You’re here because you’re trying to learn about email automation and how to set it up.
After reading this post, you’ll understand:
- How email marketing automation work
- The benefits of email automation
- The types of email automation
- Criteria for choosing an email marketing automation tool / platform
- How to set up email automation that work for you 24/7 (even when you’re goofing off 😴)
In a hurry and just want to use an email marketing tool to quickly set up email automation? Click here to try BirdSend free while saving yourself 80% per month in email tool expenses… while still getting high email opens.
How does email automation work?
Email marketing automation is sending automated emails without human intervention — i.e. the sending of emails are done around the clock by software, no matter if you’re sleeping, vacationing with your family, or lazing around.
These automated emails get sent to the correct and targeted recipients (subscribers) based on triggers.
Triggers could be based on:
- Someone joining your newsletter / email list
- Someone requesting a specific lead magnet
- A subscriber opening an email or clicking an email link
- A customer buying one of your offers
- A prospect abandoning their shopping cart
What are the benefits of email automation?
Save time, energy, and money
In any niche or industry, the problems faced by people are the same old same old.
Hence, it makes sense to come up with answers to these common problems and pain points, and then putting these answers into emails that get sent automatically, for every new subscriber that joins your email list.
Without this kind of email marketing automation, you’d need to:
- Manually write and send the same email message to new subscribers all the time (if you have hundreds of new subscribers every day, your fingers will get crooked and you won’t have time to work on other more important tasks because you’ll spend all day copy pasting and sending emails, not to mention you’ll also hate the entire boring process!)
- Stand by 24/7 as you don’t know when a new subscriber is going to join (if you wait a few hours later after they join before sending your email, chances are they’d already have forgotten about you)
Automatically build relationships with subscribers
The purpose of providing answers to some of the problems faced by your subscribers is to build relationships with them so they know, like, trust, and eventually buy from you.
This is to keep you top of mind in their mind. You’re the 1st person they think of when it comes to solving their problem in their niche.
Even if they don’t need your product or service now, they’ll remember you when they need it later.
Plus, they’ll refer you to their network when they’re asked for recommendations.
The emails subscribers receive are targeted emails because these emails were sent based on their interests.
If they opted-in because they want to get your ebook or report (lead magnet), it means they’re interested in that specific topic.
If they opened a certain email or click a particular email link, it means they’re interested in the sub-topic or offer.
Unlike traditional media, emails are trackable.
While many people use open and click rates as the basis for evaluating their email performance, a better and more accurate way is to judge email results based on sales revenue or earnings.
How easy it is to get revenue / earnings report based on emails depends on the email marketing automation tool you use.
With BirdSend, it’s quick to get these numbers, and more. By more, I mean lifetime value of subscribers, average lifetime value (based on your entire account or based on a specific campaign / tag):
Types of email automation
There are 6 common types of email marketing automation / series / sequences:
- Impress A Stranger Series (Welcome series)
- Show Me The Mahhhney Series (Promo series)
- Just 1 Last Step Series (Abandoned Cart series)
- Why Did You Leave Me Series (Converting churned series)
- Let’s Break Up Series (Re-engagement series)
- I Appreciate You Series (Customer / onboarding series)
I’ve already covered all 6 email automation here.
Criteria for choosing an email marketing automation tool
Obviously, to set up an email automation, you’d need to use an email marketing tool / software / platform.
Here are what the tool must be able to do:
- Drip emails / sequences / series / autoresponders
- Open email triggers
- Click email link triggers
- Purchase triggers
- Abandoned cart tiggers
- The ability to exclude subscribers from receiving certain emails
- The ability for subscribers to be auto subscribed to another email series when current email series is completed
Let’s go through them one-by-one.
Drip emails / sequences / series / autoresponders
Drip emails or sequences is a series of emails sent automatically to subscribers at pre-determined intervals.
The most common use case is someone who opted in for your lead magnet. You deliver the lead magnet in the 1st email of the sequence.
Then for subsequent emails in the sequence (each based within days apart), you continue to provide helpful tips to overcome some of their problems and pain points.
