10+ Best Email Automation Workflows To Use In 2021
October 16, 2021
When you are getting started with email marketing, it’s easy to send and reply to each message that comes into your inbox. However, once your list starts growing, how do you plan to handle these? The answer you’re looking for is email automation workflow.
Email automation workflows work for your brand and help you stay in contact with your customers, sending the right messages at the right time.
Simply determine the scenarios in which an email automation workflow would serve your needs, set it up, and let your marketing automation solution do the rest.
An email workflow is a sequence of automated emails triggered by a user’s behavior or data, for instance, placing an order, shopping cart abandonment, subscription, registration, etc.
Email workflows save time, help to move leads down the sales funnel, provide a more individual approach, and strengthen email marketing strategy.
Before setting your workflow up select your email automation software and clean your contact list.
Though different email automation workflows serve different purposes, marketers must utilize these to stay relevant in their subscriber’s inboxes.
Email Automation Workflow: What Is It?
Email automation workflows help simplify your team’s day-to-day to-do list. Instead of dedicating certain team members to sending and replying to individual emails every day, different email automation workflows help to automate the process for you completely.
Email workflows are a trigger-based series of emails based on a subscriber’s data or behaviors. These emails, once designed, are sent out automatically when someone triggers the campaign.
The benefits of email automation workflows are numerous, from increasing productivity and efficiency, reducing human error, eliminating redundant manual tasks, improving connectivity, generating stronger qualified leads, and strengthening prospect communication.
But setting up your email automation workflows is a time-consuming process, one that can appear overwhelmingly complex.
Email Automation Workflow Checklist: Short But Essential
Before you can get started, make sure you have completed these two steps.
Have you selected your email automation software? There are many options out there, so find the one that suits your business.
Have you cleaned and segmented your contact list? Without a clean and segmented list, it’ll be difficult to start creating your email automation workflows. You need to have accurate and clean data to be able to segment your campaigns, add personalization and reap the best rewards from your efforts.
Now you’re ready to begin creating your email automation workflows. Though they may sound complicated at first, email automation workflows are relatively easy to set up. You can even customize the rules and behavior-based triggers to suit your business needs.
11 Best Email Automation Workflows That You Can Use
Each of these email automation workflows serves specific purposes. However, marketers can (and should) utilize these everywhere to help stay relevant in their subscriber’s inboxes while continuing to build a trusting relationship between your brand and your subscribers.
That being said, here are eleven email automation workflows you’ll want to consider adding to your marketing arsenal in 2021.
1. Welcome Series For Subscribers
When someone subscribes to your blog or newsletter, you have a great opportunity to engage them and begin their journey along the road to becoming a customer. It’s your chance to make a great first impression.
Set up a trigger that automatically sends out the first email as soon as they submit the subscribe form.
The first email in the series shouldn’t try to sell them anything, but rather simply welcome them and potentially offer a one-time discount or promotion.
You can follow this a few days later with an email telling them where to look for information and how to contact you if they have questions.
Finally, route out one last email asking them for information about themselves so you can better serve them. This will provide you with segmentation data that you can use in the future for personalized marketing.
2. Thank You Workflow
Thank you email automation workflows come in dozens of different forms. Marketers can use these as a part of most email campaigns to thank readers for participating in an event, for subscribing to your email list, for updating their email preferences, and so much more.
The goal of these email workflows is to provide continued contact between you and your subscribers, even after they’ve completed an action. You can also use these to re-introduce your brand to inactive subscribers by showing them that you appreciate them.
3. Onboarding Drip For New Customers
Someone has just signed on as a customer, opening the door for you to show them you care about their success using your product or service. When the system recognizes them as new customers, trigger an email welcoming them and letting them know how to get in touch with you.
Follow that with an automated email within the next week to provide user guides, online training videos, or other content designed to ensure their success. Round it out with an email pointing them to educational resources like your blog, white papers, or eBooks.
Illustrating to new customers that you are invested in them generates customer loyalty. It creates a superior customer experience, which is increasingly important.
4. Lead Nurturing Workflow
Develop a workflow designed to nurture leads through to qualification. You can kick off your campaign targeting a segmented list of existing leads. Then, use automation to drop newly generated leads into the beginning of the campaign, so they receive the entire series of nurture emails.
Your first few emails should demonstrate to leads that they have a problem that needs solving.
Follow this with a few emails that provide a solution to that problem (i.e. the kind of product you sell). Then, your nurture workflow should send a few emails that demonstrate your brand personality and position you as a leader in your space—helping build their confidence in you as a provider.
Wrap it up with emails that offer a way to interact one-on-one with your company, such as a live demo.
