Email often gets the least amount of attention from marketers because, quite frankly, it’s easy to ignore.

You can’t afford to overlook your social media pages. Responding to feedback in real time, chiming in on important conversations and keeping your accounts fresh is crucial to success. With the resources that social media takes up, marketers tend to focus their attention here.

Thankfully, email automation provides marketers with some much-needed flexibility when it comes to their email marketing campaigns. By automating emails, marketers can utilize this channel to their full potential without having to dish out additional resources.

However, automation is not the same as putting your email marketing strategy on auto pilot. It still requires attention if you want to get the most out of it. And there is plenty to gain.

Consider that email is the only channel that allows you to do the following:

  • Nurture leads through the funnel

  • Convert leads into customers

  • Turn customers into brand advocates

  • Delight and engage loyal fans

  • Promote activity

  • Increase sales and repeat sales

  • Upsell and cross sell products

  • Re-engage customers

Enhancing Email Automation with Workflows

If you’re out of ideas or need some inspiration to make email automation work better for your business, you’re in luck. We’ve taken the time to research some of the best workflows to help with your automation strategy. (Workflows include all communications with a lead. It may also be referred to as drip marketing or auto responders.)

Workflows are set up using marketing automation software, so if you have the software, you have the tools. Software does vary, so there may be different features or functionalities, but in general, things work the same.

Let’s take a look at some of the most useful workflows that will help you get the most from email automation.

Topic Workflow

This workflow is ideal when you want to get helpful content into the hands of a specific audience. The main goals are to increase page views and downloads for content offers.

Create a workflow for each topic that you write about. For instance, if you sell chocolates, your main topics of content might be types of chocolate, the benefits of chocolate and gifts for the chocolate lover. Within each topic of content would be various content offers, such as webinars, ebooks, kits, blogs, etc.

When a customer comes along and downloads your ebook 10 Great Gifts for the Chocolate Lover, it would trigger this particular workflow, and a series of emails would be sent out. The content would be centered around the topic of interest for the customer, such as recommendations for gifts, sale items and how to choose the best chocolate.

Welcoming Subscribers Workflow

This workflow has the purpose of providing new subscribers with a warm and welcoming “hello.” It’s a wonderful way to get your new relationship off on the right foot and should automatically be triggered when someone subscribes to your blog.

A welcome email is a nice way to thank a person for signing up to receive your newsletters or blog posts. It can also help them feel like part of the “family,” or at least a part of something bigger, which is important for consumers.

Aside from a thank you, you can remind people what they can achieve from reading your content, encourage them to review their settings and also recommend reading material they may like.

Engagement Workflow

This workflow is designed for contacts who have a lot of engagement with your company. The types of activities that should trigger these emails include visits, clicks and form submissions.

When people engage with your company, it’s a wonderful feeling. However, many companies fail to make something of this engagement. What they don’t realize is that this is where brand evangelism is born.

Create a list of the people who interact with you on a regular basis such as by visiting your site frequently, filling out forms or clicking on your emails or social media posts. Then share specific content with this audience. They will be more likely to share this content with their friends because of their loyalties to you.

Re-engagement Workflow

A re-engagement workflow can be helpful for contacts who have been inactive for awhile. The purpose is to remind them of what makes your brand great and why they should return to you.

Sometimes, people stop interacting with a brand simply because they forget. Maybe they purchased a product and haven’t thought about re-ordering it. Or perhaps they were thinking about buying something but decided they were going to wait on it.

A re-engagement workflow is a great way to keep your brand front and center and invite new engagement. You could set conditions based on the customer’s last form submission, website visit or email click. Re-engagement campaigns are highly effective, particularly because the person already knows of your brand and has a genuine need for your product.

Event Promotion Workflow

This workflow is used when you want to promote a particular event and increase attendance.

Whether you’re hosting a webinar or a live event, having attendance is key to a successful event. An event workflow can help grow your attendance while inviting the right people.

When a person signs up for your event, it should trigger a series of emails that include registration information, hotel accommodations, ticket verification, schedule of events and more. Once the event is over, you can send out additional emails packed with helpful content, discounted rates for future events and more to continue nurturing contacts.

Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

When a customer leaves an item in their shopping cart, this workflow comes in handy. It reminds the customer that they didn’t complete the purchase and possibly offers them an incentive.

Shopping cart abandonment can be extremely frustrating because it means that the customer made it all the way to this part in the funnel yet didn’t push the final button. Why? Was it the shipping costs? Delivery times? A better offer somewhere else? You may never know.

The best thing you can do is give the person a second opportunity. Maybe they got distracted and forgot, or perhaps they didn’t have the funds in their account. An abandoned shopping cart can trigger an email that reminds them of their cart and motivates them to complete their purchase. This is where a special offer (free shipping, a certain percentage off) can be extremely helpful.


Email automation software allows email marketing to be extremely targeted and personalized, and therefore, effective. When marketers have a bad feeling about marketing automation, it’s usually because they didn’t take the time to set up the proper workflow with a clearly defined purpose and triggers. As you look to get more from your email automation strategy, consider which goals you hope to achieve and which workflow will help you. You can then fine tune your emails with the right messaging to effectively communicate with your audience.