Issue #31

8 email automation templates to help you sell digital products

Digital Products Email Marketing
12 min read
In this Article

This year, you could sell your digital products around the clock to people across the globe.

But you can’t do it by sending emails manually—unless you’ve always dreamt of staying awake for 36 hours straight for the love of the #hustle.

The better option is using email marketing automations to promote your products. Think of this strategy as a digital email assistant that sends the right emails at the right time to boost conversions.

Curious? Whether you want to create your first automation or experiment with an advanced sequence, we have templates for everyone.

Email automation can transform your business

An email marketing automation sends a predetermined email (or entire sequence) when a subscriber meets a set of criteria. You set up the process once, and then the emails run in the background, sending messages exactly when subscribers need them.

Creators like you enjoy email automation because it helps:

Sell your products passively and consistently

If you stop promoting your work, eventually, sales will drop off. But it’s hard to juggle marketing existing products and creating new ones. To free up your valuable time, you can create email automations that work for you even when you’re away.

Increase conversion rates through targeted marketing

Think about how many sleds you would sell during August in Austin versus February in Fargo. Timing matters! Subscribers only receive automated emails once they’ve completed specific actions or passed milestones. That means they get a relevant email and not constant sales pushes. Better marketing leads to higher sales.

Learn about subscriber preferences to improve future emails

Each time you create an automated email series, you’re testing a theory, like “I think people that buy product A would also like product B.” Creating these mini sales tests teaches you what works and what doesn’t. As you experiment, you can improve your emails and make more sales.

8 automations to make more digital sales

You could spend hours (or days or weeks) dreaming up complicated email automation strategies. But it’s better to start small now, learn as you go, and add additional automations later. That’s why our list of email automation templates to sell more digital products is laid out roughly in the order you might implement them. You make the rules, though!

1 – Introduce new subscribers to your top-sellers

When you aren’t sure where to start, there’s no better place than the beginning. A welcome series (also called an onboarding sequence) is a set of messages to welcome new subscribers to your list.

You can use these first messages to introduce yourself, educate the reader, and, of course, promote your products. Welcome emails are your chance at a first impression, so it's a prime opportunity to share your top-selling products.

To make the pitch even more powerful, you can include reviews from customers or offer samples of your work. Just be sure you include helpful content beyond a sales pitch, or it could feel pushy.

Get the new subscriber product pitch Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Choose a product to promote. It’s easiest to start by promoting your top-seller or newest product. Or share different products depending on the freebie or landing page that someone used to sign up.
  • Create a welcome email and pitch sequence. You can start with a single welcome email or create a short series to cover more topics.
  • Tag everyone who checks out the product (it’ll come in handy later!). When you tag each person who makes a purchase, you create a running list of customers that you can send special promotions to later.

2 – Offer a loyal reader discount

Offering a product discount to subscribers who have been on your list a while can make them feel special and convert long-time lookers. Plus, it could boost sales.

Your loyal reader discount automation is made possible with an automation delay. For example, three months after signing up for your emails, a subscriber will receive an email with a discount code for a product of their choosing.

Get the loyal reader discount email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Add a delay. Signing up for your newsletter can trigger adding someone to the automation, but you need to add a delay before sending the discount. You can choose a month, three months, six months, or even a year pause.
  • Create a discount code. Creators who use ConvertKit Commerce can create a discount code for a dollar amount or percentage.
  • Write the thank you email. Let subscribers know how much you appreciate their support and tell them how to redeem the discount.

3 – Send a “which is right for you?” quiz

A welcome email promotes a single product, but what if you have an entire suite? With a little help from segmentation and automation, you can create a path for subscribers to follow that reveals the product that matches their needs.

To start, you can send new subscribers an email that asks them to click on a statement that applies to them. For example, subscribers to a food blog might have goals like “I want to find easy weeknight meals” or “I’m ready to try more advanced cooking techniques.” When subscribers click on an option, they move forward in the automation and receive the promotional email that matches their goals.

What if you have a lot of products, though? Creators with multiple types of customers could use a multi-day “which is right for you?” quiz. Day one can identify a topic, like meal prep or multi-course feasts. The second day could narrow down by experience level, and finally, the third email can ask subscribers what format they prefer, such as video courses or ebooks.

Get the “which product is right for you?” quiz email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Split your products into categories or niches. Divide your products into categories based on who would use them, topic, format, or budget.
  • Decide how detailed to make the quiz. A single email helps subscribers choose between 3-5 product options. If you have more than five offerings, you may need to use multiple emails to niche down further.
  • Set up an email with the quiz statements. Link triggers propel your email automation forward. Since you’ll use at least a few in your message, use easily recognizable trigger names, or else setup could get messy.

4 – Pitch related content

Link-triggered tags divide your list so you can pitch relevant products. If someone clicks a link to read a blog post, they may be interested in that particular topic at this moment, making it the right time to pitch.

The key to making this strategy work is defined content topics. That way, you can apply a link trigger to every new blog post you promote. If someone clicks the link to check out the post, they receive a pitch for a related product a few days later.

Since you don’t want to annoy subscribers with repetitive pitches, you can add a tag that lets you (and the automation) know they’ve already seen a particular product pitch. Then, you can set up the automation to ignore clicks that come from people with the “I’ve already seen this” tag.

