An email is a vital tool in any marketer's kit.

In fact, it's your number one follow-up tool. It lets you hold on to and update clients already buying your products, after getting prospects to say yes.

With that said, emails can be quite complex. So you'll need to simplify the process, and that's what we'll talk about today!

Email Automation Basics

You might have come across how most online websites have an “auto responder” email system. When you subscribe to them, they'll send you a stock email thanking you. That's always an automated email, not one crafted on the spot.

But, that's the essence of email marketing automation. You need to craft stock emails that suit the occasion, be it for new subscribers, brand updates, or cart notices, so that no one goes unnoticed. 

It sounds easy, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Much planning goes into automating email, and we'll discuss that in detail.

Get your Tools Ready

Before going further into automation, you should know what tools to use. You don't need many tools. However, you'll want to centralize your tracking tools.

If you're marketing, you're likely following a multitude of analytics already. You're managing email, analytics, social media automation, and ad performance.

So you don't want to make the job harder for yourself. So, which tools should you use?

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the best and most commonly used. It covers almost all forms of online marketing, including email marketing. It goes into depth too, where it lets you track emails opened.

Essentially, you get to know how many are reading your emails!

This is done through pixel tracking, which involves:

  • Embedding a tracking URL into the email
  • Disguising the URL with an image pixel
  • After the readers open the message, the email's client fetches the image before informing Google Analytics

This form of tracking has limits. For example, it's hard to tell the persona of those opening your emails. You also won't be informed why someone opened your email and how many times they opened the same email.

That aside, keep the main advantage in mind – simplified overall marketing.

With that said, you'll need one or two more tools to properly automate email marketing. And by this, I mean an email automation platform. 

Email Automation Platform

As the name suggests, there you'll find the tools you need to craft and send automated emails. 

You can easily create a drip campaign and multiply it for various purposes, effectively making a proper auto-responder system.

You get to define schedules more accurately. For example, you may want to send a specific email campaign out to new subscribers.

Another set of emails may belong to a paid membership section or design a campaign for loyal customers. 

These tools are relatively easy to use, but they do require getting used to first. 

The best email automation platforms include:

  • MailChimp
  • Infusionsoft
  • Drip

Define Enrollment Criteria – Create a Workflow

There are so many reasons to design a drip campaign. But, enrollment criteria do matter too.

Even if your emails are automated, you want to personalize them a bit. And you can do so by creating a complex email workflow.

Workflows are automated emails sent according to subscriber info – such as contact information, profile, preferences, etc.

The more you can collect that data, the better. You'll primarily collect it when you ask viewers to subscribe, though. So try not to ask for much.

Trigger Criteria

The next question to ask is, when should your emails trigger? When should your automated emails be sent to subscribers?

You can do so either manually or automatically. Manually, you're sending emails that are handcrafted for a specific timeframe, like a newsletter.

Automated sends include essential actions taken by your subscribers, which may be:

  • Becoming a qualified lead
  • Subscribing to your website
  • Submitting a customer service ticket for inquiries
  • Purchases – cart changes

We prefer you have one trigger per campaign. Also, you don't want to put your triggers all over the place.

You send excess spam emails to your viewers if you add triggers everywhere. Not only is that annoying, but it also blurs out your email analytics. It makes it harder for you to track performance.

Delay Time

After a trigger, your email flow isn't stopping. You're sending more emails related to the subscribers' actions.

It would help if you automated a delay time, which is the time spent between sending two emails on a workflow. For example, let's say you have a drip campaign for a holiday sale.

Your first email can be welcome with a discount offer. After that, you can program a three-day delay before sending the next, and so on.

Design delays relative to the situation. And space them out so that they don't like spam. Keep emails spaced out by a week or more for most intents and purposes, with minor exceptions.

IF – THEN Branches

This adds a little more sophistication to your drip campaigns.

You can automate different email responses based on how a subscriber reacts. For example:

  • The first email can advertise a new product – with a discount link.
  • If the subscriber clicks the link– take them to the checkout page, and send emails to follow the sale.
  • If they don't click the link – add in a few days of delay, then send them another email with a different offer.

This lets you branch out your campaigns. It allows your subscribers to interact with you, thus giving them a feeling of control.

