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Email Automation Made Easy: Get started with instant program templates

Email Automation Made Easy: Get started with instant program templates

Email automation templates come readymade and connected to your Spektrix CRM - so it’s easier than ever to run digital marketing campaigns.

Spektrix provides a powerful solution for arts and entertainment organizations to build closer relationships with patrons, combining digital marketing, fundraising, and box office tools. Email and marketing automation functionality is provided by Dotdigital, and supported by the Spektrix team as part of their core solution. That gives Spektrix users access to all the digital marketing tools they need, at no additional cost: it’s quick and easy to design and build emails using intuitive, drag-and-drop editors; then target, send, and track email performance. Survey tools, digital advertising integrations, personalization and dynamic content add even more capacity.

In 2024, Spektrix and Dotdigital worked together to create an even easier solution to email automation. Automated email programs, or workflows, are now pre-built in Dotdigital and synchronized to Spektrix data - reducing efforts and simplifying processes, so arts marketing teams can launch automated campaigns and start generating revenue within hours.



What is an email automation program?

“Communication is vital to build relationships. It puts butts in seats, builds relationships, and brings in revenue and donations. Email automation, closely integrated with your CRM, is one of the easiest ways to increase the impact of your communications - reaching audiences with highly personalized, timely, and relevant campaigns without any ongoing effort from your team.” Ben Snell, Marketing Automation Solution Lead, Spektrix

Automation programs allow you to create tailor-made journeys that automatically trigger emails, based on patrons’ interactions with you. Drawing on data integrated with your CRM, you can build programs around any aspect of customer behavior - from ticket buying or donation history to average spend, credit balance, or personal information like date of birth.

Email automation in Dotdigital is built using a simple visual flow chart builder, making it an easy step-by-step process:
  • Set the entry criteria - decide which members of your audience to enroll into the program, and identify them from your CRM
  • Send an email - start your campaign with a persuasive message, targeted to your chosen segment
  • Add a delay - give your readers time to read and act on your communication
  • Segment audiences - identify groups of readers based on the action they’ve taken. End the campaign if they’ve made a purchase; nudge them again if they haven’t
  • Send another email - remind them not to miss out on your excellent offer!

Click rates on segmented emails outperform unsegmented emails by over 100%


An easier approach to automation based on CRM data

Through conversations with Spektrix clients globally, and based on success stories from organizations already using email automation, we’ve identified the six email automation programs we believe will bring the most value to the theaters, arts centers, and visitor attractions we work with.


  • Birthday program: Gift people a celebratory offer on their special day
  • Welcome program: Help new contacts learn what’s happening at your venue
  • Improving retention: Promote repeat attendance with targeted incentives
  • Credit reminder: Ensure your patrons make the most of their account credit
  • Lapsed booker: Let patrons know you miss them, and prompt them to return
  • Mailing list re-engagement: Maintain a clean, active database

Let’s look at a few of these in more detail.



Birthday email program

Build stronger connections with your patrons and make your venue a destination for celebrations


Automated emails are a great way to draw down CRM data and use it to nurture relationships with your audience. Send personalized incentives like discounted tickets or complimentary drinks to mark customers’ special day.

This super-simple, 3-step program is a great starting point for email automation.

  • Set the entry criteria to look for people whose birthday is approaching.
  • Send an email wishing them a happy birthday, perhaps including a drink voucher or time-limited ticket offer
  • End the program

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in England ran a birthday program. In 2024, this simple automated discount offer has been redeemed over 450 times, including a number of lapsed bookers and first-time ticket buyers. Because almost every customer who redeemed the offer brought at least one other person with them, the campaign’s raised over £4,000 - impressive ROI for an hour or two of setup time!

Screenshot of a 'Happy Birthday from Liverpool Philharmonic' email campaign, offering discounted tickets as a birthday gift.


Welcome email program

Start your relationship the right way by making a great first impression on new contacts 


Quickly identify new contacts in your CRM, and use automated welcome emails to introduce your organization and program - setting a warm, personal tone for your future patron relationship. Welcome email campaigns typically see high engagement, making them a great way to promote your events and activities.