The email marketing tool or software must have this sequence feature. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do proper email marketing automation.
Open email triggers
When a subscriber opens a particular email message, start a particular automation.
E.g. Subscriber Sally opens email titled “Help me find a place for these homeless dogs” → tag [want to help find home for dogs] and subscribe to [explain how to help find home for dogs] sequence.
Click email link triggers
When a subscriber clicks a certain email link, start a certain automation.
E.g. Subscriber Tom clicks buy link → tag [prospect for product X] and subscribe to [sell product X] sequence where he’ll get a series of emails persuading him to buy product X.
When someone buys your product from your cart tool, automatically add them to your email marketing tool account with the correct tag AND subscribe them to your customer sequence.
Abandoned cart tiggers
When someone tries to buy your product but didn’t complete the entire checkout process, automatically add them to your email marketing tool account with the correct tag AND subscribe them to your abandoned cart sequence (where you try to convince them to complete the checkout).
The ability to exclude subscribers from receiving certain emails
The most common use case is to exclude customers who have already bought a certain product from receiving promotional emails selling the said product.
If you don’t exclude customers who have already bought, they might be upset. For instance, if you offer a discount in the email and the customer who’ve previously bought didn’t get the discount.
The ability for subscribers to be auto subscribed to another email series when current email series is completed
This is useful, for example, when you have different levels of automation — e.g. level 1 training, level 2 training, etc.
Those who have completed level 1 can be automatically moved to level 2 where they’ll start receiving level 2 emails.
How to set up email automation in 2 steps
I’m going to show you step by step how to set up an email automation in BirdSend, divided into 2 steps:
Step 1 — Set up email sequences / series / drips / autoresponders
Step 2 — Set up rules / triggers — if X happens, do Y
Step 1 — Setting up email sequences / drips
On the Sequences page, click [New Sequence]:
You’ll arrive on the sequence detail page:
Here you just need to type your subject line and the email body content.
You’re able to control how soon you want to send the first email. Most likely, it’s “immediately” as you want to instantly deliver the lead magnet you promise.
You can also add as many emails as you want from the right sidebar by clicking the [New Email] button, without having to go back and forth to load multiple “sequence email” pages and then doing the typing / editing of emails — which is how most email marketing tools force you to do — which is waste of time, especially if you have a lot of emails inside a sequence.
With BirdSend, everything is quickly accessible on 1-page. Have 10 emails in the sequence? You write and edit on 1 page. Have 30 emails? Same — write or edit all of them on 1 page. This is why we call this The 1-Page Sequence Builder.
You can also set the delay time / interval between each email in the sequence. In the example above, email #3 will be sent 3 days after email #2.
To edit each of the email in the sequence, simply go to the right sidebar and click the said email message. E.g. If you want to edit email #4, click on email message #4 — then type or edit the subject line and body content.
One of the fastest ways to get more eyeballs for your email is to resend the same email with a different subject line (since subject line is one of the first things people look at before deciding if they want to open your email or not).
In BirdSend, again, it’s super fast to set up a resend:
And the best thing is you can resend for every email in the sequence.
Next let’s take a look at the email editor:
We purposely built this email editor to be simple and lightweight.
I sometimes see people want “beautiful and fancy designed” emails. The problem with these types of fancy-designed emails is that they lower deliverability because the backend HTML code is heavy and complex — which mailbox providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) don’t like.
Additionally, think about why people subscribe to you in the first place? Is it because they want to be in awe of how “good looking” your email design is, or because of how your CONTENT can help them?
There’s a joke in our inner circle: “Are we trying to write emails that communicate our message or are we trying to build websites and landing pages?”
With BirdSend’s simple and lightweight email editor, you still can insert images, logos, memes, gifs, emojis, banners, etc.
Before finalizing your email, it’s a good idea to send a preview email to yourself to make sure the email is fine:
Finally, you can set the sender “from name and email address” on the [Settings] tab:
Plus you can be notified (if you so choose) whenever a new subscriber joins your sequence:
Step 2 — Setting up Rules / Triggers (if X happens, do Y)
There are many Rules / Triggers available, hence it’s not possible to cover every one.
