Email Marketing 7 min read
19 Jul 2023

A Step-by-step Guide to Email Automation in 2023

A Step-by-step Guide to Email Automation in 2023

Lucille Ball once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” What does that have to do with email automation?

As a matter of fact, everything. Marketing professionals are as busy as it gets. Email automation is their go-to tool to get more things done faster without getting all that busier.

Email automation removes the guesswork from dispatching relevant content throughout the customer journey. This guide will help you explore all the opportunities that derive from automating your emails, one step at a time.

All it takes is creating the perfect email marketing campaign, selecting the triggers, and setting your workflow live. So, let the magic begin! 

What Is Email Automation?

Email automation is the process of creating and dispatching emails based on specific user actions or predefined events. You can leverage automated emails or email sequences to target recipients with personalized content. 

What will set these automated emails in motion? A set of conditional rules called triggers varying from order confirmations to newsletter sign-ups. This process offers you the opportunity to engage leads throughout the entire customer journey and step up your email marketing game. Let’s check some indicative statistics on how businesses benefit from email automation:

(Source: Moosend)

Simply put, email automation is about putting the right message in front of the right people on a timely basis. It enables companies to target recipients with the most relevant information without wasting time performing tasks manually every single time. Setting up automation workflows enhances the accuracy of your email marketing campaigns while saving you valuable time and effort. 

Not such a strong motive for you? Let’s discover some other benefits this process brings to your marketing efforts. 

The Benefits of Leveraging Email Automation

Freeing up time for other important marketing activities is just one of the benefits of email automation. So, let’s dive into how marketers may benefit from this process.

Apply effective list segmentation

We’re past the days of email blasts where the same email reached hundreds of recipients. This type of targeting won’t cut it anymore, and breaking up your target audience into segments is the first step to satisfying them. Solid email automation software provides the tools to segment your lists according to buying or browsing patterns, engagement levels, or characteristics like age, geolocation, profession, etc. We can’t highlight enough how much recipients appreciate brands that speak personally to them, addressing their specific desires. 

Monitor crucial metrics

Email automation platforms have revolutionized how companies communicate their promotions and, more importantly, how they measure their performance. With such an email automation system, you track crucial metrics like open, click-through, conversion, and email sharing rates. Each of these metrics offers valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t with your email marketing efforts, paving the way for email optimization. 

Enhance customer experience

Automated emails are a foolproof way to target customers with helpful and relevant content. It could be anything establishing regular contact with your subscribers, from an exclusive incentive to a personalized birthday message. Enhancing customer experience is a top priority for marketers and business owners, helping them with lead generation. Email automation also ensures your customers don’t go too long without reading your business news, thus increasing customer retention and loyalty. Consumers love personalized experiences, and that’s exactly what they get when brands set up automation workflows based on specific triggers.


(Source: SuperOffice)

Scale up your email marketing efforts

When businesses dispatch emails manually, there’s a limit to the number of customers they can contact. Truth be told, as your business takes off, you’ll have to power up your email marketing to meet every subscriber’s expectations. Email automation solutions integrate all your customers and allow you to activate a workflow as soon as they take any of the predefined actions. That way, you can scale up your email marketing efforts in proportion to how much your business grows. The best part is that you don’t need to assign it to any of your team members, as the automation workflow will get the job done.

Save time and effort for your teams

Saving time on repetitive tasks is among the biggest challenges marketing teams worldwide face. Email automation gives you an amazing opportunity to streamline your marketing efforts and achieve more with less time and effort. Due to its 24/7 implementation, you can deliver the right message to the right people without your teams handling things like list management or email scheduling manually. Email automation is a win-win situation where marketers perform tasks quickly and efficiently while delighting customers with valuable information. Not to mention that it also results in better resource allocation

6 Steps Towards Powerful Email Automation

With these benefits in mind, you probably want to step up your email automation game. To help you through this challenging process, we’ll walk you through six steps towards powerful email automation. So, let’s get things rolling!

Choose a robust email marketing automation solution

There are plenty of email marketing automation solutions available in the market for automated email marketing. Some capabilities and pricing plan structures are similar among email service providers. This doesn’t mean you’ll leave things to chance, though. You’ll want to perform thorough market research to find the email automation platform that best serves your needs, objectives, and budget. However, there are essential aspects to consider before deciding on your preferred email marketing automation solution. Let’s check them out:

  • Flexible pricing. Maybe you won’t need to sign up for an expensive enterprise plan with every advanced capability right off the bat. That’s why it would be better to opt for a solution that lets you start small and scale up your email marketing as your business and target audience grows. 
  • Ease of use. Setting up automation workflows gets time-consuming if you invest in the wrong tool. Make sure the software of your choice has a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop editor that allows you to tweak your automation quickly and easily. So, a short learning curve is what you should be looking for. 
  • Built-in automation workflows. Once you get all warmed up, you might want to set up a workflow from scratch based on your specific requirements. However, built-in automation recipes for every occasion do the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is add, remove, or edit workflow parts as you see fit.
  • Integration options. The whole point of investing in email automation software is to save time and effort. So, the ideal solution should offer tons of integrations with third-party applications so that you have everything under one roof, from content marketing tools to CRM options.
  • Free trial period. Researching the best email automation solutions will get you so far. But you have to take it for a test drive to determine whether or not it suits your needs. Pick an ESP with a sufficient free trial period that includes most of its features to test its capabilities. 

