How To Create The Perfect Email Autoresponder Sequence

Guide to email autorespondersI know you’re trying to build your email list. That’s great.

But have you, at any point, stopped to ask yourself, “What happens after I get people to give me their email addresses?”

Ah, yes! Supply them with valuable content.

But how’re you going to keep the content flowing when you don’t even have enough time for a blog post?

The thing is, those first email addresses you send a subscriber after they get on your list are really important.

It’s like they say – you only get one chance to make a first impression.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a sequence of emails in place where the communication process is well planned out way before they sign up.

The ultimate goal is always to complete a purchase but there are smaller goals along the way such as viewing a product page or subscribing to a free course that the sequence can help accomplish.

However, the bottom line is: Autoresponders are supposed to establish trust.

So, how do you create a sequence that creates an experience that builds up this trust and turns a subscriber into a paying customer?

Common Sense Step #1: Plan The End Game

Before you create your sequence, you have to know exactly what you want to accomplish.

Sure, every business is different and has a different set of objectives. but there are certain common goals that can inspire you to set or combine them into one main goal.

You could use the autoresponder to create familiarity through a “Welcome” sequence. In the first email, the contents could include a link to a free-to-download resource, a thank you note or an invitation to check out other helpful content you’ve created.

But don’t stop too soon.

Some marketers stop at the first or second email. That’s a mistake. Consider sending at least 8 emails in your Welcome sequence.

This is because every time you get someone to open your email prepares them to open the next email from you – especially if they find enough value.

If you have another email list you’re trying to grow – say, you’re running a course or want to share a case study – you can use the sequence as lead magnet to get new subscribers.

Most information marketers also take the convenience of an autoresponder series to automate their sales funnel. To do this, they create a sequence that runs from the “Welcome” email through offering value with free content up to when they promote and sell their services. You can also use it if you’re a service provider or in ecommerce. It’s a really effective way as you save yourself lots of time and effort.

The fourth most common use for an autoresponder sequence is in upselling. In this case, you can set an autoresponder that will run once someone buys a product. You could send them an email with complementary products or a tutorial on best practices in maintaining the product, for instance.

2. Segment Your Mailing List

Segmenting your email list means breaking it down and sorting into different categories on criteria such as buyer personas, demographics, stage in sales cycle, interests, etc.

Email segmentation helps you send more specific, relevant and better targeted autoresponders. This always maximises results. Using its own data, MailChimp reports that email segmentation results in 14.52% higher open rates, 58.21% higher click-through rates and 10.07% lower unsubscribe rates.

To ease the segmentation process, do it the moment you get a new subscriber.

Wondering about how many segments your email list can be split into? How about you start with any of these 30 ways?

3. Map-Out the Sequence

Once you have set the purpose of the sequence and segmented your email list for better targeting, you’ll need to create a map for it.

The first thing is to decide how long the said sequence will need to be. The length is calculated in terms of number of emails and duration.

On this, there’s no limiting rule. This will be determined by your goal for the autoresponder – it should be long enough to accomplish that goal, not an email longer or shorter. Thus, to determine how long the sequence should be, consider the segments, subscriber preferences/behaviours and the overall purpose, among any other factors.

The next thing is figuring out the spacing of the emails. This will be determined by the type of emails you’re sending and the point of your customer’s journey. For instance, you can send educational emails once every 48 hours. If you’re running a course, you’ll need to figure out how much time it takes your students to learn and implement what you’re teaching without taking too long as they may lose the momentum or forget. On the point of your journey: The spacing of emails you send when you’re trying to “woo” your subscribers will definitely be wider than when your offer is two days to expiration. The latter will need you to constantly remind them. This could mean two or three emails per day.

Still on the map-out, you’ll need to know how many non-promotional emails you’ll send before you knock with an offer. Remember that overall value is king here. So, it’s not the number of emails you send but the amount of value you offer. It’s also worth noting the 80/20 rule of email content marketing.

The last thing is drawing an outline of the sequence. From the first to the last email on the sequence, describe the topics to be covered on each email and the accompanying CTA.

4. Write the Content

In case you’d forgotten, you still have to write the content. This is probably the most difficult part of the job.

But it doesn’t have to be. You just need to follow a few guidelines.

Make sure that your focus as you write is on the reader. To be valuable, the content should address the subscriber’s pain points without necessarily talking about how your products could help. If you have a buyer persona then you already know the type of subscriber you attracted.

Remember that you’re not speaking to a list of names. These are real people with lives, jobs and problems. Thus, you need to be personal in your communication. And no, it doesn’t stop when you insert their first name at different points of the email. The content itself should reflect your understanding of their problems and willingness to help.

David Ogilvy once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” In emails, the subject line follows that quote. Make sure you spend enough time writing a subject line subscribers will click on.

5. Track and Tweak

Don’t get caught up in the nature of the email autoresponder sequence so you create and forget. The best results come from constant monitoring of how the emails are performing and making the necessary improvements.

Pay attention to the open rates. You want people to read your emails and unless they open your emails, they can’t read them. As noted, there’s a high probability that when a subscriber opens your email, they’ll open the next. Similarly, if they get used to ignoring your emails, you’re losing a potential customer.

You should also know the click-through rate. If the CTA is clicking on a link, you want to know how many of your subscribers are actually completing this goal.

Also, you’re going to have people unsubscribing every now and then. That’s mostly okay. However, a high unsubscribe rate could indicate problems in your emails. Therefore, this metric is important to know when too many are unsubscribing.

Wrap Up

A great email autoresponder sequence helps you create a consistent and customised path of communication with every new subscriber. This creates an experience for them while helping them understand your core message. When this experience is really good, the subscriber gets into a habit of reading your email newsletter. Hence, boosting your email marketing campaign.

Have you created an autoresponder sequence yet? What type of sequence is it? Any challenges so far? Let us know in the comments.

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2 Comments

  1. 1

    I found this very informative. I’m starting out marketing my business and it’s an exhilarating experience. I am encouraged that there is such a lot of information available to help a novice like me. Thank you

    • 2

      Hi Eve,

      I’m glad you found it useful. You’re right – there is a lot of information out there about marketing your business. If you’re just getting started maybe you might find this research we did interesting about local business websites: https://www.pickaweb.co.uk/local-b2b-executive-summary-report-june-2016.pdf

      Basically with local businesses there are 4 main factors that separate the top ranking websites in Google & the rest. If you focus on these then you will get a better position, get more traffic, get more enquiries & get more sales. Here they are:

      1. Optimize the main pages of your website & include your location in the Metatags (Page Title Element & Headings)
      2. Create more content. Top websites had twice as many pages. Create service specific service pages. For example – create a separate page for every service listed at https://west-west.co.uk/electrical/ & also create a blog & create useful content, hints & tips
      3. Get backlinks from other websites. See the NAP Citations & Directories section at https://www.pickaweb.co.uk/blog/the-definitive-guide-to-local-seo/
      4. Get more Google reviews. Start with your best clients. Email them & send them your Google MyBusiness Page link & ask them for a review.

      These are the things you need to focus on with your website.

      For a full run down see https://www.pickaweb.co.uk/blog/the-definitive-guide-to-local-seo/

      I hope that helps & good luck Eve!

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