14 Ingenious Email Marketing Automation Workflows | Pepper Content

14 Ingenious Email Marketing Automation Workflows

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 21/08/2113 min read
14 Ingenious Email Marketing Automation Workflows

Table of Contents What is Marketing Automation? What is Marketing Automation Workflow? What is Email Workflow Automation? What is the Need for Email Workflow Automation? How to Set Up an Email Workflow Automation? 14 Email Marketing Automation Workflows With Examples Welcome email workflow Topic content workflows Training content workflow Engaged contact workflow Lead nurturing workflow… Continue reading 14 Ingenious Email Marketing Automation Workflows

Table of Contents

  • What is Marketing Automation?
  • What is Marketing Automation Workflow?
  • What is Email Workflow Automation?
  • What is the Need for Email Workflow Automation?
  • How to Set Up an Email Workflow Automation?
  • 14 Email Marketing Automation Workflows With Examples
  1. Welcome email workflow
  2. Topic content workflows
  3. Training content workflow
  4. Engaged contact workflow
  5. Lead nurturing workflow
  6. Re-engagement workflow
  7. Event-related workflow
  8. Upselling/ Cross-selling workflow
  9. Feedback workflow
  10.  Thank you email workflow
  11.  Transactional workflow
  12.  Birthday/ Anniversary celebration workflow
  13.  Abandoned cart workflow
  14.  Onboarding workflow
  • 5 Email Marketing Tips Every Marketer Should Know
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs
  • Key Takeaways 

Email marketing automation workflows can be a massive boon for any business trying to make its online presence felt. It establishes and maintains a regular communication channel with clients (which is the main purpose of email marketing) and helps build lasting relationships, improve conversions, and drive revenue. Today, 75% of all companies use at least one kind of email marketing automation tool.

In this article, we will be looking at fourteen email marketing automation workflows that will help you scale up your business. 

But before that, we will first understand the key jargon. 

What is Marketing Automation?

In simple terms, marketing automation involves the use of software that helps marketers fully automate their activities. These activities may include multi-platform digital marketing campaigns or contact management.

What is Marketing Automation Workflow?

Marketing automation workflow uses technology to fully automate manual activities based on certain sets of rules or guidelines. Typically, these workflows have an ‘if-then’ format, which means if a given condition is satisfied, a particular action will follow. 

A general marketing automated workflow has the following aspects:

  • Multiple stages in a consumer life cycle, such as visiting your website, filling up a contact form, asking you to contact them, etc.
  • The flags or triggers for different stages within the workflow that might be part of consumer behavior or characteristic.
  • The relevant actions triggered by these flags include sending them an email or adding them to a list. 


Now, before we explore different email marketing automation workflows, let us understand how to automate email workflows

What is Email Workflow Automation?

Email workflow automation is the process of sending a series of emails based on a subscriber’s action or behavior. For example, a welcome email campaign is a series of emails sent automatically when someone subscribes to an email list.

These emails are designed once and sent automatically when the campaign is triggered. 

In the above example, subscribing to an email list is an action that triggers the welcome email sequence. 

Email marketing tools can be used to create automated workflows. First, you’ll need to identify the action that will trigger the campaign and the journey that the lead will take. Then, add different steps that will move the lead through the journey. 

What is the Need for Email Workflow Automation?

Every marketer and marketing team must have email automation in their arsenal. Here are some reasons why you need it:

1. Eliminates busy work and make the most of your time

Sending or replying to emails every day can be a tiresome task. Automated email campaigns help you free up time and get tasks off your to-do list. 

You can use the freed-up time to do other important tasks that will help you scale your business. With more time in your hands, you can work on building relationships with your customers and coming up with creative marketing strategies.

2. Re-engage with existing customers

Turning existing customers into lifetime customers is more beneficial than finding new ones. Because it is easier to sell to people who have already bought from you. To achieve that, it’s important that customers keep hearing from you.

Email automation helps re-engage with existing customers and also sends personalized emails.

3. Scale marketing efforts

Replying to individual emails, scheduling events, individually sending personalized emails can take up a lot of time. Thereby reducing the productivity of teams.

But, when small and mundane tasks are automated, you get more time in your hands that can be used to scale your marketing efforts. It also ensures that there are no delays and emails are sent on time.

How To Set Up An Email Workflow Automation?

1. Identify your target audience

When it comes to email and email marketing, personalization makes a huge difference. If your marketing automation software is set up efficiently, it will allow you to send automated personalized emails to your target audience. It all boils down to the integrity of your data collected over time from your consumers and extracting insights from their behavior on your site or through responses. 

You need to define the target audience for an automated email workflow clearly. You don’t want to send a welcome email to a consumer looking to cancel their subscription. Use your automation software to define your audience, their stage in the consumer behavior, funnel and then add them to that particular list. 

