When to Use Email Automation

when to use email automationWe have written previously about how to know whether an email should be part of an automation or part of a broadcast. That article was more of a big picture overview on the general logic behind why we do broadcasts or automations. And it is actually one of our most popular articles. 

In it, we basically broke down when to use broadcasts. And then we concluded that “ideally, you want to use automations for everything else”. But “everything else” might be a bit vague for you at this moment. 

So, in this article we are going to go over the “when” in terms of practical examples. These examples might help inspire you and just give you that extra nudge. That extra push to start building more of the automations that help make business easier and more profitable.

Note that the list of examples that follows is by no means exhaustive. It is just a list of some common things to give you an idea and get you going. In essence, you can automate absolutely anything that involves email. 

This is especially true if your email platform has the pre-requisite features. For example Emercury now has incoming webhooks, outgoing webhooks and event tracking. With those 3 it is literally possible to automate anything you can think of. If you can imagine it, you can automate it.

Give people a warm welcoming experience (onboarding)

These days the word “onboarding” is quite the hot phrase. In fact, you probably see it mentioned everywhere. Most of the time it refers to having a sequence of email SaaS use to acquaint you with their software. Alternatively you might see it used to describe the welcoming email sequences for any sort of a membership or subscription-based service.

However, the concept itself is pretty powerful in general. You shouldn’t ignore it if you don’t run a subscription-based service. In fact, I want you to consider something. Your email newsletter is in fact a subscription service, is it not? Anyone that subscribes to your email list is part of a subscription service. It doesn’t matter what your actual charge-for product is.

when to use email automation

In a word – if you have an email list, you should be running automatic onboarding sequences. Let’s say that you have a subscription-based product. Well, you can create an onboarding sequence based on the start of their subscription.

However, if you do not have a subscription-based product, no worries. You can create an “onboarding” automation sequence that welcomes them to your email newsletter.

If you want to learn more about onboarding, see our guide on the best practices for email onboarding. Also, see the beginner’s guide to email automation. In it you will learn more about how (and why) you can create sequences using email automations.

Automatically segment people based on their behavior

Segmentation is one of the most powerful things you can master in email-marketing. And this is for a very simple reason, it is a prerequisite to boosting engagement. 

The more you can custom-tailor and personalize the experience for each subscriber, the more they will engage with your emails. And the easiest way to do this is to segment people based on their unique characteristics, desires and preferences. 

You can then create automations that treat different people in a different way, which boosts subscriber engagement. That in turns means higher profits, more sales, and all around better email marketing results.

Now, we have been able to treat people differently in email marketing for quite some time. However we have only recently arrived at a level where we can custom-tailor experiences based on a person’s unique and individual behaviours in every way and based on every context. 

That includes their behaviors both inside of the email inbox, and outside of it. For example, you can now track what they do on your website. With this, we can now achieve full and complete behavior-based email marketing

To learn more about building automations that utilize this to create high-paying customers, check out our extensive guide to building automations that convert. It has a very hands-on, step-by-step process where you will learn how to build such automations.

Revive cold leads and warm them up into raving fans

Re-engagement campaigns are some of the highest ROI things that you can do as an email-marketer. And if we hadn’t invented email automation, doing these campaigns would have been quite the burden.

Consider the following. When you do a re-engagement campaign you want to identify the groups of people that meet a certain criteria by which we determine that they have “gone cold”. Then we send these people a sequence of emails to revive them.

Sure, you could (in theory) do all of this manually. You would manually create a list of people who have gone cold, then set up 5 broadcasts to go out to people on this list. All well and good… except for one problem… Different people go cold at different times.

when to use email automation

Ideally, you want the re-engagement campaign to start right about the time when people meet a certain criteria that declares them to be “unengaged”. 

If you did this manually, you would have to go and manually create a new series of “re-engagement broadcasts” every two weeks, just for the batch of people who entered the “unengaged” segment in that period.

With an automation you can simply build an automation that triggers off of something like a “disengaged” tag or custom field value. And then you can have an automation that starts the moment a person is assigned the tag “un-engaged”. 

Even better yet, with an automation, you can also use branching logic to treat people differently based on how they respond to the re-engagement campaign.

You can learn more about re-engagement campaigns over here.

Deliver a lead-magnet or email course

One of the most common things you will do as an email marketer is to offer a lead-magnet of some sort. It can be a single downloadable PDF, or it might be an entire sequence of emails whereby you drip a series of instructional videos over time.

In either case, automations are the perfect way to accomplish this. And when I talk about automations, I mean the kind of intelligent modern automation like you can build with the Emercury Journey Builder.

