What Is Email Marketing Automation and How to Use It

By Colin Scotland

What is email marketing automation, and how can I apply it in my business to grow scale and build relationships with clients while I sleep?

Email Marketing Automation is the ultimate scaling tool for your business. It is the process of automating email marketing, so relationships are being built and you are communicating with your audience on autopilot.

Let's dive into how you can use Email Marketing Automation in your business to sell more products, build more relationships and grow your business with ease. Marketing automation is so powerful because it can happen at an almost infinite scale.

There are only so many hours in the day. There are only so many conversations that you can have with your prospective clients. There isn't enough time. So automation supports your energy, supports your efforts, and allows you to have multiple conversations with individuals at scale. That's what email marketing automation does, and that's what makes it so powerful.

Email marketing automation is the ability to automate the process of sending emails.

How do I get started with Email Marketing Automation?

Well, you need to have a platform that supports sophisticated automation and workflows. There are many options, but the platform that I know, love, and recommend is ConvertKit. ConvertKit is a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to tag people as they come into your world. This tag is important because it will enable us to see and identify the actions, the activities, and the things that people have done inside our world.

Email Nurture Sequence Template

Because if you think about it, automation has to be driven by the actions that people take. So if I wave my hand and say, hey, I'm interested in learning more about email marketing automation, then that handwaving is represented in the system by a tag. We can use that tag to say, hey, Colin, here's more information about email marketing, automation. Can you see how it kind of works in this behavioral intent-based way?

Behavior tagging is what makes email marketing automation so powerful, not just the mechanical. Yes, we can scale your business. Yes, we can grow. Yes, we can talk to an infinite number of people at once. More importantly, it is the ability to put in front of people a pathway that leads them towards becoming a client and then an ambassador of what you do.

The potential here is so much more than just taking the weight off of you. There is an immense amount of scaleable opportunity with email marketing automation. So how do you get started? What's the best way to tackle it? You might hear words like lead magnets, creating lead magnets to get people onto your list. You may hear things like email welcome sequences and email nurture sequences and soap opera sequences, all kinds of ways of building that relationship.

And then what about onboarding and transactional emails and abandonment emails and all of these different things? You could quickly get confused and not know where you are when it comes to applying it. I want to share with you the three areas of focus when it comes to email marketing automation. Those three areas are leads, prospects, and clients.

Nurturing Leads with Email Marketing Automation

Leads are people who first enter your world by giving you their email addresses; this is where the term 'building your list.' An email list can quickly become a powerful asset in your business.

Leads have not yet paid you any money. They don't know who you are. They don't have a relationship with you. They just downloaded something that you put out onto the Internet for free. So this is where the lead magnet comes in, right? You collect somebody's email address in exchange for a lead magnet or an opt-in bribe or a freebie, something that you give them for free in exchange for an email address.

That's what we class as a lead. You've converted visitors and traffic that has come to your landing pages or website, or blog into a lead. When you've got their email address, they're classed as a lead. What do you do with it? What do you do with that person once you've got their email address? At the beginning phase of building a relationship with somebody via email, you start by giving them the lead magnet.

Deliver value and, of course, present the opportunity for them to take the next steps with you.

Converting Prospects into Clients

The second category is prospects. Something fundamental in marketing is what we call 'buyer intent.' When buyer intent at play, the person is 'in the market.'

I drive around in my car and yet I don't think about cars. I'm not in the market for buying a car. Suddenly, my car breaks down, and the mechanic tells me, man, you know, this will cost a fortune to fix. It's not worth the value of the car. Things have changed. Now, I'm no longer a lead. Now I'm a prospect to car dealers. Because now I'm in the market. Now I need to buy a car. I'm looking to solve the problem of not having a working vehicle. At this point, I am actively looking to solve a problem, and I'm classed as a prospect.

So if I'm on Audi's email list, I'm a lead at this before this point. Once I trigger that process and have buyer intent, then I become a prospect, somebody making their way towards making a purchase decision. OK, so this is where you need a bridge; you need a relationship-building bridge that takes somebody who began as a lead and then became a prospect towards making that purchase. An essential thing you can do in email marketing automation is to create a nurturing sequence or a welcome sequence of emails.

There are many different ways to create an email nurture sequence, but the principle is the same. The guide is how do you take somebody that is a lead, and how do you nurture the relationship? And create that bridge towards them becoming a client. That's the second area that you can focus on with email marketing automation. And to do that, you want to create a welcome nurture sequence, a process that builds relationships. Share with people who you are, your backstory, how you can help, show them how you've helped so that they feel a compulsion to explore more about how you can help them with what you do.

OK, that's the prospects element. All of that points them towards what I call Rome, to the end goal. Your core offer, a conversation with you about actually becoming a client.

Email Marketing Automation Generates More Repeat Clients

The final area to think about with email marketing automation is clients. I've lost track of the number of conversations I've had with my clients when I ask, 'when did you last communicate with your paying clients?'

I get a puzzled look, "we send them a payment receipt, or we send them an email confirming their order, and then that's it." If this is you right now, you are not alone. Most people make this mistake. It is effortless to remedy using email marketing automation, creating sequences that build relationships with clients.

How do you communicate with your clients right now? Email marketing automation can be powerful here. Email marketing automation can support the growth of your business powerfully.

Continue the relationship-building theme with your clients; make sure that their experience with you was a good one. Look for opportunities for you to be better at what you do. Look for opportunities for feedback, referrals, and social shares, and be there for when the car breaks down again when they come back into the market. Repeat and referral business is how the biggest brands and the biggest companies in the world are grown. Loyal customers, loyal clients.

Those are the three areas you can focus on in your marketing automation efforts, leads, prospects, and clients. If you do nothing else, build automated email sequences around these.

Implement the three core email automation workflows using an Email Service Provider (ESP) like a ConvertKit to build relationships with your clients and grow your business with email.

Email Nurture Sequence Template

Check out my FREE MASTERCLASS: How to Create an Email Nurture Sequence

Digital marketing playbook on tablet with coffee mug.
FREE Get Unstuck Playbook 🎁
Black curved down arrow icon.
Digital marketing playbook on tablet with coffee mug.

Wait! Don't Leave Empty-Handed 👋

Get Your Secret AI Growth Playbook

5 Quick Wins to Skyrocket Your Business

Gain clarity on your business goals.

Focus your efforts for maximum impact.

Trigger explosive growth and take your business to the next level.

These 5 Quick Wins are easy to implement and can be applied to any business, regardless of industry.