You don't have to add many branches to a campaign. Add only as much as it is needed. Most likely, you will need one for every email or two.

Speaking of numbers, keep your emails per campaign minimal. Go for 2-5, which should be enough to answer most customer problems.


Before the Launch

The last thing you want is a workflow that doesn't work.

However, most of the time, that won't be the problem. Issues will mostly be related to links, lousy positioning of triggers, etc. But testing doesn't have to be done before launching only. You can test live.

You can do A/B testing for your emails. For example, take a trigger, and add it on two landing pages.

Take that as an opportunity to see which landing page gets more clicks and eventually generates sales.

A tool to try for that is HubSpot. Over time, it'll help you understand the best way to craft a campaign and what subscribers want to see on your pages!

Adjustments after Launch

Let's say your emails are performing well, but you've got a tweak you want to do. What now?

If it isn't going to make performance worse, add it in. Don't be afraid to adjust your campaigns after launch.

Obviously, it would be best to make adjustments based on the metrics you see. For example, are links you embed in emails getting clicks?

Are your landing pages being received well and triggering emails? And what about client choices throughout the workflow?

Take those into consideration, and adjust your workflow throughout time.

Don't forget Email Design

The previous tips look at your email macros. That'll be the flow, when an email gets sent, where it leads to, etc.

But don't forget the micros. While that's an extensive topic, it does tie up a bit into designing a drip campaign's workflow.

Make your Email accessible to All

Many of the world's population lives with disabilities – estimated to be 15%. That's 15% of your audience. So ensure that your emails are friendly to read, and keep them straight.

And, if there's something you can express with visuals – then don't hesitate. Images speak a thousand words.

Weave your Brand into the Email

Most email automation platforms give you tools to customize email graphics. You can add layouts that better represent your brand's colors. Even better, you weave in a URL into the layouts!

This makes it more likely that readers click and follow up. And it lets your email stand out from others too! Plus, it ties into your analytics. You can better track who stays on your landing pages after a URL layout is clicked!

Just be sure to design it professionally. Don't rush a design and craft layouts you'll use for a long-time!

Relevant Details

Before designing an email campaign, define the critical info in each email.

Consider them “fields” that are filled based on client details.
For example, in a checkout email, you need:

  • Client email
  • Credit card/payment system info
  • Address
  • Transaction time
  • Transaction costs

Skipping out relevant details can be detrimental. You either end up not correctly confirming a transaction, or you can end up confusing clients.

Schedule Maintenance

This is more of a macro tip. However, now and then, you'll need maintenance time to review how your emails are performing.

When you look at analytics, note down changes, find problems, and modify your campaigns for better outcomes!


Automating emails isn't simple as it seems. Just because you're “automating” doesn't mean that no work is required.

But, done right, everything you do is a matter of knowing your maintenance subroutines!

See what our experts got to say about automating your Email Marketing experience. Contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

While email marketing and marketing automation are not interchangeable terms, they synergize effectively. Marketing automation offers diverse strategies, including drip campaigns and retargeting, augmenting the potency and precision of email marketing efforts. Together, they form a formidable duo, enhancing engagement and conversion rates.

Email marketing automation simplifies your marketing efforts. It allows you to create and schedule highly targeted campaigns that activate based on subscriber actions or behaviors. This eliminates the need for manual, time-consuming email sending to each recipient. With automation, you can optimize your strategy, save time, and boost engagement. By delivering personalized content and responses, you enhance the subscriber experience and drive campaign success. Email marketing automation transforms your approach, making it efficient and data-driven, ultimately delivering better results.

CRM centers on enhancing customer relationships, encompassing current and potential clients. Conversely, an email marketing tool primarily concentrates on automated marketing to efficiently connect with customers. It acts as a data source for the CRM system, facilitating seamless integration of customer interactions.

Email marketing may not have a direct impact on SEO, but it can be leveraged to boost website traffic. Generating relevant traffic through email campaigns can effectively lower bounce rates. Furthermore, you can repurpose newsletter content into blog posts, potentially enhancing your website's search engine ranking. This synergy between email marketing and SEO demonstrates how strategic email campaigns can indirectly benefit your online visibility and engagement.