You might think that a simple traditional autoresponder would suffice for delivering a lead magnet, and that is kind of half-true. If you don’t have access to a modern automation builder, an autoresponder will accomplish a decent bare minimum.

However an automation lets you squeeze out so many more benefits out of the process

With an autoresponder you can just automate the delivery, but that’s it. You can’t make it more intelligent or sophisticated than that.

With an automation however, you can (for example) give people a different tag based on whether they opened that initial PDF delivery email or not. Or, you can create branch logic that waits a couple of days and reminds people to claim their lead-magnet if they didn’t do so.

Alternatively, you can treat people differently based on how they engage with the emails in your lead-magnet delivery process. You can even tag and segment them differently based on their behavior, to allow for more personalization further down the line. 

Whether you send a single delivery email or a sequence, the subscriber’s behavior and engagement with those emails can tell you a lot about them as a lead. And then you can have automations treat them differently based on those findings.

Get more people to book with your sales team

Depending on your business model, your sales team is either crucial to, or very important to your bottom-line profits. And therefore, most businesses do benefit from having a process where potential customers get to talk to a salesperson. You simply produce many more sales when a salesperson is involved.

In turn, one of the best ways to accomplish more sales is simply to book more sales calls with potential customers. And email automations let you do this in a super-simple and straightforward manner.

One of the easiest things that you can do is to build a simple email automation that sends an email encouraging the person to book a call with your sales team. People typically use tools such as Calendly to accomplish this. However the actual email is quite easy to create, and besides the point for now.

This scenario is a perfect example of how to boost profits automatically

when to use email automation

This is one of the best examples of something that works best with the help of an intelligent automation. Sure, you could send a Calendly link to every single person who joins your list, and that will work better than nothing at all.

However, with automations you can add some “logic” to all of this. All you have to do is build a simple automation such that when people meet a certain condition, they are sent this email offering them to book a consultation.

You can trigger the automation with a tag, event, goal or custom field value. For example you might send this email to any subscriber that visits your product page or meets a certain goal.

In Emercury we actually have this thing we call a “goal” where a person meets a goal only if they for example visit 3 specific pages. Once they hit that goal, you can then use that to trigger an automation. Pretty cool, right?

To profit off of hot leads the moment that they show interest

One of the best things you can do in any business is to reduce your response time to signals of buying interest. This means that you are able to execute a sales-boosting technique as quickly as possible whenever a lead seems to be considering a purchase.

While there are a ton of examples that fit this point, let me share the most obvious and easiest example that you can implement, starting today. In fact, anyone in any business should be able to create a quick automation like this and see an immediate boost in sales and profits.

All you have to do is define an event tied to a person visiting your pricing page (if you offer a service). If you offer a product, it might be your general product description page, or a page that indicates high interest.

Then, you can go into your automated journey builder and set a new automation that triggers based on this event. That is, the automation will start whenever a person visits your pricing page.

You then simply define an intelligent sequence of emails that are tied to their most-likely heightened interest. The idea is to strike while the iron is hot by offering a coupon, something to sweeten the deal, or a personalized demo. Whatever makes the most sense for your business.

To track the customer journey (or lifecycle)

One of the most important things you will learn about in sales and marketing is the concept of a customer’s journey. This refers to the fact that customers do not simply go from “completely unfamiliar with your product or even category of product” to “I’m ready to click that buy button right now”.

There are many stages you can define as intermediary steps between the two, and when it comes to the person’s stage inside of your email marketing funnels, you can usually define at least a half-dozen stages. These can be defined in terms of their general engagement, interest in a specific product or service, or whatever is suitable for your business.

Now, it might be obvious to you that automations are the perfect way to treat people differently, by sending a different sequence of emails to different people. You probably get by now that you can build out a sequence that triggers whenever they reach a certain stage, which you define by their segment, tag or custom field value.

However, you have to also consider that automations are the best way to do the tracking part

You can and should build “stage tracking” automations that trigger off of subscriber actions, behaviour, goals that they hit or website events.  And then based off of that have those “stage tracking automations” assign a tag, a custom field value or move them to a different list. 

When you are just starting out with email automation, your automations will be a bit simpler, so you are likely to do everything within one automation. So the automation would do something like “if person does x, send this email, if person does y, send this other email”.

when to use email automation

As your automations and business model evolve, you will probably want to have separate lifecycle-tracking automations. 

These simply trigger off any relevant customer behaviors to then assign appropriate tags, custom field values or lists to a subscriber, again based on the subscriber’s behaviors. This is how you basically automate the tracking of their journey, or the customer lifecycle.

And then you would have separate automations that trigger based off of the combination of tags or events that a subscriber has. 

To learn more about this, and how you would gradually get into these more complex automations, see our guide on automating your email marketing.