I’ll cover the more common ones instead:
- Purchase automation trigger
- Abandoned cart automation trigger
- Open / click automation trigger
- Complete sequence automation trigger
Purchase automation trigger
On the Rules page, click [New Rule]:
Let’s select one of the shopping carts — in this example let’s use ThriveCart:
When customers buy your product via your ThriveCart account → tag them with [customers of product a] and subscribe them to the [customer] sequence so that they receive your emails meant for buyers of this product.
Abandoned cart automation trigger
On the Rules page, click [New Rule]:
For this Abandoned cart automation example, let’s choose WooCommerce:
When prospects abandon their shopping cart (i.e. filled out their info but didn’t complete the purchase process) → tag them with [abandoned product b] and subscribe to [abandoned sequence for product b] so that they receive your follow up emails that try to recover the sale.
Open / Click automation trigger
On the Rules page, click [New Rule]:
For OPEN trigger automation, here’s what it looks like:
If subscriber opened an email (but wait… what kind of email? Sequence email, broadcast email, or any email?)…
In this e.g., let’s choose sequence email.
Inside the sequence, there are multiple emails. So which email are we talking about? Let’s select the [want to go to disneyland] email.
If subscriber opened this specific email → tag with [interested in disneyland] and subscribe to [disneyland] sequence, so that they receive emails about Disneyland.
For CLICK trigger automation, here’s what it looks like:
If subscriber clicked an email link (but wait… what kind of link? Link in sequence email, broadcast email, or any email?)…
In this e.g., let’s select link in sequence email.
Which sequence and which email in the sequence though? Ahhh the [fun activities] sequence and the [want to go to disneyland] email.
Inside this [want to go to disneyland] sequence email, there are multiple links. So which link are we talking about? Let’s choose the [disneyland florida] link.
If subscribers clicked this specific link → tag with [disneyland florida] and subscribe to [disneyland florida] sequence, so that they start getting emails about Disneyland Florida.
Complete sequence automation trigger
On the Rules page, click [New Rule]:
You’ll arrive at this page:
When subscribers have completed the [disneyland] sequence → tag with [universal studios] and subscribe to [universal studios] sequence, so they receive emails about Universal Studios.
So as you can see from the various examples above, it’s easy and quick to set up an email automation in BirdSend.
Examples of email automation
To illustrate the above email marketing automation use cases better so you have a clearer understanding, here are 3 examples of how we use them in our business, BirdSend.
BirdSend email mistakes challenge
People who’re interested in upping their email marketing skills take this email mistakes challenge to discover the top email mistakes they make.
Once they opt-in and join the challenge, they’ll receive daily emails showing them the common email mistakes and how to fix them.
You can see the challenge here.
BirdSend abandoned cart sequence
For prospects who started the sign up process to create a free BirdSend trial account but didn’t complete the entire process (because we ask for their credit card details to filter only the most serious prospects)… we put them into our abandoned cart sequence.
In this abandoned cart sequence, we try to convince them to complete the sign up process.
BirdSend customer onboarding sequence
Users who have completed the sign up process are put into this sequence to onboard them into BirdSend.
Emails are sent to these users to introduce them and show them how to use the various features we have, with each email explaining a feature.
So there you have it — how to set up email automation for your business. As with any fruitful initiative, it will take you time initially to set up these automation.
If you’re new at this, the key is not to be overwhelmed. You certainly don’t have to implement all automation at the same time.
Start 1 automation at a time.
When you’ve gained some familiarity, you can always start a 2nd automation, then a 3rd one, and so on.
Remember that good enough is better than perfect. You can always tweak your automation as you gain more experience and insights.
Try BirdSend email marketing tool free — the fastest email automation sequence builder. If you can find a sequence builder faster, let me know (contact icon on bottom right of page) and I’ll give you a paid account, on the house.*