2. Determine your objective

Any email marketing campaign is only as good as the content strategy. Have a clear objective before creating an email automation campaign. Do you want your consumers to purchase anything? Or do you want them to take a specific action, such as learn something or fill up a certain form?

Once you have these answers, you can create content around it to take your consumers from one stage to another. 

3. Establish enrollment criteria

Enrollment criteria mean the conditions that must be fulfilled by a consumer or a contact so that they can be added to a workflow. For this, you must be familiar with the different data types available in your automation software. You can also set up different workflows depending on the information available in your database, such as social media clicks, number of page views, contact details, downloads, etc.

4. Map the actions

For effective email automation, you will have to map out the series of events as per the expected actions you want the software to take. Give out proper ‘if/then’ conditions and specify when the action must be triggered. 

5. Set up and monitor

Once you undertake all the necessary steps, you are ready with a standard email automation workflow. But the next critical step is to actually implement it. Create different email assets, and implement workflow logic. Test your workflow a couple of times before actual implementation. Once everything is set up, test it live and continuously monitor your progress. 

14 Email Marketing Automation Workflows With Examples

1. Welcome email workflow

One great way to engage with your audience is to greet them with a welcome email campaign. The trigger here is subscribing to your blog or newsletter. Such a campaign is a great way to leverage the initial curiosity and excitement of new subscribers. Such campaigns act as an ice-breaker between you and your audience and build momentum that drives them to your published content. A BlueHornet study reveals that 75% of new subscribers expect a welcome email after they sign up. Also, the key here is to time it right. A welcome email sent a day after the initial sign-up would not make much of an impact. Typically, a welcome email sent within an hour makes a maximum impact, according to Smartinsights.com.


2. Topic content workflows

For such emails, you need to create a workflow for each industry-related subject you curate content about. Here, the trigger is page views or downloading specific content. So, for example, if you are a dog breeder whose content revolves around dog gear, dog diets, and dog boarding, you could box your content marketing offers (e-books, kits, webinars, etc.) and blogs by such topics. You can then create an email workflow for each content type and trigger the relevant workflow whenever one of your readers or subscribers downloads an offer-related content or views that particular page. So, if your reader downloads your e-book on ‘10 Tips for Giving Your Dog a Balanced Diet’, your ‘dog diet’ workflow is triggered. It will then send that reader other relevant content like articles or tips on dog diet. 

3. Training content workflow

This workflow typically follows the welcome email automation workflow. The trigger here is to identify the consumer life cycle stage and move them to the next stage. Once you break the ice, introduce yourself and your services or products. It is important to familiarise your audience with the offered services or products quickly. You can set up a workflow that sends out a series of emails that provide them information about using your product, its benefits, and attractive offers if any. You can also add emails containing training material to help users stay updated about any new changes in your offerings. 

4. Engaged contact workflow

Another important workflow you can design is to create a dynamic list of contacts that updates automatically to include users who actually engage with your content. The trigger here can be a high number of website visits, interaction with your emails or social media content, participating in surveys, and filling up forms. You can then create an automated email workflow to interact more with such readers and promote your top content. Because these users are already engaging with you, there are chances that they will share that content and increase your organic following. 

5. Lead nurturing workflow

If a user interacts with or downloads multiple top-of-the-funnel marketing content such as webinars or ebooks, it means that they can handle a bit more. The trigger here is they are constantly downloading your content and other marketing material. You can then set up a workflow to give them a little push and send them further down the consumer funnel. 

If you identify a user as a lead, set up a workflow so that they will receive more middle-of-the-funnel content that will nudge them to make a purchase or an upgrade. The automation email workflow could contain consumer testimonials, success stories, case studies, or trial offers. 

6. Re-engagement workflow

It’s a common saying that it is cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one. Go through your contact list and identify inactive ones. That’s the trigger here. These users have already shown interest in your offerings and are familiar with your brand. The only thing they need is a gentle nudge. You can create a workflow by sending them exclusive offers or create an emotional connection by saying how much you miss them. 

7. Event-related workflow

As the name suggests, these automated emails are highly event-specific, which obviously is the trigger here. For example, suppose you are hosting a webinar on content marketing. You can automate verification emails that go out to all the users who sign-up for the event. Next could be the email reminding them of the date and time of the event, a day prior and an hour before the event starts. Finally, you can send an email gathering feedback after the event. Such workflows help you keep in constant touch with your audience at each stage of their consumer journey. 

8. Upselling/ Cross-selling workflow

Upselling is a sales technique that is used to invite the customer to purchase a more expensive product. For example, suggesting the customer a medium-sized packet of fries instead of a small one. Cross-selling is another technique used to suggest complementary or additional products to the customer related to their previous products. For example, recommending the customer to buy a bottle of coke with a packet of fries. These are significant sales techniques that businesses use to increase their revenue. Upselling or cross-selling email automation workflows are sent to consumers based on their past purchases. E-commerce businesses often use this workflow to send personalized recommendations and to convert existing customers to repeat buyers.

