In today’s fast-paced digital world, marketing your business can involve juggling many marketing tasks. While you can’t add more hours to a day, the good news is you can easily streamline many of these tasks and stay on top of your game with marketing automation

Automation allows you to automate time-consuming and repetitive marketing tasks, from email campaigns to social media posts and beyond. It takes care of the nitty-gritty pieces of your strategy so you can focus on the big picture. 

Using proven marketing automation examples as inspiration, while planning your automation workflows, can help you quickly create effective automation campaigns.  

From welcome emails to abandoned cart campaigns, we will discuss when to use these campaigns, what goals they can help you achieve, and how these marketing automation examples can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase sales.

What are the benefits of using marketing automation?

Marketing automation benefits your business no matter what stage it is in. The greatest benefit is the time and energy it saves you by automatically handling tasks such as scheduling posts, sending emails, and tracking leads. This means you can focus on important tasks like developing new strategies, creating content, and engaging with your customers, which can help you grow your business faster. 

Another benefit of marketing automation is it can help you to better target and personalize your marketing efforts. By using data and analytics to understand your customer’s behaviors and preferences, you can create more relevant and effective marketing campaigns. This can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates, as well as increased customer loyalty and advocacy.

Marketing automation can also help you streamline your sales process by providing your sales team with more qualified leads and insights into customer behaviors, which can improve your overall sales performance.

What are the best marketing automation examples?

You don’t have to have a huge marketing budget or be a technological whiz kid to benefit from email marketing automation. With the right strategy, you can streamline your marketing processes and reduce manual effort, all while creating more engaging campaigns.  

To get you started in the right direction, here are some of the best marketing automation examples out there, along with tips on how you can utilize them to upgrade your marketing strategy:

Welcome emails

An automated welcome series is specifically for your new subscribers. It introduces them to your brand, products, or services and gets them excited for future communications. 

marketing automation examples of welcome emails in a series
A welcome-email series is designed to captivate new subscribers and nurture relationships.

A welcome series doesn’t have to be complicated or long. In this marketing automation example, a user signed up for a coupon for a free class. Once the form was submitted, it triggered the initial email welcoming them to the email list, showing them how to redeem their free class and what to expect moving forward. The second email in the series is an invitation to connect with the business on other marketing channels.  

You can expand your welcome series beyond two emails by including polls or special offers as additional emails. Then take your workflow a step further by including click segmentation in the second and third emails of your series, which could add subscribers to another email workflow based on their actions.


This automation is often used as a follow-up after a purchase and makes sure customers have what they need to be successful.

an example of a three-email series of onboarding emails all controlled through automation
A simple onboarding automation campaign. With this type of campaign,  you can deliver relevant content, and resources, and ask for feedback from engaged customers. This helps ensure your customers have the best experience possible.

The above example illustrates what a simple onboarding campaign could look like. The first email provides the next steps to take after the customer’s site goes live, the second provides them with information on how to be successful with their purchase (in this case, how to use their site dashboard), and finally, the third email asks them to review their experience. 

Lead Nurturing

This campaign type sends a series of emails to leads over time to encourage a sale. It is tailored for them and is often based on their interactions with your brand/company. For non-profits, you could use this to drive donations. For example, you can identify new subscribers who haven’t donated yet and nurture them with information to encourage a donation. 

marketing automation example of a three-email series for lead nurturing
Lead nurture email series enables you to engage and cultivate relationships with potential customers/donors through carefully curated emails to help encourage a sale.

Topical/Subject matter specific

This series is excellent for repurposing timeless content you have created. These campaigns are easy to implement as you can use any previously sent emails or written blog posts and put them into a series of emails.

example of making sure your automated emails are personalized by being subject-matter specific
This email from National Geographic does a great job of utilizing written content to help engage its subscriber base. (Source)

National Geographic does a great job of including articles and other written or visual content in their automated series; their ultimate goal is to direct readers to their site to either log in or subscribe to read the full piece.

Cross-selling or Upselling

These campaigns offer complementary products or services based on a customer’s past purchases or company interactions.

an example of how to upsell in your marketing automation
This automated upsell email from Spotify is used to try to get free users to upgrade to their premium subscription. (Source)

This Spotify email is a great example of a marketing automation upsell campaign — it is sent to free users to get them to upgrade to their premium version. 

Win-back or re-engagement campaigns

Who doesn’t love a happy reunion? These campaigns are designed to entice former (or inactive) customers to come back and make a purchase or engage with your brand in some way. These campaigns can be highly effective for B2B and B2C businesses and automatically send messaging based on customers’ inactions (like not opening your last four emails).  

An example of how AI can automatically send out re-engagement emails based on inactivity
Cuisinart works to reengage subscribers and clean out their email list by sending an automated email to anyone who hasn’t opened an email within a certain time frame and asking them to stay or opt out of their list. (Source)

For example, in this email, Cuisinart is looking to re-engage inactive mailing list subscribers. They provide subscribers with not only a way to customize their preferences (so they only receive content they are interested in) but they also provide a way for uninterested subscribers to opt out of any further campaigns.