5. Sales Notification For Marketing Qualified Leads
When marketing qualifies a lead, that is the best time for sales to reach out. If businesses do not contact a newly qualified lead in short order, they may lose interest or find another provider.
Use automation to send a triggered email to your sales rep when someone becomes qualified.
If you are tracking individual lead behaviors—such as content consumed or web pages visited—you can use system tags to populate your email with that information so your rep is armed with the insight needed to convert the lead.
6. Cart Abandonment
If your business has an eCommerce presence, consider setting up an email that gets triggered when someone leaves their cart full but does not purchase anything.
You don’t need to be pushy about it. Let them know that they still have items in their cart in case they forgot or thought that they had completed the purchase.
In many instances, people get distracted and forget to follow through. In others, they may be on the fence about their purchase, and in those instances, a cart abandonment email might be the nudge needed to push them over the edge. These are very easy to set up but highly effective in converting existing prospects into paying customers.
7. Free Trial Sign-up
You can similarly treat this workflow as the onboarding drip explained above. One main difference is that you’ll want to pitch the benefits of your product in a subtle, but more aggressive way.
Combine the welcome email with the email providing user guides and training videos, to minimize the number of emails you send them so as not to annoy them.
That first email should focus mostly on those resources that help them utilize your product, for if they can’t find value in your product or service, they will likely let their trial expire.
Three or four days later, send an email pointing them to your thought leadership resources, so they begin to see you as an authority to whom they can look for practical advice.
8. Subscription Renewal
If your business is subscription-based, you can create a workflow to increase renewals. This is more important than many realize because it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. According to a study, 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers.
This workflow is triggered by the customer’s renewal date; as it approaches, the system realizes and sends the first email, which can be sent a week or ten days before their expiration date. It’s just a friendly reminder, nothing more.
With three days left, send another email with slightly more urgency—alerting them that the date is nearing and letting them know that you would hate for their service to be interrupted.
Build in a renewal buffer so when their subscription expires, you can send an email the next day informing them that you have given them a few extra days to renew so they can enjoy uninterrupted access.
9. Customer Retention
When customers display behaviors indicative of a propensity to leave, trigger an email to convince them to stick around.
Such behaviors include not opening your emails for an extended period, unsubscribing from your email list, or failing to pay their invoice. These emails must take a delicate tone, as you don’t want to hassle a potentially unhappy customer.
You can use this opportunity to send a survey, asking them to know how you can improve to better serve them. This will show that you are paying attention, and are genuinely concerned with your ability to satisfy them.
You can also offer a discount or promotion but use this tactic sparingly, as it’s possible that your customer is happy, and has just been inundated with other things.
10. Gated Content
Gating your high-value content—such as eBooks or white papers is a great way to generate leads. Create a standalone landing page with a short form that includes a field for the email addresses.
If your content is powerful, leads will be willing to self-identify in exchange for the insights within. When the form is submitted, the workflow is triggered and sends an email to the lead with either a download link or the content attached.
Gated content is a great way to grow your email list. Just be sure to capture their contact information in the process.
11. Re-engagement Workflow
Do you have prospects stuck in the funnel? Or previous customers that you’d like to re-engage?
A re-engagement email workflow works wonders for bringing them back into the fold. You can trigger this based on time elapsed since a customer’s last purchase, or if a lead hasn’t been scored by marketing in a long time.
The best route is to send one of your high-value content pieces—something that will knock their socks off.
If they have forgotten about you, provide them with something that will solve a persistent problem for them, such as a best practices article. As they say, the squeakiest wheel gets the oil, so don’t go silent for too long. Send an email that will immediately engage them, and you’ll have their attention once again.
What Happens After You Set Up Email Automation Workflows?
The data is out there and speaks for itself; email automation workflows will substantially strengthen your existing marketing strategy.
This will save on manual processes and deliver better results. Not just in nurturing leads and driving them through the sales funnel, but also in re-engaging with lost customers, creating loyal customers, improving the customer experience, and achieving higher customer satisfaction rates.
The opportunities are endless. All of this will take some time and practice to set up, but it’ll be completely worth it in the long run.
But once these are in place, it’ll save you so much time in the long run and the results will be much stronger. Keep a close eye on your metrics, watch for those open rates and click-through rates to ensure they’re on the up, and optimize your workflows to suit your business and your subscribers.
Creating email automation workflows is a great way to help lighten your team’s workload while ensuring that your subscribers are getting the attention that they deserve.
Regardless of how you use email automation workflows, it’s important to leverage them if you use marketing automation. There are loads of instances where email automation workflows are advantageous, but not all of them will apply to your unique business model.
Take the time to consider your customer’s needs and interests, and you’ll be sure to zero in on the workflows that will produce the best results for your use case.