GoViral (formerly SmartBribe) is a 100% free tool that encourages new email subscribers to share your opt-in with their friends. It customizes your thank you page to include a “bonus” incentive for them to share on social media and email. Once they share, they get access to the free bonus.

welcome email pipcorn

How to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing Automation

It’s no secret that the strongest relationships are built on personal connections. Without a personal connection, relationships are usually short-lived and unfruitful for both parties. The same is true in marketing. According to SmarterHQ, “72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.” But how can you personalize at scale? Enter email marketing automation.

Email marketing automation is a series of triggers along the customer journey that will spontaneously send the customer a personalized email. Each email is curated specifically for each touchpoint, organically moving the customer along in the sales funnel.

Here at Campaign Monitor, we’ve found that automated emails create 320% more revenue than non-automated emails. What differentiates an automated email campaign from any other email marketing campaign is that it’s personalized to the consumer, rather than just a mass mailing with broad messaging. According to Accenture, consumers are over 90% more likely to shop with your brand when they have a personalized experience. So, if you’re wondering how you can use email automation to grow your business, you’re in the right place. Let’s dig in.

How does automated email sending work?

  1. Install an email marketing tool. To start, you’ll need easy-to-use email automation software (like Omnisend).
  2. Build and segment an email list. Have a list of subscribers to send automated emails to—it can be built organically with signup forms. Break up your list into smaller segments based on information like interests or behaviors.
  3. Set up an automation trigger. A trigger is an event or condition that will activate the automated campaign (this includes a newsletter signup, an abandoned cart, a subscriber’s birthday, a lack of engagement for X days, etc.)
  4. Create email campaigns. Design the automated email by creating images, texts, call-to-action-buttons, discounts, brand logos, etc.
  5. Activate the automation. Choose the time to send the automated campaign and turn it on. Later, monitor how well it performs to find opportunities to improve.

Email Automation Tools

Email Automation Tools for List Building

1. OptinMonster

optinmonster is the best lead generation software ever!

OptinMonster is a premium WordPress plugin that gives you the power to automatically collect and segment email addresses. These can be segmented based on the user’s activity, inactivity, cookies, geographical location, and more.

It also offers seamless integration with many of the leading email service providers. That means you can exponentially grow your email list with OptinMonster and then send personalized automated emails via your email service provider.

optinmonster campaign examples

Email Marketing Automation with OptinMonster

OptinMonster also offers a Real-Time Behavior Automation engine. This powerful engine identifies what users are looking for and shows the perfect optin campaign that’s more likely to convert them into customers.

cookie targeting real time behavior email automation

2. RafflePress

rafflepress is the best wordpress giveaway plugin

Integrated Email Marketing Automation Tools

3. Contactually

contactually real estate crm

Contactually is one of the neatest tools on the list. It’s a CRM platform that focuses on vetting contacts. First, it gathers contacts from your email inbox, website, and social media profiles. Then Contactually collects as much information as possible to guide your messaging.

4. HubSpot


Pricing: HubSpot has several marketing automation tools for free. Paid plans range from $50/month for the Starter plan to the Enterprise plan starting at $1200/month. Their pricing will increase on November 1, 2019.

5. Intercom

intercom automated email conversations

Suppose you’re trying to teach your customers/users about your app. In that case, Intercom lets you send automated email conversations directly in the app. This gives them assistance where they’re most likely to see it.

6. BenchmarkONE

benchmarkone crm automation

7. E-goi

e-goi homepage

8. Act-On

act-on marketing automation

9. LeadSquared

leadsquared lead conversion platform

Pricing: Plans with marketing automation features start at $150/month (billed annually). However, automation workflows are only in the Basic plan and above, starting at $400/month (billed annually).

10. SAP Sales Cloud (Formerly CallidusCloud)

calliduscloud lead qualifying tool

Another great lead qualifying tool is SAP Sales Cloud (formerly CallidusCloud). This technology automates the process of identifying promising leads while weeding out ones that are deemed to be unqualified or high-risk/low-reward.

11. Marketo

marketo automated email marketing

Tracking and Monitoring Tools for Email

12. GetNotify


GetNotify is a free tool that notifies you the instant your email gets read by the recipient. You just send your marketing emails like normal, but add “” to the recipient’s email address. Your recipient will not see this, and they will not know that you are tracking their opens.

Email automation

Mailshake offers excellent automated email tools, especially if you’re doing cold outreach. With lots of plugins, it allows you to build out your mailing list, clean it to make sure you’ve got live emails, and schedule the perfect email sequence. It’s also got great social integrations!

Examples of Great Automated Email Marketing Campaigns - Newsletter email from Neil Patel

What is Email Automation and Why You Should Use it in Your Campaigns

Your business is likely familiar with transactional email and marketing email as critical tools used to provide operational updates (such as a receipt) or promotional messages (like a newsletter or coupon). In this “how-to” guide, we introduce and explain how to send a third category of email that can add tremendous value and complement your existing email campaigns: automated email.

