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What is email automation & why use it? (+30 awesome automated email responses)

52 min

Email automation has become an essential part of any effective marketing campaign. With automated emails you’re able to build lasting, personalized relationships with your customers, sell your products more often, and grow your business faster than ever.

The good news is you don’t need a big marketing budget to effectively use marketing automation software and take full advantage of email automation. In this article, we’ll talk about several topics, including what is email automation and what are the most popular automated email responses you should be sending.

If you’re in a hurry, feel free to use the table of contents below to jump to the section that you find most interesting.

What is email automation?

Email automation is a way to send emails to your subscribers as a sequence, with specific time intervals in between them.  Automation enables you to schedule your emails and send them to relevant users at scale, which is essential for effective email marketing. 

Just like you set up your out-of-office messages, you can send your email marketing campaigns automatically. You would use this approach, for example, if you wanted to send an email course where each message would comprise an individual lesson. Marketers often call these drip campaigns or follow-up sequences.

How does email automation work?

To send automated email campaigns, you’ll need either an email automation or a marketing automation platform. Whichever tool you use, the logic remains the same.

Before anyone can start receiving your messages, first you have to specify a set of conditions and put them into a workflow. Think of it as a scenario — when a subscriber meets the conditions you’ve specified in the scenario (e.g., they’ve filled out your newsletter signup form), it triggers the system to send out your email.

The good news is that when you set up your workflow and hit publish — you’re done! From that point forward every time your customer meets a specific condition, they will get your automatic email. In this way, email automation is like sending a personalized message for your customers without having to write one every single time.

Also, many automation tools offer prebuilt marketing automation templates you can use immediately. The video below shows you how to get started with marketing automation in GetResponse.

Recommended read: Marketing Automation Guide

Five benefits of email automation

Here are the five main advantages of using email automation.

1. It saves time

According to the data from the Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2018 report, the most impactful benefit of email automation is its ability to save you time.

Imagine that you have to manually send a welcome email every time a new person signs up to your list. By putting this kind of communication on autopilot, you’re saving a tremendous amount of time that you can allocate to other areas of your business.

2. It makes your marketing campaigns scalable

Thanks to email automation, you’re able to scale your marketing campaigns more effectively.

The amount of time you save increases with how many automated campaigns you deploy, and how many people enter your workflows.

Equally, no matter how many people receive your automated email responses, it doesn’t change how much time you have to spend to set them up.

3. It lets you personalize your customers’ experiences

Although some automated emails may feel robotic, using email automation is one of the best ways to make your communication more personalized and engaging.

That’s one of the main reasons why automated (or triggered) emails get much higher engagement rates than what you would see for standard email campaigns.

The chart below comes from the Email Marketing Benchmarks Report and shows the comparison of the average engagement rates generated by each message type.

Email Marketing Benchmarks Message Type Chart.

4. It’s measurable

Calculating your email automation ROI is relatively simple. Like with other marketing campaigns, you’ll need to know things such as your cost to acquire a single customer, the average customer lifetime value, and how much it costs you to set up your email automation.

What makes things easier is that once you set up your automated campaigns, you’re usually only left with a monthly fee for your marketing automation platform.

Then, at the end of each month, you need just a brief moment to see how much profit you’re making through your automated emails.

Read this guide to learn more about measuring your automated campaigns’ performance.

5. It works well with other marketing channels

While email automation only works with emails, you can easily connect your automated campaigns with other marketing channels and tools for a more complete picture.

Email and marketing automation platforms, like GetResponse, often come with an array of built-in tools and integrations. Thanks to that, you can quickly connect your campaigns with Facebook and Instagram, or your favorite ecommerce platforms.

Using popular connectors like Zapier, you’re able to link almost any kind of online marketing tool available on the market, without having any technical know-how.

Five tips to effectively use email automation to grow your business

Here are 5 tips that’ll help you make your email automation campaigns effective.

1. Start with a plan

Before you start building your workflows and individual emails, it’s worth starting by writing out the whole scenario. A blank piece of paper will be great for that. Start by writing out the general plan — what’s currently not working for your audience, what you want to achieve, what you want to communicate, and to whom. Once you have that, it’s easier to set up your automated email sequences.

2. Design your email templates at once

Once you’ve got your plan ready, it’s a good idea to prepare all the content that you want to put into your emails. If you plan to build a longer automation sequence, a good idea might be to create an email design system. You can learn more about this from our webinar recording below, but the general idea is to design all the email building blocks at once. Thanks to this, once you start carving out those emails & writing your copy, you won’t spend hours designing your messages.

When designing your email templates, pay attention to whether your messages look good across all the different devices and whether your content’s accessible. This will help you stay out of the spam folder & increase your audiences’ engagement.

Editor’s note: Speaking of design, Matthew Smith, founder of Really Good Emails, recently joined us for a webinar on designing automated emails. He explained the idea of creating email design systems, as well as shared the do’s and don’ts of designing automated emails. If you haven’t seen it yet, feel free to watch it below:

3. Document your campaigns

Marketers sometimes go crazy and end up creating lots of various workflows and email sequences they find hard to manage. If you want to run your automated email campaigns with confidence, it’s worth storing critical information in a spreadsheet.

Things like which workflows you’ve created, their objectives, target audience, or tags you’ve assigned to your recipients — all of this information can help you manage your automated campaigns better.

Plus, documenting your campaigns will make it easier for you to communicate about them with your team members.

4. Measure the right metrics

While the main benefits of email automation are that you can set up your sequences and quickly move onto other projects, it’s essential to keep track of your campaign’s KPIs. Write down the goal behind your campaign and how you’ll measure this. Are you interested in open rates, click-throughs or, or conversions? Or maybe store visits or webinar registrations?