These emails cut down the cost of acquiring a new customer and increase an existing customer’s lifetime value. Here’s how an upselling or cross-selling workflow can look like: wait for 10 days after the customer makes a purchase, based on their purchasing history, send product recommendations, upsell or cross-sell them if they add the product recommendation to their cart. 

9. Feedback workflow

Feedback is crucial for all businesses to get data from their customers regarding their products and build trust. Feedback email automation workflows are great to get feedback from customers instantly. It helps you understand the customer satisfaction level and ways to improve your offers. To set up this workflow, first, identify the trigger that will set off this campaign. For example, the customer purchases something or when they interact with the customer support team. 

10. Thank you email workflow 

Thank you automated email workflows are email campaigns that are sent to thank subscribers for completing an action. For example, a thank-you email can be sent to thank a contact for attending your webinar, filling a survey, updating their email preferences, etc. The goal of this workflow is to make subscribers feel appreciated and welcomed. They are also used to maintain contact and re-introduce contacts to your brand. 


11. Transactional workflow

Transactional workflows are automated emails that are sent to facilitate a transaction that occurs when a customer requests a free or paid service or product. For example, password-reset email, double opt-in email, order confirmation, or delivery email. Unlike a marketing email campaign, these emails are not sent in bulk and are triggered only when the subscriber performs a particular action. The goal of this workflow is to keep the conversation going and facilitate a transaction between a business and the customer.

This workflow lets businesses send emails that are unique to a particular customer. For example, they tell information that the person may have requested or share shipping notifications, such as changes in order or delays in delivery. To boost sales, you can even add an upsell or cross-sell in a transactional email. Also, make sure that the design is attractive, include your company’s logo, and use colors and fonts consistent with your branding.

12. Birthday/ Anniversary celebration workflow

These are automated emails that are sent to consumers on birthdays or anniversaries. For example, you can send a special discount to contact on their birthday or on the birth anniversary of your business. Birthday or anniversary celebration workflows are a great way to make customers feel special and appreciated. They also reflect a positive brand image and make the brand memorable. It is also a good opportunity to make sales. To send a birthday workflow, you will need the birth date, which can be asked when someone signs up to your list. 

13. Abandoned Cart Workflow

As the name suggests, the abandoned cart workflow is triggered when customers abandon their shopping carts. There could be various reasons why the consumers leave their unpurchased items in their carts, such as the website crashed, slow-wifi, etc. The goal of these emails is to make the customers complete the checkout. SalesCycle reported that 50% of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and a third of the clicks lead to a purchase. They are highly effective for e-commerce businesses. 

A cart abandonment workflow should be sent 24 hours after the purchaser abandons their cart. Scarcity can be used to nudge the customer to complete the checkout process. Then, wait for 2-4 days and see if the item has been purchased or not. If they still don’t make the purchase, add them to a clearance sale workflow and if they make the purchase, add them to the upsell or cross-sell workflow.


14. Onboarding workflow

Onboarding workflow refers to a series of emails sent to help a customer get acquainted with your product or service. These are usually sent after a person creates an account or purchases your product or service. The goal should be to teach the customers about the main benefits of the product or getting to know what the customer intends to achieve by using the product. There are different types of onboarding emails such as complete your profile series, free trial ending series, etc. 

These also help set customer expectations as customers know what they should expect from the business. Utilize this workflow to introduce the customer to your customer service. Additionally, follow-up emails can be sent, which can include product demos, tutorials, and tips. 


5 Email Marketing Tips Every Marketer Should Know

These email marketing tips will help you set a strong foundation for your marketing efforts and will help you fine-tune your strategy.

1. Write better subject lines

The subject line is the first thing a receiver sees when they receive an email in their inbox. It determines whether the receiver will open your email in the first place or not. Hence, to get better open rates, it is important to write better subject lines.

When people see their name in the subject line, they are more likely to open it. So, add the first name of your contact. Another method to personalize it is by adding the first name of the sender in the sender’s field. People are more likely to open an email they receive from a real person rather than just a brand. This tip will also add a human face to your brand. 

Add power words like getting, open, latest, introducing, etc., to encourage the reader to actually take action and open the email.

2. Send relevant emails

Surveys and reports show that readers who feel they are receiving too many or irrelevant emails mark the sender as spam. As an email marketer, this is the last thing someone would want. Also, subscribers are less likely to respond to or even open the emails of businesses that frequently send spammy or irrelevant emails. Hence, it’s highly important to send emails that add value to the lives of your audience.

