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How to set up automated emails easily to nurture your email list

Automated emails ensure that your subscribers hear from you regularly. Learn how to set up automated emails easily to nurture your growing email list.

You’ve created your free offer, a dazzling lead magnet and now you want to set up automated emails to nurture your email list.

Automated newsletters also come in handy when you want to welcome new subscribers to your regular email newsletters. Preparing a bunch of emails in advance and sending them on autopilot ensures that your subscribers hear from you regularly.

And it doesn’t matter whether you’re on holidays, neck-deep in a client project or busy mitigating a family emergency. Because let’s face it: where there are children, emergencies just happen out of nowhere.

MailerLite, my favourite email marketing service provider, makes setting up an automated email newsletter series child’s play.

And it’s a feature that’s available to everyone. Even if you’re on their free plan for the time being.

Define your email strategy

As by sending out your automated emails you ultimately want to promote your products and services in a clever way, the best is to have a proper plan. Email newsletters and email ads are unique forms of advertising that consumers have opted into. Use that to your advantage.

So before you jump in and start designing your automated emails, think about the following.

Mobile readiness is essential

Your emails should be mobile responsive as many people check their emails regularly on the their phone. No worries, with MailerLite you can preview your email on a mobile screen and you can then further fine-tune the design if necessary.

Consider mobile loading speed

Any image or video that you embed into your email could impact loading speed. It’s the same principle as in the case of websites.

If your multimedia heavy email loads rather slowly on a mobile phone, your readers may not have the patience to wait and read it. 

Use images/videos strategically

Newsletter emails with images are more likely to be filtered out as spam email. Consider what your goal is with your message. Does it really benefit from images?

If you’re promoting a product from your e-commerce shop, then yes, images can boost sales. But otherwise don’t add images just for decoration. 

Simple text emails are efficient

Don’t be afraid of simple text emails. The most enjoyable and most valuable email newsletters I got from people who are sending simple text emails.

The lack of images aren’t disturbing at all. And they always focus on giving as much value as they can squeeze into their current email.

Do your GIFs add any real value?

You may want to stop adding GIFs to your emails. The animated images are distracting the reader while they try to read your content. And they have no options to turn off the animation.

If you absolutely want to include multimedia, consider non-animated images. Or embedded videos where the reader can influence if and when they want to play that clip.

 

Having said that you’re probably eager to set up your first automated email series, so let’s dive in.

#1 Login to MailerLite and select Automation

Login to your MailerLite account. Or register an account for free. It’s only a few steps and then you’re ready to go and create forms or landing pages to collect emails for your lists.

If you need some guidance how to that, then hop over to my detailed step-by-step post where I walk you through how to create a Landing Page in MailerLite to collect subscribers to your offer.

If you’re on the fence why to use MailerLite. I admit I’ve started first with MailChimp but switched over to MailerLite and never looked back.

Once you’re logged in click on the Automation menu item.
If you’ve set up any automations earlier you will see them listed on the Automation overview.

It shows also if your automation is active/enabled. That is if it’s actually sending out emails. You can also access from here any of your earlier automations to edit them.

More about this later.

#2 Create a new automated email series workflow and Give it a name

Let’s look at how to set up a new automated email series.

Click on the orange button in the top right corner of the page: Create a new workflow.

It will prompt you to give a name to your workflow so that you can easily identify it later. Give it a name that helps you remember what its purpose is. I’m going to use this workflow as my automated email Newsletter series so I name it Newsletter.

#3 Decide on the trigger

The first decision you have to make is to choose a workflow trigger from the list. This action will decide when the automated workflow starts. You have several options here.

I’ve selected when subscriber joins a group and linked it to my existing subscriber group ARRA design studio | Newsletter. If you have no groups yet, there’s a quick link to Create a new group.

You can decide if you want to repeat the automated email series workflow for subscribers who rejoin the same group. For now I just leave this option unchecked and hit save.

#4 Define the first step of the automation workflow

The screen refreshes and it will ask you to define the first step in your workflow. When you click on the plus (+) icon you have several choices.

Email

Select this if you want to send a specific email right away when someone subscribes to your specified group.

Delay

If you don’t want to send an email immediately, choose delay and specify how long the automation workflow should wait before proceeding to the next step.

Condition

You can specify up to 5 conditions and set up different next steps based on how those conditions were met.

Action

This option lets you define which action to apply when someone in your workflow reaches the next step.

 

In my Newsletter example I want to send out an email immediately after they’ve joined my newsletter list. So I click on Email as next step. 

#5 Populate basic email related information

On the right sidebar of the screen you have the field to define a subject field for your email. You can change this later as well, just do it before you activate the automation flow.

It lets you insert emojis and certain customization. In my form I only ask for the Email address and (First) Name, so I pick the Name option from the list for my subject field.

Based on the information you’ve provided when registering with MailerLite it populates automatically the “Who is it from?” fields. Double-check if it’s correct.

