Emal Marketing Automation: How to (Automatically) Convert Contacts into Customers

What is an email marketing automation workflow?

A workflow of email marketing automation is a system, usually integrated in a newsletter software, which allows you to structure a process to automatically send emails to a user who is subscribed to a listunder certain conditions (Trigger).

Why Email Marketing Automation? 3 good reasons

Okay, so an email marketing automation workflow allows you to send a sequence of emails, automatically, to an email list.

Unlike traditional (broadcast) newsletters, the sequence is automated and allows you:

  • by save time creating a process where you automatically connect with your newsletter subscribers;
  • by communicate with a user who, having entered your site, is not yet ready to buy your product or service, maybe because he has to think about it, he doesn't trust it;
  • to build a relationship, communicate credibility, awareness, thanks to the conveyance of valuable content and periodically, as we shall see, commercial offers.

The ROI of Email Marketing

Okay, but is it worth it? What is the ROI of this tool?

Let's look at 3 statistics in this regard:

email marketing roi

To recap:

the return on investment of email marketing compared to other tools is $39.40 Click To Tweet for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25 Click To Tweet the return on investment of email marketing compared to other tools is $39.40 Click To Tweet

Which Email Marketing Automation platform to choose?

Okay, once we understand the importance of this, we need to choose the tool, which is: which do we choose?

All newsletter softwaresuch as Mail Chimp, Mail Up, Get Response, Aweberhave an integrated email marketing automation system.

A good solution for a italian autoresponder is MailUp, the newsletter platform that allows, among other things, the sending of SMS.

In English, you can choose the autoresponder of one of the major newsletter sending software. Let's look at some of them.

Get Response

GetResponse (www.getresponse.com) is a feature-rich, fully scalable email marketing solution that can handle small and large lists (over 1 million subscribers).

Active for over 10 years, it provides applications for the creation and management of newsletters and email marketing automation.

Through the practices and relationships established with leading Internet and e-mail anti-spam service providers, GetResponse has maintained the highest possible standards of e-mail delivery, ensuring that the messages sent offer the highest possible throughput.


Aweber (www.aweber.com) is one of the most popular tools for sending newsletters. It provides the tools you need to send emails: from lists to campaign creation to email marketing automation.

Is it possible try it for free for 30 daysthen prices start at $19.


Thanks to the possibility of opening a free account, the wealth of features, including CRM and an email marketing automation platform, and assistance in Italian, SendinBlue has rapidly spread as email marketing software.

How to create an Automation in Mail Chimp in 8 steps

Mail Chimp, like others email marketing software, is equipped with a system of email marketing automation, but not usable by those who have a free account.

Let's see How to create a workflow with Mail Chimp in 8 steps.

The first step is to access the "Automation" section from the top navigation menu:

automation mail chimp

The second step is to click on "Create Automation Workflow":

create automation workflow mailchimp

Next, you must choose the list to which the automated emails will be sent.

If you haven't created a "List" yet, in Mail Chimp, that is a list of email addresses and names, you can easily create it from the "List" section of the top navigation menu:

select a list autoresponder mail chimp

At this point Mail Chimp allows you to choose between various types of workfloe (“workflow types"): I suggest you choose "Educate Subscribers":

educate subscribers mail chimp autoresponder

In the next step you must set some settingsin particular:

  • the name of your workflow name;
  • the sender's email, therefore your email; keep in mind that it will also be the email to which any replies to your newsletters will be sent;
  • the name of the sender, i.e. your first and last name or your first and last name of the company.

Regarding the last point, I remind you that inserting your full name in the sender or at least your name and company (such as "Emanuela from Zalando") allows you to give more personality to the email and boost the chances that the recipient will open the message.

workflow configuration mail chimp autoresponder

We are at a crucial point: its automatic succession of emails will be activated in the presence of 2 conditionsindicated in the figure by the numbers 1 and 2:

  1. the first condition that must occur is obviously that a person subscribes to the list that you indicated earlier as the subject of your autoresponder;
  2. the second condition is that If you manually import addresses to the list, they will receive the expected emails.
autoresponder Configure Trigger MailChimp

This is it: it's time for add the first 5 emails of our autoresponderr, which we will then modify to our liking:

autoresponder add 5 Emails MailChimp

That'll do:

  • decide how often each email will be sentIn addition to a "time based" trigger, based on the time elapsed from mail to mail, you can also set other "action based" conditions, such as whether or not the sender has opened or clicked on the previous mail;
  • edit each email of the worflow as you like, inserting a subject that increases the chances of opening and an appropriate template:
MailChimp autoresponder

The starting point? The Lead Magnet

Okay, the workflow is set up, but what about the emails?

If you don't yet have an email list to which your autoresponder emails should be directed, you should acquire them with a lead magnet.

What is the lead magnet? It is the "magnet" that attracts, like a magnet, the email of your contact. It attracts them to subscribe to your list from which the workflow starts.

But be careful: like the magnet, you need something that attracts the visitor, that is, something that convinces them to give you the email in exchange for something.

Is a simple newsletter subscription enough? Maybe years ago, but not now: video courses, reports, ebooks, discounts: you have to give something in return, of value and that is relevant to your target audience.

How to increase your email opens: 10 tips

Did you know? According to research published by Convince and Convert, 15 Email Statistics That Are Shaping The Future:

35% of the recipients of your email will open it based on the subject line only Click To Tweet

It's important that you take care of the sender and subject line of your emails. We've already talked about the sender: Since you are writing to a person, identify yourself as a person by entering your first and last name.

