What is Email Automation and Why You’ll Love it

Imagine writing a set of emails just once that are then sent to different people at different times when they need it most.

Email automation allows you to program when emails are sent based on behavioral, time-sensitive or other types of triggers.

For instance, instead of manually sending out a welcome email to everyone who signs up for your service, you can set up a trigger that automatically sends a welcome email every time a new person signs up.

You write the email once, but it continues to work hard and reach all your subscribers exactly when they need it.

Why email automation is a game changer for your business

Beyond taking the manual work off your plate, automated emails let you personalize your messages in a way that is timely and relevant.

As a result, automated emails are opened more often. According to Epsilon, they get 199% higher click rates than mass emails.

The world's most high-performing companies like Amazon and Netflix have embraced automation resulting in huge revenue increases.

The ROI (return on investment) for automatic emails is extremely high because the recipients are receiving your message when it is top of mind and it satisfies their desire for instant feedback.

MailerLite makes it easy for you to automate your emails in the same way that those huge companies like Amazon personalize their emails to reach their customers.

If you are not using email automation for your business, you are missing a big opportunity to engage your customers, deliver a better experience and build your business.

4 ways you can leverage email automation

While the possibilities of what you can do with email automation are endless, we want to share four email automation use cases that you can apply to your business today.

1. Automate welcome emails

Make a strong first impression. The first email automation every business should implement is a welcome response for a new subscriber. 

When someone signs up to receive content, an automated message is the best way to acknowledge them, make a positive first impression and extend the engagement by offering additional value.

Automated welcome emails can have long-term implications that impact your bottom line:

  • 74.4% of people expect a welcome email when they subscribe
  • Delivers 33% more long-term engagement with the brand.
  • Generates 4x the open rates and 5x the click rates compared to other bulk promotions.
  • Provides 3x the transactions and revenue per email compared to regular promotional emails.

First impressions are powerful, so be thoughtful about what you want to say.

How to write a welcome email

The secret to a great first impression is to be human and authentic. Pretend you are meeting the customer in-person and then create an email that shares your gratitude and sets expectations.

This welcome email example contains several elements that are worth pointing out:

  • There is an authentic welcome message.
  • Informs the reader what they should expect.
  • Invites the reader to personalize.
  • Ends on a high note with a special offer.

In addition to communicating their gratitude, Michaels uses the email to showcase their personality and offer some unique extras including personal preferences and a coupon. 

You have one opportunity to WOW your customer right from the start with an automated welcome email that makes a lasting first impression.

Automate an onboarding email sequence

With Mailerlite, you can create automated sequences where different emails are sent in a sequence. This allows you to break up your messages and feed people information in a way that is timely and based on their actions.

For example:

  • Step 1 - A new subscriber receives a welcome email. 
  • Step 2 - Two days later an email is automatically sent with a product tour video. 
  • Step 3A - If the subscriber watches the video, they receive an email one week later with a coupon. 
  • Step 3B - If they don’t watch the video, they receive a different email sequence to re-engage them.

These sequences are automatically delivered for every new customer. If you find that part of a sequence is not effective, it’s easy to change different parts without having to build a new sequence.

Here an example of an automated sequence from an e-commerce store:

2. Automate audience segmentation

Let your customers self-segment. Audience segmentation is a way to divide up your customer base into smaller groups based on what they like about your products and services.

Segmentation is an important step to improve the relevance of your email marketing. When relevance increases, your campaign performance improves. 

Instead of sending everyone the same message, segmentation helps you target the right message to the right audience.

The current practice of creating segments based on personas or other data points doesn't always lead to the right groups. With email automation, you can create extremely effective groups through self-segmentation.

What is self-segmenting?

Self-segmentation occurs when people take certain actions online that triggers MailerLite to automatically place them into a segment based on their behavior. 

Let's say a subscriber clicks a link in your newsletter for an upcoming sales webinar. MailerLite automatically segments that subscriber into a group labeled “Sales Webinar”. 

In this example, the subscriber's interest in sales led to their segmentation.  Now, you can send them email content tailored to sales topics, which you know they care about.

More insights about email segmentation.
What is Email List Segmentation and Why You Need it

3. Automate lead nurturing

Guide prospects down the sales funnel. You can set up automated sequences based on your subscribers’ actions and lead them to a purchase.

When potential customers come to you, they are rarely ready to buy on the spot. In fact, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. Nurturing subscribers to become customers is an integral part of the sales process.

Build a relationship with subscribers with an automated nurturing email campaign.

Automated lead nurturing allows you to track each subscriber's engagement with your content and website. You can automatically send the right email at the right time when they interact with your content. 

When someone downloads a piece of content or clicks on a link, you can program your email to activate the next phase of the nurture campaign. This allows you to leverage every opportunity to push your subscribers towards a conversion.

Link triggers extend engagement

Once someone becomes a subscriber, you can continue an email dialogue with them based on their interactions with your different online channels.

Link triggers enable you to use any link as a trigger to activate a corresponding email. The automated email can be triggered by any type of link that you control.

For example, if a subscriber clicks and reads one of your blogs, you can automatically send them a follow-up email about that topic. Just like having a normal conversation offline, the email is focused on your individual's personal interests.

Let's say you read a MailerLite blog post on Email Automation. The following day you would receive an email like this:

Link Triggers are a great way to engage your subscribers in a way that feels natural and adds value. Not to mention they drive a 5x click-to-open rate versus an untargeted, mass email. 

Watch video tutorial
Link trigger set up

4. Automate retention

Keep customers engaged. Everyone loves acquiring new customers, but a business can't survive on new sales alone — you need to retain the customers you already have to stay profitable.

One of the most effective ways to keep customers is by building a relationship through automated email campaigns.

In fact, 80% of retail marketers indicated that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention. The second best channel is Social media at just 44%.

Retention marketing is most powerful when you deliver value in a way that keeps customers engaged. Automated emails play a critical role in a retention campaign. 

By programming triggers that send customers emails at key points in your customer lifecycle, you can maintain relationships with thousands of customers.

For example, a subscription-based business like Netflix can activate an email campaign when a user's subscription is close to expiration. Not only does an email like that add value by reminding the customer that their service is about to end, but it's also an opportunity to send a discount offer. 

Effective retention campaigns are based on identifying when your customers need to hear from you and delivering the value when they least expect it.

You don't need a developer to set up automation

Automating emails sounds technical, but MailerLite designed its platform so everyone can use it. MailerLite walks you through a step-by-step process to program your automation.

Once you set up an email and define your triggers, the emails will continue to be sent without you having to lift a finger.

To show you how easy it really is to set up a campaign, we made this 7-minute video with everything you need to know:

Use your powers for good

Automation is a powerful tool. It gives you Jedi-like abilities to send messages exactly when your subscribers need them.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. While automation is powerful, it can be misused to cause spam or to send out the wrong emails by accident.

Email automation is built for efficiency. Be diligent in matching the right messages with the right customer triggers. Always double check your settings and test your emails before you launch a campaign.

You'll find email success with automation by following these five core principles:

MailerLite makes it incredibly simple to set up your automated email campaigns. It's up to you to create compelling emails that will attract and retain customers.