Once you’ve figured this out, check again whether your emails’ design reflects that KPI. Is the call to action prominent within your template? Will your recipients know what you want them to do? These will help you ensure that you’re not distracted by shiny object syndrome.

5. Keep returning to your campaigns

At some point, you may end up running multiple automated campaigns and even forget about their existence. And that can cause problems. That’s why it’s worth noting down the date when you last revisited your workflows and set up reminders to check them back again.

By following this practice, you can avoid common mistakes like:

  • leading your audience to broken pages
  • using outdated copy and visuals
  • building your arguments on old studies and sources

Also, if you use humor in your communication, you’ll want to pay special attention to whether your copy isn’t considered insensitive. What might have sounded like a good joke last year may feel rude and negatively affect your business in 2020.

30+ types of automated email responses you should be sending today

Now that you know what email automation is, and how it works, you’re probably wondering how you can use it for your business.

As you’re about to see, email automation isn’t reserved for one type of business or industry. Companies of different sizes or offering different products can use it successfully throughout their entire customer journey.

Below you’ll find 30+ types of automated email responses with examples and tips for what industries they’d make the best fit.

To learn more about generating more revenue out of your emails, consider these email marketing best practices and an in-depth guide to ecommerce email marketing.

1. Thank you email

As a marketer, you constantly ask your subscribers to do something for you. Sign up for a newsletter, download an ebook, fill out a survey – does that sound familiar?

Now let’s imagine the same scenario in the offline world. If you kept asking someone to do something for you, the least you could do is say thanks, if not return the favor. It’s simple.

The best thing is, it’s not so difficult to do it online either. All you have to do is to send an automated thank you email right after they perform an action. To make the message even sweeter, you can also add a discount code, store credit, or free delivery – they’ll know it was all worth it!

Thank you emails are usually sent through marketing automation workflows or autoresponders. And they perform really well.

As you can see from our recent study, single-message autoresponder email sequences (which usually include thank you and welcome emails) get an average open rate of over 90%. Talking about engagement, right?

Automated thank you email for Google Maps users
Thank you for sharing your photos” triggered email sent to Google Maps users
Email automation example with a thank you message from Return Path
Thanks for showing interest in 2016 Deliverability Benchmark Report” email with a download link from Return Path

Perfect for these industries: All industries

2. Welcome emails

Why welcome emails?

For one, because they generate an average open rate of over 80% and a click-through rate of over 25%. In other words, they are great for engagement.

But let’s take a look at them from a different perspective.

Let’s assume that you’re organizing a dinner party. What would you do if someone responded to your invitation and arrived at your door? Most likely, you’d greet them and show them around.

Although your newsletter subscription may feel less like a party and more like a business meeting, it doesn’t mean you should throw away your good manners. Thank them for signing up, welcome them to the subscription, perhaps even let them know how frequently they’ll be hearing from you, and what kind of topics you’ll be discussing.

Make them feel special and let them know how much the fact that they’ve decided to stay in touch means to you. You can also follow what Coursera did in their welcome email, and tell your new users what they should do now, pointing them to the most important pages.

Coursera newsletter welcoming new email subscribers
A welcome email by Coursera, pointing new users to the most important links
Tommy Hilfiger automated welcome email.
Tommy Hilfiger welcoming their new email subscribers

Perfect for these industries: All industries

3. Meet the team

Sometimes you’ll want to really connect with your audience. Not on a business-to-customer or business-to-business level, but on a human-to-human level. Introducing your team and the people behind your brand can help you with that.

A “meet the team” email can be a good way to start the conversation on the right foot. You can use it when sending your employee newsletter, or when trying to convince your regular subscribers to support your cause.

Automated emails like this one are great as they prove that there’s a human being that’s sitting behind the brand. He or she is trying their best to deliver value to you, but may sometimes make an error or need help from you. And it’s easier to ask for a favor if they know you in person. Below you can see a good example of a welcome email that introduces the team behind the company called Andrew and Pete.

Or if you think you can go slightly more crazy, just link to your Meet the Team Page, like the one made by Wistia. *Hint* Make sure you click Partytime link at the bottom

Meet Andrew and Pete – an automated welcome email presenting the team
A welcome email by Andrew and Pete introducing themselves and letting users know what they’ll be talking about in future emails

Perfect for these industries: Agencies, Non-profits, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

4. Download the app and stay up to date

Whether you’re running an online store, news website, or SaaS platform, you will want your customers to keep coming back for more. And do you know a better way to do it than letting them know “there is an app for that”?

Let your fans know that they can access all their favorite information and products even when they’re commuting and killing time on their smartphone. If you can’t offer them an app, just make sure your website is mobile-optimized and that your audience knows that their experience will be just as great on a mobile device.

This type of email fits in well with an onboarding series when your new users are just starting to get familiar with your offer. On top of that, it’s also worth reminding those who haven’t used the app just yet, every once in a while. After all, you want them to interact with your brand as much as possible.

As usual, the setup of such triggered email is easy and you can expect high engagement rates from your email recipients.

Nike automated email promoting their app to access favorite information on the go
Nike promoting its app for customers to access all their favorite brand information on the go

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

5. Your order is on its way

Order and transaction confirmation emails are popular among ecommerce businesses. But anything else related to the product that’s been ordered – not so much.

Customers who are waiting for their package to be delivered are most probably feeling excited and sometimes even a bit nervous.

Think about it. You’ve just ordered flowers or chocolates for Valentine’s day for that special someone. You want to be sure they arrive on time. Should they arrive too late, even if by just one day – it’s all lost!

These types of automated emails will fit perfectly with your valentine’s day emails. That’s not to say they won’t fit other occasions, too!

