Email & SMS

Email Marketing Automation Strategies for Beginners

By Tinuiti Team

Despite being marketing’s oldest channel, the fact is that email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing channels for any business today.

According to, 80% of professionals surveyed said that email marketing is effective at both acquiring and retaining customers.

Email marketing is changing, however. Advances in automation have enabled marketers to segment and personalize their email outreach to engage, convert, and remarket visitors on a scale like never before.

Getting the most out of your email marketing automation calls for honing in on several key strategies such as personalization, leveraging CRM data to further segment your subscribers, and setting up priority triggers that launch drip campaigns based on customer engagement with your digital assets.

“An email automation strategy is no longer a nice-to-have. Consumers have come to expect a personalized experience from the brands they interact with. If your emails don’t provide customers with the right content at the right time, they’re unlikely to be loyal, and there’s plenty of other places to shop.”


mandi moshay email crm

-Mandi Moshay, Associate Director, CRM & Email at Elite SEM


Personalize Your Content


Let’s face it — your subscribers are being bombarded daily with emails — most of which go unread or end up in the trashcan.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to personalize your message to engage and connect with your subscribers. Personalized emails improve click-through and conversions; emails that lack context and a specific CTA unique to the recipient will likely up trashed or worse: cause you to lose a subscriber.

This calls for tailoring your message to the individual needs and behaviors of your segmented email lists.


email personalization jet


When a subscriber receives a relevant and valuable email, they are more likely to complete conversion events for your email objectives.

“Automating this outreach using dynamic content means a little effort up front for a lot of pay off down the line,” explains Moshay. “In short, you’ll be making money while you sleep.”

Most of today’s ESP’s include automation features,  so you can distribute dynamic emails without having to manually configure very email.

Let’s consider two scenarios:

1. A subscriber to your email list receives a daily email promoting your deals for the day. You sell a wide range of products and most of these deals are not relevant to that subscriber.

2. A subscriber receives an email about a deal when it is on a product related to one they have purchased in the past. Or perhaps your customer viewed that particular product, and it’s been over 30 days since their last visit.

An email reminding them to grab that item and checkout (with a possible discount), at just the right time, is of more value to this customer. 

email automation personalization example
Source: Mossy Oaks Graphics

It’s personalized to their interests and past behavior and ultimately drives them further down the funnel to complete a conversion.

You can use automation to drive that conversion event at scale to generate cost-effective growth for your business.


Use Visitor & CRM Data To Segment Email Lists On A Granular Level


You’ll need to leverage your customer and website visitor data to segment your email lists for the best personalization possible.

“Your website provides you with real-time data and insights into customer behavior, the kind of insights you can use to follow up website visits with tailored messaging across all channels. Use the data at your disposal.”

lisa steinberg IMS and email

-Lisa Steinberg, Director, Integrated Media Strategy

“Aside from your website analytics, your social media metrics, and your CTR data on advertising, there’s also your CRM and customer interactions to draw upon.”

Here are a few segments to get started based on your available data:

1. Pre-purchase & new subscribers

2. Low order value customers

3. First-time customers

4. High frequency & order value customers

5. Consumables & replenishable product customers

6. Abandoned cart

7. Defecting customers

For more information on how to segment your email lists, check out the Retailer’s Guide to Customer Nurture Emails.

“Track individual landing pages and understand what’s working and what isn’t,” explains Steinberg.

“Understand why a given landing page has a high bounce rate versus one that doesn’t. Identify why a given call-to-action works and another doesn’t.”

Making the most of out of your data to improve your email lists means getting your CRM and analytics data to play nicely with your ESP.

“The best first step brands can take is to get their data organized and centralized. If you aren’t passing purchase and site browse behavior into your ESP, you’ll have very little to go on,” says Moshay.


Optimize Priority Triggers For Drip Campaigns


Priority triggers can be used to start an email sequence at a very specific time for a particular visitor, using these triggers wisely is important for driving your visitors further down the funnel by engaging them with content specific to their interests.

Triggers can be as simple as a”welcome drip campaign” for new subscribers or customers, an offering tailored to a holiday or a customer’s birthday, or product promotions based on that subscriber’s historical interests.

“The right automation sequence has the dual benefit of allowing brands to build better relationships with their customers and scale their email marketing programs efficiently,” says Moshay.

Here are few examples of priority triggers that are particularly valuable for nurturing and driving conversions with a customized drip campaign.


email drip campaigns marketing
Source: Zapier


Abandoned Cart – Abandoned cart emails are your chance to continue the conversation with an extremely important group of customers: those that demonstrated the highest amount of possible purchase intent but still didn’t buy.

Your job is to provide amazing customer service and find out why they left. For targeting purposes, segmentation enables you to identify your most valuable customers.

You may want to develop a special campaign for:

1. Particularly high value orders (cart value > $500)
2. A customer shopping a high margin SKU
3. Customers in a specific country


Welcome Emails – Only a small percentage (1-3%) of people will make a purchase
the very first time they visit your site. That’s why capturing an email address and sending a prepurchase welcome series is a great way to target the 97% to 99% that don’t buy on that first visit.

A pre-purchase welcome series continues the conversation with a prospect that may be thinking about buying from you, letting them know you appreciate their interest and what to expect next.


Request a Quote – Finally, if your business has a “Request a Quote” or a lead form on your website, this is an excellent opportunity to place this person into an email funnel based on their interest in your service. Responding to a quote request or a request for more information is a great way to start a dialogue with a highly-qualified lead.

email priority triggers

What’s great about today’s ESPs is that you can customize and configure as many priority triggers and drip campaigns as you want.

“If you focus on your customers by tailoring your messaging based on purchase history, preferences, and other behavioral and lifecycle stages — engagement and revenue will naturally follow,” explains Moshay.


Make Email Marketing Automation a Priority in 2019


Spend some more time focusing on the details of your email marketing automation strategy.

Play around with your automation software, focus on providing high-quality and customized content to your users, and continue to A/B test your content and audience lists.

If you can do this, you should find email marketing becomes one of your most effective marketing tools well beyond 2019.

Moshay explains that once you’ve implemented your new automation strategies, it’s important to regularly test, learn, and optimize to stay ahead of your competitors and top of mind with your customers.

“It’s important to note that automation should never be ‘set it and forget it.’ Automated programs should be regularly revisited to ensure they are functioning as intended, and to identify testing and optimization opportunities.”

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