If you enabled Google Analytics on your website, I recommend to enable the tracking option.

Last but not least, set your language. Then Save. 

As I haven’t started designing the actual email itself (you can do that by hitting that grey Design email button), it reminds me on the top of the screen that I still have an incomplete step.

#6 Alternatively add more steps to the workflow (hint: you can do this later, too)

I’ve decided to add a few more generic steps in the workflow. I want to add a delay before my next email in the workflow. To do that click on the plus icon and select Delay

You have various options here from minutes to months, and you can be even more specific if you wish. As I want to issue a more or less monthly newsletter for the time being, I set the delay to 21 days and then hit Save.

#7 Select your editor

Now what if I want to go back and start working on the first email? Just click on the envelop icon on the screen and it will jump back to that step in the workflow. Click on the grey Design email button and you’re ready to go.

On the following Email design screen you have various choices.

If you’ve already saved an email as template you’ll find it under the My Templates section.
Selecting Start from scratch gives you 3+1 methods for composing your email.

You can use the New Drag & Drop Editor or the Classic Drag & Drop Editor. Both work with building blocks and make the process very easy and straightforward.

The New Editor has more pre-defined design blocks and has a built-in Survey block. This comes in handy when after a couple of emails you want to survey your engaged subscribers. The advantage is that you don’t need any third party applications, you can do it right away in MailerLite. Once responds start to come in, you’ll see them on a Dashboard.

If you don’t want that much styling options, you can go for the Rich Text Editor

The +1 method is creating the email via a Custom HTML Editor, but that’s only available if you’re on the paid plan. 

The Template Gallery is also only available for those on a paid plan. It has a good selection of pre-designed email templates in several categories.

The last option is the Recent Emails section. If you’ve sent out some emails previously, you can pick one of them and re-use it after some minor tweaks.

#8 Create an email with the Classic Editor

As this very first email will be a short introductory email about me, so that my subscribers know who’s behind the future newsletter emails, I choose the Classic Editor.

The body of the email is the main screen and the 15 main building blocks are on the right. If you click on Design you can choose from a pre-defined theme or you can set your Custom design choices and save it as your theme for later.

#9 The anatomy of the email

Pre-header

The top pre-header section acts as a kind of short introduction or teaser of your email. Use this to introduce the main topic your email is about. Just click in that block and it’ll activate the editing screen on the right.

If you don’t want to add any intro text, skip this step. Once you’re ready click Save.

Header

The next section is the header. Click on the header block and then you can decide whether you want to turn it off or use any of the available design options.

If you hover over a block and use the arrow icons on the left or right, you can see the design options in real life.

For designs that include images or logos it will also tell you the ideal image size. It takes out the guesswork and you can optimize the images before uploading them.

Pick a header that’s best for your current email.

Email body

The main section where you have the quick drag and drop option is the body of the email. Just pick one of the blocks and drop it into the body area. I’ve already prepared the email copy and ran it through the Hemingway Editor. So based on this draft I can quickly build my email.

If you want to remove a block, hover over it and click the Bin icon.

To add your own text and to change the style of the blocks, first click on the item to activate it. Then on the right side of the screen you can add your content and change the default settings (e.g. font, font size, font colour, padding, margin).

Footer

At the bottom is the footer section. You can update here

  • your company/business name,
  • address and contact information,
  • the wording for the
  • mandatory unsubscribe section, and
  • you can specify which social media links you want to add.

 

Under Settings you can customize their design according to your needs.

#10 Preview on Mobile screen

Once you’re finished with your email, click on the mobile phone icon and check your design in the mobile preview. You can’t edit it here though. But should anything look weird in this preview, switch back to the desktop view and tweak it a bit.

After everything’s been checked and looks as it should in both views, hit Done Editing. This will bring you back to the Workflow steps and will show your email preview in the workflow.

#11 Activate the automated email series workflow

  1. My current workflow starts when someone subscribes to my newsletter.
  2. They get a welcome email right away, the one I’ve just walked you through in this example.
  3. Then the workflow pauses for about a month before the next email. 

 

If you’re ready to activate your workflow and start sending out the automated emails click the turn on button at the top right. Once emails have been sent, opened by your subscribers, links have been clicked at in your newsletter, you will see the statistical data on your workflow dashboard.

As my newsletter is planned in a monthly cycle even if I activate the workflow now, I have some time to add my next email to the workflow before it’s due.

But I don't know what to write about in my emails

As you’ve seen setting up an automated email series is very easy with MailerLite and you can do that even if you’re on their free plan. The drag & drop email editor gives you endless possibilities to create newsletters, announcements, blog notifications or e-commerce series.

And if you’re struggling with what actually to write about in a welcome email sequence to knock your readers off their feet, watch out for the next post as Maya from SharpshineCopy shares her amazing copywriting tips.

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