6 Steps to Create an Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Oct 2, 2023 | Latest, Email Marketing Strategy, Marketing Tips

6 Steps to Create an Email Marketing Automation Strategy

You may have already realised that it’s important for your business to have an email marketing strategy, but trying to figure out what that is and how to set it up can be overwhelming. With so many strategies and email marketing tools available, it’s hard to know where to start. Yet one of the most important steps in defining your email marketing strategy is to understand automation.

You may have already realised that it’s important for your business to have an email marketing strategy, but trying to figure out what that is and how to set it up can be overwhelming.

With so many strategies and email marketing tools available, it’s hard to know where to start. Yet one of the most important steps in defining your email marketing strategy is to understand automation.

Introducing automation into your email marketing ecosystem is one of the best things you can do to deliver your emails 24/7, with specific segmenting based on customer preferences and increased engagement.

But how do you create an email marketing automation strategy so that you can get back to what matters most: running your online business?

Let’s explore six steps to help you get started in this blog.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

What is Email Marketing?

Before we dive into our tips to get you started with creating an email marketing automation strategy, first we need to understand what email marketing is.

Email marketing is a powerful tool for your business to connect with you with your audience and build relationships. It gives you the opportunity to speak directly with your ideal audience about your products and services and offers a space to share your expertise to help your audience solve their problems.

Email marketing creates the perfect platform for you to share stories, provide ideas and promote your offerings, giving you access to speak directly with your target audience.

It also means that you own your mailing list. This is absolutely gold in today’s online digital marketing world and honestly a must!

We highly recommend not putting all of your eggs in the social media basket by only using those platforms to house your contacts and audience.

For example, Facebook has the power to shut down your account without warning. This means you can lose your entire list of contacts and audience in the blink of an eye! A risky move.

That’s why we always recommend that you create an email list, where you own your list and contacts inside an email marketing platform like Active Campaign or ConverKit.

Platforms like these help you to easily set up email marketing automation, speak directly to your audience and move your contacts through your marketing ecosystem.

With a little strategy and a creative mindset, email marketing campaigns can be an effective way to build brand loyalty, drive sales, and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

What is Email Marketing Automation?

Email marketing automation is a strategy that uses tools like Active Campaign or ConverKit, to send targeted emails to customers or prospects automatically, based on predefined triggers or user behaviour.

This strategy eliminates the need for manually sending out individual emails, communicating with your list 24/7 and freeing up your time.

Automating your entire email marketing strategy is key in helping you to scale and grow your business without needing to be hands-on around the clock.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Automation gives you the flexibility to send out highly targeted email campaigns, segment your lists and speak more directly to your potential customers.

You can automate your email workflow with tools like Active Campaign or Mailerlite, setting up fully automated sales funnels for lead generation. You can also create marketing emails, re-engagement emails or follow-up emails to ensure your contacts are nurtured 24/7.

Email marketing automation is the power horse to building relationships with your audience helping them to become raving fans of your products or services.

Why You Need an Email Marketing Automation Strategy

To stay ahead of the game in today’s competitive digital marketing place and free up your time to be able to work on other aspects of your business, it is essential for any business to have an email marketing strategy in place.

Data from Statista reveals that there are over 4.26 billion email users globally as of 2022. This number is projected to reach 4.73 billion by 2026.

The report further states that as of “January 2022, 92% of the digital population in the United States reported using e-mails as a form of communication, with this tool presenting a higher penetration rate than social media and other online messaging apps, used by 83% and 67% of all U.S. users, respectively.”

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Email marketing is powerful, yet so many businesses we work with are missing the golden opportunity to connect and build a relationship with their audience.

They fall short of tapping into their email lists’ full potential. Oftentimes the number of emails they send is close to none, or only when they want to promote their services.

Too many times we see the lack of nurturing their email list on a consistent basis and provide value without selling. Having an email automation strategy needs to be part of your marketing activities so that you can email subscribers on a regular basis and build trust.

6 Tips to Get Started

Tip # 1: Understand Your Audience 

The first step to help you create your email marketing automation strategy is to understand your audience.

