Sending out targeted emails is great.
But sending them out to the right person at just the right time?
That can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of contacts!
Thankfully, this is why we have automation to save the day.
Email automation helps you send personalized and targeted emails to specific contacts based on pre-defined triggers.
This means you no longer need to spend time creating each and every email and sending it to your contacts manually.
All you need to do is set up a workflow with specific emails, triggers, and actions, and sit back and let the automation do the heavy lifting for you!
If you’re new at this, we totally understand how words like automation and triggers can sound a bit intimidating.
In this guide, you will learn:
- Why you should automate your emails
- the ins and outs of Sendlane automations
- Examples of how eCommerce businesses can use automation to grow
Ready? Let’s get started!
Campaign vs. automation: What’s the difference?
If you’re using Sendlane for email marketing, you’ll likely come across these two terms; email campaign and email automation.
For a newbie, it’s easy to get confused between the two!
So, before we dive into the article, let’s see what these two terms mean in Sendlane and how they differ from each other.
- Email campaign: In Sendlane, an email campaign is a one-time email. This could be a newsletter, an announcement, or an update. Campaigns are basically broadcast-style emails sent to multiple contacts at the same time.
- Email automation: An email automation is a workflow that can include multiple triggers, actions, goals, and campaigns. Depending on how you set up your automation, you can send a series of email campaigns based on the behavior of your contacts. Think of an automation workflow as a flowchart, where a “Yes” trigger will send out Campaign A, and a “No” trigger will send out Campaign B.
4 reasons you should automate your emails
Now that you’re aware of what an automation is and how it differs from a normal campaign, here’s why you should be using it for your own business.
1. Save valuable time
Manually sending out email campaigns to your contacts can take up a huge chunk of your time. If you have a long email list, it can take you an entire day!
Why waste so much time when you can set up an automation to do the job for you?
By creating automations, you can allow your email marketing to run on auto-pilot.
There’s no need to create every single email from scratch and then sort through your list to send them to the right people at the right time.
With automations, you can set up specific emails to be sent to specific people at specific times based on specific actions... automatically!
This helps free up your schedule so you can invest your time, energy and money on more important things, like growing your business.
2. Deliver personalized experiences
Did you ever wonder why more than 60% of marketers use personalization in their emails?
With personalization responsible for a significant boost in engagement rates, sales, and customer satisfaction, we’re surprised that number isn't higher!
With automation, you can send personalized emails to your contacts every single time, without doing any of the manual work!
Sendlane lets you leverage your contacts’ personal details, such as names, locations, past purchases, browsing history, and more to send targeted emails automatically.
This helps you send personalized and relevant emails that customers love to open and engage with!
3. Create targeted segments
Another benefit of email automation is it lets you break up your contact list into smaller, highly targeted groups, or segments.
These segments can be based on one or multiple variables!
For example, let’s say you run a clothing store with items for both men and women.
With automation, you can choose to send Email A to girls aged 17-25, Email B to women aged 25-35, and Email C to men aged 20-35.
This helps you get maximum results out of your emails by keeping them relevant to all the different kinds of customers you have!
4. Nurture leads into paying customers
Chances are that not all the contacts in your list are paying customers.
With automation, though, you can easily nurture these leads into customers by sending them targeted messages based on their actions and characteristics!
For example, you can set up an automation funnel with a series of emails targeted at visitors who signed up for your newsletter but still haven't made a purchase.
This automation funnel could include emails that tell your brand story, highlight your best-selling products, or offer exclusive discounts!
You can also create automations to get existing customers to make repeat purchases.
For example, you can send a series of product recommendation emails to previous customers based on their past purchases!
Take a tour inside your Sendlane automation dashboard
Before we do a deep-dive into Sendlane’s automation features, let’s find out how to create a new automation from scratch.
- Log in to your Sendlane account (don’t have an account yet? Start your 14-day free trial here.)
- Find and click on Automations from the left-hand menu to open your automations dashboard. Here you’ll see a list of all the automations you've created in Sendlane.
- To build a new automation, click on New Automation at the top-right corner.
- On the screen that pops up, you can either choose a pre-made workflow for your automation to get a head start or Start from Scratch.
- Next, pick a name for your automation to start building your first workflow.
