Email Automation Primer

Email tools are a cornerstone of online businesses. In fact, if we strip down to the bare minimum set of tools needed to run an online business, email tools would probably land in the number one spot.

There are two types of emails tools:

  • Cold Outreach Email Campaign Tools
  • Email Marketing Tools (Autoresponders)

There are big differences between the two so I’ll explain it briefly:

Cold Outreach Tools

Cold outreach tools rely on existing email lists. They are exactly what they sound like, tools to send cold emails to people you don’t know.

Here’s how they work:

  1. You create a campaign and give it a name.
  2. You upload a .csv file (Excel or Google Sheets) containing all your email contacts
  3. You verify the list of contacts to make sure the emails are valid and won’t bounce back
  4. You write the cold email using variables for fields such as First Name, Last Name,  Company Name, etc.
  5. You schedule the campaign and run it.
  6. You Analyze the results (how many people opened your email, how many clicked on the links inside, how many responded).
  7. You set up automations to follow up with people who responded and mark them as leads.

Here are some of the best ones:

Cold Email Campaigns. Probably the best one on the market in my opinion.

Cold Email Campaigns – Vocus is a new contender in this space. It helps you personalize email campaigns, track and automate email followups, schedule appointments, sync with your CRM, and collaborate with your team. It’s also priced very competitively compared with other cold email outreach tool.

Cold Email Campaigns – Lets you embed images and videos in emails

Cold Email Campaigns with visual automation. A new entry in this market.

Find That Lead
Finds and verifies emails based on domain names and prospect names. It also has a Chrome extension that lets you find any prospect’s email on LinkedIn and all public emails on any website. Once you’ve found and verified the emails, you can send email campaigns to those prospects directly from the tool.

Verify your email list and keep it clean.

Email Marketing Tools (Autoresponders)

Also referred to as Autoresponders and they are mainly used to build your email list. There are two main differences between autoresponders and cold outreach tools when it comes to online marketing:

  1. Autoresponders have the ability to create lead capture forms and landing pages (a core component for building an email list).
  2. They can automatically trigger a preset drip email sequence each time someone opts-in to your form. They let you create the email sequence you will use to onboard each subscriber once they sign up. This functionality is crucial to let you build your email lists. They also let you send broadcast emails to all or a subset of your subscribers.

Here are some of the best autoresponders:

Forms, Landing Pages, List Management, Tags, Automations with triggers based on tags. ConvertKit doesn’t incorporate multiple lists as MailChimp does. Instead, with ConvetKit all your subscribers are in one list, you can create contacts, tag them, and use the tags to segment and manage your contacts. For example, you can tag subscribers when they buy from you. Then send emails with offers only to those who bought from you in the past.

A new contender in the email marketing space. Sendfox is an email marketing tool designed specifically for content creators that lets you compose and send unlimited customized emails. with fantastic automation tools, forms and landing page editors. It also has a visual HTML email editor for newsletters. Sendfox is catching up very fast with ConvertKit and is much cheaper. I highly recommend it.

Great for newsletters. Easy to use. Visually appealing. No free plan.

Like the name suggests, this is a simple email marketing tool with a free entry level that can be suitable for beginners trying to build email lists from scratch.

What I love about Automizy as an autoresponder is that it’s very visual (and I’m a visual person). It’s the best email marketing platform in terms of visualizing automations and campaigns which makes it extremely easy AND enjoyable to build them and track their progress. You have to try it for yourself.

Does everything that ConverKit does but it’s bloated and harder to use. However, because it’s free for the first 2000 subscribers, many online entrepreneurs starting out use it to lower their costs.

More sophisticated than Mailchimp with its automations and other features. ActiveCampaign sets you up better as an online business looking to acquire over 10K leads at some point. You will not have to switch ESPs down the road as your business grows.

Very similar to MailChimp but not free.

Very similar to MailChimp. Free for the first 1000 subscribers.

InfusionSoft is on the high-end of ESPs, very sophisticated (and much more expensive), it’s great for people who have very large email lists so I don’t recommend it for someone just starting out. It would be like paying for a Ferrari that you can only drive in 50-mile/hr zone.

It used to be one of the best ESPs out there for people starting out their online business but more and more people are switching away from it because they are trying to become more like a CRM and heading in the same footsteps as InfusionSoft.

Also on the high end and expensive side.



I recommend going with Mailshake for cold outreach campaigns and ConvertKit for the autoresponder.  If you’re on a budget, start with MailChimp until you get your first 2000 subscribers.


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