A great business runs like a well-oiled machine.
Smooth, automatic, and consistent.
It works effortlessly around the clock to deliver leads and sales, all without much tinkering from you.
And while your business runs in the background, you can focus on what you love: creating and helping even more people.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Setting up automations is the first step to building a business that works even when you’re not. And with email automations, you can automate your marketing funnel from top to bottom.
Email automations are the virtual assistant you wish you had
Think of email automations as the virtual assistant you’ve always wanted to hire (but don’t quite have the budget for…yet).
Email automations take aspects of your email list and automate them, so you can spend less time micromanaging your list and more time on high-value tasks like one-on-one coaching sessions or product development.
But unlike a VA, who understandably needs time off, email automations work 24/7/365.
There are plenty of basic email automations you might already be using within ConvertKit, like sending out your welcome sequence as soon as someone subscribes. But today, we’re diving into six advanced automation strategies that you probably aren’t doing yet (but will be by the end of this article).
6 advanced email automation strategies for creators + how to set them up yourself
1. Loop subscribers back into various sequences
Picture this: a new subscriber is going through your welcome sequence. In one of the emails, you pitch a product, and they click the link to check it out.
Clicking the link triggers a product pitch sequence.
Your subscriber is now getting your welcome sequence and your product pitch sequence (and as a result, you’re overwhelming their inbox). Worst case scenario, you leave a sour taste in their mouth, they mark you as spam, and they unsubscribe. Ouch.
The solution? Looping. Looping subscribers takes them out of one automation, puts them in another, and then re-adds them back into the initial one after finishing the second one.
In our example, your subscriber would leave your welcome sequence (and stop getting welcome emails), and ConvertKit would add them to your product pitch sequence. After they finish your product pitch sequence, ConvertKit will automatically place them back into your welcome sequence right where they left off—they won’t miss a beat.
How to set it up
1. Before we build this automation, make sure you have three things set up:
- A rule that adds a tag to people who click your product links (something like interested in my product)
- A welcome sequence automation
- A product pitch automation
2. To start, create a new visual automation to start whenever someone gets tagged from clicking your product link. Click the “+” sign and go Action > Move subscriber > Remove from another automation.
3. Select your welcome sequence and hit Add Action.
4. Next, add your product pitch sequence by clicking the “+” sign underneath the latest action. Then click Action > Email sequence, and select your product pitch sequence.
5. Lastly, click the “+” sign under the product pitch sequence and go Action > Move subscriber and select the sequence you wish to re-add subscribers back into. The final sequence will look like this:
2. Create specific welcome emails based on different lead magnets
Your subscribers deserve a red-carpet welcome to your email list. As such, your welcome sequence should be full of ultra-relevant content that they’ll be excited to read.
However, if you have multiple lead magnets, curating such a specific welcome sequence can be challenging.
For example, say you’re a fitness YouTuber with a free yoga pose ebook and a free meal plan worksheet. While both of these lead magnets will attract subscribers interested in fitness, one group is likely more interested in yoga, while the other wants content for healthy eats.
Rather than send both groups of subscribers the same welcome content, create two different welcome sequences: one diving into yoga and one talking about meal planning. This way, each segment of people will get content they’re eager to read.
How to set it up
1. To start, make sure you have at least two unique forms for separate lead magnets. Then, write welcome sequences for each lead magnet. To make your welcome sequences as unique as possible, discuss the lead magnet, how to use it, and how it might help your subscriber.
2. After creating a welcome sequence for each lead magnet, head into the Automations tab and create a new visual automation.
3. Select Joins a form and choose the form for your first lead magnet and click Add Event.
4. Next, click the “+” sign to the right and repeat steps two to four until you have all of your lead magnets.
5. After setting up your different forms, click the “+” under each item.
6. Then choose Action > Email sequence and choose the corresponding welcome sequence for each lead magnet.
Your final sequence will look something like this:
3. Avoid sending welcome sequences to current subscribers
The number of emails sent per day rises every year, and as a result, our inboxes get more crowded as time goes on. And with the rise in remote work, people feel fatigued by their inboxes. (Many admit they’d rather clean their bathrooms than clean their inbox!)
YouTube Nick True creates dedicated lead magnets for the different YouTube videos he makes. He finds that specific lead magnets work better than one overarching lead magnet.
Many of his subscribers sign up for multiple lead magnets over time, meaning they could receive a welcome sequence even if they’re already on his list.
To correct this problem, Nick uses automations to check each subscriber before they’re funneled into his welcome sequence, ensuring their inboxes aren’t flooded with emails they don’t need. And you can do the same thing using split paths.
How to set it up
1. Create a rule that tags subscribers as soon as they join your welcome sequence.
2. With your rule set up, head into your visual automations. Add the different landing pages for each of your lead magnets, and then click the “+” below each one.
3. Click Condition > Tag > Yes/No. Choose the tag to indicate that they’re already part of a welcome sequence and click Add Condition.
4. Click the “+” sign under Yes and go to Action > Email sequence and choose which email sequence you’d like people to receive in place of your welcome sequence (if anything).
5. For those who don’t have the welcome tag, click the “+” sign under No and go to Action > Email sequence, and select your welcome sequence.
Now you can be sure that subscribers won’t be getting “welcomed” to your list when they’ve been on it for a while.
4. Use custom fields for granular segmentation and personalization
82% of customers say they’ll purchase additional items from a company that provides a personal experience each time they interact with the brand.
With ConvertKit, there are plenty of ways to personalize the experience your subscribers have on your list. Use merge tags to address subscribers by name and use tags to segment your subscribers and send them relevant content.
But if you want to go a step further, add custom fields to your forms for even deeper segmentation.
