Top Automations in Email Marketing for Service Businesses

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We’re diving deep into the magical world of email marketing for service businesses, specifically focusing on email automation and how it can transform your business.

Whether you’re a coach, consultant, freelancer, contractor, or provide done-for-you work, this is for you!

If you have an e-commerce business, I’ve got you covered in Episode 61 of my Easy Email Marketing Podcast, and in my blog, ‘Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Automations’. Or for those in the digital product space with courses, memberships, downloads, or any of those goodies, check out Episode 65.

However, let’s focus on service-based businesses for now.

There’s often a misconception that automation and personalised service don’t mix, but this couldn’t be further from the truth…

Email automation can simplify and streamline your delivery processes while also boosting your sales.

It’s easy to see why automation works for an e-commerce business with abandoned cart emails. However, leveraging those same capabilities for service-based businesses is equally powerful!

First off, let’s clear up the difference between marketing and sales.

It’s a blurry line, I know.

Marketing’s primary goal is to generate leads, while sales focus on converting those leads.

Back in my corporate days, my job in marketing was to gather as many potential leads as possible and help the sales team prioritise them. Now, as a small business owner, I wear both hats, and separating the two can be tricky, but the philosophy remains the same.

For marketing, we want to generate leads and identify the most valuable ones for follow-up. Automation can help here, making some follow-ups automatic while keeping others personal.

The key is to focus on the most engaged leads by growing your email list, regularly sending out content, and monitoring who engages and responds to your call-to-actions.

Luckily for you, I’m sharing seven powerful ways you can use email automation to boost your sales and make your service delivery a breeze.

Read on to find out more.


Automation 1 – Welcome Series

The first crucial automation is your welcome series.

When someone first signs up for your email list, it’s essential to send a few key emails over a week or two to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they need to be to make an informed decision about working with you.

In service-based businesses, this process takes a bit longer.

Unlike e-commerce, where customers exchange money for a product, we’re asking people to invest their time, which is often a rare resource. Plus, we might be asking them to make a change, which can be uncomfortable.

Therefore, your welcome series needs to do a lot more work to start building trust with you as a service provider.

This series should help them understand why previous solutions haven’t worked, highlight what makes your approach different, and show how you can help them. It’s also crucial to address and overcome any excuses they might have and make them feel worthy of investing this time in themselves.

Ultimately, the welcome series is vital for establishing trust and having deeper conversations to help people make an informed choice. Often, people who actively sign up are looking for a solution to their problem right now.

Therefore, providing as much information as possible upfront, including an invitation to work with you or have a discovery call, is essential in effective email marketing for service businesses.


Automation 2 – Content Funnels

The second valuable automation, especially for service providers, is the content funnel that follows your welcome series.

I’ve previously broken down exactly what a content funnel is and why you need one, so be sure to check out Episode 18 of my Easy Email Marketing Podcast.

In a nutshell, a content funnel involves sending an email every week or every two weeks after the welcome series ends. This acts as a bridge before subscriber’s transition to your regular newsletter updates.

This is your chance to repurpose some of your best content, discuss foundational evergreen topics, and provide amazing value to your newest subscribers. Regular calls to action throughout the content funnel help nurture these leads, which is crucial because, as mentioned earlier, it often takes more nurturing to encourage people to commit to change or invest their time.

Essentially, the content funnel is the next key step!

It ensures that after the welcome series, you’re regularly showing up with valuable content aimed at helping subscribers make informed decisions about working with you.

Once your content funnel is in place, you can start getting more proactive with your sales. One effective way to do this is through a browser abandonment automation.

While commonly used in e-commerce, it can also be incredibly effective for email marketing for service businesses. You can do this by setting up site tracking on your website, to monitor if someone on your email list visits your services or sales page.

If they don’t book a service, you can automate an email to ask if they have any questions or even offer a special promotion.

You can also set up notifications for yourself to reach out personally. This way, instead of targeting everyone on your list, you can focus on those actively exploring your website and considering your services and following up from there.


Top automations in email marketing for service businesses


Automation 3 – The Nine Word Email

Another great tool that I really love using in email marketing for service businesses, is something called the nine-word email. This isn’t my invention, but I can vouch that it’s fantastic!