Automated email, also referred to as triggered email or behavior-driven email, is any message automatically sent from your email service provider (ESP) in direct response to an individual user’s specific actions made (or not made) on your website or web app.

Transactional emails are highly valuable to consumers because they provide crucial information like receipts or password resets, but because of CAN-SPAM and CASL rules and guidelines, these emails can’t provide or contain much promotional content. Traditional marketing email is critical for sending announcements to large segments of your customer base, like promotions or newsletters, but they don’t offer the one-to-one communication customers have come to expect.

Email automation provides benefits from both transactional and marketing email because it allows you to follow up with individual customers automatically, like transactional email, but also allows for more robust messaging opportunities like you get from marketing email. By bridging the gap between transactional and marketing email, automated email provides a scalable and efficient method for marketers to send extremely user-specific messages in a responsive way.

Relevance – When a user receives an automated email, it’s because they’ve taken an action which triggered a workflow. As a result, the message they receive is highly relevant to them and they’re more likely to open and engage with the email.

Engaging content – Automated email content is designed to increase user engagement with your app or website. This could mean teaching new customers how to use your product, encouraging users to give feedback, or providing a lapsed customer with an incentive to return. For example, you might want to set up an automated “how-to” email trigger if certain people have signed up for your service but have yet to start using it.

Brand building – As a highly personal communication channel, automated email serves as an extension of your brand. It gives you the opportunity to strengthen the connection between you and your customers by communicating thought leadership, assisting with cross-sells, or by sharing timely updates about features they haven’t used yet. Simply put, email automation drives user engagement. Customers are much more likely to open, read, and take action with an automated email.

email automation

Loyalty – Customers who’ve been helped through the onboarding process or who have received timely cues to follow through on desired actions are more likely to feel successful and recommend your brand to others.

Retention – Customers feel more valued when they receive personalized assistance and real-time communication, which translates to sticky users who you can count on as consistent, long-term users.

Revenue – Customers are more likely to finish entering their billing information, upgrade their account, or return as an active user when they’re messaged at the perfect time with just the right prompt.

Action – One of the reasons automated email is so powerful is that it targets people who have already engaged with your brand’s website or app. This means they are further down the sales funnel and more likely to take the steps you want them to as customers.

When to Use Automated Email Marketing

1. Abandoned Carts

2. Sending Automated Email Newsletters to Subscribers

If you’ve got their email address, you’ve got an opportunity to keep the connection alive and build a relationship (hopefully until they become a repeat customer). Just having someone’s email doesn’t achieve this, though, and instead, you’ve got to be able to offer something valuable.

3. Promotional Emails

4. Welcome Emails

It allows you to set expectations and explain the value proposition of receiving your emails. Once someone has a good idea of what they’re going to receive from your emails, they’re more likely to open them and interact with your content.

5. Automatic Replies to Customer Complaints

You can’t be monitoring your inbox 24/7, so it’s just not possible to be able to respond to each complaint right away. What you can do is set up an automated email that explains your complaint process and ensures you’re working on fixing the issue.

When to Not Use Automated Emails

You can personalize automated emails, but there’s a limit to what you can do. With automated email marketing, you’re reliant on segments to personalize your communications. While putting someone in a segment means they’re not just any person, it still doesn’t mean they’re an individual.

In many cases, segmenting email subscribers works because it’s an effective way of offering them personalized content. However, there are times when you need to treat people as an individual, and automated emails don’t work in these cases.

This is something you need to keep in mind when setting up your automated email marketing. In what situations does it pay to address people as part of a segment, and when do you need to address them as an individual?

Email automation

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.

ActvieCampaign email automation software

What is email automation?

Email automation is the process of automatically sending marketing and sales emails to subscribers. All based on the actions—or inactions—of the people receiving them. Rules are pre-set about which emails get sent, when to send them, and what personalized information to include. So marketing and sales teams can reach leads with personalized messaging at the right moment—all while doing less work.

For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce marketing team. Every visitor to your site is greeted with a webform popup offering a 10% discount on their first purchase when they subscribe to your email list. Every time you get a new subscriber, you manually enter their name into the salutation and send it off with the promo code.

The problem is, there’s no way you can drop everything to send an email every time a new subscriber fills in your webform. It may take hours or even days to respond, depending on your workload. By then, the lead’s interest may have faded, or they’ve already moved on to a competitor who was more responsive.

The goal of automating emails is to eliminate the need to manually personalize and send marketing, sales, and prospecting emails. This ultimately leads to higher conversion rates and a more streamlined workflow for your team. Along with a leg-up on any competitors who are still sending emails the old fashioned way.

Sales email automation tools

A sales email automation tool is a software platform that’s sort of like a secretary for your sales team. You write your sales emails, drop them on the secretary’s desk with a schedule of when they need to go out (and under what circumstances), and then go about your other tasks. While you’re busy closing deals and building relationships with clients, the secretary is putting names and personal details into each message. Then sending emails and follow-ups to leads at the right moment and taking notes about what actions the leads have taken.

