An email autoresponder sequence is a series of emails that are sent to subscribers automatically. For example, a subscriber might receive a welcome email on the day of subscription and then four or five more emails over the next 30 days. Once the autoresponder sequence is in place, you will only need to track and fine-tune it, freeing up your time for other things.
A well-crafted sequence can assist the sales process and help build customer loyalty, but a poorly developed sequence can damage trust. Follow these eight steps to create an email autoresponder sequence that meets your needs.
1. Decide on Goals
What do you want your autoresponder sequence to accomplish? Do you want to promote your products or services, or perhaps those of an affiliate? Would you like to educate your customers in some way? Are you trying to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field, or are you seeking feedback about your products?
While you may have more than one goal in mind, it is essential that you find a common thread to link your content together in a way that makes sense.
2. Determine Frequency and Campaign Length
Based on your goals, decide how frequently you want to send emails and how long you want the campaign to be. When making these choices, think about your avatar, or ideal customer.
How much existing knowledge does that person have? Is she a voracious reader and researcher, or are occasional bite-sized pieces better? Is your avatar constantly bombarded with emails, or is this person more selective in choosing subscriptions?
Also, consider the content you currently have. Is yours a newer blog with only a few pieces of content that match your goals? Do you have several evergreen articles that you could recycle?
It’s best to start small … and then lengthen the campaign as needed when the oldest subscribers begin to reach the end.
You can always extend the length of your autoresponder sequence as you create new content. It’s best to start small, with ten or fewer emails sent over a period of 30 days, and then lengthen the campaign as needed when the oldest subscribers begin to reach the end.
When deciding on the frequency, take into account any additional emails that you plan to send. For example, if you have a weekly newsletter, it might be best to scale back the frequency of your autoresponder emails to prevent overloading your prospects and customers.
Space out your emails far enough to give your target audience breathing room but not so much that they forget who you are and why they subscribed.
3. Select Content
Once you have your goals, frequency, and campaign length in place, choosing email content should be relatively easy. To educate, build trust, and form stronger relationships, send informational emails that fit the common thread for your autoresponder sequence.
To educate, build trust, and form stronger relationships, send informational emails that fit the common thread for your autoresponder sequence.
Focus on evergreen articles that provide valuable information for your avatar. Depending on your existing content base, you might need to write a few new articles or rewrite existing articles with a new focus.
4. Keep It Simple
When developing the layout for each item, remember that people read email on many different devices, from tiny phone screens to huge monitors. Choose a clear, basic layout that makes use of white spaces, bullets, subheads, and other design elements that break up walls of text. Avoid fancy animations or other high-tech additions that might not render well on all screens.
5. Build the Package
Like any email, those in your autoresponder sequence must be packaged in an enticing way. Choose provocative headlines that encourage clicks, and make sure that your subject lines are short and free of any words that email platforms could interpret as spam.
An autoresponder sequence is all about building trust, and changing the “from” line could have unintended and potentially disastrous consequences.
Decide what you will use in the “from” line, and make it consistent throughout your sequence. An autoresponder sequence is all about building trust, and changing the “from” line could have unintended and potentially disastrous consequences.
6. Add Value
Everyone loves to get a great deal, and coupon codes or discounts add significant perceived value to your autoresponder sequence. Musicians use this idea all the time, offering free song downloads, presale codes for upcoming shows, and other perks to their subscribers. What can you offer your subscribers that make them feel like a valuable part of an exclusive club?
7. Encourage Action
The goals you set in step one will determine the actions you want your subscribers to take in each email. For example, if your goal is to drive more online sales, then your emails should include a call to action and a big button that says “shop.” If your goal is to encourage customer feedback and online reviews, your emails should link to a feedback form or online review portal.
8. Track and Tweak
Your autoresponder campaign will mostly run itself, but it is important to stay on top of the data. Use your email program dashboard to discover open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates.
Drill down to find out which specific emails drew positive or negative responses, and then compare them to each other. Did one have a huge success rate while another triggered lots of unsubscribes, for example?
Tweak your emails according to the results, but be careful not to do too much too quickly. Small changes can have big effects, and it can take some time to track them. As you obtain more and more data, you will develop a keener sense of what works and what doesn’t, and when to make changes.