The benefits of email automation

What is email automation, and how can it take your email program to the next level? Read more...



When we think of automation, we sometimes think about mechanical processes (like cars) or futuristic tech processes (like evil robots). This means that the concept of automation can sound either too mundane or too far-fetched to matter.

However, there are many areas where automation can be both helpful and attainable, and one big one is email automation. But what is email automation, and how can it benefit you? Let’s dive in and find out.

What is email automation?

Email automation is pretty much what it sounds like – automating message sending for your email programs. However, it’s important to note that while email automation is similar to one of our favorite concepts – transactional emailing – there is a difference between them.

Transactional emails (or triggered emails) are prompted by a specific user action, like a purchase. Automated emails aren’t triggered by users, and are instead automated based on meeting predefined criteria (like being sent at a certain time or date). We’ll go into greater depth for examples later in the post, but some quick ones include: automated onboarding emails, monthly survey or feedback requests, emails celebrating subscriber birthdays, and account payment reminders.

Now that we’ve covered the definition, let’s cover how email automation tools can help your email program processes.

What are the benefits of email automation?

There are many benefits to email automation – to describe them, let’s say you’re building an app and you want to automate email communications and create a better user experience. How does email automation help achieve your goal? What’s beneficial about it?

Efficiency in your workflow

One of the first desires (and benefits) that probably comes to mind is efficiency. When building your app, you want to be able to reach as many people as you can. You also want to reach them on a consistent basis in a way that doesn’t involve you spending all your time sending emails to every subscriber.

Email automation meets this need by keeping your sending workflow consistent and simple. If you automate an email to be sent to all of your new customers, you’re saving time by creating and sending one email instead of ten, one hundred, or one thousand individual ones. Because of that, you have more time to focus on other aspects of your email program, and keep your users happy via effective email messages. 

A better user experience

Everyone loves positivity – and, now that you have more time on your hands, you can focus on creating automated emails that give your users a positive experience.

Many automated emails come in the form of payment reminders and deadline warnings, but you can also create emails that create a better user experience, like onboarding series, incentives, and reminders.

Find what fits your product, and program your app to respond accordingly. You’ll be able to build better relationships, attract new subscribers and new customers, and get more click-through traffic and higher conversion rates as a result.

“Save” individuals who are losing interest

Our last big benefit of email automation ties into the first two benefits, and also into the concept of email marketing. Imagine if, while running your email program, you had to reach out every person who abandoned their cart, didn’t complete an action, or otherwise didn’t behave as expected. Would you want to individually find and email all of these people? Of course you wouldn’t.

Email automation in your app or product allows you to create one-size-fits-all messages to send to users who are going to unsubscribe or have lost – or are about to lose – interest in your brand. That way, if you need to reach out to a user, you have an automated email ready to go. Instead of wasting time tracking them down and tailoring a brand-new email to them, you can use email as a form of marketing automation and get right down to analyzing their feedback, solving their problems and retaining their business or traffic. 

Examples of great automated emails

Okay, remember how we said we’d look at some examples of automated emails? Here are a few we really like, and what makes them good. If you’re looking for some automated email inspiration, take a few cues from these messages.

Birthday emails

Birthday emails are a great example of an effective automated email – you can use user data stored within your apps to send out automatic messages for each subscriber’s birthday. It fosters a positive user experience and makes use of data points you likely already have stored. An example is Chipotle’s birthday email below.

This email makes use of users’ information to send them a birthday gift – who doesn’t like free food? These types of birthday emails promote user satisfaction and efficient rewards sending.

Onboarding emails

Onboarding and welcome emails often contain a lot of information, and you should ensure that that information is presented in an accessible way for the user. Additionally, by creating auto-onboarding emails, you can make sure that you’ve given each user all the information they need without having to contact and follow-up with every recipient. An example is mmhmm’s onboarding email below.

In mmhmm’s email, all information is presented in one automated email, and that saves you time and effort while giving your user what they need to positively experience your brand. You can also create an onboarding series and send multiple emails to guide users during their onboarding process.

Cart abandonment emails

Abandoned cart emails, like birthday emails, take advantage of user metrics to send automated messages. By deploying them, you can “save” consumers who did not take the final step in making a purchase from you. An example is Everlane’s abandoned cart email below.

Everlane’s email uses automation to remind users about products they were interested in. This use of automation is successful because it quickly and easily keeps track of consumers, and sends them personalized messages in service of creating business.

Loyalty emails

Automated loyalty emails help you promote positive user experiences without having to keep track of every consumer’s activity. An example is Starbucks’ loyalty program email below.

Starbucks’ loyalty email provides users with rewards and gifts that heighten their experience and encourage them to remain repeat customers. Automation for their loyalty program messages makes their rewards easy to track and send to their entire email list. It’s an efficient tool that provides win-win results.

So, how do you start sending emails like these?

How to send automated emails via Mailgun’s API

By now, you probably have some ideas on how to use automated email for increased technical advantage and better user experiences. But how do you set up automated email capabilities? 

The good news is that you can easily send automated emails through Mailgun’s API, and the better news is that we’ve included the necessary steps below. Follow them to start sending auto-emails with ease.

  1. Signup for an account and add your domain!

2. Verify your domain by configuring the provided Mailgun DNS records.

3. Integrate Mailgun into your app with our powerful APIs (or SMTP, if preferred). Examples for sending messages with text and HTML and setting a message delivery time – both relevant to email automation – are below. A full range of examples for Mailgun’s API capabilities is available in our documentation.

Sending a message with text and HTML parts:

Setting a message delivery time:

The above examples are simple processes to get you started – there are many ways you can customize your use of Mailgun’s API to create the email automation process you want. In no time, you’ll be sending automated messages with ease and precision.

Wrapping up

Email automation is a useful tool for senders to make the messaging process a little easier, and to create their best emails. These are the main takeaways to keep in mind when considering email automation:

1. It creates efficiency for your email program.

2. It promotes a positive, improved user experience via email marketing automation.

3. It can help “save” uninterested or ambivalent users.

Once you’ve embraced email automation tools, you can easily begin to tailor them to your needs and make it work for you. It’s a winning situation that you can use however you need – without any evil robots.

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