There are lots of different ways you can approach email marketing and depending on the strategy you employ, the results can be very different.
One strategy that is actually somewhat underused and potentially very effective is to write an autoresponder sequence. What this means, is that you are writing a series of emails that you will deliver automatically through your autoresponder without having to have any input in yourself. This will then help to build interest in your brand, engage your audience more and more and then eventually make a sale.
The sequence is going to trigger automatically as soon as the subscriber signs up and the best part is that you won’t even need to lift a finger!
Why an Autoresponder Sequence is Such a Good Strategy
There are many things that make autoresponder sequences a good way to go ahead. The first benefit is that autoresponder sequences involve less effort on your part. You don’t need to lift a finger like I said – and that means you can focus your efforts elsewhere. All you do have to do is to create the email sequence in the first place.
Another benefit of an autoresponder sequence is that it can actually be more effective when it comes to introducing new subscribers to your list and it can be less alienating.
The problem with many email lists, is that they have a collection of both long-time subscribers as well as completely new members. Without an autoresponder sequence, you can’t make sequential emails that refer to previous messages and you can’t build on ideas that you’ve laid out in previous messages because some of your visitors are going to be coming in halfway through. This is just like tuning into a movie and realizing that you are completely lost and have no idea who any of the characters are or how they factor into the wider story!
If you want to create an online course then or some kind of lesson or story, you effectively need to use an autoresponder sequence.
Finally, an autoresponder sequence is powerful because it is consistent. This is the precise same message that is delivered to every single recipient on your list. And the reason that matters, is that it means you can tweak it, improve it and optimize it over time. In other words, if you find that people aren’t reading all the way through then you can try making a small change in order to see if that increases your engagement or your open rates. If that doesn’t work, then try making another change and seeing how that influences the data. In other words, you can iterate and tweak your formula to optimize it and create the perfect sequence that does whatever it is you’ve set out for it to do.
And speaking of consistency, autoresponder sequences are also very effective because they are completely consistent. That is to say that once you start sending an autoresponder sequence, it will be delivered at the same time and on the same day every single time meaning that your audience will learn what to expect from you and they will be able to enjoy high quality content that is predictable. This is one of the biggest tips in email marketing – being consistent – but it’s very easy to let it slip when you need to remember to manually write every single message!
When creating your autoresponder sequence, there are a few things to keep in mind and to consider. This is a system that will work differently from other email messages and that means you need to approach it a little differently.
For example, when creating an autoresponder sequence, you need to make sure that it is 100% evergreen. In internet marketing, the term ‘evergreen’ means that a piece of content is going to be just as relevant and interesting in 3 years as it is today.
So, a news story is not evergreen and neither is any story that references something that’s in the news.
Likewise, if you have written an email course that describes how to make money from a certain strategy, then you need to make sure that the strategy still works in a year’s time. This means you might need to update that strategy and make sure that it is working in the same way even when the next version of WordPress is released.
Another tip is to think about the types of content that lend themselves best to being shared in this manner. For example, courses tend to be very effective because they will come in steps and stages. The other great thing about a course is that it has very clear value and that it can act as an incentive in itself.
In fact, courses are something that we are used to paying for. So, if you’re told you can get one completely for free, then you might well feel as though you’re getting a very good deal and it’s worth signing up!
Likewise, any kind of series that imparts advice and ideas can also work well.
Finally, consider that your autoresponder sequence and regular email marketing need not be mutually exclusive. There is nothing wrong with having a welcome series to introduce new subscribers to your messages and then to send them hand written emails subsequently once they’ve gone through your little initiation. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with sending autoresponder sequences with your own personal messages interspersed in-between. This way, you can combine the benefits of an autoresponder sequence along with the benefits of having something that is manually written and where each message is unique.
