Email automation can seem quite complex to the beginner. There’s so much potential that it can be hard to know where to begin. But it’s actually surprisingly easy to kick off a simple email automation. And starting simply is the best way to go as it allows you to learn and build a foundation of knowledge and experience that will allow you evolve into more sophisticated systems over time.

To set the scene, I’m going to presume you are a small to medium size business with probably an existing email platform that you send emails out through. Presumably also, you already have a webform set up on your site to capture leads.

One of the many benefits of marketing automation is speed of response. You can be responding to customers even when your business is closed. So an essential component is that the leads from your website are able to feed straight into your email platform as soon as they are captured.

Your webform – how you capture emails

So your webform needs to either be provided by your email platform, or integrate with it so that there is an immediate flow of data. Wufoo provides a pretty reasonable form system that can be embedded into most website platforms or used as standalone forms. If you have a WordPress website there are free options such as Jetpack or premium options with lots of configurability such as Gravity Forms.

Your email platform

You also need an email platform that can provide automated emails. This is pretty much the norm now. Even free email options can provide it. And since we’re talking about the easiest way to get started with marketing automation, we’re also going to make it the cheapest.

Mailchimp offers a free plan with basic automation included. This makes it a perfect way to get started with marketing automation. So if you already have an existing form on your website then we need to ensure that the leads coming from this are getting into Mailchimp.

Mailchimp makes this easy by providing their own form builder and it’s forms that can easily be embedded on practically any website. It’s especially easy for WordPress sites.

Connecting your form to your email platform

If you’re already using a popular form provider then chances are that it may already integrate with Mailchimp so you can continue with it but just setup an additional feed into Mailchimp. Another option is to connect it with a tool like Zapier.

Once you have your leads flowing into Mailchimp then it’s simply a case of setting up the automation. You need to define a trigger for starting the journey. This is the criteria that a new lead must meet in order to begin receiving you emails.

Your automated email journey

So what do you send these new leads? The best way to start is with some kind of welcome or more information series. But even a series can begin with just a single email while you work out all the kinks. It’s always best to start modestly with marketing automation. There is a learning curve and you need time to get the mindset of the logic behind how it will all work. Then once you’re familiar with the basic principles, you can always add additional emails into the series once everything is up and running.

Start simple, and grow

On one hand, marketing automation is extremely simply. And once you get the hang of it you’ll see how this is the case. However, it can also be extremely complex and without proper management, you can easily end up with a complex unwieldy nightmare to manage. Simplicity is the key. It’s easy to start covering off every possible scenario, but that quickly leads to a paralysed system. Marketing automation can be awesome for a business, but it needs the correct management. This basically boils down to keeping it simple.

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