If you can provide them with useful content, e.g. on how to best use the product, how to take care of it, what to wear with it, how to exchange it, and so on, you can make their wait ever more exciting. Just like looking forward to unwrapping presents on Christmas morning 😉

Tell them why they’ve made a good decision, what others have said about their shopping experience, and let them join the discussion on social platforms, too. That’s how true brand communities are built.

Order confirmation email from Amazon
Order confirmation email from Amazon
Shipping confirmation email with product recommendations from Aliexpress
Shipping confirmation email with product recommendations from Aliexpress

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce

6. Tell us what you think

If you ever wanted to find out something new about your target audience, who would you ask first? Your customer support team, your sales team, or maybe marketing folks? Why not go straight to the source and just talk to your customers?

If you want to learn more about your audience, just sit down and have a chat with them. Send them an automated email with a survey, or ask them to reply to your message. This way you can quickly find out about their needs, struggles, preferences, goals, and will be able to improve your product and communication program.

As you can see from the two examples below, clothing brands such as Timberland and Adidas seem to have found value in knowing their customers’ views.

Survey email from Indiegogo
An automated newsletter from Indiegogo asking their newsletter subscribers for an opinion
Adidas surveying and asking their users for feedback
Why not ask your new subscribers to tell you something about themselves? What sports do they like the most? What are their objectives? Just like Adidas did in their email.

Perfect for these industries: All of them

7. Product review emails

Marketing isn’t only about selling. It’s about anticipating and satisfying customer needs. Profits come afterward.

You shouldn’t only care about your audience up to the moment they place their order, and forget them afterwards. Instead, you should stay in touch with them even after they’ve already received the product, and had a chance to give it a go.

If you want to build authentic relationships, you’ll want to ask them how happy they are with what they’ve ordered. What their initial reaction was and whether it’s changed over time. Only then you can really say that you care about their opinion and that you’ll use this to make your products even better.

Naturally, there are different ways to gain that insight. The best one is to send an automated post-purchase email asking your customers to leave a review.

Asking for product reviews has another advantage. You can use the information you’ve gathered to make your marketing messages even more convincing. Because social proof works wonders!

Expedia asking users to rate their service
Email autoresponder asking for feedback about recent experience from Expedia

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

8. Here are our best-rated products

Showing your best-rated products has many advantages. For one, it’s great for persuading new leads into making their first purchase and starting the conversation on the right foot. It’s also useful for finding out what product categories they’re interested in to use this information in the future.

This type of an automated email can be used at different stages of the customer journey. Either at the beginning – when they’re still thinking whether they should order something from you – or much later – when they’ve decided it’s about time they’ve purchased something new for themselves or their close ones.

Emails using customer rating are also making use of what we’ve mentioned above when discussing social proof. Given that 88% customers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, it’s only natural that you’ll want to use them in your communication to make it more effective.

Best selling products from United Colors of Benetton
Product best sellers from United Colors of Benetton
Automated email example using humor in the header image - Timberland
Using witty humor in the email subject line and header image by Timberland

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Health & Beauty

9. Recommendations

The whole point of modern marketing is to deliver value and present relevant offers to your audience. That means products or services that not only solve their problems but also ones that they want to associate themselves with.

If you really want to deliver value to your customers, you have to pay close attention to how they interact with your brand. What products they look at when browsing the website, which ones they order and are happy with. You need to connect the dots and make recommendations that are tailored to their needs, according to what you’ve managed to observe.

Instead of making your users browse your website for inspiration, show them what they may instantly fall in love with. Saving their time with recommendation emails will mean they’ll have more time to spend with their friends and family, and that’s a true value that not many can offer.

Using email marketing automation: product recommendations in newsletter from Amazon
Email newsletter with recommendations regarding recently searched products by Amazon

Perfect for these industries: Health & Beauty, Internet Marketing, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

👉 Learn more on how to write cross-sell emails

10. Blog updates

If you’re interested in content marketing or ecommerce, it’s likely that you’re going to have a blog. Not just for the sake of writing blog posts, but to attract new audience to your site. If you manage to answer the question they keep asking, and solve problems they tend to encounter, the chances are you’ll do well.

If you’re going to run a blog, be it to talk about product updates or topics that your customers will find useful, you should also make sure to send automated blog (rss emails) updates to your mailing list.

Why? you may wonder. Because it’s your existing fans that should be the ones who get to access your articles first. This way they’ll get the benefit of being the first ones to see your new offers and you’ll be able to see how the audience responds to it. It’s a win-win situation, and if you communicate this benefit well enough, many more will want to be on your mailing list.

Not to mention the fact, that automated RSS emails get 20% higher open rates than your typical newsletters.

Below’s an example of an RSS email update sent from one of my favorite blogs – Occam’s Razor.

Automated rss email sent after a new blog post has been published
Automated rss email sent after a new blog post has been published

Perfect for these industries: All of them

11. Webinar invitations

One of the best tactics to build authentic relationships with your customers are online webinars. They help you build credibility, authority, and best of all – show your audience that your business aims to help them, not just sell to them.

The success of your webinar marketing efforts will often be directly connected to the number of users who registered for your event. To make sure you attract the largest possible audience, you’ll want to use all the different marketing channels and tactics available, including paid advertising and email marketing.

Emails are particularly useful when organizing webinars, because you can send them automatically to anyone that may be interested in attending your presentation. Whether you’re running a weekly education webinar, or a monthly meet-up to discuss more advanced topics, automated webinar invitations will be your friend.

Another thing that’s good about webinar or product-demo invitations is that your prospects will finally get familiar with your offer. They may have been postponing this process until now, but you’re showing them a valid reason not to. And if they don’t want to do the dirty work themselves, they can just listen to the presentation and try out the product later.