This program template is just slightly more detailed than the birthday automation, with a simple Yes/No decision differentiating between new contacts who have, and have not, purchased their first event tickets.

  • Set the entry criteria to find people with a newly created account in the Spektrix CRM
  • Segment audiences to identify people who have Never Booked
  • Send an email to people who’ve never booked, sharing your program highlights and encouraging them to buy tickets
  • Send an email to people who’ve made a purchase, thanking them and telling them more about your organization
  • End the program

Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in Wyoming has built out this base template into a slightly longer welcome sequence, sending a series of emails to new contacts. Each communication focuses on a different strand of their events, community, and charity work and includes a simple survey inviting people to choose the type of email they’d like to receive. The click rate for emails in this sequence is 5x higher than their average, suggesting that new contacts are eager to discover more about the organization they’ve just engaged with.



Credit reminder email program

Remind patrons about available credit, encouraging them to make another purchase and demonstrating your commitment to excellent service


There may be many patrons in your CRM who have unused credit on their account. Reminding them about this forgotten money is a great way to attract them back to your venue.

This is another simple one - just three steps, although you could take the standard template as a starting point and build it out into a more custom email automation program - the Spektrix Client Success team are always here to help you make things happen! What we do see here is a more complex set of enrollment filters, considering real-life customer behavior alongside simple data fields.

  • Set the entry criteria to find people with a positive credit balance. You can instantly identify credit holders, or set a minimum credit value, thanks to the deep integration between Spektrix and Dotdigital
  • Add an extra filter setting a minimum number of weeks since last visit. If someone was just at your venue, they probably remember receiving that credit. If you haven’t seen them for three months or more, it’s more likely they’ve forgotten
  • Add a third filter to find people who don’t have a future booking - they’re the customers you most want to attract back to your events
  • Send an email, using a personalization field to show them their exact remaining credit balance
  • End the program

Here’s what an automated credit balance reminder could look like in practice:

Example of an email campaign telling a theatre patron that they have a credit balance remaining on their customer account


Using email automation to improve retention

The first visit was great - but the second visit is where loyalty really begins!


The final example in this blog may seem a little more complex. But again, if you’re using Spektrix, it’s all set up and ready to run in your system - you only need to build an enticing email to start tempting your first-time audiences back!

Diagram of an email automation campaign designed to drive customer retention, with different reminders based on individuals' engagement

  • Set the entry criteria to find people who have only made one booking through your box office. The Booked Once metric in your CRM instantly identifies these first-time visitors
  • Like the Credit Reminder, add an additional filter looking at weeks since last visit. This time, we want to target people one week after their first attendance
  • Send an email to thank them for their visit, invite feedback, and extend a time-limited incentive to return
  • Add a delay of one week, giving them time to open and read the email
  • Segment audiences, based on their engagement with their first email. If they opened the email but didn’t make a purchase, send them a reminder. If they didn’t open it, send it again
  • End the program after two emails, or as soon as they make a second purchase

Leeds Playhouse in England uses an email automation program like this one to offer first-time visitors a 25% discount on their second ticket purchase. They’re given two weeks to redeem the offer. The email had a great click-through rate of 15% - and more importantly, achieved over 3000% ROI. 

Screenshot of an email from Leeds Playhouse, offering a limited-time discount code for first time visitors to the theatre

If you’re already using Spektrix, these templates are readymade in your Dotdigital account, and you’ll find more detailed guidance on Dotdigital Program Templates in the Support Centre. If you’re using a different CRM and email automation platform, contact your own support team to see how they can support you to achieve similar outcomes - or drop us a line to learn more about Spektrix.

Email automation, integrated with your CRM, makes it quick and easy to create personalized experiences at scale. As your patron database changes over time, it keeps messaging relevant and timely - helping you maintain a strong and lasting connection with every member of your audience.

Ben Snell wears a grey coat and stands on a street corner with an overcast sky overhead.Ben Snell (he/him) is Marketing Automation Solution Lead at Spektrix