What is Email Automation and How Does it Work?

Email automation is the process of sending pre-determined content to your subscribers based on their preferences and actions. 

Let's take a look at that definition a little closer and break down the pieces of it.

First up, “Email automation is the process of sending pre-determined content.” Meaning, you write the content and put the emails together well-before anything is sent to your subscribers.

A welcome email, for example, may feel like an email someone wrote to you individually, personally welcoming you to a mailing list or a private group, however, a majority of welcome emails are set up as automated emails. The sender sat down long ago and wrote out the content, created the email and set a schedule for it to be sent when someone joins their email list.

Which brings us to the second part of the definition - “based on [your subscribers'] preferences and actions.” A subscriber must take some form of action to trigger an email automation to be sent. Going back to our welcome email example, the triggering action taken was joining your email list.

Another preference or action example could be a subscriber on your list interacting with an email you send by clicking a specific link, which can then trigger the start of another email automation.

Advanced email marketers use this to send additional information on posts, products, and affiliates based on the subscriber's response.


Put into practice: Say you send an email asking subscribers what topic they're most interested in Paleo, Gluten-Free or Keto. Depending on which option a subscriber chooses, they trigger the start of a funnel based on that topic. Maybe they receive additional recipes or cooking tips or are encouraged to join a challenge group or purchase an ebook

All of these emails have been previously created and send automatically on a schedule you decide. Email automation can consist of a single email you send, or in some cases up to 500* different emails. It's all up to you, and how you decide email automation fits into your email marketing strategy.

*We only have 1 client who hits the 500 email limit, but if you have a case for email automation that would need to go beyond 500 emails in one funnel, let us know! We'd be very interested in learning more. 

Common Email Automation Terms

A few terms you may hear attached to email automation are funnel, sequence, autoresponder, drip campaign, even simly automation itself.

In FeedBlitz, we call them funnels, and were formerly called autoresponders. We switched to the term funnels since it's more heavily recognized in the world of email marketing in phrases such as “sales funnels” or “top of the funnel marketing.”

How to Use Automation in Your Email Marketing

Once you have the basics figured out, mailing list, subscription form, and template setup, it's really easy to get started putting email automation into practice.  

As we mentioned above, email automation can be as simple as a single email or more complex, up to 500 emails! Below are a few ways our clients have added email automation to their offerings:

  • Welcome Emails – Sent automatically once a subscriber confirms their subscription.
  • Incentive Delivery – The majority of clients use a funnel to deliver an incentive offered for subscription.
  • Reader Rewards – Have a subscriber hit a milestone in their subscription to your site – 6 months, 1 year, etc.? Automatically send them a reward of your choice via email.

Get a jump start on email automation with these 5 Funnels to Increase Subscriber Engagement!

  • Email Courses – Free and paid email courses are a great way to increase subscriber engagement or earn a passive income.
  • Product Launches / Sales Funnel – Have a new launch coming up in the next few months? Increase interest by creating a new Funnel for interested parties. Automatically send out email correspondence leading up to the launch.
  • Outreach of Services – We can’t always write about everything at the same time on our website, therefore Funnels are a great tactic to employ when wanting to inform your subscribers of your services, past writings, and other offers in a strategic manner.

Funnels and email automation lets your email marketing do some of the work for you. It all runs automatically, behind the scenes, while you're focused on creating new content and engaging with your subscribers. Spending a little time upfront, getting things into place with content, timing, and tagging

Articles on Email Automation

How to Create a Simple Funnel
What is a Funnel Recipe?
How do I Create a Welcome Campaign?
How do I Create a Re-Engagement Campaign?

As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let us know. You can find all of our great support resources and how to get in touch with us via email, chat or phone on our Support Page.

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