With all that in mind, how do you go about making the perfect autoresponder sequence? Here are some tips that will help you to make the best first impression and to drive conversions and maintain engagement along the way…
Tease Your Next Message
One great strategy that often gets overlooked is to tease your next message. Another of the big strengths of an autoresponder sequence is that you will know with certainty what the next message is going to be about and when it is going to get sent. That means that you can include a note at the bottom of your current message saying ‘be sure to tune in next week for XXX’. This helps to build anticipation for what is coming up and it gives your emails a sense of sequence and importance.
Always Provide Value
This is the most important part of any email marketing campaign but it bears repeating here: it is always crucial that your email marketing campaign includes a tip of some sort, an actionable idea or some entertainment. In other words, you need to make sure that after reading your message, your audience feels that they spent their time well and they would do well to make sure they look out for the next message.
Along the same lines is delivering on your promises. You probably made certain promises on your landing page telling your audience what they would learn and why they should definitely sign up. Make sure that you deliver on those promises in the actual content by doing the things you said you would do and by ensuring that your readers go away feeling more informed than they were before.
This is once again true of most autoresponder sequences. It is very important that you give your email a conversational tone because it is going to end up right in the inbox of your recipient – which is a very personal place. This will help you to better build a real relationship with your audience and it will make sure that your emails aren’t filtered out by the spam filter quite so readily too.
Get the Welcome Message Right
Perhaps the single most important part of your autoresponder sequence is the welcome message. This is the point at which your new subscriber has just joined and they are going to get an early taste of what your series is going to be like. Getting this right is incredibly important because this is the email they are most likely to read and that will set the tone for everything that is to come.
Again, this is a fantastic opportunity to tease what lies ahead to make sure that your reader is exciting and interested to look out for your future messages. Let them know the timescale and the subject line structure too so that they can actively seek out your messages and they won’t be as likely to get lost.
Also important in a welcome message is to make sure that you show your gratitude and you start out by building that trust. Invite them to message you if they have any questions and to get in touch if they want to strike up a conversation. This will help to make you feel like a real person (which is even harder when your sequence is being delivered automatically) and it will build more trust and a better relationship with your audience.
Consider Getting More Advanced
Autoresponder sequences don’t have to be the exact same for everyone. If you have a good autoresponder tool, then you should be able to introduce slightly more advanced features and options. For example, how about creating an autoresponder sequence that changes depending on how well engaged the user is? This way, you can try selling only to those subscribers that seem highly engaged.
Better yet is to use your mailing list in order to handle upsells. You can do this either with a secondary autoresponder sequence or one that responds to cookies and knows when a reader has viewed your checkout page. This allows you to follow up with a quick offer while the reader is in ‘buy mode’ and therefore to capitalize on the sale.
How to Sell From an Autoresponder
Finally, the most important thing you need to learn is how to sell from an autoresponder series and more importantly: how not to. Unfortunately, this is something that is very easy to get wrong and if you are overly forceful in trying to push a product, you can upset your audience and lose subscribers.
What you need to do then is make sure that your autoresponder series builds the trust and provides value first. Think of this like a transaction where you are earning the right to try and sell to your audience. If you have provided lots of free, high quality tips, then your readers will usually be happy to consider buying from you – or at least just hear you out.
Even then, there is way to do this and a way not to do it. You need to make sure for example that you don’t announce your product or service out of the blue. Instead, weave it into your narrative gently in order to warm your audience up to the idea first.
You can use a strategy that is often referred to as AIDA. This stands for ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action’.
So, this means that the first email (after the welcome message) might provide a high value tip and some useful ideas and then mention that you’ve got something cool coming relating to X. The second email will then provide another tip or piece of advice, followed by a slightly longer section on what your product is and why it’s interesting. The third message can now include a shorter tip followed by a bit of exciting description of what the product is and why it’s desirable. Now you make your audience wait, which is a great way to build interest further and to get them to really want whatever it is you’re selling – we always want what we can’t have.
Finally comes ‘action’. This final email is designed purely to sell the product and is all about getting the audience to act quickly while they are feeling emotive and impulsive. Get all this right and you can effectively sell without putting off your audience!