To ask for referrals, automatically

Do you want to get more leads, for free? Well, here is the good news – the best and highest quality leads you can ever get are in fact free, by definition. I am of course talking about referrals.

Unfortunately, if you wait around for referrals you will get far less than you deserve. Most people need a little nudge. This is even if they love your brand and service, and would recommend it without a second thought when asked. They still need a little nudge.

Now, of course you could do this as part of a general autoresponder sequence or even send an occasional broadcast asking for referrals. However, it tends to work best when you ask for it at the right time.

And the best way to do that is with automations. You will want to create an automation that triggers when a subscriber reaches certain conditions that indicate they are somewhat of a fan, or at least a loyal engaged reader. The automation would then simply send them an email asking for a referral from a friend. If they enjoy your emails or product, why not share the fun with a friend or an acquaintance or two.

To drip content in a gradual way

In a lot of cases you want to space out your content so that it gets delivered “in installments”. For example, you can advertise a “free 5-part email course” that shares the best secrets regarding [your niche].

Well, what you want to do is to make sure that when a person signs up they only get the first part when they sign up, so that they have part 2 as something to look forward to. And then comes part 3 and part 4 and so on.

This is called “dripping content” in a more general digital marketing sense. And in terms of email marketing this is called having a “email drip sequence”.

when to use email automation

Not only is this a perfect example of something to use automations for, but this is what email automation was originally invented for. In the start we only used autoresponders which were just a way of “dripping” emails one at a time, with defined time between the emails.

Modern email automation can do a lot more than simply space out emails by number of days, however, this first use-case is still one of the most powerful ones. While you can get more complex with your automations and use all sorts of clever conditions, webhooks, tags (and more)… the one thing you should always do first is see if a simple drip sequence will suffice to get you started. 

To learn more about this concept of implementing automations in stages, read the beginner’s guide to automation. In it you will learn both how to create drip sequences with automations, as well as how to gradually get to more complex automations, by gradually upgrading your initial, simpler automations.

When you want to automate a business process

The email channel is the most intimate and personal way to relate with and get to know your customers and potential customers. No other channel comes anywhere near in letting you learn what they like, and how far up the customer journey they are.

To note, I of course assume you’re using a modern email platform that can fully track the behaviour of your subscribers. But if you do have access to just such a platform, you can keep track of where a person is at in terms of their customer lifecycle.

And in turn, you can automate a lot of things based on that

And no, we’re not just talking about automatically sending them an email. I mean automate almost any business process. A powerful platform like Emercury will have deep integration abilities (through webhooks, integration tools etc). 

This allows you to automate most any business process. And it is based on the things that you learned about a person through engaging with them in email.

While there are literally thousands of possible examples, I want to show you a really simple example just to make a point. 

What if your email marketing platform went and filled out a sheet used by your sales team? It would detect when an email subscriber behaves in a way that makes them a qualified sales lead. And then, it would fill out a google sheet for the sales team. Sounds cool right?

See how to achieve this in our quick guide over here.

To make more money out of e-commerce

One of the best ways to get more revenue out of your web shop is to create highly-intelligent automations. These automations treat people differently based on their shopping history, cart actions, purchase behavior as well as browsing interest.

If you utilize our event technology you can trigger automations based on many different things. For example, it might be the product categories your shoppers visit on your web shop. A well-timed email with a coupon can do wonders to produce sales. 

when to use email automation

Alternatively you can produce something similar using our “on-click” technology. This is where you treat subscribers differently based on their clicks inside of your emails.

And then, if you really want to take it up a notch, you can. This is possible when you integrate Emercury with your e-commerce solution, whether that is Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce.

You can then build automations that trigger based on a purchase, abandoned cart and most other relevant shopping actions and history.

A partner on your side

Automations can be a really exciting technology that lets you achieve almost anything that you can think of. It’s just that you first need to have access to this technology.

Not every email provider even has proper email automation builder technology. And then, even if they do, they are missing the second ingredient which makes Emercury a crowd favorite.

With Emercury you get more than just access to a piece of software. You get access to a team of expert email marketers that thrive on helping you succeed in email marketing.

We do not see Emercury users as “a customer”. We see each and every one of our customers as a “business partner”. If your business succeeds and thrives by utilizing email marketing to the fullest, you will make more money. In turn, you can of course, reinvest more into email marketing. Overall a win-win for everyone involved.

If you have ever seen our reviews and wondered why we get all these raving 5-star reviews, I have good news for you. 

We now offer free consultations (hands-on-demos) where you can get a feel for the full-on Emercury experience. To get this experience for free, just schedule a demo here. We look forward to helping you achieve your full profit potential through the utilization of email marketing.

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