Automated email workflow is key in engaging and nurturing your subscribers. On top of converting leads into customers, email automation can also encourage activities like upsells and cross-sells.
Email marketing automation is where you send automatic emails with tailored messages to specific groups of people. These are contacts who match your criteria or user behavior.
This repeatable process saves you time so you can focus on other tasks.
Here are some basic workflows that you can consider setting up.
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Initiate Automation Workflow With The Right Trigger
Before we jump into some workflow examples, you need to understand how automated email workflow works.
Automation workflows start with a trigger. Here are some triggers from MailerLite
- When a subscriber joins a group
- When a subscriber completes a form
- When a subscriber clicks a link
- Anniversary of a date
- Abandoned checkout
- Purchase any product
- Purchase specific product
- Purchase from category
Add & Combine 4 Different Steps To Your Workflow: Delay, Condition, Email, Action
You can then decide the next steps of your workflow.
Postpone your workflow by adding a Delay step:
- Wait X minutes/hours/days/weeks/months
- Specific time of day/Specific day of the week/Specific day of the month/Specific date of the year
Condition splits the automation workflow into 2 different paths. This offers better personalization and segmentation. You can choose between “Any Rule” or “All Rules”. The former is where any rule can match the criteria while the latter is where all rules must match the criteria.
- Campaign Activity: had any link clicked, was opened & did not have a specific link clicked, was not opened etc.
- Workflow Activity: had a specific link clicked, was opened with no links clicked etc.
- Custom Fields: contains, is not equal, is provided etc.
- Group Membership
- Segment Membership
In addition to Emailing your subscribers, you can choose to apply additional actions with the Action step:
- Update custom field
- Move to group
- Remove from group
- Mark as unsubscribed
- Move to another step
Based on all these various steps, here are some basic workflows that you can set up.
1. Welcome Email Sequence
One of the most engaging and helpful welcome email series I received was from Draft2Digital. Before signing up for an account, I already researched the company’s services and how they can help an indie author like me. But I’ve forgotten most of their services when I finally created an account recently. Their welcome email sequence then helped refreshed my memory and made me excited to start using their services. In fact, I read every single email in their welcome series!
Welcome email series is a sequence of emails that you automatically send to people after they subscribe to your list. This moment after opting in is when they’re most excited. Your business is on the top of their mind and they want to hear from you. Therefore, welcome emails have high engagement rates because people are more likely to open and click on your emails.
In addition to engaging your new subscribers and getting to know them better, a welcome email sequence is also your chance to introduce yourself and show them how your products and services can help solve their problems.
In my welcome email sequence, I begin by sending a “thank you for subscribing” email that tells my subscribers to update their subscription preferences so they only get emails they’re interested in. This allows me to segment my subscribers into specific groups (News & Updates about my books or Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Self-Publishing Tips from my blog). If they didn’t update their subscription preferences, they’ll simply get all emails. In the next step of the workflow, I added a condition to check if the email was opened after 3 days. If it wasn’t opened, a reminder email to update their subscription preferences will be sent. If it was opened, an email that they’re the first to receive updates will be sent. This is where it gets complicated. I’ve created a few segments in MailerLite: 1) only News & Updates 2) Any Blog Tips 3) News & Updates + Any Blog Tips or Everything. Depending on the subscription preferences and thus the segment my subscribers will fall under, a specially tailored email will be sent.
Here are some ideas for your welcome emails. Feel free to mix and match and rearrange them accordingly.
- Thank You + Set Expectations: email frequency, topics preference
- Your Brand Story
- Lead Magnets: eBook, Guide, Whitepaper
- Helpful Information/Resources about your brand, products or services
- Connect with you on social media
- Get Started: video walkthrough on how to use your product or service
- 10% off discount code for first purchase
2. Cart Abandonment
Have you ever added items to your cart only to abandon them later? Well, I did. And many times too. I’ve abandoned my cart because I was just browsing and researching. I’ve also abandoned my cart because I was busy with other tasks. Another reason for abandoning was because I wasn’t ready.
Likewise, your customers might abandon their carts for a variety of reasons. Although you might not know the reason behind each cart abandonment, the fact remains that cart abandonment is common across all industries. This means that your sales numbers may be smaller than what they could possibly be.
This is where your cart recovery email comes to the rescue. The key purpose of this email is to encourage shoppers to check out and complete their purchase. By automatically sending abandoned cart recovery emails, you can recover your lost sales and save time so you can focus your efforts on other marketing tasks.
Ensure that the email is personalized with their name and lists down the abandoned items in their cart. Also, such emails should be sent as soon as possible. You shouldn’t send the email after 1 day. Your customers would have forgotten by then. Instead, try sending your cart recovery email 1 to 3 hours after abandonment.
