Automation and segmentation are game-changers for small businesses.

A lot of small businesses tell us they’d love to automate, and know they should be segmenting, but they aren’t sure how to actually do either of those. The great news is, automation and segmentation are actually pretty simple to incorporate into your email marketing program.

So sit back and bookmark this page because we’re about to give you the rundown on how you can automate and segment like a multi-million-dollar corporation.

Because every small business wants to do more, send targeted emails, and reap fantastic results all while saving time and money.


The secrets to smarter segments

You probably know you can segment by age, location, and gender, but if you want to really deliver 1:1 personalization that will drive the results email is known for, you need to think beyond those characteristics to create smarter segments.

Consider segmenting by:

  • Interests — What is a subscriber most interested in hearing about?
  • Purchase history — Have they ever made a purchase on your site? Signed up for a free trial? Maybe they’ve made 100 purchases.
  • Industry — Does a subscriber work in hospitality? Are they in technology?
  • The amount customers have spent — Are they more of a $50-purchase customer or $500?
  • Experience level with your products or services — Are they total beginners or have they been around for a while?
  • Activity on your site — Do they read blog posts? Do they only look at services in a certain category? Create a segment based on how they interact with you.
  • Where they convert — Does a subscriber shop online, in store, or some mixture of both?
  • What emails they engage with — Does a subscriber prefer to hear about promotions or a behind-the-scenes peek into your small business? Maybe they respond and convert when you offer free shipping while others respond to a percentage off.

Read the guide to learn even more about segmentation.


If you’ve broken out in a cold sweat thinking about combing through your data to find this information, don’t! Your CRM and your ESP should be able to tell you this kind of information without much work.

And for the things software can’t tell you, you can always ask. Allow subscribers to self-segment in the preference center by industry and interests so you can deliver personalized and specific messages to everyone on your list.

Most of your subscribers will be glad to give you information if it means receiving better, more specific emails.


Emails you could be automating

Automation is a real game changer. You only have to create an automated email series once. After that, your subscribers will automatically trigger emails in the series when they perform a certain behavior or hit a certain milestone.

You get to provide individual attention to your subscribers without actually sending individual emails.

Emails you should be automating to increase retention and keep your subscribers engaged:

  • A welcome series — A welcome series allows you to introduce your small business to your subscribers, telling your story without overwhelming them. You can say hello, tell them what it means to be a part of your community (AKA your list), tell them your story or mission, and explain what comes next, subconsciously helping them overcome pain points or weak spots in your sales funnel.
    If you only set up one automated series, it should be a welcome series.
  • A birthday email — Birthday emails have a higher-than-average engagement rate and no surprise there. Set up an email that gets triggered on your subscribers’ birthdays to share some birthday wishes. (Depending on your small business, you might even set up automated birthday emails for your subscribers’ pets or children, like the example below).

Birthday automated email example with a dog in a party hat - email from a kennel


  • Forgotten cart emails — A forgotten cart series is a must-have for any small business that relies on e-commerce. Send a quick reminder that creates urgency, encouraging them to go back and make a purchase.
  • Purchase series — After someone has converted on your site, follow up with them. Keep them informed of every stage of the process and build anticipation for your product or service. Afterwards, follow up again and ask for feedback and make sure they have everything they need to use your products or services to the fullest.

Get the guide to learn the marketing automation essentials.


Today’s Challenge

Set up an automated series—whether it’s your first welcome series or something else—and let us know what you learned in the process

[Tweet “Just set up my first automated series: — #SmallBusinessBigResults @Campaign.Monitor” “Share your experience with us on Twitter using #SmallBusinessBigResults and tag @Campaign.Monitor.”]

Next-level automations set up in minutes.

Keep that personal touch with your customers as your business grows. That’s the power of unforgettable email marketing.