GetResponse webinar invitation
How we invited our guests to Jamie Turner’s webinar about B2B consumer behavior secrets

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

12. Event reminders

Simply inviting your followers to the event isn’t going to cut it, if you really want them to convert. Just like in everyday life, it doesn’t hurt to send an automatic reminder that will let them know the event is about to start and explain how they can quickly access it.

Send an email a few days ahead if the event is offline, and on the same day if it’s happening online. Make sure that they reserve the time to have a chat with you and ask any questions they may have on their minds. Once they receive something truly valuable from you, the chances of them doing business with your company will increase significantly.

Event reminder we sent 1 hour prior the webinar started
Event reminder we sent 1 hour prior the webinar started

Perfect for these industries: Arts & Entertainment, Automotive, Education, Internet Marketing, Real Estate, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

13. Reactivation emails

Even if it’s something important to them, people often lose track of the things they start. They stop jogging, eating healthy, or watching their favorite TV series.

The same goes for following their beloved brands. They may as well be still fans, but things just turned out the way they did, and they stopped visiting your website or reading your emails. No hard feelings.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean you just need to accept this fact. You can do something about it – use email automation to run a reengagement campaign. Send an email every time someone stops opening your messages for a particular period of time. Remind them why they’ve signed up in the first place and reward them with a special incentive that will steal their hearts once again.

Reactivation email from Udemy
How Udemy reactivates their email subscribers

Perfect for these industries: All of them

14. Your discount code will soon expire

Most ecommerce businesses try to win their customers back using discount codes. Their business value is undeniable.

There is, however, a problem with discount codes, coupons, and other similar incentives. If they’re used too frequently, they will not only cut your margins short but also desensitize your audience.

Sometimes to the point that some of your customers won’t buy from you when shown a regular price because they’ll know that another sale is going to take place in the near future.

That’s why you have to use coupons wisely. If they are meant to be valuable, they can’t be handed around like leaflets or takeaway menus from your local pizza place. That’s why you should not only offer them less frequently but also remind your users when the code’s expiration date gets near. Let them know their chance of using it is getting slimmer, and if they want to get the best deals, they need to act quickly.

Using email automation tool to send an automated reminder about the coupon’s expiration is a good tactic that can help you make the most out of your incentives.

It can help you increase your conversion rates, which means you’ll be able to use discount codes less frequently, avoiding the negative effect on your brand image and profit margins.

Below are two examples of how an ecommerce brand and a marketing agency focusing on education, can use discount codes with a specific expiration date to drive conversions.

Now imagine they’d add one more email, sent a few hours before the code’s about expire. I bet the conversion rate would be positive.

Offer expiration reminder - marketing email
Offer expiration reminder email
Ecommerce offer expiration reminder
Ecommerce offer expiration reminder

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Health & Beauty

👉 Learn more on how to use discount codes for your ecommerce business

15. Content follow-ups after someone visits your site

Marketing automation involves tracking your audience and making the right use of data. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but there are times when a simple solution can deliver high results.

As you can learn from this case study, one of such tactics includes tracking the website behavior of your subscribers. If you can see that they visit particular pages, e.g. one that is related to your product features, you can follow up with them with a message that is directly related to this topic.

There are a number of ways to use this approach. You can get your sales team to automatically reach out when a free-trial user visits your pricing page. Or maybe send a case study that’ll act as social proof to those who’ve looked at the list of the tools you offer? Just give it a try, you’ll see that relevant triggered messages deliver great value and great business results at the same time.

Automated email followup sent after a user viewed a report
Automated email followup sent after a user viewed a report

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

16. Post-event follow-up

After you’ve run an event or a conference, you’re probably thinking about finally being able to kick back and relax. If you’ve ever worked in sales, you know it’s not the time to do that. You have to be at the top of your game, following up with everyone that took their time to join you.

Some of this work can be done with the help of email automation. An automated post-event follow-up message can say everything that’s currently on your mind, and deliver it while the feeling is fresh. A thank-you message, a demo offer, a report you’ve promised, or a question about the experience your audience had – these are great conversation starters.

Best of all, this type of communication isn’t intrusive. If someone wants to reply to you, either because they are interested in doing business together or just want to ask a question, they’ll be happy to do it.

Followup email we've sent after one of the GetResponse webinars
Followup email we’ve sent after one of the GetResponse webinars

Perfect for these industries: Arts & Entertainment, Automotive, Education, Internet Marketing, Real Estate, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

17. Birthday and anniversary emails

In today’s world, birthday = presents. Even if you have a more pragmatic approach towards money, chances are you still enjoy receiving gifts.

Even if we’re not happy about the number that’s stated on our ID, we kind of expect that we will be given something nice. Be it from our family, friends, or even ourselves. That’s right. When we’re in a birthday or any other type of anniversary mood, we often say to ourselves: I think I deserve it, I should get it.

What marketers can do about this is to make this process easier and drive their customers’ attention to their offer. For example, by sending them a happy birthday email, that’s all about wishing them all the best and offering them a sweet incentive, so that they can indulge themselves by shopping with you.

All you have to do is collect your subscribers’ birthdays and set a rule to automatically send a message. Put in a special deal and nice copy, and show them the products they’ve been longing for.

Converse wishing their subscriber a happy birthday and offering an additional 20%-off discount code

Pro tip: Don’t wait until the last moment to send the birthday or anniversary emails. Over the years, I’ve noticed that these kinds of messages work best when sent a few days before the big date, which helps your recipients plan their shopping better.

The reason for this is simple. On their birthday or anniversary day, people often choose to spend time with their close ones, not in a shopping mall or browsing through ecommerce websites.

Chances are your email recipients are the same. They’ll be out shopping for the birthday gift on a weekend or a day preceding the specific date, so that they’ll have more time for their family and friends later.

The good news is that setting this kind of rule is easy with most of your email automation tools.