An automation workflow is made up of various components, such as:
- Conditional Splits
Below, we’re going to give you a quick tour of Sendlane Automations and how you can leverage each component for your own eCommerce business.
Let’s dive right in!
The 5 features of your automation workflow
A trigger is a user-based action that starts your automation.
When creating an automation in Sendlane, choosing a trigger will be your first step.
Once you click on + Add trigger, you’ll see a number of preset trigger options on the left side of your screen.
Here are some triggers that eCommerce businesses can benefit from:
- Subscribes to a list: starts an automation when a contact subscribes to your email list. For example, when a website visitor signs up for your newsletter, you can send them a welcome series that introduces them to your brand and products.
- Product purchase: starts an automation when a customer purchases a product from your store. You can use this trigger to send personalized product recommendation emails to customers based on their previous purchases.
- Orders placed: starts an automation when a customer places a certain number of orders on your website. One way to use this trigger is by sending a loyalty reward, such as a discount or an exclusive membership invitation, to customers who complete five purchases on your store.
- Customer abandoned checkout: starts an automation when a customer fails to complete their purchase and abandons their shopping cart. You can send these people a cart abandonment email series that reminds them to come back and finish their purchase, or even offers them a discount or free shipping as an incentive.
- Checkout complete: starts an automation when a customer completes their checkout. You can set this up to send personalized Thank You emails to customers who successfully finish their purchase. You can also send delivery status updates so customers know where their order is.
Other eCommerce triggers in Sendlane include:
- Email campaign opened
- Email campaign clicked
- Product viewed
- Order canceled
- Order refunded
- … and more!
Once you’ve chosen a trigger for your automation, the next step is to configure what that trigger will do.
You can choose what will happen by clicking on the + sign below your trigger, and picking an option in one of the three categories below:
Let's discuss each component in detail.
An action is the activity that will take place once a trigger has been activated.
Unlike triggers, actions are not user-based. They are added by you to tell your email marketing tool what to do next.
There are four actions you can choose from in Sendlane:
- Send Message: lets you send an email or SMS message to your contact, or even an internal email notification when the contact reaches this point in the automation. For example, you can choose to send a Loyalty Program email when the trigger “5 Orders Placed” is activated. Or, you can send a Welcome email when the trigger “Subscribes to list” is activated.
- Update Contact Property: automatically make changes to a contact’s lists, tags, or custom fields. For example, when the Product Purchase trigger is activated, you can choose to add the contact to your VIP Customers list.
- Update Automation: pick this action when you want to end the automation and start another one when a contact reaches this point. For example, if a contact views a specific product, you can start the Hot Product Series automation for them.
- Webhook: lets you pass contact information to another app or service when a contact reaches this point in the automation. For example, you can send contact information to your accounting tool when the trigger “Order refunded” is activated.
There may be times when you want to add a pause between different actions in your automation. To do that, you can simply add a Wait block to your automation. For example, you might want to send a product recommendation email 2 days after a customer makes a purchase so you don’t look too intrusive or salesy.
If you want to create end-to-end automation funnels that send your contacts down different, targeted paths based on their actions, adding logic can help you out.
In Sendlane, you can add two types of logic to your automations:
- Conditional split
Adding a goal to an automation moves a contact to a different point in the automation or ends it for them when they meet certain conditions.
For example, let’s say the goal of your automation is to have contacts open any of your email campaigns.
To configure this, you’ll name your goal, select its conditions, and decide whether you want to wait till the contact opens the campaign or end the automation if the goal is not met.
Here’s how that would look like in Sendlane:
A conditional split lets you specify the path your contacts will take within your automation based on certain conditions or rules, such as their actions.
Conditional splits are just like flowcharts — there will be a “Yes” path and a “No” path for subscribers to be sent on.
For example, let’s say you add a conditional split based on whether a subscriber opens any email campaign.
If they do, you can send them a Welcome email. If they don’t, you can simply choose to end the automation for them.
Here’s what your automation would look like:
Grow your business on auto-pilot with Sendlane’s email marketing automation
Email automation can do much more than just save your valuable time.
It can help you send personalized and highly targeted emails that would be otherwise impossible to send manually!
As a result, you’ll be able to boost your sales, improve customer experience, and grow your eCommerce business.
Ready to create high-converting automations with a few clicks? Sign up for Sendlane’s 14-day free trial and take it for a test drive!