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How to create an automated email chain workflow for lead nurturing and conversions

Steps to setup automated email campaigns to help you build relationships with your leads and turn them into customers.

Why is it important:

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for boosting your conversion rate and creating a more solid ground for your buyer’s journey from exploration to conversion. Email marketing tools like MailChimp, Brevo (Previously known as Sendinblue), Constant Contact, Pardot, etc., help you to create a more systematic approach to this process. You can use these tools to send newsletters, create targeted campaigns, and even generate automated messages to your contacts. It allows you to create engaging content and track the performance of your email campaigns.

Automated email campaigns are essential for any business that wants to build relationships with leads and turn them into customers. By sending automated emails, businesses can ensure that their message is delivered at the right time, to the right person, and with the right information. Automated email campaigns allow businesses to nurture leads through each step of their buying journey, giving them valuable content when they need it most. At the same time, automated email campaigns also allow businesses to save time and resources by automating processes that would otherwise require manual effort. With automation, they can reduce administrative costs while increasing the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives.

Things required before you start:

  • You should have an existing website on WordPress and have page-building tools like Elementor installed on it.
  • You should have an existing Brevo (Previously known as Sendinblue) account configured for lead-capturing and emailing facilities. You can refer to our guide on the same too.

Steps to create an automated email chain workflow for lead nurturing and conversions

Step 1: Let’s first explore the basic idea of how this email automation is set up on a high level.

Before you start this process, you need to identify the lead nurturing process and flow that your business needs and your target audience will connect with.

Each business and target audience has its own set of flow and requirements. But the overall flow of an automated email campaign setup usually has the following structure:

  • Lead captured on the website (either through product/service inquiry or through lead magnet).
  • Welcome or initial introductory email sent.
  • Based on their interaction with the email, they fall into different sets of email sequences.
  • Each email sequence is again branched into other conditional email sequence branches.

Lead nurturing email sequence example

Step 2: To create an automated lead nurturing setup, let’s start the process by creating the set of emails you want to send in each sequence.

For that, access the Brevo (previously Sendinblue) homepage and click on Log in.

Brevo website access

Provide the necessary account details on your next screen and click “Log in”.

Brevo account login

Step 3: Once logged in, click on the “Transactional” tab at the left menu panel of the screen.

Transactional emails menu

Step 4: For the first time, you need to configure the SMTP.

Click on the next button under the segment “Configurations – SMTP settings”.

Copy the details given under the segment.

SMTP configurations for the automation

Proceeding to the next step

Step 5: On a different web browser, open your WordPress website.

Hover over to the Plugins area on the left menu panel and click on Add New.

Plugins menu on WordPress

On the next screen, type in SMTP in the search box, and from the search results, click on “Install Now” next to the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

WP Mail SMTP plugin search

Once installed, click on the Activate button.

Step 6: On the next screen, click on “Get Started” to start configuring the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

WP Mail SMTP plugin - get started

Step 7: Select the SMTP Mailer as Brevo and then click on the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom right corner of the screen.

WP Mail SMTP plugin to Brevo connect

Save and continue

Step 8: Provide the necessary details in the next screen:

  • API key – Provide the one generated and saved during the initial configuration of the Brevo account. If you haven’t created one, then follow our initial setup guide to know how to create one.
  • Domain name – Provide the domain name from which the email will be sent.
  • From Name
  • From Email Id.

Once done, click on Save & Continue.

WP Mail SMTP plugin search - API keys setup

Step 9: On the next screen, keep the default selections and click “Save and Continue”.

Similarly, on the next screen, provide your contact email id and click “Save and Continue”.

WP Mail SMTP plugin - Email

Step 10: On the next step, click on “Skip This Step” to continue.

Skip the step

Later on, on the next screen, click on “Finish Setup”.

WP Mail SMTP plugin - Finished the setup

Step 11: Once done, click on the “email Test” tab, and on that screen, type in the email id to which you want to send the test email.

Then click on “Send Email”.

WP Mail SMTP plugin - Sending test email from the website

Step 12: Switch back to the Brevo screen, and under the Configuration segment under the SMTP configuration screen, click “Next”.

Brevo SMTP setup - Proceeding the next step

Step 13: On the next segment, you will now see logs of the test email that you had sent just now.

Scroll down and then click on “It Works”.

Brevo SMTP setup - Successful integration

Step 14: On the next screen, click on “Templates” on the left menu panel and then click on “Create my first SMTP template”.

