7 Ways to Create High-Performing Email Automation Campaigns

Note: This post is a guest post by Kelly Forst, Marketing Specialist @AWeber

I’m willing to bet you wear a lot of hats.

Running a successful business means you’re also a professional juggler — of tasks, that is. There’s always something to do, and never enough time to do it.

That’s why marketing automation is so important — especially when it comes to communicating with your prospects and customers. Email marketing automation is a powerful tool to deliver the right messages, to the right people, at the right time — in a way that helps you grow your business.

In this blog, I’ll share the 7 best email automation tactics and why you should use email automation campaigns.

What is email automation?

Email automation is an integral part of your elaborate marketing automation system. Many confuse email automation to be the same as marketing automation. However, the fact is, email automation is a part of marketing automation. Email and marketing automation are complementary to each other but not the same.

With email automation, you can keep your email subscribers engaged by delivering custom email campaigns based on what you know about them.

But how does email automation differ from email autoresponders?

Well, automation is involved in an email autoresponder, but not all automated emails are autoresponders.

Confused? It’s actually really simple.

Email autoresponders are a series of email messages (or campaigns) you set up in advance to send to a group of subscribers on a schedule of your choosing. But email automation is more powerful. Email automation lets you trigger messages based on what links subscribers click in a message, what messages they open, web page visits, abandoned carts and so much more.

Basically, autoresponders are a subset of email automation.

How does email marketing automation work?

In AWeber and other reputable email marketing apps, email automations are triggered by tags.

Tags are keywords or phrases that help you categorize your subscribers into groups. They are labels you can apply to individual subscribers or groups of subscribers, based on what you know about them. This helps you deliver the most relevant content to your subscribers.

You can apply a tag to a subscriber when they join your email list, sign up to receive a lead magnet, attend a webinar, purchase a product, or simply click a link in a message.

Why should I use email automation?

Here are 5 of the best reasons to use email automation in your marketing efforts.

  1. It saves time in the long run. While setting up automated email campaigns may require you to write a bit more upfront, you’ll be able to “set it and forget it” once you put in the effort up-front. Let the automation do the heavy lifting for you.

7 ways to use email workflow automation

Welcome a new subscriber

An email subscriber will never be more engaged with you than in the moments after they join your email list. So make sure you send a welcome email — they’ll be eagerly waiting for it.

A strong automated welcome email series should not only welcome new subscribers to your list and thank them for joining, but it should also give them an idea of what they can expect as a subscriber and introduce them to your brand.

Having an automated campaign set up lets you continue to capitalize on your new subscribers’ interest, too. Check out this 3-email welcome series that we suggest email marketers send to their new subscribers.

If you generate subscribers via a form on your website, connect your form builder app to your email marketing automation software with Automate.io. Once done, you can easily build an automated workflow to add these subscribers to a welcome email series.

Example: Add all new Typeform entries to an automation series in AWeber. Connect Typeform and AWeber from here.

Deliver a lead magnet with targeted content

Automated email systems also make for the best delivery mechanism for lead magnets.

Lead magnets can be anything your audience finds valuable enough to exchange their contact details for. But the most important thing is that the lead magnet is delivered to the subscriber when they submit their contact information.

This is where email automation comes in.

Create an automated email campaign that delivers the lead magnet and provides continuous value on the topic of the lead magnet.

For instance, AWeber created a guide to help podcasters with their email marketing. The first email delivers the guide, and the rest of the series provides other resources and tips just for podcasters. This highly targeted email campaign works well when you know what your audience is most interested in.

Increase engagement with your product or service

There’s a couple of ways to create an automated email campaign to increase engagement with your products or services.

First, if a customer has already purchased a product or service, you may be able to infer that they are interested in related products. Tag them according to what they purchased and set up an automated email to trigger that particular segment.

Second, tag subscribers based on links they click in an email, or based on pages they visit on your website. Then, send targeted emails with limited-time offers and exclusive deals related to the products they checked out. It may make it easier for them to purchase!

Example: If you’ve set up your business on Shopify, connect your Shopify store to AWeber to keep all your customers and their details in sync.

Re-engage sleepy subscribers

Want to increase your open rates and click-through rates? Create a segment of subscribers who haven’t opened a message from you recently, and send them a targeted email campaign in an attempt to re-engage them.

Check out this re-engagement email from nutrition company Macrostax. By offering a steep discount to subscribers who haven’t opened an email from them recently, they make it more appealing for subscribers to rejoin their system.

Gather feedback with a survey

Ask your subscribers what they think in a survey.

Surveys can be a valuable addition to any email campaign. Did they complete a course? Download a guide? Use your product or service? Make sure a survey email is included so you can gather valuable feedback to inform improvements, or to use as testimonials in your marketing. Capture your survey responses directly into your Google Sheets.

For instance, if you are using SurveyMonkey for your surveys, you can directly collate your responses into your Google Sheets by connecting SurveyMonkey and Google Sheets.

Run cart abandonment campaigns

Automation is super handy when it comes to targeting those who abandoned their carts at checkout. If you know someone hit a page on your website, but did not make it to the “thank you for purchasing” page, tag them appropriately to deliver a cart abandonment email and remind them what they were looking at.

You can also send them special discounts and offers if the item they abandoned goes on sale. That just might be the push they need to convert.

Offer limited-time sales or discounts

Let’s use Black Friday + Cyber Monday weekend as an example here…

Imagine how much time and energy you would save automating the delivery of limited-time sales or discounts to your email subscribers this time of the year, so you can focus on running your business.

Set up an email campaign that includes teaser emails, countdown emails, promotion launches, retargeting messages, and more. If you want to get really advanced, create tags so that those who abandon their carts while they’re shopping get a notice later on with a note that the sale has been extended — just for them!

Check out this email from Silly George, a beauty company, who extended their sale to those who missed the opportunity to purchase.

Remember milestone dates

Want to add a more personal touch? Set up birthday emails with a special git to trigger at the beginning of the month, if you know subscribers’ birthdays.

Or, you can do the same with anniversaries, achievements, and other milestones.

But how do you collect this information? Ask at the point of opt-in (in your sign up form or landing page), and tag them right then and there. Or, ask in an email and have them click a link. You can apply a tag to a subscriber based on links that they click in your messages.

5 best tips for successful email marketing automations

  1. Split test everything. Want to understand your audience better? Then you have to split test your email marketing. The only way to understand what type of content works best for your unique audience is to constantly test it. And the more you test, the better. Split test your subject lines, email copy, calls-to-action, colors, videos, email templates — everything and anything you can think that will give you insight into what makes your audience tick.


Email marketing automation is a powerful tool for business owners to save time and money. Plus, take marketing automation to the next level when you integrate your email marketing with the tools you use every day.

Unleash the power of email marketing automation with popular apps and integrations through Automate.io. Click here to learn more about integration.

Connect your cloud apps and automate marketing, sales and business workflows.

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