5 Must-Have Email Marketing Automations for E-Commerce & Course Creators (With Examples!)

Jeff Felten
April 5, 2022
5 min read

Email marketing can seem a little intimidating when just getting started. People keep saying “The money is in your email list!”, but between tagging, nurturing, and automating, where do you even begin?

To simplify things a bit, an email marketing strategy can be broken into two main categories:

  • Automated emails
  • “Real-time” emails

That’s it!

Though automated emails are the long-term ROI generators for your email strategy (and the topic of this article), I want to quickly point out that “real-time” emails are a vital part of your strategy, as well.

Real-time emails are emails that are sent out on a weekly basis with the intention to simply engage with your audience and be helpful to them. In other words, to “nurture” the relationship you have with them.

Your automated emails work much better when your “real-time” emails are keeping your list relationships healthy!

But that’s a conversation for another article. Let’s dive into the 5 automated email sequences that can generate ROI for your business for years to come.

1. The Welcome Sequence

According to ActiveCampaign, 41% of brands don’t send a welcome email within the first 48 hours, and worse, 27% of brands don’t send any emails within the first three weeks!

The Welcome Sequence should do exactly what it says, it should welcome brand new subscribers to your list — immediately upon subscription.

When someone signs up for your list, it generally means they are interested in your brand. And although they may not be ready to buy your products or services, they want to hear more from you.


In the first email of your Welcome Sequence, deliver the content that they requested, whether that’s a PDF, video, or quiz result. Feel free to share a very quick introduction, but keep it short — they’re likely only interested in the content at first. Save your real introduction for the next email!

In email two of the Welcome Sequence, you have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself, your brand, and your mission. This goes a long way in establishing trust and authority with your readers.

In the next email or two, begin to sprinkle in some value to the readers. Share popular blog content, give away other freebies, or just share a few tips — you’re still working to establish trust and authority before asking them to buy from you.

The last few emails in the Welcome Sequence should incorporate sales techniques such as overcoming objections, paradigm shifts, and direct calls-to-action, as you begin to nudge the readers toward your products or services.

2. The Abandoned Cart Sequence

The e-commerce industry currently loses a staggering $18 billion a year to abandoned carts.

Holy moly.

Needless to say, you’re probably losing out on sales with abandoned carts.

You see, just because someone abandoned their shopping cart, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.

Stuff happens. We get distracted.

Fortunately, email is a fantastic way to recapture those missed opportunities.


The key is that the first email of the sequence goes out pretty quickly. I mean, within the first few hours of abandonment. The first email is when most carts are recovered.

However, don’t stop there. By adding a second email one day later to remind them of their abandoned cart, and another one the next day, you increase your chance of conversion by 63%.

Set up this classic 3-email sequence and it will be an ROI-generating machine for years to come!

3. The Post Purchase Sequence

Believe it or not, the first purchase is not the pinnacle of your relationship with a customer. We want them to buy again…and again.

In order to achieve that, you must continue to nurture the relationship with them after they decide to buy from you.


In your first Post-Purchase email, just say “thank you.” Show them you are truly grateful for their purchase, help them know what to expect next, and remind them of why your business exists in the first place.

Then, in the next email or two in this automated sequence, provide helpful content that will elevate their experience with the product, course, or service they purchased from you.

At this point, they’ve spent some time with your product or course, and they should be ripe to ask for feedback. Gathering feedback is critical for testimonials and for improving your products and customer journey.

A few days after you ask for feedback, you have the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell to other products in your store.

Once you’ve got this automation written and set up, you’ll be surprised at how many extra conversions you’ll pick up over the years while barely lifting a finger.

4. The Nurture Sequence

When we say “nurture” in email marketing, it basically means the opposite of “selling.” The irony, of course, is that nurturing consistently eventually leads to more sales.

Nurture content is content that is helpful to the reader or provides an opportunity for engagement. Instead of always approaching our audience with our hands out looking for a sale, we should give away value without expecting anything in return.

This is truly the secret to building an army of raving fans!


A nurture sequence can be a variety of different things and set up a variety of different ways.

Newsletters, 52 week tip sequences, or if you have less time to invest, a dripped sequence sharing one of your existing blog articles at a time.

Nurture sequences can be stand-alone, especially if it’s a newsletter or 52-week tip sequence, but they can also be attached to another sequence or event. For example, nurture sequences work really well after a Welcome Sequence or following a purchase.

The point is simply to engage with your audience and provide tons of value. Don’t underestimate the power of this when it comes to ROI — you don’t always have to directly ask for the sale to get one.

5. Winback Campaigns

The winback campaign is one of my favorites because the potential is enormous. You see, the first purchase is always the hardest to get from a new prospect, and each one after that gets easier.

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Similarly to the abandoned cart philosophy, customers who have “gone cold” likely haven’t “gone cold” due to dissatisfaction with your product or course.

It’s more likely that they’ve been busy and simply forgotten.

Or, that they don’t know what comes next or what else your brand can offer them.

Winback campaigns are designed to reign these once-customers back in to become current customers once again.


The beautiful thing about a winback campaign?

Most email service providers (ESPs) allow you to trigger a sequence if a customer has been inactive for 30, 60, or 90 days.

This means that you can write a winback sequence, set it to automatically trigger, and kick back while your ESP generates revenue for you in the background.

I like to kick a Winback Campaign off with a small discount or incentive like free shipping, along with a reminder about why they loved the brand in the first place.

In the next email, simply remind them of the offer you sent in the previous email, and showcase a best-seller that they might like.

That’s it!

If discounts and free shipping don’t fit your brand, that’s cool too. Simply send a couple of emails promoting your best-sellers, new products, or social proof in order to win your customers back.

Jeff Felten began email marketing in 2017 as the owner of a coffee company. Over a few years, he built a small army of raving fans who became “organic advocates” of his brand.

Now, with an approach to email marketing that mirrors real, human relationships, Jeff helps solopreneurs and course creators grow their own loyal army of superfans by leveraging the power of the inbox.

If you’d like to work with Jeff, check him out at Content Remedy.

Jeff Felten
Founder at Content Remedy