Do market research to understand your audience’s preferences, pain points, and behaviours. Who are they? What are their struggles? Are they male or female? How old are they?

This process gives you a clear picture of who you’re targeting and will help map out the customer journey in a targeted and effective way.

When you understand your audience you can tailor your content and messaging to resonate directly with them. Helping you to speak their language and build relationships.

Tip #2: Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Next, it’s time to set and define clear goals and objectives for your email marketing automation strategy. What are you trying to achieve with your email automation? Are you looking to generate new customers, increase sales, launch a product or service or improve brand loyalty and visibility?

Start the process of mapping out your email automation strategy by thinking about the end goal that you want to achieve.

When you are clear on the purpose behind the automation needed, you can then work backwards to set up the entire customer journey to reach that endpoint.

Also, consider the price point of your offer. What is the general buying cycle for your product or service? For example, if you are selling a high-end product such as a coaching program, then your email automation strategy will be quite different to selling a low-ticket offer such as a downloadable ebook.

Think about the ingredients that are needed to nurture your potential buyers to move them from being a lead to a customer.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Let’s use a high-ticket program as an example. High ticket offers require more input on your behalf to nurture your lead and offer value.

Your automation email messages need to include more tools, tips, case studies, testimonials, free discovery calls and other elements, to build that relationship and help them make the decision to join your coaching program. So the ingredients in your email marketing automation strategy will be different to a low-ticket offer.

A great way to map out your customer’s buying journey and your email automation strategy is to use a tool like ClickUp or Trello. In ClickUp you can map things out via their Mind Map feature or use their boards.

With Trello, you can use their Kanban boards to map out the entire process and or use a mind map power-up. Another alternative is to use the mindmap templates in Canva. Giving you the flexibility to move different elements around to help you finesse your automation journey.

It’s important to remember that each email sent should have a specific purpose that directly contributes to your defined goals. Regularly reviewing and measuring the performance of your emails to these goals will help you to understand whether your strategy is successful. More on that below.

Tip #3: Choose the Right Email Marketing Automation Tools

When it comes to creating an effective email marketing automation strategy, using the right tools matters. For example, selecting a specific marketing automation software can mean the world of difference in helping your goals and strategies be achieved, without the headaches and overwhelm.

These tools can save you time by automating repetitive tasks, easily setting up automated email campaigns, segmenting your email list, creating personalised emails and providing a better customer experience.

This will engage your list more effectively and contribute to higher open rates. And reduce your stress at the same time, knowing that you have a system working for you 24/7.

Email automation tools also provide valuable metrics and analytics, giving you insights into your campaign’s performance, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

This means you are able to measure the effectiveness of your strategy and sales funnel steps, to improve your automation strategy and flow. (If you need help setting up an automated sales and marketing funnel, you can check out our blog post here.)

Here are some great email marketing tools to help you get started:


Mailerlite is known for its user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for beginners. It’s easy to use and includes automation on their free plan. This is our number one choice if you are an absolute beginner or you need a free plan that includes automation.

On the free plan, you can have up to 1,000 subscribers and a straightforward pricing structure as your list grows.

It includes drag-and-drop builders and pre-designed templates. There are limitations to MailerLite that you won’t see in the next few platforms that we recommend. But it could be a great place to start.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy


Next in line for our recommended email platforms is ConvertKitConvertKit is designed for bloggers and creators who wish to build meaningful relationships with their audience.

The platform provides a clean and intuitive interface, easy-to-use automation capabilities, and a focus on sending plain-text emails that feel personal and authentic. It also offers excellent resources and templates for creating landing pages and opt-in forms.

ConverKit is more expensive and complex than MailerLite, but it does offer some great functionality to build your email marketing automation. It is still an easy platform to navigate and you can also get started with their free plan and take it for a test drive.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Active Campaign

Active Campaign is one of our favourite platforms at Haymes Digital Marketing and we have been using this platform for ourselves and our clients for years. It is a robust platform that offers advanced automation capabilities, and amazing email marketing features and includes a user-friendly visual automation builder.

It’s suitable for businesses looking to implement more complex automation workflows, such as lead nurturing, and tagging.

