Email Automation for Smaller Businesses

Email automation both offloads much of the effort of sending out a large number of emails, and also provides reporting on the success of the campaign. For each aspect described below, we’ll start by describing how the process might be handled manually, and compare that to the automated version.

Automating the Maintenance of the Mailing List

To start, automation can be applied to maintaining your mailing list. As a manual operation, the Contact Us page on your company’s marketing website sends an email to you, and then you manually create a new record in your list using the email service you subscribe to. Also, if someone no longer wishes to receive emails from you, they may reply to one of your emails and you have to resolve it, again manually.

But you can save yourself this effort by having your company marketing website connected to your emailing service, such that when someone fills out your Contact Us page, the record is created at the emailing service automatically. Also, if people wish to stop, your emails to them can have ‘unsubscribe’ links.

Most emailing services offer integrations for adding new users automatically from a variety of sources. For example: when they register for a webinar, your webinar service can tell your email service to add them.

You’ll either get reports periodically, or go to the email service to specifically view a report, so you will know what kind of activity has been happening in aggregate, but you no longer have to be involved for each change.

Newsletters versus email campaigns

A newsletter is when you send out the same email to your entire list on the same day. You may be announcing a special limited time offer or that you will be appearing at a show.

An email campaign is more tailored. It may consist of a series of emails, and everyone on your email list gets the same set of emails. But they may get a given email (say email #6 out of 10 in a series) on different days. In a more sophisticated campaign, it may even be the case that different people get different emails.

Email Templates

Email tools will typically include tools to let you have one or more templates for sending emails. These templates also let you personalize the email, such as inserting the recipients first name in the greeting.

Automating an email campaign

You could open a new email, paste in the content, and then insert the users first name in the greeting, and paste in their email address. But you can quickly see that for anything more than a few emails, that this rapidly becomes cumbersome.

Email services will include a tool you can use to create a series of emails. These will include a condition that initiates the sending of the first email in the series, and then you can set a delay between emails. A common condition initiating an email campaign is that they were added to the list. You may also have a ‘new customer’ series of emails that start once someone hires your company for a service. Or once the service is complete , there may be a campaign to follow up in case there is an opportunity for more, related, work.

You may also set a condition that forks the user into one of two sub-tracks. For instance, if the user opens the email, you may send them down an ‘active prospect’ track that sends more frequent emails and perhaps these emails include a discount offer.

If they do not open the email, you may send them down a ‘low interest’ track with less frequent emails and perhaps these emails focus on educating the recipient on the various considerations when choosing a service like yours, instead of focusing on your company specifically.

Campaigns Sent Directly By The Email Service versus Ones Sent Using Your Email Account
Some services send out emails using their email servers and the recipient can see that the email service was involved.

With other services, you give them the login for your own email account and all emails are sent via your email account. The recipient will not be able to tell that the email was not in fact sent by you, which is the point of these services. You can still send a pre-configured series of emails, you can use templates, and the addition of new recipients can still be automatic.


Email tools will be able to provide you with a lot of information about how your communications are being received. They can tell you how many people were added to your list and how many left. They can also tell you how many people opened your email for a campaign, and whether they clicked on links within those emails.


Email Automation allows you to manage your communications with both current and potential clients. If handled properly both for how people are added and in what they receive, the recipients will be happy to get your emails.