Perfect for these industries: Automotive, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Health & Beauty

18. Cart abandonment emails

Over 68% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, according to a study by SaleCycle. It’s a serious problem for most ecommerce businesses, but not something they can’t try to fix.

Other than using retargeting, you can retrieve abandoned carts using so-called cart abandonment emails. These are the messages that are sent automatically shortly after someone leaves your website without placing an order. Acting as a reminder, they can improve your conversion rate, especially if your customers were genuinely interested in the offer.

Cart abandonment emails work well because they are both timely and relevant. If you want them to have an even stronger impact, you can also add free delivery or a discount code to one of such messages, and you’ll see that some of your customers will be happy to return.

Cart abandonment emails are very effective and the good news is that you can set them up with ease if you’re using GetResponse.

Depending on what ecommerce software you’re using, there are a couple of ways to do it.

If you’re using Magento (1.9 or 2), PrestaShop, or WooCommerce, you can just use one of our plug and play integrations.

And if you’re using a different ecommerce platform or a custom one, you’ll have to add the tracking JavaScript code to your pages yourself.

Also, below is an example of a cart abandonment (or actually browse abandonment) email sent by Timberland.

It’s an interesting example as it not only shows the product I’ve looked at on the Timberland site but also provides some additional product recommendations.

Not sure how personalized these products were, given the fact I haven’t actually bought anything from that site yet. One could assume they were just some other products from that particular line I was looking at.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting approach that can help ecommerce brands like this one generate additional revenue and can be implemented fairly simply.

Cart abandonment email from Timberland
An automated email sent by Timberland aiming to get their customers to finish the purchase

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities

19. Thanks for trying us out

Let’s consider you’re running an online course that offers a free trial allowing people to give it a go without any obligations. During the course, you’ll probably be sending a few messages, trying to convince them to upgrade their account. But what happens to those whose subscription runs out before they make up their mind?

The most obvious answer is that you reach out to them. Present them with a final offer (e.g. with an additional 10% discount, if they make a decision within the next 24 hours) or ask them to answer a few questions about the product — what went well, what went wrong, what they’d like more.

You’ll see that those last-resort offers will not only add value and teach you about your customers, but also generate additional profits you won’t want to ignore.

Automated survey email from Bigcommerce
Bigcommerce email asking their users to leave an opinion about why they didn’t upgrade their free trial

Perfect for these industries: Education, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

20. Upselling messages

Marketers always want more. They want their users to purchase more often, put more products in their baskets, and spend more when they’re placing their order. It’s not surprising, though, since we’re all striving for a higher ROI.

One successful tactic that can help you deliver higher results is called upselling. It’s most often done through the use of additional elements appearing on the landing page, but it can also be used in your email automation messages. All you have to do is to send them at the right time.

Upselling emails are popular among accommodations sites such as or Airbnb. Their aim is to convince subscribers to spend more on their service. They can do so e.g. either by getting the customers to stay longer at a given hotel or book a more expensive room. This way their commission is bigger and the users get a chance to have a slightly longer holiday.

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

21. Join the community

There’s nothing better than a loving, devoted, and loyal customer. A real brand advocate. But those don’t grow on trees, I’m afraid. You need to find them yourself.

To get your users hooked on your product, you’ll want them to spend as much time as possible being exposed to your brand. You’ll want to reach them through all the possible channels and means.

Increasing the number of consumer touch points is a solid approach that can make your marketing campaigns more effective. One way to do this is to invite your subscribers to not only visit your site, but also join you on other platforms — e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Invite them to become part of your community and get them to not only purchase your products but also become parts of your brand community.

Join the community automated email example
Join the community automated email example

Perfect for these industries: Automotive, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Health & Beauty

22. Wish list update and price drop

If you’re running an ecommerce business, then you’ve probably heard of wish lists. If not, then let me quickly explain what these are.

Wish lists are collections of products that have been saved by your customers to their user accounts.

Now let’s consider this: why would anyone add a product to a wish list and not buy the product straight away?

One reason could be because they are still deciding whether or not they should place the order. Another one is that the product is currently out of stock. Or the customer already knows that they want to buy the product but the current price is more than they’re willing to pay.

So what could you do if your store offered a wish list?

Why of course, use it to reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate and increase sales.

How? By sending an automated email to your audience, every time one of the following happens:

• The product is back in supply
• The product is on sale
• The product is almost sold out

But that’s not all.

You can make contact just to remind them about the product they’ve previously added to their wish list, simply to check if they’re still interested.

To make your email even more effective, offer some recommendations based on the type of product they want to buy or what others have bought in addition to it.

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities

23. Replenishment emails

Different products have different life spans. Some of them are more durable and last for years while others, e.g. fast-moving consumer goods such as cosmetics, use up pretty quickly.

If the products you’re selling need to be replaced every few weeks or months, the so-called replenishment emails can help you generate more repeat sales, without taking much of your time.

As the name implies, replenishment emails can be sent to people who have likely already used up the products they’ve purchased from you or are about to run out. To help them out, and yourself in the process too, you can contact them with a kind reminder that they might be interested in re-stocking their favorite product.

This approach has two clear benefits.

One is helping your customers avoid a problem of running out of the product. Which we all know can sometimes be problematic. For example, on Christmas day, when all shops are closed, and you’re out of baby formula. Trust me, I’ve been there. You’d rather avoid that.

Another one is avoiding the problem of losing customers who will go to their local store to re-supply. Even if it means that they’ll have to spend more, they’re often prepared to do so to quickly fix the problem.

So what you need to do is analyze the products that you’re selling and figure out how long it takes to use them up.

Then just use triggered emails to remind your customers that it’s about time they ordered their favorite products.