Brevo SMTP setup - Creating the first template

Step 15: Provide the details for the email setup.

  • Provide a name for the template to easily identify it at a later stage.
  • Provide a personalized subject line and one that grabs their attention.
  • Provide a preview text for them to view even before opening the email.

Brevo SMTP setup - transactional email setup

To personalize the subject line, it is a good practice to add the receiver’s name in it so that it grabs their attention and they can connect with it more.

To do so, click on the “Add Personalization” button next to the Subject line textbox. Remember to use this option when the cursor is at the exact point where you want to add the personalization.

Brevo SMTP email setup - adding personalization

On the next screen, from the dropdown, select the attribute that you want to use from the list’s details. Remember, this can only work when you have captured the lead’s attribute (e.g., FirstName) from your lead form itself. If your lead form had only the email field as input or the Name field was not a compulsory field, then this attribute (e.g., FirstName) might be blank and don’t have any data. For such a situation, you need to add a replacement word that can be used in case this attribute returns “no data”. For that, use the corresponding textbox to provide the replacement word.

Once done, click on “Insert”.

Brevo SMTP setup - Personalization backup

Similarly, you need to provide the From Email and From Name details, which will be shown as the contact details of the sender of the email to the receiver.

Brevo transactional emails setup - providing the email and name fields

Once done, click on the “Next Step” button at the top right corner of the screen.

Brevo transactional emails setup - proceeding to next step

Step 16: On the next screen, you need to select the style of the email template that you would like to set. Brevo provides you with a set of readymade templates, which you can use for your email content creation.

Each template has an associated theme like “sell a product” or “tell a story” etc. But our recommendation is that we initially go for the plain text-based email format. As plain text emails are preferred by spam filters for more legitimacy, allowing them to land directly into users’ inboxes. So, during the initial days when your email id is not that known to the receiver’s spam filters, this will ensure your email doesn’t get recognized as Spam and not pushed to the respective folder.

For that, click on the last option of the templates, i.e. plain text-based email.

Brevo transactional emails - setting up the type of email template

Step 17: Brevo’s email creator tool will open up.

Let’s look at the four main components of the tool:

  1. This tab is used for toggling between the Content related components to add to the email or use previously saved blocks in the email, or change the design aspect of the currently active block on the email. Hence the tabs “Content”, “Saved blocks,” and “Design”.
  2. This is the area where the components under the selected tab will be displayed. As you can see, for the content-related components, you have a variety of them, from simple text to Title (headings) to buttons to logos to payment links and more.
  3. This is the main email content area; you can drag and drop components from segment 2 to this area at your desired positions and then edit it by clicking on it.
  4. You can use this Save and Quit button to save the work till a point and quit this tool.

Brevo transactional emails setup - using the email designer

Step 18: You can personalize your email content too. It is similar to the steps you took for the subject line personalization.

Once your cursor is at the point within the text where you want to add the personalized element, click on the human-like icon on the text editor toolbar at the top of the text.

Brevo transactional emails setup - adding personalization

On the following popup, select the attribute and the replacement word, as discussed earlier.

Brevo transactional emails setup- personalization backup

Step 19: Once you have created your email content. Click on the “Save & Quit” button.

Brevo transactional emails setup - Saving the progress

Step 20: You will be taken to the next step, where the newly created email will be displayed, and you can either send a test email to your own email id to see how it looks or press the “Save & Activate” button to start using the template.

Brevo transactional emails setup - Saving and activating

Step 21: Now click on the Transaction tab at the left side menu panel of the screen.

Brevo transactional email menu

Then click on the “Templates” option on the left menu panel to return to the template creation area to create corresponding email chains.

Brevo transactional emails template menu

Step 22: You can create the set of emails you will need for the automation workflow, either by starting from scratch or duplicating the existing template and then editing it.

To start from scratch, click on the “New Template” button.

Brevo transactional emails setup - adding a new template

To duplicate the email template, click on the “More” dropdown link on the right corner of the email template that you want to duplicate. And then, from the dropdown, select “Duplicate”.

Brevo transactional emails setup - duplicating the existing template

Click on okay on the next screen.

Brevo transactional emails setup - duplicate confirmation

A new email version will come up under the “Inactive” tab of the email templates.

Now click on the Edit button that comes up when you hover over the name of the template, and then start editing the email template according to the requirement.