Determine your objectives

As with everything in life, your email marketing should have a specific objective. Before anything else, you must determine the end result you want to achieve with your automated emails or sequences. Ask yourself - and your marketing team - why you want to contact recipients. Are you after more sales or generating more leads? Do you want to educate them on your value proposition or urge them to purchase? What is the action you need them to take after reading your email?

Having solid goals helps you focus on the right aspects, make data-driven decisions, and avoid spamming subscribers with irrelevant content. Remember your objectives should be realistic and measurable. Otherwise, you’ll have no way of knowing whether or not your emails made the desired impact. Let’s say you dispatch a social media campaign that brings new subscribers to your email list. Setting up a welcome email campaign to educate them on your unique value proposition is a no-brainer, right?

(Source: Hydratemarketing)

Once you’ve determined your marketing goal, it’s time to start working on it. Defining your email objective helps you form a clear picture of your email campaign and decide on a wide variety of elements. Some of them are:

  • Email and sequence types
  • Email copy and design
  • The recipient segments you’ll target
  • The intervals between each email
  • Key metrics that define success
  • Desired results and future actions

After you have all these elements figured out, it’s time to move on to the execution part.

Segment your recipients

As we have already pointed out, there’s no automation without list segmentation. Subscriber segmentation and email automation are among the most effective strategies for email campaigns, 78% and 71%, respectively. Now imagine you send a product recommendation email presenting a sunglasses collection to a recipient living in a snowy location. Not exactly the timely email content you’d wish for, right? 

Recipients usually ignore email messages that feel irrelevant. And that’s not even the worst-case scenario. You’d be surprised to know that delivering irrelevant email content to recipients is among the main reasons behind unsubscribes or spam complaints.

To dispatch valuable and customized emails, it’s essential to divide your audience into segments based on their demographics, preferences, behavioral data, etc. Marketers need to deeply understand their target audience to create personalized automation workflows that deliver email material their recipients appreciate. And if you want access to more customer data, you could incorporate a survey into your emails to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Or perhaps it’s time to reconsider your sign-up forms and add more custom fields according to the information you need. 

Select the right triggers

A trigger is a condition or event that will set your automated email or email sequence in motion. You can take advantage of several actions and occurrences, from a new sign-up on your list to an abandoned cart or a recipient’s anniversary with your brand. For instance, you set your automation to be activated when a website visitor decides to join your list. Then, an email is dispatched to welcome the new member and perhaps offer a first-time incentive or some type of onboarding material.

Once you set the right triggers up, your recipients will receive dedicated emails depending on the action they perform or the event that sets your workflow in motion. Most ESPs also allow you to decide on specific conditional steps, such as filtering contacts based on certain criteria or waiting a specific time before dispatching the email campaign. Such conditions make your email automation as effective as possible, further improving the email experience. 

Create and activate your automation

By this point, you have decided upon the most crucial parts of the planning process. Time for the creative part! It all comes down to the email creation process and carefully thinking about each component. Does your subject line draw attention? Is your call to action straightforward and actionable? Is your email copy clever and to the point? Does your email feel cluttered with large blocks of text or too many visual elements? You should consider these factors beforehand since they could make or break the performance of your automated email campaign.

After making sure every email asset is in its place, you’re almost ready. All you need is one final check to ensure everything within your workflow works as intended. You may even want to run a test as long as the email automation platform you use offers this capability. When everything is how you want it to be, there’s nothing left than turning your automation on and waiting for the desired outcome.

Monitor performance and optimize

Many marketers fall into the trap of letting their automation workflows run without giving it a second thought. But while email automation frees up time from doing things manually, it doesn’t end with setting a workflow in motion. Email automation enables you to collect a vast array of customer data. Key metrics like open or click-through rates provide you with accurate feedback regarding what works and where there’s room for improvement.

Also, you can gather insights from A/B testing to determine the winner between two email variants differing in one element, like your email subject line or CTA. The findings will help you determine which component performs better based on the key performance indicators you’ve set. The information you collect from monitoring your workflow performance will highlight your customers’ interests and preferences and the email content they prefer to engage with. Based on that information, not only can you optimize future email communication but also build more accurate customer personas.

Automate Your Business Growth

Even before starting out with email automation, it’s vital that you have a solid understanding of the prerequisites. This guide has laid out the basic steps of email automation so that you can take the most out of your email automation service. 

Once you decide on the winner, you must set clear and measurable goals and determine the metrics to indicate success. You also need to segment your email list properly and pick the right triggers to target the most interested recipients at the right time. Once these steps are set and done, it’s time to set your automation in motion and be ready to monitor and analyze the results according to your crucial performance metrics.

There’s more to email automation than dispatching an email based on specific user actions. Combine different actions, time intervals, and conditional steps to take the recipient experience to the next level and make it feel more natural. Take advantage of real-time analytics to keep track of your automated emails or sequences’ performance and understand audience behavior. 

But to truly succeed in going into your recipients’ minds, you should combine the findings from your ESP with the sophisticated CRM options Clickup offers. Embrace the power of ClickUp to keep data from different touch points gathered up and build long-lasting customer relationships in no time! 

Maria Fintanidou

Maria Fintanidou

Maria Fintanidou works as a copywriter for email marketing automation software Moosend, having created the Help Articles (FAQs) and overseen the platform’s translations in Greek and Spanish. She loves exploring new cultures and ways of thinking through traveling, reading, and language learning.

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