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Creating an Automated Email Flow Sequence

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One of the easiest and most reliable ways to maintain a relationship with your customers is with an automated email flow sequence. This is the first installment in a series of posts on the Creative Propulsion Blog that will explore what they are, how to use them, and how they can benefit your business.

An automated email flow sequence consists of one or more emails that are automatically sent out via an email marketing platform like MailChimp, Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign, etc. These all do automated email flow sequences. There are various types of sequences, and in this series, we will outline the major types of flows you should be using in your marketing while exploring some of them in depth.

A flow is the series of actions an automation takes. The most important thing in email marketing automation is the customer journey that your flow creates. Your automation flow is designed to reach a goal, and take your customer on a personalized journey that reaches that goal. Flows do take time to set up, but once up and running they practically make money automatically.

Once up and running, you should periodically test your flows to see how they're performing. Perhaps do an A-B test, where you test the flow against an improved version, to see which version works better. If your old and new flows are performing within one or two percentage points of each other, that's most likely not significant. However, a flow with a 20 percent difference in performance most certainly is.

Here are some of the most common types of automated email flow sequences used in marketing:

The Welcome Series: The purpose of this email is to indoctrinate new subscribers and introduce them to a brand. Think of it like a first impression and then having coffee. The point here is to say "hey nice to meet you, this is who we are and what we do." This is often sent out after a new subscriber signs up to your email list and this is the first interaction you have with them.

Refill Reminders: This is an automated email that identifies when someone has purchased a refillable item and may be ready for a refill. After a period of time from the last purchase, they are sent the refill reminder email, which is something along the lines of "Hey it's been 10 days since your last order, so you might be up for a refill. Here is a 10% off coupon for your next purchase." It is specific to E-commerce stores that sell refillable consumables, such as beauty products, edibles, and consumables. 

Customer Winback: The purpose of this email is to re-engage customers who have bought products from you in the past, but have not recently. The usual interval for this is 90 days but could be less or more. The goal of the win-back sequence is to get them to come back and purchase something else. It's easier to get an existing customer to spend again than it is to acquire a new customer.

Abandoned Cart: This is an email automation that is sent to customers who added something to their cart but did not complete the purchase. This email is usually along the lines of "Hey we noticed you left something in your cart," and is followed by a second email along the lines of "Hey, we see you still haven't purchased, here is 10% off."

Browse Abandonment: The Browse Abandonment sequence is similar to the Abandoned Cart, except that the customer added nothing to the cart to abandon. They merely browsed any number of products without purchasing them and you're sending the customer a reminder email to see if they're still interested in those products, or perhaps something similar.

Repeat Customer: The Repeat Customer sequence is used to upsell existing customers because, along the lines of the customer winback, it's easier to get an existing customer to spend more than it is to acquire a new one. Once someone buys something they are more likely to buy something else. These emails are usually along the lines of "hey, we saw you just purchased something. Thanks for being a great customer. Here is 20% off your next purchase."

As you can see, each email is sent out automatically in response to a specific trigger and has a specific goal. They are meant to strengthen your relationship with your customer, encourage additional sales, and enhance customer service without additional work from you. Putting in the effort to set them up ahead of time pays dividends as these sequences work for you.

Here at Creative Propulsion Labs, our favorite automated email flow sequences are Abandoned Cart and Welcome Series, but Customer Winback is also a great way to of getting customers back.

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