Email Marketing Marketing Automation

6 Email Marketing Workflows You Should Be Using

Picture of Jannelle Chemko
By Jannelle Chemko

While there are many benefits to marketing automation, a recent GetResponse study reports that there are a few consistently ranked highest by marketing professionals in regards to email marketing:

  • Saving Time (30%)
  • Lead Generation (22%)
  • Increase in Revenue (17%)
  • Customer Retention (11%)

How do your own email marketing campaigns measure up against these stats? Are the numbers consistent? If not, then you may not be using marketing automation in your email campaigns to its fullest potential.

Take a look at the email addresses you have in your contacts database. How many of them are new contacts vs. previously existing ones? Once a new contact makes its way into your database, how are you contacting them again in the future (if at all)? Marketing automation does not just have to apply to lead nurturing campaigns, but can also work on nurturing existing customers, encouraging them to come back to your site, increasing the potential for upsell or cross-sell opportunities. 

Don't let your contacts database turn into DagobahThe following email marketing workflows will give you some ideas to help you find life again within your contacts, and generate some new opportunities with new and old customers alike. 

1. Blog or Newsletter Subscription Workflow

When someone subscribes to your blog or newsletter, give them a big welcome to your network with an automated Welcome Email. This Welcome Email can serve a few purposes: you can simply thank them for signing up, or you can include a few additional hooks, such as:

  • A welcome promo discount code for their first purchase
  • A brief summary of what your blog or newsletter are about, and what they can expect (ie: weekly newsletters, types of content, etc.)
  • Linking to a popular blog post, important press release or page with high visits
  • Linking to an upcoming event or webinar registration

2. Content Offer Workflow

If you have multiple content offers (eBooks, articles, whitepapers, webinars, etc.) on your site, you should be creating a unique Content Offer workflow for each one -- especially if they cover different topics and one might be more relevant to a specific audience vs. another.

When an offer is downloaded, this unique workflow should be triggered to send the user a series of relevant emails (over a reasonable period of time) which will send additional offers or point to similar content on your website, like blog posts or product pages.

3. New Customer Workflow

It feels good when a company appreciates your business. Show your customers you appreciate their purchase, and that you appreciate them, by setting up a "New Customer" workflow.

This workflow could be a series of welcome emails that are triggered once a visitor converts into a paying customer, and is a great way to not only show your appreciation for their purchase, but also to keep them engaged after they buy.

Here are some ideas that you could incorporate into a New Customer Welcome workflow:

  • Offer a promo code for a discount off their next purchase
  • Increase upsell or cross-sell opportunities by showing them similar items they might want to purchase in the future
  • If this is a B2B purchase and training or a product tutorial may be required, include training documentation or videos on how to use your product or service
  • Offer details on your next upcoming sale or new items 

4. Abandoned Cart Workflow

If your website has an online store, consider implementing an Abandoned Cart workflow. If you've ever shopped on before, you'll understand exactly how this works: if a user adds a product to their online shopping cart but then leaves the site without completing the purchase, the workflow triggers an email to "remind" the user of their forgotten items, and encourages them to return and complete the sale. 

Some businesses motivate the user even more by offering a discount code if they return to their cart and complete the purchase right away.

5. Re-Engagement Workflow

This is for those contacts truly lost in Dagobah. You can set an email workflow to be triggered after a certain period of time -- for example, if it's been 6 months since a user's last offer download or online purchase. 

Re-engagement here is really important: if a user hasn't engaged with your site for a long period of time, you need to get them excited about your business and products/services again. Exclusive offers or discount codes will likely work best here, in order to catch their attention and motivate them to visit your site again to see what's new.

6. Upsell or Cross-sell Workflow

Ecommerce isn't a one-and-done deal. True success comes from repeat business, because customers who come back to buy again are satisfied customers.

You can use workflows here as an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell customers on complementary or new products, based on what they've historically purchased. For example, if your business sells essential oils and a user purchased a few vials, try to close an upsell opportunity by recommending a new oil diffuser or other, new oils you think they may like. 


These are just a few examples of some easy and common email workflows that you can add to your marketing automation and take full advantage of the email addresses in your contacts database. You can add to the brainstorming by going through your recent email inbox and finding some email marketing campaigns you've received as a consumer. Are they doing anything different that might work for your business as well?