Eager to get started with email automation but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Email automation is a hot marketing tool that’s proven to boost user experience, sales, lead generation, and more. But you may be thinking, “How can my business effectively use automation?” Good question.

Whether you’re a dentist, tech startup, or furniture retailer, there are plenty of ways you can use email automation to drive customer engagement and revenue. It just takes a little bit of strategy and creativity. 

To make automation more approachable, our email experts put on a short webinar. Watch the video below to learn the ins and outs of automation and how to build your own workflow using SendGrid Automation.

To expand on the use cases discussed in the webinar, we dug into our personal inboxes to find the best email automation examples. Below, learn how businesses big and small are utilizing email automation to connect with their recipients. Use these ideas to spark your campaign creativity and launch awesome-sauce automations.

8 Email Automation Examples

Birthday Celebrations

Nothing shows that you care more than remembering to celebrate your subscriber’s special day. How you choose to celebrate it is up to you and your brand. Here are a few ways brands celebrate my birthday.

CHOM, a locals favorite burger joint in Provo, UT, shows me some love each year by sending me a $5 gift card. Yes, please! Nintendo sends me wallpapers, avatars, and more goodies to enjoy on the Switch. And Nike sends me a little discount surprise. 

How can your brand celebrate your subscribers’ and customers’ birthday? Think outside the box—like, beyond that forgettable email you receive from your alma mater every year asking for donations. 

New Subscriber Welcome Series

Give your new subscribers the red carpet experience with a well-designed welcome series. They just gave you their email address and checked a box saying they’d like to receive communications from you—that’s like receiving a phone number with a note that says “call me” from the person you’ve been crushing on! Take the same thoughtful approach with how you respond to your new subscribers as you would with that crush.

First, you can use an email to thank your contacts for subscribing. Let them know what to expect and give them the option to tailor their email experience and choose the emails they’ll be receiving in the future. Consider giving them an exclusive discount and inviting them to take action. 

New Customer Onboarding

New customer onboarding emails take the welcome series to the next level. The objective is to use the emails to set your new customers up for success. Offer introductory content to get them started, provide contact information if they need help, direct them to additional resources to self-serve their problems—give them everything they need to succeed.

Of course, you can’t do it all at once, and that’s why you use a customer onboarding series to drip these emails into their inbox over time.

Win-Back Campaigns

Turn your setbacks into comebacks. If your customers or subscribers have gone AWOL, execute a well-timed win-back campaign to re-engage them.

After not purchasing for some time, Myprotein sent me a discount to spark my protein-deal hunt. If your subscribers haven’t engaged with you or your emails, think of what you could offer to entice them to return. Do your research and be smart about your timing.

For example, it wouldn’t make sense for Myprotein to have sent this to me a month after my last purchase—I wouldn’t have used even half of my protein powder by then. They waited about 4 months, which is a more realistic timeframe to influence a repeat purchase for this brand.

Success Metrics

Ongoing product usage updates and success metrics are great for boosting product affinity and engagement. Every week, Grammarly sends me an email to let me know how many words I’ve written, what grammar mistakes I’ve made, and how I measure up against other Grammarly users. Strava sends out a monthly recap to celebrate my activity and what month-over-month progress I’ve made. I absolutely love these emails.

Not only do they make me like the brand more, but they remind me to keep using the product. When I receive the emails from Grammarly, I’m encouraged to keep writing to further my now 9-week streak. After I receive my Strava updates, I jump to my calendar and start planning my next workouts. Think of what stats you could share with your subscribers to keep them engaged and excited about your brand. 

Nurture Series

If your subscribers joined your email list by downloading a guide or registering for a webinar, use a nurture series to lead them further down the funnel. If you’re selling an SEO tool, consider what steps you think are necessary to go from lead to customer.

Perhaps they’ve already downloaded your SEO 101 guide—now you could encourage them to view a few case studies of those who’ve applied the principles in your guide. Later, you could drive them to sign up for a free trial or product demo.

Event Registration and Attendance

Once someone has registered for an event or webinar, use an automation campaign to convert them from registrant to attendee. Leading up to the event, send them updates and reminders. Once the event is over, send them “thank you” notes and links for on-demand access to videos or slides.

Afterward, where appropriate, consider adding them to your nurture series.

Abandoned Cart

For one reason or another, a potential customer may leave your site before finalizing a purchase. Abandoned cart emails are perfect for converting those visitors who’ve shown their interest. A good email will remind a customer about an item they were interested in, trying to gently push them to complete the purchase. A great email will add an irresistible incentive that compels the completion of the purchase.

For example, I was eyeing these skies for some time. Evo saw I’d previously added them to my inbox, and they sent me an alert when they dropped in price. That new price tag was enough to seal the deal.

Launch Your Automations

Hopefully, these email automation examples sparked your creative juices. Armed with these use cases, think about how best your brand can use automation to connect with your recipients. Email automation is still at the frontier—there are plenty of unexplored opportunities you can be the first to pioneer.

While you explore pushing automation boundaries, get your feet wet with one of these 8 examples. It’s like how you get better at writing by writing more—you get better at building automations by building more automations. Get started today. Your next super-loyal subscriber is just a well-planned email automation away.

To learn more about email automation, check out our Email Marketing Automation Best Practices guide.



Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak is a Content Marketing Associate at Twilio SendGrid focused on writing killer content and producing captivating webinars. A writing zealot by day and an ultramarathon runner by night (and early-early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.