How email automation can help you earn passive income and give you more time

We could all use more time to get things done and who wouldn’t love some passive income? When it comes to your business, there is a way to create more time in your day. The key is in these two words – email automation. Not only will automating your emails free up some of your time, but it can also help you earn passive income.

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What does a robot have to do with passive income?


Right now, it is mid-December. I have been talking over the last few weeks with my kids about what they want for Christmas and what they’re hoping they get and what they want to give. And they’ve been talking to each other about what they want and what they’re going to get for each other.


My daughter has said that she wants a robot. And when I asked her why, she said so that she can program it to clean her room. I kind of giggled and laughed, but the truth is email automation is like having your own personal robot.


You do have to program it at first and I’m not talking about code programming, but you’ve got to get it set up. You’ve got to tell it what you want it to do. But once you’ve done that, it does it for you and you don’t have to do it again. This is why email automation is so essential for passive income.


If you want to earn money without having to manually do everything that needs to be done in your business, then you need an email service provider that can help automate many of these tasks for you. In today’s episode, we are going to discuss what those tasks are. 


The first way email automation can help you earn passive income


There are a few different ways that you can begin to use email automation. The very first, and probably the simplest, is simply to pre-schedule emails. If you know that you want to send out a Merry Christmas email, you could write that in July and schedule it to send in December on Christmas day.


You can do this if you know you have a sale coming up and you want to pre-write those sales emails. Or a launch coming up, when you want to pre-write all the emails you want to send out for your launch. This reduces stress during times when you know you are going to be stressed.


Anytime you’re having a sale, anytime you’re having a launch, there are very likely to be questions or concerns or issues. If you don’t have to write the emails, just the regular old emails that are going out to tell people about the sale that you’re having, then this can take a lot of pressure off your shoulders during a stressful time.


Pretty much any email service provider is going to provide you with the opportunity to pre-schedule an email that you’re going to send out to your email list.


How email triggers can help with passive income


The second type of automation is what I like to call trigger emails. Emails that are triggered based on something your subscriber does or doesn’t do. They can be triggered on action or inaction.


Here are a few examples. Your email subscriber enters their name and email address on your website when you’re talking about your freemium. So you have a picture of your freemium and an invitation to get your freemium and they enter their name and email. You can set it up so that your email service provider automatically sends them that email.


Think about that. You do not have to be there all hours of the day. I remember years ago, back in 2008 when I very, very first started trying to send out emails, I wasn’t using an email service provider and I would just check my email every hour. If somebody had said, “yeah, I want to receive emails from you,” I manually went in and sent them an email. I look back and just giggle at my naive self. It’s so much simpler than that. You do not have to be there all hours of the day.


This can go way beyond just the automatic delivery of your freemium. You can also automatically send them a welcome email and follow up emails. You could send them an email on their birthday. You can send them their one year anniversary of joining your list or the one month anniversary of joining your list, have fun with it.


You could automatically send an email the first time someone logs on to your site. You can automatically send an email when someone clicks on a link. So this could be used in a few different ways. If they’ve clicked on a link to a product, you could send them a follow-up email if they don’t purchase.


Or what if you ask them a survey question and you have two different links and you say, “click on the link that…(answers that you choose.) It’s some sort of a survey, do you want A or B and depending on which link they click on, they now get an email about that topic.


You can send somebody an email when they visit a specific page on your site. So this could be any page on your site, but this is very often used for an abandoned cart sequence. If somebody goes to your website and they add a product to their cart but they don’t check out and purchase, that can trigger an email because they’ve visited that page on your site.


Now let’s talk about inaction. You can send an email to someone once they haven’t opened a certain number of emails from you. So if they haven’t opened the last eight emails you’ve sent, or the last two months that you’ve sent emails, that can trigger an email that then gets sent to them.


You can trigger an email if they haven’t logged into your site for a period of time. I have this set up on my membership site. If somebody hasn’t logged in for a couple of months, I send them a friendly little, “Hey, where are you?” email. “I’d love to see you back on the membership site. Here are some of the new things we’ve added.”


There are so many different automatic things you can do in your email. If you can dream it up, I can almost promise you that there is a way to automate it through your email.


How your welcome series can help you make passive income


Let’s talk about the third category of automation. This is going to be a drip-fed email. Now, a drip-fed email is a series of emails. So you decide how long there is between each email. Maybe there are two days between the first one and five days between number two and number three and three days between number three and number four.


