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  • Writer's pictureLiz Maguire

One Time vs. Automatic Sends.

Congratulations! Your business is booming. You've expanded to a digital marketing strategy that includes email marketing as a channel. There's so much potential for what lies ahead. Fundamentally it's time to familiarize yourself with a single-send and an automated message, and when to use either. This post will break down a 'campaign', or single-send message, and an automated (or 'flow') message with tips and tricks on how to fold them into your email marketing strategy for success.

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Campaign Messages:

Your chiropractor sent you a message about a weekend special promotion for cancellation appointments. Or, your favorite skincare brand just sent you an email about the founders top 3 picks for the Oscars. These are one-time send messages that are sales messages dressed up as relevant to your needs. Campaign messages

are the weekly/monthly sends where you can play with copy, images, links and segments.

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Types of Campaign Messages:

  • Promotion: If your brand is having a sitewide sale or launching a new product, tell your subscribers! If you are hosting a new workshop and want your subscribers to sign up, tell them about it! This is a one time message because it is a time sensitive offer or opportunity. Make sure that your copy and Call to Action (CTA) are clear so that subscribers can open the messaging and take the next steps in the fewest clicks as possible.

  • Newsletter (or Informative): There's great benefit to having a content bank on your website (i.e. blogs) for less sales heavy emails like a Newsletter. A Newsletter does not necessarily have a product forward 'push'. It is more a 'soft sell' in that the voice of the piece is less 'buy buy buy' and more 'visit the website'. The important step in a newsletter message is to make sure that once you have the visitor on the website, the CTA is clearly defined in whatever content you are promoting (i.e. in a blog post make sure the product you are focusing on is clearly featured). You don't have to do the 'hard sell' every message but folding in an opportunity for the visitor to learn more -- and possibly purchase -- is a great way to give content a trackable Return on Investment (ROI).

Automatic Messages:

Ever signed up for a brand's email list and waited for the promised 10% off code only for it to arrive the next day (or later)?Have you ever received a "Did you forget something?" or "Your Order is on the way!" message from a brand? Those messages were automatically triggered by an action which you took on their website. Automatic messages

are the “set it and forget it” of email marketing – the welcome message, a cart abandon, a birthday discount etc.

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

Types of Automatic Messages:

  • Welcome Flow : Whether you are a service or e-commerce business, your welcome message should be set up day 1 that you turn on your lead collection form (i.e. sign up box, pop up, etc.) on your website. There's a lot of great ways to use messaging in the welcome flow from sharing brand story to offering introductory sign up discounts. You can tweak and adjust to your liking but make sure to send your initial welcome message no less than 15 mins after sign up. This can be done in your settings. Waiting any longer to send the message it is likely that your subscriber will forget their intent signing up and be less likely to engage.

  • Browse/Cart Abandon: A simple, yet effective email if you are an ecommerce business are your Browse and Cart Abandon messages. Personalizing these to include images and links to products (or saved shopping carts, where possible) and triggering them to send within a tested window for performance will mean these flows are a silent, ever running workhorse for your brand.

  • Transactional: For an e-commerce brand, keeping your customer informed after their purchase is as important as engaging them pre-conversion. You are more likely to have a repeat customer if you build a robust system of communication from order received notification to order shipped to review request. Keep in mind that this timeline for sending is affected by your fulfillment process etc. Showing the customer they matter after an order is a step many brands skip and yours would do well to highlight.


A campaign, or one-time send, message should be informative and relevant to the audience you are targeting. An automatic message should include personalized information to the recipient (i.e. shipping information, promotions relevant to their shopping habits, etc.). A healthy mix of campaign and automatic messaging will help your email channel flourish.

Recommended Reading:

After you're versed on the differences between campaign and automatic sends, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with:

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