Are you pursuing the “set-it-and-forget-it” lifestyle of automated entrepreneurship?

Maybe you still dream of that promised 4-hour work week ol’ Tim Ferriss convinced us was at our fingertips.

Or maybe all that’s in the past because you’re living it right now.

If you’re an email marketer, we’re going to end that dream. Well, kinda.

Really, we’re just convinced that too much automation is a bad thing. Especially when it comes to what most marketers do with the most common email automation across businesses: the welcome series.

Let’s be real though: if your #1 goal for engagement is trust and brand development, an automated welcome series is ideal. All your emails are written from your brand voice and its success will hinge on whether you can sell other skus to new and existing customers.

However, if your #1 goal for engagement is revenue, then you can kick your welcome series automation to the curb. Let’s dive into why by answering a question we’ve heard from the email-curious:

How long should a welcome series be?

As we said earlier,  if your #1 goal for engagement is trust and brand development, then a multi-email welcome series to a new customer or contact is paramount. This is the ideal fit for a DTC brand looking to sell numerous products to the contact over their lifetime, or if you plan to upgrade the contact into a subscription customer. 

If your #1 goal for engagement is to generate revenue, then a one-email automation is actually all you need. This is an ideal fit for a direct response business focused on fast cash flow. The goal isn’t necessarily to build a loyal customer, but instead to present them with numerous affiliate offers with curiosity-driven emails.

Since many of the lists we manage are more of the latter, we only use 1-sequence automations; our “one-day journey”. This single automated email is designed to get the open and nothing else. Afterwards, we begin sending manual campaigns everyday. That’s a decent amount of work anyone could pass off to their pet robot, right? So why do it manually?

With all the testing we do for different offers across our many lists, we want the second email we send to be promoting the most recent top performing offer. Many might ask if this is well worth the manual effort, and our answer is a resounding YES.

How to measure the success of a welcome series

For those of you looking for the hard numbers on performance lift… we’re gonna let you down so hard right now. There’s no “36% lift in A/B testing across one month of performance data” because it’s never made sense for us to A/B test in the first place.

  1. Rarely does your top-performing offer remain #1 for beyond a month. Eventually, you’re going to be coming back and editing the automation anyway.
  2. In this sharing-is-caring world of email affiliate marketing, all lists are interconnected. A decent percentage of your contacts are found on everyone else’s lists too. The chances of your contacts having already seen the emails in your automation from another affiliate is significant. Fresh creatives is the name of the game when dialing in offer performance, and automations open the door to stale emails.
  3. If you leave an automation up for too long without overhauling the creatives, it’s not just your revenue that goes down… your engagement degrades as well.

Our conviction with avoiding automations is evidenced by our commitment to the concept: we do this for every direct response affiliate list we manage. That means we’re manually running the lists to dozens, if not over 100 lists at any given time. 

And at a time of decreasing revenue in email marketing across the industry, our performance has either held consistent or grown for the majority of our lists this year.

So let go of that dusty old welcome series automation today. 

Instead, spend a bit more time rolling back your digital sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and do some grunt work to  significantly increase your email profits.