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce, Sports & Activities, Health & Beauty

24. Activity update

Attracting new customers is important for any growing business. But in the case of social networks, apps, and SaaS platforms in particular, it’s not enough just to grow the user base. What’s truly important is how many of these users return on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

One way to convince people to keep coming back is to update them:

• On their performance
• On their peers’ activities
• On what’s new in the platform

Of course, for this to work you have to be creative.

If you just follow the same pattern more than a few times, without offering any real value, the recipients of your emails will become desensitized to your communication.

So before you jump in and try to use the same template repeatedly, do some thinking. Two brands you might want to look at, who I believe are doing activity update emails pretty well, are Grammarly and Endomondo.

Below you’ll see two examples of how they communicate with their audience.

Endomondo Monthly Activity Update
Endomondo monthly activity update email with calories burned and time spent on training
Grammarly Weekly Writing Update
Weekly update from Grammarly with information on your productivity and writing accurateness

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

25. Account expiration

Offering a service that needs to be renewed? Then account expiration emails are a must if you want to spike up those conversions.

It may sound counterintuitive at first, but people often don’t act the way you want them to, until they perceive the risk of losing something they value.

People procrastinate. That’s why they’ll postpone the renewal of their subscription or upgrade their free account to the very last minute.

Needless to say, if you want more conversions, you’ll want to address that. Send a triggered email some time before their account’s about to expire and emphasize the reasons why it’s worth to renew it sooner than later.

Gearbest Bonus Points Expiration Email
Gearbest newsletter informing about the expiration date of the recipients bonus points

Perfect for these industries: Education, Sports & Activities, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS)

26. Shipping information

Branding has never been more important. Offering the lowest price is only a good strategy if you have a large scale that’ll help you outweigh operating at a low margin. Otherwise, you’re better off if you invest in customer experience and branding.

So what does a transactional email with shipping information have to do with this? A lot.

Picture this scenario.

Every couple of months I have to buy toner for my printer. I always order it from the same site, as it offers the best value for my money. The problem is, their brand name doesn’t stand out. I can never remember it.

So to find the site I’ve repeatedly ordered from, I have to dig into my Gmail account.
But there’s yet another problem. Most of the emails about my order don’t even come from the brand itself. Instead, it’s mostly shipping information from the package delivery service.

Eventually, I find the site’s name by typing in the exact printer code name in my Gmail search…

This is not ideal, to say the least. Most people aren’t as determined as I am, when it comes to buying toners. Or any other product for that matter.

What could they be doing differently? For example, provide all the shipping and tracking information themselves. Make sure that they contact me first, and that I’ll remember them.

Of course, that’s only the first step. But a crucial one.

Combine that with a thank you email or a whole onboarding campaign I’ve mentioned above, and you’re off to a good start.

As for examples, MVMT provides a great one, as per usual.

MVMT Shipment Tracking Information
MVMT email providing tracking information and promoting their social media account

Perfect for these industries: Retail & Ecommerce

👉 Learn more on how to send quick-transactional emails

27. Loyalty points status update

More and more companies are introducing customer loyalty programs.
Which makes perfect sense, as they’re really useful for both learning more about your audience and increasing the customer lifetime value, too.

But don’t get fooled. Running a successful loyalty program isn’t as easy as pie.

The challenging part is to convince people to actively engage, i.e., collect and redeem points, search through recommended products, or check their status and how far they’re from reaching the next stage or earning a reward.

There are a few ways you can motivate your customers.

Recommendation emails – with special deals, new ways to collect points, or products that’ll help you earn extra ones – are definitely a good bet.

Another thing that you could try is sending updates regarding your customers’ loyalty points status.

Below are two examples of how you can do it.

The first email comes from Lufthansa Worldshop.

It’s a typical newsletter that uses dynamic content to present your mileage status and includes product recommendations.

It’s a shame, though, that the recommendations seem to be only related to the current season (summer), rather than products you’ve bought or searched for before.

Seems like a missed opportunity.

Loyalty points update email worldshop lufthansa
Lufthansa newsletter updating the customer on their loyalty points status

The second image shows a fragment of an email update from Emirates.

What’s interesting about it – other than your mileage status, which I’ve cut out from this image – is that they’re suggesting what you can do with your miles: buy, give, transfer, or restore.

But there’s another thing they could have done to make this email even more effective.

What’s that?

Add a bit more sense of urgency to it.

For example, by providing the exact date when the unused points would have been lost.

And in case it’s a particularly short period of time, the chances of convincing customers to even just give away their points to a charity of their choice would be high.

Automated email example – skyawards loyalty points status update.
Emirates email suggesting what the customer can do with their current mileage

Perfect for these industries: Health & Beauty, Restaurants & Food, Retail, Travel

28. Transaction confirmation or receipt

Just like shipping information or a thank you email, this message should aim to confirm and reassure your audience that their payment has been processed.

So, why bother about this extra message?

For some businesses, especially in the travel industry, this email can be very useful.

Take a look at these two examples from and Airbnb.

Transactional email example from Airbnb
Airbnb email confirming a reservation
booking-receipt-email email confirming a reservation

These emails have everything you’ll need to enjoy your trip, hassle-free – the exact address of your destination, check-in and check-out dates, what you’ve paid, contact details, the option to change the reservation, and more.

They’re pretty lengthy, but they certainly provide value.

One other thing that’s interesting about the Airbnb example is that they’re also taking this email as an opportunity to promote their business – asking the recipient to invite their friends to use the service for a chance of earning some extra cash.

Which is a pretty good idea if you ask me.

Especially given the fact that the recipient of this email has just completed a transaction and I bet they’re happy, excited, and will probably happily share the link on social media.