You decide that and you decide how many emails there are total, but it’s the sequence of emails. This can be often used for a welcome email series. It could be used for a sales series. It could be used for a re-engagement series. So if nobody’s subscribed or if you want to send a series out to people who haven’t opened your emails in a while, you can send them a series of emails and you automate this series.


You can schedule these series to go out, but you can also trigger a series. So we’ve talked about pre-scheduling emails or triggering emails, but you can also schedule series, or trigger a series of emails.


One more idea for earning passive income


In addition to the automation that we’ve talked about so far, there’s also something called segmenting. So this allows you to only email a portion of your list based on a whole slew of factors. You could segment them by everybody whose name starts with an M and send them an email.


Most often this is done through tagging. So when someone performs an action, like they’ve visited your cart page, or they click on a specific link, or they open a specific email, there’s a whole slew of different reasons why you might want to tag someone and then based on those tags you can segment them into different groups.


This is very often used to segment people according to their interests.  I may send an email out to you and say, “are you most interested in creating a product, learning about email marketing, or learning about web design?” Based on what you click on, I can send you emails around that topic.


Some email service providers will allow you to do what is called lead scoring. So you can assign a certain number of points to each product that you sell. You could assign a certain number of points to each page on your website.


So maybe somebody gets one point every time they read a blog post and they get 15 points every time they visit a sales page for a product and they get 25 points every time they visit the checkout page and they get 50 points every time they purchase. What this does is it allows you to very quickly and easily see which subscribers are most engaged with you. Most ready to buy. Who’s cold, warm, and hot.


Some email service providers will even allow you to automatically change the Facebook or Instagram ads that you’re showing to people based on what they’re doing on your website or inside the emails that you are sending to them.


So if somebody clicks on a certain link in a certain email, they’re shown one ad. If they click on a different link in a different email, they’re shown a completely different ad. There is so much that can be done.


What if I’m just getting started with email automation?


I’ve tried to go from the real basic up to some fairly complicated automation. I do not want you to get overwhelmed by the more complicated automation. In fact, I don’t even want you to worry about them initially, but I do want you to know that they’re there.


When you first start building a business online, it feels like there is so much to do. And the honest truth is there can be. But as you bit by bit, little by little small step by small step, learn about the automated tools that are available to you, this can bring you some hope and help you to understand that you aren’t always going to have to do everything in your business.


Hopefully, you’ll eventually hire assistance as well. But a lot of the work that you’re doing can be automated. You set it up once and then you just let it run. It’s like having your own little robot that does exactly what you tell it to over and over and over again, without you having to be involved.


Email Service Providers I recommend


There are three email platforms that I recommend:

  1. MailerLite
  2. Convertkit
  3. Drip     

MailerLite offers the most limited automation, but it is more robust than something like MailChimp. MailerLite is free, at least in late 2020, up to your first 1,000 subscribers.


Convertkit offers more automated options than MailerLite. It is also slightly easier to use in my opinion, but it is not free to use any of their automation. You start at $29 per month.


The third option is Drip. It offers the most as far as automation goes. I’d say it might be a little bit harder to use than Convertkit, but it’s not super hard to use. Drip starts at $19 per month. I will have links to all three of those in the show notes.


Getting this part right will help you earn passive income


If you want to know what I believe the most important automation to be, I would tell you that it is your welcome series. Your welcome series is so essential to your success. You must help your subscribers get to know, like, and trust you. This is the entire purpose of your welcome series.


People are far more likely to purchase from you when they know, like, and trust you. They need multiple touches. Almost everyone is going to need multiple touches with you and your business before they are going to be willing to purchase. You do not want people to join your email list and then be ignored until you’re ready to sell them something.


You have got to have a welcome series and I want to help you with it. I want it to be effective for you. I believe this is one of the smartest investments that you can make in your business. I have written what I’ve called, the Welcome Series Master Plan.


This walks you through exactly what to write in each one of these emails. It’s a bunch of swipe files. It’s a swipe file for every single email. I give you examples of how I fill in the blanks in that swipe file. And I help walk you through exactly how to set this up for your business and truly welcome your subscribers into your online world.


If you would like to get that, you can go to If you are a member of Tech School, you can get this for a discounted rate, but remember that you need to be logged in, in order to do that. You can also purchase it with points. If you have enough points, Tech School members, you get your discount on your points as well.


So log in if you are a Tech School member and go to and you’ll find it there amongst all the different templates with a button that will allow you to purchase it with your points.


If you’re not a Tech School member, once again, you can find the Welcome Series Master Plan at

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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.

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