What Is Email Automation? Definition, Flows

If you’re not using email marketing automation, you’re missing out on significant opportunities to engage your target audience and potential customers.

Email marketing has been unstoppable since the first mass-market email made $13 million in 1978. And despite social media’s popularity, many people still prefer email.

The global email user base reached 4.1 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach 4.6 billion by 2025.

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Emails aren’t affected by algorithm updates, so automated emails are more effective than SEO or social media. You also have direct access to your audience. That’s why, now more than ever, developing an automated email marketing strategy is critical.

This guide will cover all you need to know about email automation.

What Is Email Automation?

Email automation definition refers to sending automated emails and personalized email campaigns based on specific actions users take — or don’t take. 

Automated emails reduce time-consuming tasks like preparing email lists, sending generic messages, and manually scheduling events. 

That allows you to allocate more time to tasks that require your attention, such as responding to customer questions. As a result, email marketing campaigns enable you to strengthen customer engagement, retention, and loyalty. 

You can segment customers based on their behaviors or traits and send targeted email campaigns to those groups accordingly. 

Why Use Email Marketing Automation?

Email automation is all about sending relevant messages to the right recipients at the right time. That’s why marketers use email marketing automation tools to get so much done in a short amount of time. 

That said, here are three reasons why you should use automated email campaigns:

1. Personalize Customer Experiences

Everyone wants to feel important when spoken to, and the best way to do this is by using names. Email automation software is excellent at making customers feel they’re the only ones who matter.

Customers love personalization, and research backs this up: Statista reports that 90% of respondents found personalized content very or somewhat appealing. SmartWriter is an AI that has shown average open rates of 70% when used for creating detailed personalization. 

Your email list may have thousands of subscribers, but email marketing tools automatically personalize each email. So you don’t have to do it manually. 

Email automation tools also have personalized fields that automatically fill with your subscribers’ names and company information.

2. Improve Customer Retention Rate

Selling to existing customers is much easier and cheaper than converting new ones. With email marketing automation, you can schedule messages so that customers don’t go for too long without hearing from you. But make sure your copy is relevant to boost its impact.

For example, an email that reads, “Hey, it’s been a while since we heard from you. Pay us a visit!” is likely to be trashed.

But here’s one that’s likely to bring back a customer: 

“Hey James, we haven’t heard from you in a while. We just wanted to make sure you’re aware of our latest offer. The computer you’ve been buying parts for has a new model, and it’s 30% off! Come check it out.”

3. Segment Customers Into Different Groups

Segmentation helps businesses tailor messages to different groups, typically divided based on their location, purchase history, or demographics.

For example, if you sell various products, you can segment your customers into different lists based on their purchase history. You’re more likely to sell new kettles and toasters to Person X (who bought a sandwich press and slow cooker) than Person Y (a hedge trimmer).

47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. So personalization and email automation can help you work smarter and improve your sales and revenue.

Examples of Automated Emails

Here are some automated email examples to help you spark your email marketing creativity and launch a superb email automation campaign:

Welcome Emails

A welcome email is an email sent automatically after a new subscriber completes an opt-in process. This message makes the recipient feel welcome while also outlining the next steps, such as:

  • What to expect from the brand
  • An introduction to the brand founders/CEOs
  • Calls to action (CTAs) that direct them to additional content worth exploring

Welcome emails average an open rate of 50%, making them 86% more effective than standard newsletters. So, if you aren’t welcoming your new customers properly, you’re missing out on significant engagement opportunities.

Transactional Emails

A transactional email is sent out to confirm that a transaction was completed. This can be a product purchase or other actions such as:

  • Password reset notification
  • Registration confirmation
  • Cart abandonment email
  • Even confirmation email
  • Feedback request

Once a customer completes any transaction, an automated email acknowledging the action is sent to the consumer to verify the event. 

Those who integrate automated transactional emails into their digital marketing strategies get eight times higher opens and clicks than any other email type.

Re-engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails are sent out to inactive subscribers.

You can set up a re-engagement email campaign once a subscriber stops engaging with your email content after a certain amount of time. 

For example, suppose you classify an inactive subscriber as one who hasn’t engaged with your brand in four months. In that case, a re-engagement email should be sent out automatically once they’ve reached that four-month time trigger.

Onboarding Emails

Onboarding emails are automatically sent to new subscribers to get them started in the purchasing process. In most cases, onboarding emails have some incentive to entice subscribers to act.

How to Automate Email Marketing Workflows

Email automation workflows are email series triggered based on a subscriber’s data or behaviors. Once designed, these emails are sent out automatically when someone triggers the campaign.

These workflows simplify your marketing team’s daily to-do list. Instead of dedicating certain team members to send and reply to individual emails every day, different email automation workflows help automate the process entirely.

Here’s how that process works:

1. Choose an Email Marketing Platform

There are many email automation apps on the market today. The key is to choose the one that works best for your business and goals.

With Sender, you can personalize your messages, create workflows that are triggered by specific events, and set up automatic messages to save time on repetitive tasks. And you won’t need any technical expertise to do this. 

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Sender has everything you need to be an email marketing automation pro.

Sender’s in-built marketing tools make it a breeze to quickly and efficiently build emails and popups using simple yet powerful features. Multichannel automation, which combines email + SMS channels, is a great way to create compelling customer journeys and effective campaigns. 

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Not ready to jump in yet? Try out the FREE Forever plan that allows you to send out a maximum of 15,000 emails to a maximum of 2,500 contacts every month! For a lifetime, yes! 

2. Determine Who You’re Sending Your Emails To

After choosing an email marketing platform, you can use lifecycle stages to segment your email recipients. For example, for an upsell campaign, you might send emails to existing customers who haven’t purchased a specific product yet.

Your email marketing tool should efficiently segment your customers ahead of your campaign based on your chosen criteria.

3. Understand Your Email Marketing Campaign Goals

Make sure you know exactly why you’re reaching out to your recipients. Do you want them to make a purchase? Or perhaps learn something? 

Once you’ve answered this question, you can determine the messaging required to move contacts from where they’re now to where you want them to go.

4. Set an Enrollment Criteria

Enrollment criteria are the qualifications a contact must meet to be entered into a workflow.

For example, if you’re using Sender, you can create personalized, automated email workflows that can be triggered in various ways, such as when a user gets added to an email list, clicks a link in an email, or clicks on one of your ads.

In summary, here are some automated email workflow examples you can use to get more out of your subscribers’ database and marketing automation software:

  • Welcome workflows
  • Thank you workflows
  • Transactional workflows
  • Abandoned cart workflows
  • Re-engagement workflows

Automate Your Email Campaigns Today

Email automation isn’t just for companies with advanced marketing automation software. With easy-to-use tools and a little creativity, you can reach your target audience and generate huge returns. 

You can apply the presented ideas in this guide to your business, like segmenting your email lists and personalizing your emails

Use Sender’s email marketing automation tool and start setting up the workflows your business needs.


Author BIO: Words and their magic drive Luka. It’s her biggest passion and natural habitat. So she lives by the motto – the mind is clearer when you write down what’s inside it. Oh! And Luka also manages the content for Sender.net, ensuring that everything is on point. Luka, Vilnius, Lithuania – Gravatar Profile

Last Updated on December 15th, 2023