Perfect for these industries: Automotive, Health & Beauty, Health Care, Restaurants & Food, Retail, Technology & High Tech, Travel

Read more: Hotel email marketing guide

29. Just one more step

Let’s say your onboarding campaign has been a success and you’ve managed to convince your customer to take the first step. Whatever that step is – register an account, play around your platform, or sign up for a free online course.

Sometimes this isn’t enough, and your leads need another push to fully engage with your offer.

Let’s take our platform as an example. Someone registers for a free GetResponse account, creates the first email campaign and then doesn’t send it to their audience. They log out and return to whatever else they were doing.

In this case, you’ll want to send them an automated reminder and motivate them to take one more step to fully embrace the tool.

What should you include in this type of email?

Definitely focus on the value that’s just around the corner. How much they can gain and how it outweighs the effort they need to make right now.

And if possible, make this process fun and enjoyable.

Perfect for these industries: Education, Internet Marketing, Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS), Travel

30. Top of mind campaign

Sometimes people aren’t ready to commit just yet.

They’re genuinely interested in your offer and maybe they even like your brand, but they need more information or can’t make the decision at this moment.

This is often the case if you’re running events or selling something that requires the approval of multiple decision-makers (e.g. with marketing software.)

That’s where a top of mind campaign comes into play.

Just like the name implies, its point is to make sure your leads remember you. Not necessarily to convert them straight away but to keep them informed about your offer.

And eventually, when they’re ready to make the decision, they’ll recall your brand and go directly to your site.

If you’re selling software or are running an agency, your top of mind campaign could include:
• information about the latest developments in your product (e.g., new features, services offered, available payment options)
• milestones and PR news (e.g. new office, awards you’ve received, success stories of your employees)
• customer success stories

And if you’re running an event, be sure to mention your new keynote speakers, business or content partners, sponsors, and anything that’s useful for people who are still considering getting a ticket.

Speaker announcement email from Websummit sent using marketing-automation
Websummit’s conference email as an example of a top of mind campaign

31. Campaign summary

A campaign summary email can be a good idea if you want to mark down the end of a campaign and make sure everyone involved gets the memo.

Consider this scenario: You’re collecting donations for a charity, an NGO, or to kickstart your business.

Wouldn’t it make sense to let everyone involved know how the campaign went? Whether you’ve been able to hit your target or even exceed it? Or maybe you need some additional help?

Not only would it make sense, but it’s also very likely that this automated email would generate high open and click-through rates.

That’s because people who’ve engaged and donated their money, start feeling that they’ve joined something bigger. They’ve joined a community of people supporting a similar cause.

And if it’s something they have strong feelings about – the campaign’s going to be even more powerful.

In fact, making sure that people see the impact of their actions has been proven to have a positive impact on their engagement and future commitment.

In his book, Give and Take, organizational psychologist Adam Grant refers to several studies that focused on this particular topic.

In short, it turns out that seeing or hearing those who are directly benefiting from our actions – even if for a short moment – can have a tremendous impact on our engagement and willingness to contribute again.

This works especially well, if the ones we’re trying to influence are, by definition, givers. In other words, those who thrive by giving to others, while expecting nothing in return. This tactic’s likely to be less effective for matchers and takers.

All of this is thoroughly explained in Adam Grant’s book, which I highly recommend for you to read, especially if you’re an NGO or struggling to generate engagement from your team members.

Word of advice: watch out for the emotional tone. If you’re collecting money for a very sensitive cause, make sure that the emails you send using email automation are respectful and thoughtful.

Below’s an example of an email campaign from Indiegogo, targeted at people who have donated to a specific cause.

This message could be much more powerful if it included content from the organizers – photos, a voice recording, or any other personal message.

But this wasn’t the case, probably because the organizer wasn’t directly related to the person the money was collected for.

But it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re planning to launch such an email campaign yourself.

An automated email summing up Indiegogo campaign
Indiegogo’s campaign summary email

Perfect for these industries: Arts & Entertainment, Education, Non-profits, Sports & Activities

32. Saying bye

Marketers often choose not to think about the moment their customers part ways with them.

They fear that moment so much, they ignore the learnings they can take from it.

They also ignore the fact, that this is a perfect moment to make the last good impression on their now ex-customers.

And that’s what the ‘saying bye’ email campaign is about.

I was inspired to write about it after a fellow marketer, Angel Lorente Paramo, shared this example in our recent roundup post – 30+ best email marketing campaigns.

Although the example was fairly simple, the impact it made was powerful.

What this automated email did – and what yours should – was to say thanks for the years the customers spent with the brand.

That, plus it showed the brand’s gratitude and made a promise not to keep pestering the recipient with future communication.

This message was so honest and tactful that it made Angel question whether he’s made the right decision to choose another phone carrier.

saying bye email simyo.

If you offer services that customers can opt out from e.g., you’re running a SaaS platform or another type of organization where there’s a membership, you can create and send these kinds of emails with marketing automation.
Word of advice: When people opt out, they usually don’t want to keep receiving further communication from the brand they’re parting ways with. That’s why this marketing email has to serve one purpose first – to confirm it’s the last message they’ll receive and the process of closing down their account or membership went well. Only then should the email serve the second purpose – to make the last good impression on your email subscribers.

Perfect for these industries: Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS), Education, Internet Marketing

33. Testimonial

Testimonial emails are similar to the product review messages I’ve described earlier in this article.

The difference is, at least in my opinion, that these are typically sent by SaaS companies or those who run online courses.

Or what I meant to say, they should be sent, because they don’t seem to be very popular.

This is quite odd, because they’re just as valuable for SaaS businesses as product reviews are for ecommerce sites.

That’s why companies invest so much to be ranked high on sites such as G2Cword and Trustpilot.