Brevo transactional emails setup - moving to the inactive tab

Step 23: Now, create all the emails (that are part of the automation workflow) in a similar way as per the required content.

Brevo transactional emails templates list

Step 24: Now click on the “Automation” tab at the left menu panel of the screen.

Brevo setting up the automation - menu

Step 25: On the next screen click on “Create your first workflow”.

Brevo setting up the automation - creating the first email automation

Step 26: You will be shown a list of already existing workflow templates that you can reuse for your own website.

For this example, we will go with a customized workflow.

Click on the “Custom automation“.

Brevo setting up the email automation - opting for customized automation

Step 27: Provide a meaningful name to the workflow and a description. Keep the Entry conditions as default (not selected) and then click on “Create automation”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - providing details

Step 28: Click on the “+” button at the top of the segment “Add an entry point“.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding the entry point

Step 29: You will have 4 types of events (Email activities, Contact details, Form submissions, Website Activity) that can define a contact’s entry into this workflow. In our case, we have associated it with a contact’s entry into a list.

i.e. whenever someone downloads the lead magnet and submits the form, they are added to a specific list on Brevo (Follow our guide to know how to connect your website’s lead forms with Brevo’s lists). And whenever a new contact is added to that specific list, it will trigger this automation workflow.

For that, click on the option “Contact Details” and then from the list that comes up, select “A Contact is added to a list”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting entry point condition

Step 30: Select the desired list from the dropdown menu and then click on Ok.

Note: If you haven’t created the required list and not connected it with a website leads form then do it before your proceed with these steps. Follow our guide for doing so.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting the related list

Step 31: Now once the entry criteria is selected. Click on the “+” sign just below the entry criteria block.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding subsequent steps

Step 32: From the list now select, the option “Send email”.

Note: This is the first step of the automation and usually starts with the welcome/thank you email delivery for signing up or submitting the lead form. In case you have another workflow in mind with a different step, then choose the action accordingly.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting an action

Step 33: On the next screen, select the desired email to be sent from the dropdown list and then click on “Ok”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting the email template

Step 34: Now to get a desired action on the email you need to at time provide some time to the receiver. So let’s add a delay of 1 day before the next action.

To do so, click on the “+” icon next to the Step 1’s segment.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding a subsequent step

Scroll down on the next list that appears to a segment called “condition” and click on

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding a delay

Step 35: On the next screen set the delay time using the numerical value field and the dropdown list.

And, once done, then click on “Ok” to continue.

Brevo setting up the email automation - setting the delay time

Step 36: Once the delay is added, you now need to branch out the automation into two segments based on their interaction with the 1st email. For which we need to add a condition to check whether the receiver open the email or not.

To do so, click on the “+” icon just below the recently added Delay segment.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding steps after the delay

And from the next list, scroll down to the Conditions segment and select “If/Else conditions”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - setting the conditional flow

Step 37: On the next screen, you will have 4 different segments of conditions that you can use for this operator. From that, select “Transactional Email Activity”.

Note: Transactional email activity will help you align the workflow based on the email interaction the receiver had with any automated mailer. Meanwhile, “Email Marketing Activity” is used to align it with interactions on already executed Brevo’s marketing email campaigns. So, in case of automated mailer-related conditions, we need to ensure that we select “Transactional Email Activity”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - setting if/else conditions

Step 38: You can select the email interaction type that you will be tracking like “Email open” or “clicks” or “unsubscribe”. Then from the templates dropdown list select the email for which that interaction is to considered as a condition.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting the email template's behaviour for the conditional logic

Step 39: Once done, click on the Ok button.

Brevo setting up the email automation - proceeding

Step 40: Click on the “+” icon under the “No” branch of the newly created condition and then let’s automate the reminder mail.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding steps for a negative condition result

From the list click on “Send an email”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - sending the email for the no condition

And on the next screen, select the Reminder mail template and then click on Ok.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting email template

Step 41: Similarly, you can set the action corresponding to the Yes branch of the condition. So, in this case you want to send the lead nurture email 1 to the receivers who have opened your earlier email.

For that, click on the “+” icon under the Yes branch of the condition segment.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting the yes conditional output

On the next screen click on “Send an email”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - email setup

And on the next screen, select the Lead nurture 1 mail template and then click on Ok.

Brevo setting up the email automation - selecting the yes condition email template

Step 42: Similarly keep on creating the branching steps based on your conditions and the flow of emails that is needed for this automation.