Here are some copy ideas:
- There’s something in your cart!
- Forgot something?
- You left something behind
- Still in a dilemma? We can help!
- Make it yours
To help shoppers complete their purchase, you could offer free shipping or discount coupons. You could also add testimonials and reviews from other customers who bought the products. Or even include other alternative products.
Here are some call-to-action ideas to encourage purchase:
- View My Cart
- Proceed To Checkout
- Take Me To My Cart
3. Purchase: Order Confirmation & Shipping Notification
Do you immediately check your inbox after you purchase something online?
Well, that’s the industry standard now. Similar to receipts during offline purchase, most customers will expect to receive order confirmation and shipping notification emails in their inbox when they purchase a product or service. Such emails will also reassure your customers that the purchase was successful and that their items are ready to be delivered to them.
This transactional email should include a summary of what they bought. This could be in a table format listing the items, quantity and type/model. You can include the estimated shipping date and send automated emails when the items are shipped. It’s even better if you can direct customers to a page where they can track their shipment (though this depends on whether your customers chose a shipping method with tracking).
I’ve also received order confirmation emails that include other products at the bottom. This seems like a good time to cross-sell similar items. But I wouldn’t recommend you to upsell now since your customers just made a purchase (it’s a bit too fast to do this!). However, you can create another automated workflow to send an email a few months later to check in with your customers and upsell to them.
4. Rating, Review & Feedback
Reviews are crucial in building trust and credibility. They provide third-party unbiased insight into the quality and experience your product and service provides.
One way to get reviews is by setting up an email automation workflow after a certain number of days that your customer has received your product or service. For instance, you could send an email after a few days or 1 week and politely ask your customers to write a review.
You could include some guiding questions like whether your product or service has helped them and how, if there’s anything that can be improved on. Thank them for taking the time to write an honest review and let them know that their review is appreciated.
Some brands offer an incentive to encourage reviews. One example would be loyalty points (higher points if the review includes an image or video). Customers can then accumulate these loyalty points and trade for a discount coupon for their next purchase. This would be a win-win situation for both your brand and your customers~
5. Happy Birthday
Birthday is one of the most special days of the year. Besides feeling special, it’s a day where you’re showered with love from everyone around you. This is also the perfect time for your brand to send a happy birthday email to your subscribers.
Birthday emails usually contain a special deal, offer or gift which can be easily redeemed by your subscribers. This could be a birthday coupon that is only valid for your subscriber’s birthday month.
If you collect your subscribers’ birth date, you can set up an automated birthday email to send them a custom message and a promotional offer on their special day. Or you could wish them a happy birthday before their actual birthday.
6. Inactive Subscribers
No matter which industry you’re from, there will always be inactive subscribers. They could have signed up with an email account that they don’t often check. Their inbox might have been too cluttered. And the list goes on.
Since most email marketing software pricing is based on the number of subscribers, you might be wasting some marketing dollars sending emails to these inactive subscribers. Furthermore, inactive subscribers can hurt your future email marketing performance. The low engagement rate will send a signal to Gmail, Hotmail etc. to devalue your email. Inactive subscribers will also affect your sender reputation where a low sender score will result in your emails landing in the spam folder.
Before removing them from your email list, you could try sending a win-back or re-engagement email. You can remind them why they signed up for your newsletter in the first place. Your subscribers had given you their email addresses because they liked your brand, products or services. Thus, you have a good chance to win them back by reminding them of your value and relevant content that you add to their lives. This is your last chance to bring them back and increase their engagement.
There are many ways to re-engage inactive subscribers:
- Customer Appreciation
- Survey & Feedback
- We Miss You
Re-Opt-In is another solution. Inactive subscribers will have to click on the “Stay Subscribed” button in the email if they wish to stay on the email list. If they didn’t click on the button, you can then safely assume that the subscribers are not interested and you can remove them from the list.
This automated workflow begins by segmenting your inactive subscribers. This could be people who have never opened or clicked on any of your links in your emails in the last 6 months.
Next, you simply send them a re-engagement email.
- We miss you
- Let’s reconnect
- It’s been a while
- Here’s what you missed out
- $10/10% off your next purchase
You can tap into your subscribers’ fear of missing out and remind them of what they’ve missed so far. For example, your new products or services that they might be interested in. The key is to pique their curiosity and encourage them to click through to your site.
On the other hand, some inactive subscribers will need an incentive. You could offer them an exclusive discount (this might still be better than losing them completely).
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you set up automated email workflows? What other email automation workflows have you set up?