Obviously, a poor open rate can be a huge problem for any type of campaign, automated or not. If your audience isn’t even looking at your content, it’s hard to take advantage of all the bells and whistles that marketing automation can provide.
If your one-off emails have never been very successful, don’t expect your first automated campaigns to be wildly more successful, but rather look at them as an experiment that will ultimately point you in the right direction of your real goals.
Learn from each attempt and investigate your results as deeply as possible. Then, take what you learn and keep applying that to future campaigns. When you run a campaign for the first time, look at the reporting to see what worked and what didn’t. If subscribers didn’t open the email, figure out why and address it.
If you’re going into automation with a poor email track record, this journey will take work. All is not lost, but it’s going to take some time and effort to get you to where you want to be. The good news is that marketing automation can help you get there with marginally less hair pulling.