Brevo final email automation setup

Note: If for a following segment of the workflow you have a similar set of steps which you have already set in a branch on the workflow, then for that part you can connect it with the step number from which the flow is to be repeated. You will get a corresponding action in the list as “Go to another step”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - conditional option for skipping steps

Step 43: You need to setup exit conditions too if a user on this automation has already taken the desired action even before finishing this automation flow.

For e.g. The lead that you are nurturing through the automation flow, if they take a purchase action on your website, you need to take them out of the automation flow, to avoid confusion. As you don’t want your customers to feel that they are part of automated email chains.

To do so, click on the segment at the bottom of the workflow.

Brevo setting up the email automation - exit condition setup

Step 44: On the next screen, click on “Add a condition” under the section “Exit the workflow”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - adding exit condition

You can set it up based on website activity also. For e.g. if a user purchases something on your website, if you redirect them to a thank you or success page then you can add a condition involving the same. So that, whenever a participant of the automation flow visits the success page, they will exit this automation.

To do so, click on the option “Website Activity” and then from the sub-list select “A contact visits a page”.

Brevo setting up the email automation - exit condition based on website activity

On the next screen, select the type of condition that you want to set and then the value to check. Once done, click on Ok and then click outside the Exit and Restart Condition selection box.

Brevo setting up the email automation - conditional exit

Step 45: Once done, click on the “Activate automation” button at the top right corner of the screen to activate the automated workflow.

Now you can create quite a few sets of email automation for your website like:

  1. Welcome email series: A welcome email series introduces new subscribers to your brand, products, or services. This type of flow usually consists of a series of 2-3 emails, which are sent in the first few days after a subscriber joins your list. Examples of the types of emails involved in this flow are:
  • Welcome email: This is the first email in the series that greets the new subscribers, thanks them for joining, and provides them with some basic information about your brand, products, or services.
  • Introduction email: This email provides more detailed information about your company and your products, including any unique selling propositions and how your products can solve a problem the subscriber might have.
  • Offer email: This email provides the new subscriber with a special offer or discount code to incentivize them to make their first purchase.
  1. Educational email series: An educational email series provides subscribers with valuable information and resources that will help them understand more about your industry or niche. This type of flow can consist of several emails sent over a period of weeks or even months. Examples of the types of emails involved in this flow are:
  • Educational email: This email provides subscribers with useful information that will help them better understand your industry or niche. This could include tips, tricks, or how-to guides that help them solve a problem or improve their skills.
  • Blog post email: This email shares a recent blog post or article that is relevant to the subscriber’s interests and provides them with more information about a particular topic related to your industry.
  • Webinar invite email: This email invites subscribers to a free webinar where they can learn more about specific topics related to your industry or niche.
  1. Re-engagement email series: A re-engagement email series encourages subscribers who have not engaged with your emails in a while to become active again. This type of flow may consist of multiple emails sent over a period of weeks or months. Examples of the types of emails involved in this flow are:
  • Reminder email: This email reminds inactive subscribers about your brand and entices them to take action by visiting your website or making a purchase.
  • Special offer email: This email provides inactive subscribers with a special offer or discount as an incentive to engage with your brand again.
  • Survey email: This email asks inactive subscribers for their feedback on why they have not been engaging with your emails and how you can better serve their needs in the future.
  1. Abandoned cart email series: An abandoned cart email series is used to recover lost sales by reminding subscribers who have added items to their cart but did not complete the purchase. This type of flow generally consists of 1-3 emails sent over a period of days. Examples of the types of emails involved in this flow are:
  • Reminder email: This email reminds subscribers about the items they left in their cart and encourages them to complete the purchase.
  • Offer email: This email offers subscribers a discount or special offer to incentivize them to complete their purchase.
  • Limited time offer email: This email creates urgency by letting the subscriber know that the items they left in their cart are only available for a limited time and urges them to take action.
  1. Upsell email series: An upsell email series encourages subscribers to make additional or higher-value purchases. This type of flow generally consists of 1-3 emails sent over a period of weeks or months. Examples of the types of emails involved in this flow are:
  • Complementary products email: This email offers complementary products or services that may extend the value of the subscriber’s existing purchase.
  • Upgrade email: This email invites subscribers to upgrade their current product or plan to a higher tier with more features or benefits.
  • Limited-time offer email: This email creates urgency by offering a limited-time discount or special offer on higher-value products or plans.

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