The nuts & bolts of email automation


Done right, email marketing can be one of the most effective and efficient channels for driving traffic and business to your website. Since the days of sending one-off emails to a contact list, email marketing has quickly evolved into something much more sophisticated. Enter email automation.

What is email automation?

At the heart of it, email automation is best defined by explaining what it’s not. It is not a newsletter or campaign that is sent to a large list of people at one time. Instead, it is a system that is triggered when a user fulfills certain filters.

Examples of automated emails are the email you receive when you sign up for a new service like Facebook, or when you get an email from Amazon with a selection of items you have browsed previously.

Why automate your emails?

Of course, there’s the part about the efficiency of having to only set up the system once, and letting it do its thing. Perhaps more importantly, though, this will have a positive impact on your customers.

Much of the email we receive today is lazy and overly generic, earning them a quick journey into the trash folder. By sending emails that are timely and relevant, and not generic, you avoid that trap. In fact, a research report from Epsilon Email Institute shows that on average, automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click through rates.

This is critical, as people rarely convert on their first visit to your website (up to 96% according to this Microsoft statistic). By sending targeted and relevant email ‘reminders’, Your chances of success improve dramatically.

How do you get started?


The first thing you’ll need is an email automation system. Like any good tech product, you’d be spoilt for choice, whatever your budget or functionality requirements. One of the biggest players in the game, MailChimp, has a great free tier for you to get started. Other reputable systems include Campaign Monitor, Drip and AWeber.

Once you get set up on your system of choice, you will need to import your email list and set up your triggers. This may mean having a developer work on getting the API implemented, but some triggers are surprisingly easy to set up. All that’s left is to do is to create the appropriate emails. That’s something we will discuss in a future article as that itself is a deep topic.

A note on planning your emails for mobile

A recent Campaign Monitor study found that  53% of emails are read on mobile. Furthermore, these days people tend to triage their mass of emails from their phone, often during their downtime. This represents a huge opportunity. As such, you should always ensure your email looks good on mobile devices. Thankfully this is easy to do on the above-mentioned systems.

Hopefully, this article has given you a good overview of email automation and helps you get started.