Email Automation Best Practices

How do you re-engage clients who haven’t been on your website in a while in a way that they feel reenergized and ready to start buying again? How do you ensure those abandoned carts turn into completed purchases? How do you streamline selling while making clients feel like they’re the center of your world?

Two words: email automation.

With a user base of over 4.5 billion people, email is one of the largest marketing channels available today. Additionally, email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of $36 for every dollar spent. The channel is continuing to grow, surpassing social media, search engine optimization, and affiliate marketing in regard to effectiveness.

“It’s a great time to look for new strategies to boost the value you’re going to get from the channel,” says Lucas McChristian, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist and Amanda Mehalko, Senior Email Marketing Specialist.

Having over two decades of combined experience in this field, the two led an outstanding presentation for participants of the most recent Forum.

Below are the key takeaways. 

What is Email Marketing Automation?

At its core, it’s just that: automated email marketing that sends the right message to the right people at the right time.

This process is extremely effective for lead nurturing, and ultimately, for driving sales from potential customers as well as existing ones.

There are numerous email marketing systems you can utilize. Making the right decision for you will depend on different factors such as if you are business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), the size of your business size, as well as your overall goals. 

email marketing system


Examples of popular platforms include the following: MailChimp, Constant Contact, Active Campaign, Klaviyo, HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and more. In the long run, email automation enhances your business by:

  1. Saving money and time
  2. Freeing up your team to look more into other strategies such as optimization
  3. Reducing errors
  4. Increasing revenue
  5. Nurturing relationships and giving you a better understanding of your users so you can engage and sell better 

Why Should You Use Email Automation 

The purpose of automation is for you to be able to work smarter, not harder. Automation works based on a variety of trackable triggers the system looks for including a download, form submission, member or subscription/newsletter sign-up, drop-off in a conversion funnel (e.g., browse abandonment automation), browsing habits, etc.

“Really anything that you’re tracking, you can set up automation on it,” McChristian says.

Segmentation and its Role in Email

“Segmentation is nothing more than breaking down your email list into smaller groups based on the criteria populated by your data fields,” Mehalko explains. “If we want to increase engagement and drive conversions, the best way to do this is to send relevant messages to targeted audiences,” she adds.

The data you’re working on needs to give you key information about your customers such as demographics, location, interests, purchase history, job titles, and much more.

“You’re not going to send the same message to a group of teenagers in Florida that you would to a newly retired group of people in Alaska,” Mehalko demonstrates.

What are the Types of Email Automation?

These are some of the best five automation tracks that you can set up to drive value for your brand starting today:

Welcome Track

With 86% open rates and conversion rates as high as 52%, welcome emails are one of the best ways to increase your sales and get a user to engage with your brand. Here’s an easy sequence to follow:

  • Set up a trigger. Invite users to check an opt-in box when they are filling out a form
  • Follow best practices. Send the first email as soon as a user is added. Include at least two emails in this series. Decide how long you want this track to run (a few days, two weeks, a month?)
  • Get clear on what content you’ll include. Introduce your brand and thank the contact for signing up. Tell them how often you will send these emails. Include useful links to resources, blogs, or specific areas of your website and encourage them to create an account if applicable – provide benefits. Provide the next steps or a follow-up action they can take. You might also want to offer an incentive at the end of the email series.

Abandoned Cart

“81% of carts across industries and ecommerce sites are abandoned,” McChristian says. “The amount of revenue left on the table is mind-boggling. This is your chance to regain this revenue,” he adds.

What should be included in your abandoned cart emails series?

  • Provide a clear summary of the cart contents: price, selections, imagery, etc.
  • If multiple items are included in the cart, limit the number shown to avoid overloading the user. 
  • Use clear calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • Add incentives
  • Leverage reviews/testimonials
  • Use urgency-related language

Ideally, you should be using a three-series of emails, sending the first one once the order is received. Space out the second and third (24-48 hours later) and use compelling imagery that sparks an emotional reaction.

Since your existing customers are more likely to convert than new customers, focusing on a re-engagement email series is key. Use the first email to remind them that it’s been a while since they interacted with your brand and invite them to update their preferences. The second email can provide engaging content such as a new blog post or video while the last email can clearly state that this is the last chance to engage with you.

As a rule of thumb, you can consider it a success if your re-engagement campaigns get a 10% open rate or higher.

Interests Track

“I like to call this the choose your own adventure track because it’s based on what the subscribers are opting into, making them more likely to engage,” Mehalko says.

What should be included in your abandoned cart email series?

  • Mix different asset types within your interest track such as videos/tutorials, blogs, before and afters, case studies/white papers /ebooks, infographics, and more.
  • Simple and clear CTAs such as “contact us” or “learn more” will suffice the goal of this track is to get prospects excited and re-spark interest

Additional Automation Types to Explore


Wish them a happy birthday and give them an incentive or a gift. This can also apply to anniversaries, milestones, holidays, etc. 

Browse Abandonment

Target specific phases in your conversion funnel and remind users what they were looking at. Utilize category listings, product detail pages, or any other specific pages within your website.

Form Submissions

Follow-up with a user following a download. Include related content, ask for feedback, thank the contact, and/or simply provide confirmation of their download.

Person using a laptop with animated email icons signifying email automation concept., Your Email Marketing Automation Agency Partner

At, we help companies drive qualified leads and revenue through effective digital marketing services that include email marketing and automation.

From email design and subscriber list management to A/B testing for performance, and automated deployment, we employ a wide array of tools to create email marketing solutions for businesses that generate leads, grow your subscriber list, boost open rates and click-throughs, and more.

Have another digital marketing strategy in mind? provides a variety of digital marketing services including search engine optimization, social media marketing, brand content marketing, conversion rate optimization, paid search management, and so much more. Contact us today to learn all of the ways we can help your business succeed online. 

About Author

andreea ciulac
Andreea is a Senior Content Strategist & Writer on's talented team of digital writers. Previously, she was a Lifestyle reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a digital content creator for a marketing agency, assisting a number of Fortune 500 companies with their content and marketing strategy. When she's off the clock, Andreea can be found either on her exercise mat, riding her bike, or soaking up the sun in one of the city's parks and nature preserves.

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