Email Automation: What it is, How it Works, and How to do it
September 15th 2021
Sales Best Practices
Email Automation
Email automation is the single best automation technique that can save you and your team a ton of time while keeping your customers busy thinking of your products & services. According to emailmonday, on average 49% of companies are using email automation. And, that number goes up to 55% if you are in the B2B industry. If you wish to stay in the minds of your customers and stay ahead of your competitors, then implementing email automation should be your top priority now.

Here’s a brief introductory guide to get you started with email automation.

Table of contents:

  • What is Email Automation?
  • Why use Email Automation?
  • How does Email Automation Work?
  • Email Automation Framework
  • Different Email Automation Examples
  • Final Tips for Perfecting Email Automation

What is Email Automation?

Email automation is a simple technique used to send automatic email triggers to your prospects/customers at a specific time or after a specific action of theirs. It is a very effective method used by businesses to interact, engage, and convert their prospects into customers.

Here are some advantages of email automation for businesses:

  • Makes customer interaction scalable
  • Saves time and increases the productivity of sales/marketing teams
  • Lets you personalize emails based on your customer’s buying journey
  • Gives you actionable insights to prioritize your prospects

Why use Email Automation?

Let’s try to understand the need for email automation with a real-life scenario.

Let’s say you are a sales representative working for a B2B business. You have recently interacted with your prospects and segmented them into 3 categories based on their interest in your product/service. Now, you wish to engage with them closely and get them onboard as a customer. So, how would you go about engaging and converting them?

Keeping track of every prospect and sending out emails to them manually at a specific time can be quite challenging and tedious. Imagine what it would be like to keep track of 100s or 1000s of customers? Quite a challenge, isn’t it?

That’s exactly where email automation comes into the picture. You can simply schedule a series of automated emails to each segment of your prospects and you’ll be done. They will reach your prospects at the right time with the right message that’ll engage and push them towards exploring your products or services.

How does Email Automation Work?

Email automation is nothing but a workflow - a workflow where you get to define important user actions and map them to emails to be triggered once the action is performed.

So, what are actions? Action is simply anything that a user does to know more about your products/services.

  • Signing up on your website
  • Visiting a particular page on your website
  • Following your business on social media
  • Adding your product to the cart
  • Requesting/scheduling a demo
  • Downloading your product brochure
  • Or even opening your email

Everything counts as an action. However, you need to specifically identify user actions that matter to your business.

For instance, here’s an email automation example - let’s say a user just signed up on your website. Wouldn’t they feel delighted if they immediately received a welcome email from you? They certainly would. This simple email triggered by the sign-up action will leave a good brand image in the minds of your customer.

Similarly, let’s say a user just scheduled a product demo with your sales rep. You can leverage the power of email automation to schedule a series of reminder emails and provide a great experience for the user.

Here’s a simple email workflow representation that could be used in the case of the above scenario.

Email automation workflow

Email Automation Framework

Getting started with email automation is quite easy. Here are a few steps that will guide you through the email automation framework.

Step 1: Define your email strategy

Having a high-level email strategy is the key to determining the success of your email campaigns. Also, this is the first step towards creating your email automation framework. While defining your strategy ensure you discuss in detail the below aspects.

  • Identify audience personas: Who are your core audience and what characteristics do they possess? Place of living, job title, income level etc.
  • Set email automation goals: What do you want your emails to accomplish? Increase in website traffic, higher revenue generation, reducing sales cycle etc
  • Define performance metrics: What all metrics would you track to check the effectiveness of your campaigns? Email open rate, click rate, sales conversion rate etc

Step 2: Identify the type of emails you want to send out

Sending emails with the right kind of message is crucial to grab the attention of your prospects/customers. In this stage, focus on defining the tonality and type of emails you’d like to send out.

Transactional emails, welcome emails, promotional emails, newsletter emails, drip campaigns etc are some common types of emails rolled out by businesses.

Step 3: Draft emails

This stage is relatively easier as you have your email strategy already defined. You can now simply focus on drafting the email copy. While crafting your emails, here are few pointers that will come in handy:

  • Design a branded email template
  • Personalize the email for various segments of users
  • Keep it simple and short
  • Think of a great subject line
  • Perform A/B testing

Different Email Automation Examples

Here are 7 email automation examples that most businesses send out to engage with prospects at relevant instances.

  • Welcome email: Email sent as soon as a user registers on your website
  • On-boarding emails: A series of emails that’ll help users know more about your business and get them acquainted with your products/services
  • Feedback/survey emails: Emails that’ll help you determine the user’s interest or review of your product
  • Re-engagement emails: Emails sent to inactive customers/users with an intent to trigger interest in them
  • Newsletters: Weekly/monthly emails sent to engage and connect with your customers by sharing all useful updates (product updates, company achievements, announcements, customer success stories, industry news etc)
  • Transactional emails: Emails sent out to customers upon purchase or subscription to your product
  • Sale/offer emails: Promotional emails that’ll incentivise your users to speed up their purchase decisions

Email automation examples

Step 4: Pick the right tool & schedule your workflows

There are several email automation tools to implement your workflows. Picking the right tool will help you and your team streamline emails and deliver them right into the user’s inbox.

Most of the email automation tools available in the market provide a free trial and we strongly recommend using the tool for your use case during the trial. If the usage and adoption for you or your team are high, that’s the starting point, as usage and adoption rates are derived metrics suggesting a strong fit for your organization.

Final Tips for Perfecting Email Automation

Before you head over to implementing email automation, here are 3 final tips that’ll help along the way.

  • Experiment, fail, learn
  • There is no single best email strategy that works for every organisation. So, experimenting is the key to understanding your audience better - create new workflows, try newer writing styles and keep them simple and short

  • Test, test, test
  • There are so many things that can go wrong while configuring your automated emails. Be on the lookout for broken links, grammatical errors, heavy images, missing attachments etc

  • Obsess over metrics
  • Measuring your email performance is the only way to know the pulse of your audience. Actively track email open rate, click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, number of unsubscribes, spam reporting rate etc

Swathi Chintala
Contributing Writer
Swathi Chintala
Contributing Writer
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