you can get ideas for your next series.
Automated welcome email series
Your first point of contact after a subscriber signs up to your list …
Your time to make an amazing first impression …
Your chance to get more opens and clicks than any other type of promotional emails …
Yes, your welcome email series is a big deal! But it’s actually one of the easiest automated email campaigns you can send.
Here are some things to include in your welcome series:
- Thank subscribers for signing up. Try using more than just words ― say it with a gift! Offer free bonus content or a discount.
- Introduce yourself and your company. How will you solve your subscribers’ needs?
- Let readers know what kinds of emails they can expect from you in the future.
- Tell readers how often you’ll be emailing them.
- Share where they can find you on the web (include social channels, website, blog, etc.)
- Give them helpful and relevant blog posts they can check out.
- Ask them to safelist you. (This will add you to their email address book and can improve email deliverability.)
Below is an example of a welcome email that Eddie at ReallyGoodCopy sends to new subscribers, letting them know what to expect and when.
Educational email course series
Do you have a ton of experience and wisdom to share about a specific topic?
Are there questions your audience asks that you find yourself answering time and time again?
Consider an email course!
Here’s how you can use automation to set up an email course:
- Write a welcome email that delivers the first lesson.
- Set a wait time of one or two days between each lesson.
- At the end of the course, encourage social sharing to increase course sign ups and continue the cycle.
- Ask for feedback so you can deliver more relevant content, resulting in more valuable emails.
In our What to Write in Your Emails course, we follow this exact pattern. In one of the last emails of the series, we ask subscribers to share feedback in a survey:
Customer onboarding series
You can send this automated email series to new customers to keep them engaged and encourage them to become repeat buyers.
To inform and convert subscribers into paying customers, include these resources in your series:
- How to get started
- Training videos and help-based articles
- Information about new products and how they solve problems
- Exclusive deals that only subscribers can get
- Educational resources and how they solve problems
Remember, when trying to promote a new product, focus on the value to the buyer.
Advanced action-based email automation
Instead of automatically sending everyone on your list the same series (email 1, email 2, email 3, etc.), each individual subscriber gets to pick which emails they’re sent through various actions they take.
While it’s more advanced than a single automation series, action-based automation can skyrocket engagement and sales. That’s because you are able to target segments of our audience with the exact content they needed. It’s an amazing feeling when you can put a solution right in the hands of your subscribers.
See action-based automation in action: This podcast host uses automation and tagging to let podcast listeners create their own adventure.
Need a way to visualize your email automation? Try an automation map. They’re a handy tool you can use to map out your first automated email series, especially if you plan to use more advanced strategies.
Start with email marketing automation today
With AWeber, you’ll have all the tools you need to create automated email campaigns. We even prebuilt automated email campaigns for you. Check out these pre-written campaigns to save time and market your business 24/7.