As for the object, Here are some tips for writing an email subject line that encourages your recipient to open the email.

Use the 2 P's: Personalized and Persuasive


The first step to writing an effective email subject line is to write it personalized and persuasive.

You can easily customize it, by inserting the */FNAME/* variable in the subject line in Mail Chimp: in this way the system will automatically replace the string with the name of your list member, allowing you to customize the object with the name of the recipient:

customize email subject chimp


Okay, so after customizing the subject line by stating your recipient's name how can you make it persuasive? Here's 7 tips that I published in the article:

11 Strategies for Your Newsletters: A Guide to Email Marketing

tips persuasive email subject

You can find more ideas on how to write a persuasive subject line in my article:

Headline: 12 Techniques to Increase Clicks, Shares and Conversions

Write a short subject

Write a short subject in your autoresponder emails: according to research by Hubspot,, mails with objects under 10 characters have an open rate of 58%:

Emails with subject lines between 6 and 10 words have higher open rates. Click To Tweet

This phenomenon is probably due to the fact that most of our mailboxes show about 10 words, then truncate the subject line.

Getresponsethe well-known software for sending newsletters, has published an infographic with the factors that affect the open rate, or the opening of emails.

Among the most important:

58% is the open rate of emails with a short subject of less than 10 characters Click To Tweet 64% of people open e-mails on the basis of the'subject line Click To Tweet 22% is the highest open rate for emails with a personalized subject line Click To Tweet

Lead Nurturing, or nurturing your contact

Let's get into the content phase: what should I write in my email marketing automation wokflow emails? What editorial line should I keep?

We'll see in a moment: in the meantime, know that the purpose of your emails will be to "feed" your recipient with valuable content, in order to create a contact, increase your trust and awareness of your brand (how many big words!).

In technical terms: you have to do lead nurturing.

Not convinced? Well, you'll need some statistics published on Hubspot:

your contacts' 50% is not ready to buy Click To Tweet The absence of lead nurturing leads to 79% of contacts never becoming customers. Click To Tweet companies that do lead nurturing generate 50% of more potential customers at 33% less cost Click To Tweet contacts subject to lead nurturing activities make 47% more purchases Click To Tweet

The 4 phases of Lead Nurturing

An email marketing automation workflow is an effective tool within an email marketing workflow. general lead nurturing process composed by 4 phases:

  1. knowIt's the stage where you get in touch with your lead, who signs up for your newsletter in exchange for a lead magnet;
  2. likeis the stage where, through the delivery of quality content, generate awareness, credibility, enter into relationship and you start to like your recipient;
  3. truststarting to like it, You gain credibility from your lead;
  4. buy: only after you have created a relationship, gained credibility, will your lead be inclined to consider a purchase of your product or service:
process autoresponder

What do I write? 3 editorial line ideas

Let's recap:

  • we have set the settings of our workflow in Mail Chimp (or other software);
  • we've created a persuasive subject line that encourages people to open emails;

The time has come for think about what we will communicate to our recipientsfrom this point of view there are 2 possible strategies, illustrated by Pat Flynn in his article 4 Types of AutoResponder Series and The One You Should Absolutely Avoid. Let's see them together.

Strategy #1: bait and hook

In this strategy, the most classic, I send out a series of emails conveying valuable content.

After a few such emails on a periodic basis, I can make a commercial offer:

bait-and-hook autoresponder

This strategy is one of the most used, because it works: content emails create a report with those who receive them, they convey credibility and awareness, which are essential for successfully proposing a commercial offer in a non-spammy way.

#2 Strategy: The Pat Flynn Strategy

The strategy proposed by Pat Flynn is to veicular a series of high content emails alternating with others where sell a product  No! Where create engagement, share content.

Okay, and the sale? There never is, not in a direct way, but it happens anyway: your recipient, a bit for social proof (on this subject see Cialdini's 6 Weapons of Persuasion and how to use them in Web Marketing), a little because you have increased the credibility towards him with a series of emails, eventually he will arrive on your site and discover your products or services. Maybe indirectly, through your Facebook page or other social networks, but they will.

At least according to Pat Flynn, who believes that stimulating recipient engagement in emails (e.g. asking what you'd like the blog to be about) makes the recipient feel engaged and creates a relationship.

Here's how the pattern works:

the-pat-flynn autoresponder strategy

#3 Strategy: Land and Punch him

ground-and-pound autoresponder

As you may have guessed from the name, the Ground And Pound strategy, literally "Land It And Pound It," consists of the followingsend only promotional emails.

Just promotions, offers, sales, in short sell, sell, sell.

Want to see an example of this strategy? Sign up for the MyProtein.com newsletter.

This strategy could also be functional, if your business model resembles MyProtein's: new and different offers every day.

In other cases it generates an obvious result: user unsubscription from the mailing list and disaffection with the brand.

How is your workflow doing? 4 metrics to evaluate it

How do you know if Are you doing a good job with your email marketing automation workflow?

You need benchmark metrics. Here are four key ones:

  • opening rate (open rate): how much are your emails opened?
  • click-through rate: How much are the links in your emails clicked on?
  • enrolment rateHow many users subscribe to your newsletter every month?
  • unsubscription rateHow many users unsubscribe monthly to your newsletter?

Are you above or below average? To find out where you are, we can help you with a 2015 updated statistics published by Mail Chimpwhich analyzes the average open and click rates to the link in your email depending on your industry (the image is taken from SmartInsights):

Email marketing statistics 2015 compilation
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