Here are a few examples of how you can use custom fields:
- Ask subscribers to enter their business’s revenue so you know whether you should pitch them your high or low ticket offers
- Ask how many years they’ve been practicing what you do (i.e., “how many years have you been knitting?”) so you know whether you should email them beginner or advanced content
- Have them answer a yes or no question so you can understand their interests beyond your niche (i.e., if you’re a vegan food blogger, you could ask, “would you also want gluten-free recipes along with my weekly vegan recipes?” to see who is interested in both gluten-free and vegan eats)
Tip: Keep in mind that your subscribers will be typing out their answers. Give them clear instructions on what they should type (i.e., type “yes” or “no” in the box below) to keep their answers as clean as possible.
How to set it up
1. Create a landing page or form (or edit a pre-existing one) and add a custom field. If you aren’t sure how to add custom fields, follow these two guides:
2. Once you have your custom fields, create a visual automation. Set it to start when someone joins one of your forms that have a custom field.
3. Click the “+” sign underneath and click Condition > Custom Field. Choose Yes/No and then select your custom field.
There are plenty of qualifiers to choose from, like “has a value”, “is greater than or equal to”, “is less than”, and more. Choose the one that will best sort your leads. For this example, we’ll choose to match any subscribers who typed “yes” into the custom field box.
4. Next, add what should happen depending on which answer subscribers input into your custom field. In our gluten-free example, we’ll add subscribers who are interested in gluten-free recipes to a specific welcome sequence that includes gluten-free dishes. Those who don’t input “yes” will receive a different welcome sequence, sans gluten-free content.
5. Remove subscribers from irrelevant sequences
We’ve all been on the receiving end of multiple product pitches we frankly aren’t interested in. Often, it’s enough to make someone unsubscribe from your list.
Pinterest coach Cara Case found a solution. She shuffles subscribers to different sequences based on their preference.
For example, if a subscriber receives an email pitching her course and clicks the link but doesn’t buy her course, they’re funneled into a different sequence that has Pinterest marketing tips, case studies, and more. By moving these “on-the-fence” subscribers into a different sequence, Cara can warm them up further until they’re ready to enroll in her course. This is a great way to potentially increase conversion rates without any additional work.
Shelby Abrahamsen, an artist with over 60,000 subscribers, did something similar. She uses automations to automatically move people out of her sales pitch funnels as soon as they’ve made a purchase.
By shifting subscribers around, you’re essentially saying to them, “hey, the content I’m sending you is no longer a fit, so how about we try something new?”
Here are three situations when moving subscribers around is useful:
- When people click a product but don’t buy, move them into a longer, softer sell sequence.
- When people have bought your product before they get to the end of your pitch sequence, remove them, so they don’t continue getting emails after already buying.
- When people don’t click and don’t buy (and indicate no interest in your product quite yet), move them from your product pitch into an info-only sequence to further warm them up (no pitching). After they finish it, pitch them your product again.
How to set it up
1. Under Automate click Rules > + New rule.
2. To tag people who click a product but don’t buy, add a tag for those who click a link called something like “interested in my product but didn’t buy”.
3. Next, create an automation that removes this tag for those who purchase your product through ConvertKit Commerce. After all, we only want those tagged to be people who click and don’t purchase. Within your automations, select Purchase > Commerce, choose the product you’re pitching, and click Add Event.
4. Then add an action that removes the tag called “interested in my product but didn’t buy”.
Now you’ll have an automation that removes the didn’t purchase tag for those who click the link but end up purchasing your product.
5. Lastly, add an action to tag subscribers who make a purchase (this will help us move them between sequences in the next step). Your final automation should look something like this:
6. Time to create a rule to move the people who are interested but didn’t buy. Click Tag added and select the tag for those who are interested but didn’t purchase. Click Subscribe to a sequence and choose the new sequence you want to send them to.
Now when someone clicks your product link (but doesn’t buy) they’ll be added into a new sequence which will hopefully convert them later down the road.
7. Next, create a rule for those who bought your product so they stop receiving pitch emails. Because we tagged these subscribers in an earlier automation, this step is simple. Create a new rule that removes them from your pitch sequence as soon as they buy your product.
8. There’s only one segment of your audience left: those who neither clicked nor bought after completing your pitch sequence. For those subs, create a rule that moves them from your pitch sequence into a new sequence to warm them up, like so:
This section might make your head swim, so we recommend going through the steps and building out test sequences to give it a try! It’s much easier to grasp that way.
Tip: If you use our automation templates for this section, remember that you still need to create the rules we’ve outlined.
6. Funnel subscribers to multiple automations
After whipping together your handy new automations, you can do one last thing to really give them a bit of oomph: link them together to create a full-funnel experience for your subscribers.
By doing this, you can create an automated email marketing strategy that runs on auto-pilot for months.
How to set it up
1. Make sure you have at least two automations ready to go. If not, create some (i.e., an automation to welcome subscribers to your list and one to pitch your products with upsells and downsells).
2. Head into the automation you wish to be the starting point.
3. At the end of the automation, click “+” > Action > Move subscriber > Start another automation. Choose which automation the subscriber should move to after finishing the current one.
You can also add a delay if you don’t want the switch to the new automation to happen instantly after finishing the first one.
Here’s how this automation looks with a one week delay:
Remember: Your automations won’t start until you turn them on. Toggle them to Live when you’re ready to use them!
Mix and match your favorite automations to create a unique experience for your list
With all the different events, actions, and conditions, ConvertKit’s Automations give you endless possibilities to create a hands-off email marketing strategy that still feels personal to your subscribers.
They’re easy to set up and work non-stop. But best of all, you get to create a tailored experience that meets your subscribers exactly where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Ready to try some of the above automations? Start your free trial with ConvertKit today!