Email Marketing What Automated Emails Should I Send?

You’ve heard it time and time again… email list building is key to your ecommerce store’s growth. But after putting in the hard work and implementing all the tactics to build your email list, you’re still left with leads not customers.

To convert these leads to customers and eventually brand advocates your store needs a well thought out email marketing strategy that nurtures your customers at every step of this journey. Luckily, automation makes implementing a high-converting strategy easy and scalable regardless of your store’s size.

Here are the emails you should implement (and automate) at every step of your customer’s journey from lead to brand advocate.

Leads to First-Time Purchasers – Welcome Email Series

Automated welcome emails are the quickest and most effective way to convert new leads into first-time purchasers. This is when your customers are most excited about your brand and eager to buy from your store. Data backs this up too! Welcome emails are opened 4X more often and clicked 5X more than regular promotional emails. But most importantly, welcome emails generate 8X MORE REVENUE!

When composing your welcome email series you should strive for 3 things.

  • Push your customers to make their first purchase while your brand is front and centre in their minds
  • Introduce them to your most popular products to familiarise them with your product offering
  • Educate them on your brand’s value proposition and uniqueness

We recommend doing this in 3 emails to start building a relationship with your customers and their inboxes.

Email 1

You’ve done all the hard work collecting your customer’s email, don’t waste any time taking them from lead to buyer. Keep this email short and simple. Thank them for signing up to your email list and immediately drive them back to your site with a special one-time offer.kate-spade-welcome-emailIf you know what products are most likely to sell to first-time buyers include that in this email, but don’t overcrowd the email as the main goal is to take your lead from email to purchase as quickly as possible.

Email 2

Whether or not you got the sale on the first try, your lead/customer is still new and far from reaching our ultimate goal of brand advocate. This next email is to push them further along the track by familiarising them with your brand and products.

If you or your brand have a captivating story to tell, this is the email to do it in. Introduce your brand story and share what makes you and your products different. To drive conversions, include a range of popular products that are most likely to sell and display all that you offer.

Email 3

Product emails over and over again get boring which results in unengaged subscribers, unsubscribes, and spam complaints. Show your subscribers that your email list is worth staying on with engaging content that isn’t a direct sales pitch.


Share content that educates your new customer on how your products can benefit them or solve certain pain points.

You don’t need to compose a designer email, this email can be as easy as sharing a simple blog post about your products.

First-Time Purchasers to Repeat Buyers – Relevant and Engaging Content

This is where most e-commerce store owners and marketers go wrong. By sending repetitive content, sending too frequently, and simply sending emails that aren’t relevant to each customer – many brands  focus way too much on acquiring new leads and neglect their existing customers. This brings their customers’ journeys to an early end without optimising the value (and sales) they can generate by nurturing first-time buyers..

Relevant and Not Repetitive Content

After a customer has purchased from your store, browsed around your site, and clicked your emails you shouldn’t treat them exactly the same as the next lead that lands on your site. At SmartrMail we help you do this with our auto-product emails. Our machine learning engine sends each of your customers a selection of products they’re most likely to buy by analysing their purchase history and on-site browsing behaviour. This keeps the products in your emails fresh and the content relevant to each of your customers.

And if you’re not using automation, you can still do this manually with segmentation. If a customer has repeatedly purchased from a single collection, for example cat t-shirts, sending them an unsegmented blast of your new in-stock dog t-shirts is irrelevant and annoying! If you’re going to send a back in-stock or new product promotion, make sure you’re sending it to people who’ve purchased that product or collection before.

Not Over Sending

I can’t stress this point enough. Sending too frequently is a one way ticket into Gmail’s, Outlook’s, and every other ISPs (inbox service providers) spam filters. With the current state of busy lives and full inboxes, daily emails will overwhelm your customers and have them mark your messages as spam. And if they don’t – the lack of engagement and inbox fatigue will have their ISP do it for them. Gmail and other ISPs want to see evidence that your customers love receiving your emails, and if they don’t they’ll filter it as spam for all your customers – past, present AND FUTURE!

*That being said there are times when sending frequently can benefit your store, such as the final days of big sales and flash offers. However, when sending frequently make sure each email has new content, offers value, and that you’re only sending to customers who’ve shown high levels of engagement with your emails.

Repeat Buyers to Brand Advocates – Repeat Buyer Post-Purchase Email Series

Now that you’ve turned your leads into customers and nurtured them into repeat buyers who love your brand, the next step is to turn them into advocates who’ll confess their love and spread the word about your store. One of the best ways to facilitate this is by using a post-purchase email series.

No, I’m not talking about receipt emails and shipping notifications. These emails shouldn’t be overlooked as they keep your buyers informed and happy about their order, but they’re not the emails that will facilitate brand advocacy and growth for your store.

After a buyer purchases for the 2nd time, you should send these 3 nurturing post-purchase emails:

Email 1 – Thank You + Referral Email

Similar to your welcome email to new customers, this email should thank your customers for purchasing from your store and do a little refresh on your brand and what makes you awesome. This is also the perfect time to incentivise a referral.

If you’re using Shopify or Magento checkout Swell Rewards for a referral and rewards program that’s super easy to implement.


Email 2 – Product Review and Check-In

2 days after your customer is expected to get their order, send a check-in email to see how they’re liking your product and ask for an honest review. A positive review can do more for your store’s growth than hundreds of dollars in advertising. 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, making it essential for your store to be well reviewed on your own website and on review sites like Trustpilot.  Even if a review isn’t what you expected, negative reviews (but not too many) can give you insights on how to better improve your store’s product offering.


Email 3 – Follow-up and Social Sharing

It’s easy to clutter your emails with multiple messages asking for reviews and social shares, as well as cross-sell product recommendations. However, it’s better to spread your goals out across multiple emails to focus your message – it’s highly unlikely that a customer will review your product, share it on social, and buy their next item all from the same email.

Now that your customer has had the chance to enjoy their purchase. If your brand has a hashtag on social networks like Instagram, send an email with images of influencers and other customers sharing their purchase. Daniel Wellington used their branded hashtag to sell over a million watches and generate $220 million worth of revenue.

Also don’t stop at just one review request, a positive review is your best marketing tactic! Add a section in the email footer following up your review request on your site and any other review sites relevant to your store.

When possible add cross-sell recommendations in these emails. Amazon attributes 35% of its revenue to cross-sell recommendations on-site and in emails.

What next?

While implementing this strategy might be daunting, the good news is that most of these emails can be automated just once. Tools like SmartrMail make it easier for stores of all sizes to sell more using email marketing by using the powerful data provided by Shopify and other ecommerce platforms. Within minutes you can automate emails to welcome your customers, nurture them throughout their journey, facilitate brand advocacy, and win-back those who become unengaged.

Once you have your emails automated start driving more customers through this journey by following these 5 Steps to Supercharge Your Store’s Email List Growth and if customers stop engaging with your emails before they’re a valuable brand advocate, check out our tips on How to Re-engage and Win-Back Your Store’s Customers with Email Marketing.

Written by Josh Reyes

Josh is the Marketing Coordinator and Lead Content Creator at SmartrMail. His work on email and everything else ecommerce marketing can be found on the SmartrMail blog. You can keep up to date on Twitter for daily tips and updates! – @smartrmail

Written by EcommerceRVW
EcommerceRVW is a dedicated Ecommerce Blog bringing you regular ecommerce articles, reviews, case studies and guides. We're passionate about helping ambitious store owners take their business to the next level.