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Email Marketing and Workflow Automation

Every organization faces a common hurdle: repetitive tasks that eat up precious time. Among them, managing heaps of emails can be a real challenge. The great news? Email automation software steps in to rescue your team. Whether it’s your marketing squad nurturing leads or your sales reps sealing deals, email automation is here to transform workflows and make your entire team more efficient. Read on to discover how this game-changer can simplify your processes and elevate your overall productivity.

What’s an Email Workflow?

An email workflow is like a series of automated messages that you set up to go out based on certain conditions, such as when a customer takes a specific action or expresses a preference. Within these email workflows, it’s important to include small objectives, like clickable links or embedded videos, to help lead the customer through their journey—from their initial interaction with your business to making a purchase and, ultimately, fostering loyalty.

This tool is commonly employed by marketers promoting ecommerce businesses and companies with an online presence. It proves especially useful for those managing contact lists, onboarding new customers, and nurturing leads at different stages of the customer’s journey. By designing and implementing effective email workflows, these businesses can streamline communication and engagement, ensuring that each customer receives relevant information and support tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

Choose Content Wisely for Email Workflows

The content you include in your email marketing workflow should match the goals and the stage of the customer’s journey. For example, new users shouldn’t be bombarded with pressure to buy, and loyal customers don’t need introductions. Tailoring content to each contact’s needs helps build relationships and nurture leads. Here are some common types of email content to use.

  • Informational
  • Educational (like product demos and tutorials)
  • Promotional
  • Newsletters
  • FAQs
  • Press releases
  • Product feature updates
  • Announcements (events, webinars)
  • Special sales and offers
  • Popular articles and blog posts

Creating an Email Marketing Automation Workflow

Email workflows come in two main types: dynamic and linear. Your campaign strategy guides the choice or mix of workflows you use. The two primary automated email workflows are drip campaigns and nurture campaigns.

A drip campaign, a linear type, sends content to a segmented group on a set schedule with minimal personalization. It’s handy for gradually introducing new leads to your brand. For instance, you can set it up to email contacts when they join your lead database.

Automated nurture campaigns are more dynamic. They send targeted content based on a contact’s interests and journey stage, triggered by actions like web form submissions. A marketer might use a campaign that includes various links to popular posts, observing how the contact engages to determine follow-up content.

Common Automation Platform Challenges

Below are some of the typical issues linked with automation platforms.

  • Software complexity
  • Team lacking skills to use the system and analyze results
  • Information silos between teams
  • Difficulty integrating with other systems like CRM databases

Key Features of a Successful Workflow Automation

To achieve effective results, look for these features

  • Ability to set triggers based on conditions or user actions
  • Automation of repetitive marketing tasks across multiple online channels
  • Personalized communication aligned with user behavior and preferences
  • Tracking lead actions, including abandoned carts and conversions
  • Visual representation of a lead’s current lifecycle stage
  • Lead tagging and scoring capabilities
  • A/B testing for optimization
  • Automation of custom message sending, like lead nurturing
  • Email workflow management
  • Analytics and performance measurement tools

Why Your Business Should Have Automated Email Workflows

With over 3.7 billion email users worldwide (and growing), Campaign Monitor highlights that 72% prefer getting promotional content through email. Personalized emails, including the recipient’s name and content matching their preferences, result in six times higher transaction rates than generic emails. If you lack the time and resources to individually research and send personalized emails, automated workflows offer an efficient solution.

Should You Use an Automated Email Workflow?

Consider implementing an automated email workflow if you face these common business challenges

  • Struggling to effectively use available customer data
  • Needing a flexible content strategy that adapts to user needs promptly
  • Managing a growing number of leads with diverse needs
  • Encountering issues with email opens and link clicks

Besides overcoming challenges, an automated email workflow offers the following benefits

  • Allows your team to focus on other crucial tasks
  • Enhances connection and engagement with current contacts
  • Supports lead segmentation
  • Guides contacts through their journey, catering to their needs at each stage
  • Delivers relevant content at the right time
  • Encourages actions like purchasing and brand evangelism
  • Qualifies leads and guides them to conversion
  • Boosts marketing performance in the sales pipeline
  • Provides personalized marketing communication
  • Improves lead quality and builds customer relationships
  • Enhances the user experience and increases email open rates
  • Reduces spam complaints and customer churn
  • Grows the lead database and increases customer lifetime value
  • Accurately measures email marketing ROI

Incorporating email marketing automation workflows gives your business more control, reduces errors, and positively impacts your bottom line.

Email Automation Workflows to Boost Your Communication Strategy

In addition to the customary welcome emails for new subscribers, there exists a range of email automation workflows designed to streamline your communication efforts and set your brand apart in the crowded world of inboxes. Below are three key types you should consider incorporating into your strategy.

Data-based Emails

  • While many of your automated email workflows hinge on your subscribers’ actions and behaviors, data-based email automations play a crucial role in your toolkit. These emails typically leverage information such as a subscriber’s birthday or join date to celebrate significant milestones. Beyond the celebratory aspect, data-based emails are valuable because they demonstrate to your readers that you are paying careful attention to them. These personalized communications are an excellent way to deepen your relationship with each customer, fostering a sense of individualized care.
  • Example – Grammarly’s email expressing appreciation to customers is a great illustration of how data-based emails can be effectively implemented to show gratitude and build rapport.

Reactivation Emails

  • For marketing professionals, understanding the importance of reactivation or re-engagement emails is paramount to retaining subscribers. When a subscriber becomes inactive, attempting to re-engage them is often more cost-effective than trying to replace them with a new subscriber. Reactivation emails can be seamlessly integrated into your email automation workflow by defining a time-based trigger. For instance, if a subscriber has not engaged with your emails for six months, a reactivation message can be triggered, designed to capture the reader’s attention and encourage interaction once again.
  • Example – The reactivation email from Prezi serves as a practical example. Its simplicity is geared toward capturing the reader’s attention and motivating them to re-engage.