But the truth is, rather than running an ad hoc campaign that’s meant to help generate an X number of testimonials and reviews, why not set up a marketing automation workflow to do that for you?

Your workflow could be triggered by a special event, milestone, or change in your customer’s account.

For example, they’ve recently upgraded their account or completed a certain number of projects, which could suggest that they’re a power user.

Then, all you have to do is send them an automated email and ask them to share their opinion.

Best of all, if they’re a power user, they’re likely to be happy to take part in the survey for free.

Because they want to be heard and they value the fact that you care about their voice.

No need for that extra Starbucks gift card…

Unless you want to surprise them with one after they’ve completed the survey. If that’s the case, they’ll sure be delighted to receive one ;-).

Perfect for these industries: Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS), Education, Internet Marketing

34. Referral

Similar to marketing automation emails asking for testimonials, referral emails can make a big difference in the growth rate of your business.

The theory behind it is super simple.

People surround themselves with those who are like them. By asking your current users or customers to refer others to your brand, you can get a quicker access to your target audience.

Also, by sharing some of the profits (typically those who refer or are referred get some additional incentive) the selling part is done by your loyal customers. If they’re genuinely happy with your service and they know their friends well – convincing them to use your platform should be as easy as pie.

Many famous startups and other companies that growth-hacked their way into the mainstream, used this tactic to their advantage.

Think of Airbnb, Dropbox, Uber, or Transferwise.

All these companies offer to give you an additional bonus – storing space or a voucher for your next trip – if you refer their platform to those who might benefit from their service.

It’s a win-win situation. That is, if it’s done in an honest and trustworthy way.

referral email automation example transferwise

Perfect for these industries: Technology & High Tech (esp. SaaS), Education, Internet Marketing, Travel

35. Let’s get to know each other better

This type of campaign could be done as part of your onboarding email series.

But, the space in your welcome emails tends to get crowded. There’s just so much you want to talk about, things you want to show, and places you want to direct your email recipients to.

It’s often better to give your subscribers some breathing space and time to adjust.

Instead of asking them all the questions right at the start, why not let them use your product or service for some time and only afterwards – ask them one or two simple questions.

Like what industry they’re in, what best describes their role, what they’re trying to achieve, or what their biggest struggle is.

Answers to these questions could be used to create better content in the future, or to direct your recipients to parts of your website where these challenges have been tackled.

This tactic is part of something called progressive profiling.

While we’ve been seeing it being a trend over the last couple of years, we’re yet to see it being used at a larger scale.

email automation survey email zapier

Below you can see an example of such an email being sent by Zapier.

Perfect for these industries: All of them

36. Opt-in confirmation

There are multiple benefits of building an email list with double or confirmed opt-in.

I’ve discussed this in another article, so if you want to have a read, you can check it out here.

Your opt-in confirmation email is meant to do one key thing – ensure that only the right recipients join your email list (no bots, spam traps, emails with typos, etc.)

Thanks to this, your email list should stay clean and consist of engaged users who are interested in receiving your email communication.

There’s an endless debate as to whether it’s worth it to use confirmed opt-in.

I believe that it is, as email list quality beats the quantity, but of course, you can’t decide for sure, unless you test it.

confirmation email example pat flynn

In any case, confirmation email could be a part of your email program and the good news is that setting it up is among the easiest things you can do in email marketing.

If you want to explore this topic further, read about email list management best practices.

Perfect for these industries: All of them

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Setting Up Your First Email Automation

When it comes to setting up your first email automation campaigns, you’ll probably have a ton of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked:

Is email automation difficult to set up?

No! Email automation may seem like a complicated process, but just about anyone can do it–especially if you use a drag and drop editor. With GetResponse’s visual workflow editor, you can easily set simple if/then conditions to ensure your emails are delivered at the right time.

What do I need to have before I set up email automation?

Before setting up your first email automation, there are a few things you’ll need to have in place. First, you’ll have to define or segment your email subscriber lists. This will ensure that only those needing to receive your emails actually get them. Next, you should have your emails personalized for the proper situation and ready to be placed into your automation.

How long do I have to wait to see results from email automation?

You may begin to see immediate results from your email automation campaigns. Through automating client onboarding, you can start nurturing your leads straight away into potential goal conversions.

What time intervals should I set for my email automation?

Email frequency completely depends on the nature of your emails. Typically, emails designed for client onboarding or welcome letters should be sent out once a subscriber joins your email list. Thank you emails should also be sent out immediately right after a customer performs an action warranting thanks. However, you may just want to establish a monthly or bi-weekly email for newsletters and other publications.

How many emails should I send out to my subscribers?

There is no set rule on how many emails you should send out to your subscribers. And that’s because you’ll need to find your particular sweet spot based on your email list. However, one thing is certain. Do not bombard your subscribers with countless emails. That’s a good way to watch your unsubscribe rate skyrocket.

Your next step

You’ve just seen over 30 automated email responses and examples that can be used by businesses across various industries. Now is the time for you to act. Go through your own communications, analyze what you’ve been doing well and what needs to be updated. Take this list as an inspiration for your future campaigns, and make use of marketing automation to send timely and relevant emails that your audience will appreciate.

Now that we’re at it, chances are that you’ve had the chance to use some of these types of emails in your campaigns. How did they work out for you? Do they help you build stronger relationships with your audience? Let me know in the comments and share your ideas with other readers.

Michal Leszczynski
Michal Leszczynski
Meet Michal Leszczynski, Head of Content Marketing and Partnerships at GetResponse. With 10+ years of experience, Michal is a seasoned expert in all things online marketing. He’s a prolific writer, skilled webinar host, and engaging public speaker. Outside of business hours, Michal shares his wealth of knowledge as an Email Marketing lecturer at Kozminski University in Warsaw. You can reach out and connect with Michal on LinkedIn.