The thing is, even a human secretary wouldn’t be able to keep up with sales force automation tools. This type of software is better than humans at handling large volumes of emails. Sending emails at the exact right moment and capturing information about how the recipient responded is impossible without it. Plus, computers don’t take lunch breaks or vacations. The result? You make more sales by doing less work.

Marketing email automation

No matter how much people may complain about emails clogging up their inboxes, the fact is that email marketing works. With a return of $36 for every 800 spent, email marketing remains unmatched in its ability to draw leads into the sales funnel. But even that incredible ROI can be improved upon — which is exactly what marketing email automation is for.

At the top of the funnel, people are still on the fence about purchasing. It’s also likely that they’re checking out your competition and comparing prices and reviews to see which business will bring them more value. But no matter how well your marketing materials show off the quality of your product or your affordable prices, if those materials aren’t seen at the right time, they may as well not exist.

It also allows your marketers to boost their email productivity by putting the task of sending and personalizing messages on autopilot. As long as you set up the correct triggers and rules, the leads at the top of your funnel will be less likely to fall out of it due to disinterest or lack of engagement.

Email automation examples and case studies

Example #1: the welcome email

Let’s revisit the case from earlier with our theoretical ecommerce business. After just two weeks, the subscriber list has grown by 200 emails. Yet strangely, very few of them opened the email and clicked through to the website. And only one took advantage of the 10% off promotional code. To add to that frustration, the owner realizes that now they have too many contacts to manage. It’s becoming difficult to keep them organized with spreadsheets alone.

The owner decides to kill two birds with one stone. They enroll in a free CRM trial, which includes contact management and the ability to automate emails. Using their new customer relationship management platform, they set up the welcome automation trigger.

In this case, the trigger is when a new website visitor fills in and submits the webform in exchange for the 10% promotional code. The owner also adds a personalization tag into the welcome email, so that the subscriber’s name automatically appears in the salutation.

Triggered emails have about 70% higher open rates than traditional emails, and 152% higher click through rates. Let’s apply these real-world statistics to our scenario to illustrate how the simple act of using email automation software could help improve responses.

Without changing the sales email subject line or messaging, the owner has already risen above industry benchmarks for open rates. The key is to send the email at the instant you know the lead’s interest is highest. Like the exact moment they submitted the form.

Example #1: the follow-up email

Sales follow up emails are a vital tool for rekindling interest in leads who need a little nudge to take the next step. For this example, let’s imagine a larger B2B setting. Our theoretical business sells a wide range of industrial machinery. The sales process is very complex, which means the sales reps have very little time for personalizing and sending emails.

One of the company’s salespeople recently attended a trade show where they spoke with dozens of new contacts. While on location, they used their mobile CRM app to collect contact details about each new lead. With a promise to send more information about the specific products that will help them solve their problems.

Before the salesperson has stepped foot back in the office, the email automation tool has already sent personalized follow-up emails. But it’s a busy time of year, and the first round of follow up emails doesn’t get many bites. The company decides to set up a chain of five follow up emails Each one set to be delivered once a week for five weeks. If the lead doesn’t take any action, their contact details are put aside for several months. After which time they’ll try again with a new round of outreach.

Now let’s imagine that one of the leads who does bite. They noticed the first two follow up emails, but were too busy to schedule a meeting. During the third week, however, the lead’s schedule has slowed down a bit. And they finally decide to take up the call to action and schedule a meeting with the sales rep.

Using the sales automation scheduling link in the email, they click through to an automated scheduler and select an available time slot in the sales rep’s schedule. This sets off another trigger — to stop the chain of email follow ups. This is a great way to show courtesy to interested leads, since it would be annoying to see another follow up email the week after they’ve already taken the next step.

What was the salesperson doing that whole time? Not emailing, that’s for sure. The time saved by not sending hundreds of emails might have been spent developing a stronger pitch, mentoring a new salesperson. Or doing any number of other tasks that improve the company’s selling power.

Automated email follow up

Many salespeople don’t follow up with leads either because they’re wary of seeming too pushy. Or they’re too busy to send the appropriate number of follow ups. But not following up with leads can cost you. Statistics show that 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th follow up. That means that if you give up after four follow ups, you’re cutting yourself off from potential earnings.

When it comes to sealing the deal, persistence is key. But persistence takes energy, as well as an “I-don’t-care-if-I’m-bothering-them” kind of approach. Automated email follow ups allow salespeople to be persistent without spending the energy or worrying about being pushy. Plus, if you’re courteous and strategic about how many emails you’re sending and when, you’ll never have to worry again about coming across as too assertive.

Automated email template

There’s no one-size-fits all approach to writing a follow up email. Still, email templates are excellent jumping off points to help you establish a clear, conversational flow to your messaging. Plus, they’re a helpful aid in seeing how many opportunities there are for personalizing your emails, which is key to building stronger customer relationships.