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5 Lesser-Known but Highly Effective Email Automations

Looking for some highly-effective email automations most email marketers haven’t bothered to set up? Stand out with these...

One of the most powerful aspects of email marketing is its ability to be automated. 

By automating your email marketing, you not only save yourself time but you’re also able to target the right subscribers with the right message at the right time. 

This makes your email marketing more effective and increases your conversion rates. 

That’s why the importance of email automation is hardly a secret anymore. 

It’s well and truly become common knowledge that you should send automated emails like welcome emails, abandoned carts, post-purchase campaigns, and the like. 

But there are also lesser-known automations that, while not as essential as say your welcome series is, are incredibly effective.

Setting up these automation campaigns will improve the overall effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. This will give your business an edge over competitors and bring in more sales.

So let’s take a look at what some of these automations are and why they’re effective. 

5 Lesser-Known Email Automations

1) Birthday Emails

Let’s start off with a simple and straightforward email automation: Birthday emails. 

As you can probably tell from the name, these emails are sent to wish subscribers a happy birthday on or close to their birthday. Just like in the example below from FitOn.

Birthday email sample
Image source: Really Good Emails

As you can see, this is an incredibly simple and easy email automation to set up. Yet it goes a long way at building customer relationships and making your audience feel appreciated. 

And the stats behind these campaigns demonstrate just how engaging they are.

Compared to regular email marketing, birthday emails enjoy a 179% greater click rate, 481% higher transaction rate, and generate over three times as much revenue.

To set them up, all you have to do is just include a ‘happy birthday’ message and, ideally, a special offer as a gift. 

Of course, you will need to know when your subscribers’ birthdays are as well as other birthday email marketing best practices.

The other great thing about these emails is that, unlike other sale campaigns, they generate a constant stream of additional sales.

This is because your subscribers’ birthdays are spread throughout the year. So you won’t experience a big spike in sales or give away too much margin all at once. It’ll be a more consistent source of sales throughout the year. 

2) Follow Us on Social Media Invitations

Your email and social media marketing strategies shouldn’t exist in isolation from each other. By incorporating them together, you’ll boost the effectiveness of each channel.

And one way you can do this is by inviting subscribers to follow you on your socials with an automated email campaign. 

In its most simple form, this can be achieved by simply telling subscribers why they should be following you. 

If you want to take it up a notch though, you can show them what they’re missing out on by not following you. Just as Society 6 has done in their campaign below. 

Follow up email sample
Image source: Society 6

Essentially, all you really need to do is give subscribers a compelling reason to follow you. If you do that, you’ll start to see your number of social media followers increase. 

This will increase the effectiveness of your social media marketing which will, in turn, improve the success of your business. 

As for when you should automate this campaign to send, making it part of your welcome series is a good starting point. That way you’ll ensure every subscriber receives it. 

Bonus tip: You can also use social media to grow your number of subscribers. You can do this by mentioning your opt-in incentive and directing followers to your sign-up form.

3) Anniversary/Milestone Emails

It’s not just subscribers’ birthdays you can celebrate. Any kind of milestone or anniversary can be worthy of celebration. And therefore an automated email campaign.

While the list of potential occasions you can celebrate are pretty much endless, here are a few ideas:

  • Anniversary of a customer signing up for your email list
  • A customer having made their 5th, 10th, etc. purchase
  • A customer having spent $X at your store
  • Someone reaching a milestone like referring X number of new customers

For a visual example, Twitter celebrates the ‘Twitterversaries’ of its users.

anniversary email sample
Image source: Really Good Emails

Exactly what events you’ll want to automate an email campaign for will depend on your business and what you think your customers value.

Picking the right events is critical to ensuring the campaign makes customers feel special. So make sure you put aside a bit of time to think about this. 

You can then choose how you want to celebrate the occasion. Such as by offering a discount coupon or another special offer.

4) Customer Review Requests

Positive reviews are the ultimate form of social proof. 

In fact, a massive 9 in every 10 customers will read online reviews before making a purchase. 

This means you need to have a targeted strategy for generating these reviews. And one of the best ways of doing this is with email automation. 

In particular, automating a customer review request email after someone’s purchase like in the example below from Wildist. 

customer review request email
Image source: Really Good Emails

You have several options for how you go about automating this campaign. 

For example, you could ask for a review of the specific products or services the customer purchased, or of your brand as a whole. 

You can also ask for a private review that you use internally to gauge customer experience, or ask for a public review for social proof.

If you ask for a public review on social media, it’s best to wait until after someone’s second purchase. That’s because not everyone will have a great first experience but if they’re coming back for a second time, it must’ve been good.

Regularly asking for a private review after their first purchase is also a good way of quickly identifying any customer experience issues. This lets you fix the issues before they affect too many other customers.

5) Replenishment Emails

The last email automation on this list is a commerce-specific one: Replenishment emails. 

Also known as reorder emails, these campaigns are sent after a customer has purchased a particular product that needs regular replenishment. Right when they’re about to run out. 

Examples of products that lead themselves well to this type of automation include:

  • Personal hygiene products like razors, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, etc.
  • Food items like coffee beans and other staples
  • Pet food
  • Toilet paper

While the goal may be to generate more sales, you can easily frame it as a helpful reminder. Just like Purina has done in their campaign below.

reminder email sample
Image source: Purina

Customers also appreciate these types of reminders. Replenishment emails have the greatest click-to-open rate of any email automation. 

You also don’t have to limit yourself strictly to products people purchase on a regular basis. 

If you sell books, you could easily set up a similar ‘what to read next’ style automation. You could have this sent a month after someone’s last purchase and include recommendations based on their last purchase.


Email automation is an incredibly powerful tool for both saving you time and generating sales. 

That’s why you shouldn’t stop at just setting up the most common automations but also consider these less common ones.

Not only will these automations resonate with and engage your audience, but they’ll also lead directly to more sales. So even if you only set a couple of them up, you’ll notice a big improvement in your email marketing performance. 

The only thing left to do is start setting them up! 

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Aaron Wiseman

Aaron Wiseman is a marketing coordinator and content lead at SmartrMail, the easiest way to send emails that delight your customers and get sales. SmartrMail connects natively with your Shopify, Bigcommerce, PrestaShop, Woocommerce, or Neto store

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