To send relevant emails, follow the thumb rule of asking why you are sending an email and how it will add value to the life of your audience. The second tip to follow is to constantly learn about the audience. Ask them questions and get to know them. When you have a strong customer avatar, you will instantly know what type of emails can be of relevance to your readers.

3. Make sure that the design is mobile-friendly

Campaign Monitor reports that at least 50 % of people use mobile phones to read emails, and mobile users are three times more likely than desktop users to check their emails. They also reported that 52% of the people are less likely to buy from a company that has a poor mobile customer experience.

So, clearly, if you are not optimizing for mobile, then you might be leaving money on the table. How do you make sure that you are sending mobile-friendly campaigns? Use responsive design templates and make the text easy to read if you are sending a plain text email. Make sure that the copy is easy to read and skimmable. Use shorter sentences and include ample white space.

4. Regularly split test the copy

Using your gut feeling to guide marketing decisions is a recipe for disaster. Marketing is all about testing and gathering data about what is working and what is not working. So, frequently test the email copy to find out the ones which perform best and ones that are not working. The subject line, preview text, email copy, call to action, and from line should be tested. 

However, it is important to not test everything at once. For example, if you are testing the subject line, you should keep everything else the same. Then, adjust the email marketing strategy according to the results and data that was gathered. 

5. Build a relationship with your subscribers

The ultimate goal of every marketing strategy is to make sales and increase revenue. However, if you send an email to your contacts with the intention of making sales, you’ll end up doing the opposite. First and foremost, it’s important to build a relationship and a level of trust with the target audience. 

To do that, you shouldn’t be the only one talking because relationships are two-ways. Engagement should be at the top of your mind. Share your origin story, introduce your brand’s personality and ask questions to learn about your readers. 


Email marketing is the top-most marketing channel for businesses and marketers all over the world. However, it is not humanly possible for marketers or teams to reply to every single email individually. Here is where email marketing automation comes in. These workflows give marketing teams the flexibility to set it and forget it. Once you design a workflow in your email marketing software, you no longer have to worry about missing special moments like birthdays or anniversaries. Based on your goals, you can select which automated email campaign needs to be set up.

Key Takeaways

  1. Email workflow automation is the process of sending a series of emails based on a subscriber’s action or behavior. For example, onboarding a new customer and educating them about the benefits of the product or service.
  1. Email marketing automation is a great way to get more time, regularly contact your subscribers, build lasting relationships with subscribers,  and drive more revenue for your business.
  1. To set up a workflow, the target audience must be identified, determine the goals, establish enrollment criteria, map the actions, set up and monitor the campaigns. 
  1. There are various types of automated email campaigns such as welcome email series, transactional emails, birthday/ anniversary celebration emails, abandoned cart email sequence, re-engagement workflow, topic content workflow, training content workflow, lead nurturing email series, etc.
  1. Split-testing the email copy, sending relevant emails, writing better subject lines, and by investing in relationship building, you can improve your email marketing automation workflows. 


1. What is an email automation flow?

Email automation flow is when an email campaign is automatically sent to subscribers after a trigger. For example, when a consumer leaves his cart without making the purchase, a cart abandonment email is sent to the person to encourage them to complete the purchase. 

2. How do you automate email marketing?

To automate email marketing, automated email campaigns can be set up. In order to set up an automated email campaign, you need to first identify the trigger which will initiate the campaign. Then, add steps in the workflow based on the journey of the customer.

3. What is a workflow in email marketing?

A workflow is a series of automated emails that are sent when the subscriber takes a predefined action, such as signing up for the newsletter. Although there may be several emails in a single workflow, they seek to accomplish the same goal, such as welcoming new subscribers or onboard new customers.

4. What are examples of email automation?

Some examples of email automation are listed below:
Welcome email sequence
Topic content workflow
Training content workflow
Engaged content workflow
Lead nurturing workflow
Re-engagement workflow
Event-related workflow
Thank You email workflow
Transactional workflow
Abandoned cart workflow
Feedback workflow
Onboarding workflow
Birthday/ Anniversary celebration emails
Upselling or cross-selling workflow

5. Which is the best email marketing automation software?

The best email marketing automation software in the market based on deliverability, customer service, templates, cost, GDPR compliance, and integrations are:
Active Campaign

6. What are email marketing best practices for 2021?

Below are email marketing best practices for 2021 that will help improve your ROI, improve your campaigns and help build a better relationship with your audience:
Personalize the emails.
Create emails that are compatible across all devices.
Send relevant emails to your contacts.
A/B test subject lines, emails, etc.
Write a hook-worthy subject line.
Provide value first and then sell

7. How to choose the right platform for email marketing automation?

The best platform for your email marketing needs is one that seamlessly integrates with your CRM and helps achieve your specific goals. It should have good email deliverability, have a good customer support team to help you when you get stuck, and one that can easily scale your campaigns. 

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