It can just about do anything and there is a great deal of flexibility with Active Campaign and its integrations. You can even build a website or landing pages, creating your entire sales funnel.

That is why we love it so much, as you can create anything that you need. It also offers fantastic segmentation ability, analytics and reports, to help you truly finesse your sales funnel and understand your customers.

Active Campaign is our top pick when it comes to email marketing automation solutions.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy


HubSpot is another strong contender to set up your marketing email automation. Not only does HubSpot offer email marketing but also a suite of marketing, sales, and customer service tools, making it a comprehensive choice for businesses looking to manage multiple aspects of their business in one place.

It includes email marketing, a CRM system (customer relationship management), content management, social media management, and marketing automation.

You can also access lead generation tools like pop-up forms, landing pages, and live chat, to capture and convert website visitors into leads.

There is a lot that HubSpot can do, so if you are looking for an all-in-one solution that houses many different aspects of your business, then it is worth considering this platform. You can also get started for free.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Tip #4: Segment Your List

One of our favourite aspects of email marketing is segmentation, because of its powerful ability to speak directly to your audience in a relevant and personalised way.

Segmenting allows you to break down your subscriber list into segmented parts or tags to help you get more focused and targeted with your email campaigns.

Whether you are looking at segmenting based on gender, age, demographics, purchase history, location and so on.

Segmentation is something that we highly recommend and needs to be considered when choosing the right email marketing automation tool for you and your business.

You will be able to divide your email list into smaller groups via the use of tags or segments, depending on which email marketing automation platform you use. For example, in Active Campaign you can segment your list based on tags or lists (although tags are recommended).

In Mailerlite you can segment your list into groups, which are the same as email marketing tags.

This process helps you to segment your list based on specific criteria like demographics, buying habits, or past interactions with your business.

Segmentation allows you to send targeted emails that are relevant to the individual email contact at the right time, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

A study by Campaign Monitor found that marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue

6 steps to create an email marketing automation strategy

Tip #5: Create Automated Email Campaigns

Next, you want to consider the types of email campaigns that you need to set up for your business. For this think back to step two, your goals and objectives.

Consider what you are trying to achieve and the touch points you need to include in your customer journey and marketing funnel.

From this information, you will be able to map out whether you need a welcome email sequence, drip email campaigns, re-engagement emails or abandoned cart emails, just to name a few.

Automated email campaigns are the heart of email marketing automation. They allow you to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, all on autopilot.

This step allows your inner creative self to step to the forefront as you share stories, and create emails that speak directly to your audience and nurture a deeper connection to your email list.

One of our favourite steps in this process is that you can let your creativity shine.

Email Marketing Automation Strategy

Tip #6: Analyse Your Results

Lastly, it’s time to analyse your results, a key step to measuring and monitoring the success of your email marketing strategy. This includes tracking key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribes.

Dive into engagement patterns and closely assess how different segments of your audience respond to your emails.

Notice emails that engage more than others, and reassess subject lines, content, timing of your emails and so on.

It’s important to analyse your data on a regular basis, as your marketing funnels constantly need refining and tweaking.

Your customer’s needs and preferences change and adapt over time, so what may work initially may not work for you in 6 months’ time from now.

In Summary

Email marketing automation has the power to give your business a massive boost and enhance your customer relationships.

Taking the time to create an effective email marketing automation strategy and follow the 6 steps outlined in this blog can save you time and energy in ensuring that your messages are reaching your ideal audience 24/7.

When creating an email marketing automation strategy, remember to map out your entire customer journey, consider the product or service you are offering and create email campaigns that speak directly to your audience.

It’s all about building relationships and creating trust so that your email list goes from being a lead to a paying customer. Be sure to share stories about yourself and provide value. 

Don’t just sell, share and help them to solve their problems and reach transformation.

Next Steps

If this still feels overwhelming or perhaps you simply don’t have time to set up your email marketing automation strategy and map out your customer funnel, then we can help!

Book a free discovery call today to discuss your goals in mapping out your customer journey and setting up your sales and email marketing automation for you.

Helping you to achieve your business goals without the overwhelmed. Click here to get started.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.


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