You can use it as a standard campaign anytime, but I particularly love using it a few weeks, months, or even a year after someone first signs up for your email list.

The concept is simple: the subject line just says “Hi” followed by their name, and the email content asks, “Are you still looking for help with blank?” You fill in the blank with whatever service you provide. For example, “Are you still looking for help with your email marketing?” There are no images, no signature, nothing else—just that one sentence.

The goal of the nine-word email is to get replies and start a conversation. It helps filter out the most interested leads from the larger pool you’re hopefully generating.


Automation 4 – Integrating with CRM

Another way we can leverage automation in our sales process is by integrating with your CRM, or customer relationship management system.

You might not have one yet, and that’s okay. However, many service-based businesses use CRMs like ASANA or ActiveCampaign, which offer excellent functionalities, especially on the plus plan.

The idea behind integrating with a CRM is to have a pipeline of leads, each moving through stages of contact, booking, or signing contracts. Automation can be added to this process to streamline and enhance your sales efforts. For instance, when someone moves from one stage to the next, you can automate actions like sending out emails with specific instructions or reminders.

For example, when a client books to work with you, an automated email can be triggered immediately, prompting them to complete a form or sign a contract. This automation helps with efficient delivery and ensures no manual follow-ups are missed, especially with a high volume of leads.

You can also use custom fields to personalise these automated emails, making them more engaging and relevant to each client. Additionally, you can set up notifications for yourself to remind you to follow up with leads who may need additional attention.

By automating repeatable actions in your sales process, you save time and ensure a smoother workflow. This automation can be applied not only after someone books with you but also throughout the entire sales process. Personally, I love using pipelines for both delivery and sales—it’s a win-win!


For more, get the course Service Sales Pack


Automation 5 – Onboarding Experience

After they’ve first booked in with you, we can create an onboarding experience for them.

This involves automating emails that outline what they can expect when working with you, the process details, additional resources and tools, preparation tips for the first session, or simply providing a warm message to alleviate any nerves or concerns they may have.

While we continue to send booking confirmation and reminder emails through our calendar software, adding these special customer service touchpoints can truly surprise and delight our customers. It reinforces their decision to work with us and creates a positive experience right from the start.


Automation 6 – Rebooking Reminders

We can also include rebooking reminders in our automation.

For services that require regular appointments, like a hairdresser, we can set up reminders to check if a client hasn’t booked their next appointment after a certain period, such as six weeks.

If they haven’t, we can send them an email reminding them to schedule their next appointment and provide a convenient booking link. We can then send another reminder if they still haven’t rebooked, encouraging them to come back and continue their service with us.

This helps in retaining clients and ensuring they stay engaged with our services.


Automation 7 – Offboarding Your Client Base

The final automation or group of automations I’m sharing with you is all about what happens after you’ve worked with someone. For those one-off services that aren’t recurring, having an off-boarding series is incredibly beneficial.

First, it sets a clear boundary. When someone finishes working with you, you can send an email saying, “It was fantastic working with you. I will continue to provide support until [specific date], but after that, if you want to work together more, here are your options: A, B, and C.”

You might include extra resources that will help them, summarize the work you’ve done together, and clearly state that your time together is ending on a specific date.

This prevents clients from continuously coming back with additional questions and establishes a professional boundary.

An off-boarding series also provides an opportunity to upsell.

You can offer a retainer package, book another session, or suggest next-level services. Including these options helps keep clients engaged and offers them continued value.

And, of course, there’s the all-important testimonial request!

If you’re like me and often forget to ask for testimonials, automating this request at the end of your service ensures you don’t miss out on valuable client feedback. This simple step can significantly enhance your credibility and attract new clients.



To bring it all together…

Hopefully, you’ve found at least one of these automation ideas to implement today.

Head over to your email marketing software and ask yourself, “How can I set this up now?” It’s not as hard as it seems—just take that first step and get started. Email marketing for service businesses is harder than it looks!

If you’re feeling inspired and want more support and guidance, I highly recommend my course, SERVICE SALES PACK. In this course, you’ll learn a full range of sales tactics tailored for your service business and discover how to seamlessly integrate your CRM with your email marketing.




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