A Beginners Guide to Email Automation

New advances in email automation will revolutionize email marketing. This might sound like a bold claim, but it’s one we can make with 100% confidence.

To understand why this is so, you need to understand the nature of email marketing and how it works. Or more specifically why it works as well as it does”.

email automation

There is a reason that email marketing destroys every other form of marketing when it comes to conversion. It has the highest click-through rates and achieves the most engagement. Why is this so? What lies behind this amazing success?

Why does email marketing have the highest CTR and conversion rates? Because it's the best at building relationships.Click To Tweet

It’s simple – email marketing builds relationships unlike anything else. A person’s email inbox is one of the most intimate possessions in the online world. They see that inbox as “their own”, versus if they’re visiting someone else’s website. No matter how good you get at writing, reading your article on a blog will never feel as personal as reading your email.

Let’s tie this back to email automation

The reason we’re coming up with ever more advanced forms of automation is simple. We want to make it easier to give the subscriber a more “personalized experience”. So when you think “email automation”, think “providing more personalized experiences”.

In fact, there’s a direct relationship between the complexity of automation and the level of personalization. The more advanced your automation technology, the more “personal” you can get. You’ll see this more clearly further down, in the section where we talk about the levels of automation, so keep reading.

So many ways to automate, so little time

If you’re just getting started with email automation, it’s important to understand that you should take it easy. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t dive right into the most complex forms of automation. You want to start with simpler forms of automation (and personalization), and then evolve from there.

In essence, there are 3 levels of automation

There are many ways to classify what you can do with automation. The classification we present here is probably the most useful to you because it’s based on complexity. If you’re just starting out, you will probably want to keep it simple at first, and go into higher levels over time.

The first level is your basic autoresponder

This is what every email marketing software has been doing for the past 15 years. It just means that when a person joins a list, they get a sequence of pre-written emails. You get to define how many days go by between emails, and that’s about it.

The personalization doesn’t stop there though. You will often be able to use recipient details to personalize things inside of the email. The most obvious one is using {Recipient First Name} to address the reader. This allows you to make the email “feel” a bit more personal.

Emercury, for example, supports a ton of recipient details right out of the box, just choose one from the drop-down menu when creating your emails. Plus, Emercury lets you also define additional custom fields so that you can fetch any recipient details you want during the subscription process. And then (yes, there’s more)

email automation

However, when you use this “first level of automation”, you’re stuck with the subscription form being the only way to determine who gets what email sequence. If you want different people to get different email sequences, you have to create multiple subscription forms and show them to different people. Or, you can segment, but more on that below.

In a word, the basic autoresponder automates and personalizes based on things that people do before they get onto your list. This is in contrast to “behavior-based” automation where automation is based on how people behave after they join your list.

Note: You can take this further with segmentation

If you only have a basic autoresponder, you’re not limited to subscription forms deciding who gets what for the rest of time. You can manually segment people out after they join. Basically, move them to different lists based on what you learn about them after they join.

For example, you can do this in Emercury by going into the reporting section, and study people’s behavior. You can then, for example, segment out the group of subscribers who clicked on a certain email. You can then create an autoresponder (email sequence) that is composed of those people.

If your email provider only provides the ability to do manual segmentation, this is better than nothing. But ideally, you’d want an email provider that also has automated options in addition to manual segmentation. This is where our next level of automation comes in.

The second level are condition-based autoresponders

In essence, the basic auto-responder is also based on a condition. It’s just that it only recognizes one condition (If person joins list – then send this email sequence).

When we talk about “condition-based autoresponders”, we mean that you can choose alternate conditions to trigger an email sequence. Other than just the default “joined list” condition. This allows you to automate a lot of the work that you would otherwise have to do with manual segmentation.

For example, Emercury’s autoresponder lets you create autoresponders that trigger based on clicks or opens. We wanted to keep it simple at this intermediary level of automation, as this covers most scenarios you will ever need as an intermediate marketer. For more fine-grained automation, we have our level 3 automation, but more on that later.

The way this works is quite simple, but let’s illustrate with an example

Let’s say that you have a product launch coming up. You would send an email to your general list that announces this upcoming product, and link to a page that discusses it in further detail.

You can then go into your Emercury autoresponder build. Then choose the condition “clicked”. And then choose that email that contains the link to your product page. This way, you’re creating an autoresponder or a sequence of emails that will go out to people who clicked on that link about the product launch.

Now note, this is just one random illustration of how this can be used. However, there are literally thousands of possibilities and ways to use it. We’ll discuss more of them in the future. And you can, of course, get your free account and start experimenting today.

The third level is multi-conditional email automation

In the previously described “level 2 of automation” you have a single condition. Basically, if condition x is met, perform action y. Or more specifically, “if condition x is met, send this email sequence”.

email automation

If you want to go to the next level of automation, you will want a bit more fine-grained control of these automation rules. For example, you might set multiple paths based on what people do.

1) Send email “Product launch”

2a) If people open it, move them to the “product enthusiasts” list

2b) If people don’t open it, send them another email about this product

2b1) If they open this second email, move them to product enthusiasts list

2b2) If they don’t open this second email, automation ends here

This is actually a relatively simple example. You can get a lot more complex, and go up to hundreds of different steps and sub-steps if you want to.

At this level of automation, aside from being able to have multiple conditions, you also have multiple actions

Whereas in level 2 (condition-based autoresponders), your only action is “send them this email sequence”. With level 3 automation, you get quite a bit more flexibility.

Sometimes, you only want to send a single email to people who perform some action. You wouldn’t go build an entire autoresponder to send a single email, would you? Well, in the past, you had to do this. Basically, you would build an autoresponder that went “If person opens email abc, then send them this autoresponder with a single email”.

But now with our email automation builder, this kind of scenario is quite straightforward. You wouldn’t build a separate automation or autoresponder for that single scenario. It can be part of your main automation. Just define a step that says “If person opens email abc, send them email xyz”.

In fact, with the automation builder, when a person meets a condition (or multiple conditions), you can move them to a different list, copy them to a different list, send them a single email, or build out an entire sequence of emails that achieves the same thing as an autoresponder.

The higher levels include the lower levels

Basically, with an advanced automation builder, you can still achieve all the things you do with the lower levels of automation. You can, if you want, build an automation that is just like a traditional autoresponder. If people join this list, send email 1, send email 2, send email 3, etc.

In fact, if you’re just starting out, you could build all of your simple autoresponders in the visual automation builder. This way, you’ll be ready to add more steps and complexity as your list grows.

For example, you can build a simple automation where you just place a number of “send email” blocks in a sequence. This essentially replaces a traditional autoresponder and achieves the same thing.

The benefit here is that you can add more rules in the future. This is a great strategy that allows you to smoothly grow your automation skills over time. You build out the complexity of your automation as your list grows, step-by-step.

Start automating today, for free

At Emercury, we have the industry’s most generous forever-free email plan. We include almost every single one of our most advanced features in the free plan. In terms of features, we leave very little out of the free plan.

You can get your free account today and start experimenting with email automation right away. Why wait? You’re just seconds away from building cool email automations with our fancy new automation builder.

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