Abandoned carts 

Predominantly applicable to B2C businesses, this series works to turn window shoppers into paid customers and existing customers into repeat customers. They are so effective that according to Annex Cloud, 10.7% of people who receive an abandoned cart email return to the website to make a purchase. 

These triggered emails are sent to customers who had placed your products in their cart but didn’t complete their purchase and serve as a gentle reminder to come back and finish what they started. Just follow abandoned cart best practices to ensure you’re set up for success every time.  

If the customer is based in the US, users get a standard abandoned cart email, prompting them to buy and feature additional products they may be interested in. However, if the user is international, they are sent an email stating international shipping is not offered and provides them with a way to find a location to purchase products near them.

If you want to do something similar, just remember to collect the data you need to properly segment your audience (you could collect the additional information you need from survey data or click segmentation). 

VIP/Customer rewards/Loyalty program

These automated emails keep customers up-to-date on their rewards status and offer special perks based on their loyalty level.

Loyalty programs are perfect for using AI automation tools to automatically send members point updates
Keep rewards members up to date on their rewards status to fuel excitement and spur more sales. (Source)

This automated Taco Bell ad keeps their rewards program customers up-to-date on their points totals. It also links them directly to their account, where they can engage further.

Renewals, annual sales events, etc.

These automations remind subscribers of upcoming subscription renewals, annual sales events, or any other regularly-timed company news or events.

Renewals and annual reminders for things like sales and fundraisers are perfect marketing automation examples
Letting your contacts know about an expiring subscription keeps them from missing out on the stuff they love. (Source)

Apple doesn’t miss a beat when informing subscribers of an expiring music subscription. Their clean, simple email asks them if they like what they’ve been hearing and encourages them to sign up for automatic renewal, and gives them a bold call to action (CTA) button to take action.

Surveys and Reviews

These campaigns are sent out after a purchase, product update, or program completion. They encourage customers to talk about their experiences, which fosters healthy customer relationships and improves overall satisfaction rates. These are great to send after a purchase or at the end of an onboarding series.

SMS text messages can be set on autopilot as well
With SMS text messaging automation, you can easily send review requests directly to your customer’s phone

Birthday or anniversary emails

This campaign type is a great way to foster deep customer relationships and loyalty. It is sent to subscribers on their birthday, a personal anniversary, or even an anniversary with your company, often with a special discount to celebrate them. If you want to start sending out birthday or anniversary emails, remember to collect those dates and add them to your list.

Gather birthday and anniversary information from your recipients and set up anniversary and birthday emails to be sent out every year via marketing automation.
Sending emails out for your customers’ special occasions lets them know that the relationship isn’t strictly one-way.

How automation can fit into your marketing strategy

Marketing automation can be a valuable tool for small businesses looking to streamline their marketing efforts, improve customer engagement, and reach their marketing goals.  They allow you to target your messages based on recipient behavior and further personalize your marketing. Get started by:

  1. Defining your marketing goals.
  2. Knowing who your target audience is.
  3. Understanding what your audience needs to know at this stage in your relationship.
  4. Deciding on your message frequency.
  5. Being clear on what action you want your audience to take.

Dip your toe into marketing automation by creating a simple welcome or product purchase follow-up series.  These can provide a personalized experience for new subscribers or customers, and you’ll be able to see a positive impact on engagement and conversions quickly. 

Automation workflows can be triggered by many actions, such as a free class signup or a purchase, and can be as long or short as you want. Just be sure to keep the customer journey in mind as you craft them.

As you become more comfortable with automation, you can take it further with advanced automations that can lead your audience down specific automation paths

This is done by personalizing your customer interactions based on their specific needs and behavior. Capabilities such as click segmentation, which allow you to track and analyze the links and buttons your customer clicks on within your email or website, can be used to create an automated series that guides your customers towards the content and offers most relevant to them. 

For example, if your customer clicks on a link about a specific product, you can create a series of emails that provide more information about that product (or even offer a discount). On the other hand, if they click on a link about your brand story, you can create a different series that focuses on building deeper connections with your brand.

Use customer journey paths to create and execute more complex marketing automations
A more advanced workflow. First, the workflow segments the audience by location (is the user based in the United States?) and puts them on the appropriate path. Then the workflow further segments the audience based on their interaction with the email (did the user click on the link?).

This type of personalization can help to build trust and credibility with your customers, as it shows you understand their interests and are actively working to meet their needs. 

You can also incorporate cross-selling and upselling campaigns,  in-depth lead nurturing, and segmented abandoned cart campaigns. These advanced strategies will work together to ensure your customers receive relevant and engaging content at every stage of their journey with your brand.

The future is bright with marketing automation

Creating and growing a small business is no easy task; as your business grows, it’s essential to find ways to keep up. Even with limited resources, marketing automation can make a big difference in streamlining your marketing efforts and improving productivity. 

If you’re looking to boost your marketing efforts with automation, start by identifying your goals and building a simple workflow such as a welcome series.  Then, once you have your initial workflow up and running, you can slowly scale your efforts to add additional workflows or advanced automations as you are able.  With the right approach, marketing automation can be a game-changer for your small business.