Abandoned Cart Emails

  • Particularly beneficial for e-commerce businesses, abandoned cart emails are a prime example of an email automation workflow that should be part of your strategy. In 2019, these emails boasted an impressive average open rate of over 43% and a conversion rate exceeding 8%. Crafting these emails as helpful reminders rather than pushy sales pitches is crucial to avoid being marked as spam. These reminders nudge customers who may have left items in their online shopping carts, providing a gentle prompt to complete their purchase.
  • Tip – Keep in mind that the tone of abandoned cart emails should be friendly and helpful, reinforcing the value proposition rather than pressuring the customer.

By incorporating these email automation workflows into your strategy, you can enhance your communication, keep your audience engaged, and potentially boost your conversion rates.

Build and Manage an Automated Email Workflow in 7 Simple Steps

The key to creating and handling an automated email workflow is to have a solid content strategy for your campaign. These steps can help you build and manage your automated email workflow effectively.

  1. Map Out Your Campaign Workflow – Use a flowchart to outline each step of your email campaign from beginning to end. Utilize free customizable templates to kickstart your planning.
  2. Gather Your Resources – Collect all the elements needed for your workflow, including forms, lists, CTAs, and various types of content. Ensure that the content aligns with the goals of the workflow and where the customer is in their journey.
  3. Determine Workflow Triggers – Choose the events that will initiate your automated workflow, such as new contacts, form submissions, clicks, and purchases. Tailor triggers to your specific campaign goals.
  4. Determine Workflow Conditions – Set conditions and use lead tags to filter and segment leads based on custom criteria. This could include actions like page views or purchase history.
  5. Set Email Frequency – Decide how often you want to send emails, considering the type of workflow and the lead’s journey stage. Find the right balance to stay helpful without overwhelming your leads.
  6. Launch Automated Email Workflow – Put your plan into action. Regularly measure results and conduct tests to improve the effectiveness of your campaign. Continuous improvement is key.
  7. Measure Email Workflow Performance – Evaluate the success of your automated workflows by tracking key performance metrics like emails sent, open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more. Use dashboard templates for high project visibility and real-time tracking.

Top 3 Email Automation Tools

Many platforms have built-in email automation, but some stand out with unique features. Some are solely for automating emails, while others, like larger CRM software, include email and other sales automation features.

Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell is a cloud-based platform that covers a wide range of sales CRM services. Recognized as a leader in customer management software, Zendesk focuses on user-friendly tools, helpful support, and seamless integration with various systems. It’s adaptable to your company’s needs and offers features like multi channel access for all staff.

With Zendesk Sell, you can effortlessly send personalized emails on a large scale using various workflows, fitting into any sales process. Sales teams benefit from lead sequences, ready-made email templates, and merge tags to manage pipelines and boost conversions.

While Zendesk Sell is primarily for sales, it extends its functionality for marketers through numerous third-party integrations. This versatility makes it useful for both sales and marketing teams.

Key Features:

  • Sales engagement tools
  • Sequences
  • Bulk outreach
  • Sales triggers
  • Smart lists and templates
  • 1,000+ third-party integrations
  • APIs
  • Sales dashboard
  • Email tracking
  • Custom reports and analytics


  • Sell Team: $19 per agent/month
  • Sell Growth: $55 per agent/month
  • Sell Professional: $115 per agent/month
  • Sell Enterprise: $169 per agent/month


Drip is an email and SMS marketing platform designed for growing e-commerce brands. It employs multichannel marketing campaigns and integrated analytics, utilizing email and advertising automation for effective marketing and communication. Drip prioritizes personalization and customer segmentation based on preferences and buying habits for precise targeting.

Drip’s pricing is based on the number of contacts in your email list. All plans offer unlimited email sends, on-site campaigns, and email support. The platform facilitates campaign management through A/B testing, pre-built customer playbooks, and performance analytics.

Key Features:

  • Sales engagement tools
  • Sequences
  • Bulk outreach
  • Sales triggers
  • Smart lists and templates
  • Email campaign support


  • 1-2,500 people: $39 per month
  • 2,501-3,000 people: $49 per month
  • 3,001-3,500 people: $59 per month
  • 3,501-4,000 people: $69 per month
  • Custom plans available


Mailchimp, a pioneer in email automation, offers a straightforward setup with tools like data segmentation, templates, and personalization. Businesses can set triggers along the customer journey, signaling actions like viewing a specific page or product.

For small companies sending up to 1,000 emails monthly, Mailchimp is free. Paid plans, suitable for larger audiences, unlock advanced features like email scheduling, customer branding, and A/B testing. All plans start with baseline pricing for 500 contacts, with costs increasing for additional contacts.

Key Features:

  • Sales engagement tools
  • Sequences
  • Bulk outreach
  • Sales triggers
  • Smart lists and templates
  • Email campaign support
  • Mobile app


  • Free: $0 per month (1 seat)
  • Essentials: $13 per month (3 seats)
  • Standard: $20 per month (5 seats)
  • Premium: $350 per month
  • (*Pricing based on 500 contacts.)


Automated workflows empower businesses to focus on core tasks while delivering timely, relevant content to a global audience of over 3.7 billion email users. This strategic shift not only streamlines processes but enhances user experience, builds lasting relationships, and drives tangible results. As businesses evolve, automated email workflows are not just an option; they are the key to a future where efficiency meets personalization, and brands thrive by delivering impactful messages.