Get the related content pitch email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Choose 2-4 tags to start. If you get too granular with separating and tagging content, your automations could get complicated. Start with a few paths and grow as needed.
  • Add link triggers to evergreen newsletters and upcoming broadcasts. You probably don’t need to add a link trigger to every link in an email but find a few places to include it.
  • Write a pitch email for each link trigger. The number of pitch emails you need matches the tags you established in step one. One email per product that introduces what it is, why they’d like it, and how to buy it will do.

5 – Remind subscribers about their abandoned cart

Just because someone doesn’t finalize a purchase right away doesn’t mean they’re uninterested. The person could have gotten distracted, not had time to checkout, or needed to think about it. Following up could remind them to finish what they started.

Try adding a tag to every person who clicks a link in your email for a sales page but doesn’t buy. Then, schedule your automation to check in a few days later.

Another option is to place an abandoned cart automation onto the end of the related content pitch automation above. If they click on the link to view the corresponding product but don’t buy, you can follow up once. If they don’t purchase after the follow-up, tag them so they don’t receive the same pitch.

Get the abandoned cart email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Add tag rules to product links in your emails. You can work backward through evergreen newsletters or use the strategy going forward.
  • Write an abandoned cart email. The best abandoned cart email examples specifically mention the product the subscriber viewed and has a call-to-action (CTA) to buy now.
  • Decide if you want to send a discount or remove them from the sequence. Some creators offer a discount to people who viewed a product but didn’t buy it. That decision is up to you and is a tactic you can experiment with.

6 – Upsell products to past buyers

If someone bought from you before and enjoyed your work, they may be willing to make another purchase.

An upsell typically means selling a more expensive item to a customer. For digital creators, this could play out in a few scenarios. You could upsell a paid course to someone who downloaded a free lead magnet. Or, you can pitch a high-ticket item or even a recurring subscription to someone who has paid for a related item.

The timing of your pitch is important since you don’t want to try and sell someone immediately after they make a purchase. Adding a delay to your automation ensures customers get a break in between sales pitches.

Get the product upsell email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • List your products in order from free to high-end. Seeing all your offerings in front of you makes it easier to visualize purchases as stepping stones.
  • Create related product pairs to upsell from one to the other. Group products by topic, price, format, or any other criteria that you think would work for your audience.
  • Write an email explaining the link between the products. You can mention what customers like about the first product and explain how the second one will help them continue the journey.

7 – Launch a new product

Preparing to sell a new product is an exciting time. You’re anxious for your subscribers to see what you've been up to and have sales goals. Rather than worrying about sending promo emails on launch day, you can set up an automation to handle sales for you.

You can customize when your product launch emails send and who gets them. Maybe you want to give early access to previous customers, or you’ve collected emails on a pre-sale landing page.

Your launch series can build anticipation with a countdown timer or give background information on how you created the product. If you let a group of subscribers try the product before its official launch, you can even include testimonials.

Get the new product launch email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Decide who to email. Whether you send your product announcement to your entire list or to subsegments is up to you. You could also send a general message to your list and an email about how it relates to previous products for existing customers.
  • Build anticipation with a countdown timer. You can deck out emails with a countdown timer to get people excited about launch day or let them know how long is left on discounts or offers.
  • Create post-sale emails. You can write a thank you email for people who purchase your product, plus a reminder email for those who viewed the sales page but didn’t buy.

8 – Grow your list and encourage sales with a referral program

You can’t clone your best subscribers, but you can ask them to help you find like-minded folks. A newsletter referral program makes it easy to incentivize subscribers to share your email list with friends and family.

Referral programs are great for growing your list, but you can also leverage them to make sales. The more people a subscriber refers, the greater the incentive they receive. For a single referral, you can offer access to a small piece of content.

As subscribers refer more people to your list, you can begin to offer product discounts or “buy one, get one” deals.

Get the newsletter referral program email Automation template here

Make it your own:

  • Set up your SparkLoop account. SparkLoop is an easy-to-use newsletter referral program, and ConvertKit Pro plan users have free access.
  • Choose reward tiers. SparkLoop has a rewards library you can use for inspiration.
  • Introduce the program. You’ll need to write an email explaining what the referral program is, what subscribers can gain, and what they need to do next.

ConvertKit makes it easy for creators to manage their business

Your ideas never stop, and your to-do list never ends. While you’re busy building your business, ConvertKit marketing automations can put your promotions on autopilot. Managing every step in the subscriber journey is easy with ConvertKit.

Gather subscribers with a landing page, sell digital products with ConvertKit Commerce, and connect with your audience with automated emails.

Want to start using email automation templates in just a few clicks? Get started with a free trial today.

Start selling within minutes

As a creator, you deserve to get paid for your work. ConvertKit Commerce is ready-made to help you sell digital products.

Get paid with ConvertKit Commerce

Steph Knapp

Steph Knapp is a freelance B2B + SaaS content marketer that loves educating and empowering curious humans. When she's not typing away, you'll find her volunteering at the animal shelter and obsessing over a new hobby every week. She shares marketing, freelance, and cat content on Twitter @ hellostephknapp.

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