If you’ve spent even a millisecond looking up tips and tricks on email marketing, you’ve probably heard of autoresponders.
Autoresponders, ARs, Drips, Campaigns, Journey Sequences…
No matter what you’ve seen them called, people who use them say they’re heaven-sent when it comes to growing your business scalably and without a lot of hassle.
But, do you really understand what an autoresponder is, let alone how to set up a series?
An autoresponder in itself is simple. It’s an email or a series of emails that are designed to send automatically when an event occurs.
The event could be that a prospect signs up for your newsletter or buys your product or even that they didn’t do something, like they haven’t opened or clicked in weeks.
It may seem far-fetched when all you read is about what they are, but you have to do more than just scratch the surface.
In this blog post, I want to give you a step-by-step guide for setting up your first few autoresponders that could help you sell on autopilot.
The 7-Step Blueprint for Setting Up Your First Autoresponder Series
Step 1: Determine the Who
Everything about writing revolves around your audience and your autoresponder series, or Email Lead Machine as we like to call it here at Max Your Sales, is no different.
Are you writing to people who just signed up for your lead offer? Can you get more granular? Which lead offer in specific?
Are you writing to someone who just bought your product or just someone who owns your product, regardless of when they bought? Do you have multiple products? If so, which product/products do they own?
Are you writing to people who signed up ages ago, but never actually bought?
Picking an audience for your series is absolutely critical. (For a great resource on audience segmentation, go here.)
It will help you determine how you segue into the autoresponder series, by mentioning the reason why you’re writing to them in particular.
It will give you context on how to write to them, using what words, using those problems/benefits to draw them in.
Get ultra specific and also, make sure that you have this particular segment tagged in a way in which your ESP can actually pull these individuals in order to email them.
Once you’ve determined your “who,” you then must determine the “why.”
Step 2: Determine the Purpose
The “why” in your autoresponder series is your key to allowing the ideas to flow and the emails to fall into place.
This is where you determine your purpose.
Why does this audience need to hear from you and what do they need to hear in particular?
If they just opted in to your list, a great autoresponder series would be one that allows them to get to know you, trust you, and to understand what you do so that you can help them more.
If they own your product, then think about your upsell. Based upon what they bought, what else would they be interested in? Which free information can you give them? How can you nurture them to your next product, using what you specifically know about the group to seal the deal?
When you’re writing these answers out, start to think about how much nurturing (ie. how many emails) you might need.
If they’re brand new to you and your list, they might need more emails… A little more TLC to get to the sale.
If they’re already a customer, they might not need as much.
Since they’ve already said yes to you in the past, they might just need a little reminder about what you do for them and what you can do for them in the future, then be shown the opportunities and benefits of the upsell.
Use this time to also outline your emails.
For new opt ins, we like to send:
- A welcome email: Delivering what they asked for, telling them that they’re on our list, asking them to star your email and telling them that you’ll be sending more emails shortly.
- A deal sweetener: Then, we like to send one to three emails of just content. Show off your expertise. Get them excited to open your emails because you’re actually helping them. Doing this builds trust and trains them to open your emails.
- Sales emails: I know, I know… Many entrepreneurs hate the idea of “selling,” but somehow everyone likes to get paid for what they do. I’ve yet to find the way to have one without the other.
Now, there is a method to this — that’s what we teach in the Email Lead Machine video course — but this is the basic outline of the types of emails we send.
For current customers we’re upselling, it might look more like an email thanking them for their purchase, then one giving them an exercise to do to help with using the product, then a sales email focusing on why since they have course A, they would love course B.
Then, for nearly dead subscribers, we might have 2 to 3 emails just about what our list has to offer them and letting them know that they will be removed if they don’t act. Or, again, we go back to content. Send them something irresistible for FREE. Give away the goods. They aren’t showing that they’re staying anyway, so throw in a last-ditch effort.
Step 3: Write the Emails
Easier said than done, I know. But, you have to take this step.
Once you outline your autoresponder series, write your emails, constantly thinking about the flow.
The one great part about autoresponders is that they are a series — a journey if you will.
Use that to your advantage.
Write P.S.’s that get them excited about the next email.
Follow up and make your giveaways a part of a 3-part series of goodies they’re looking forward to email after email.
Remind them that you wrote to them the day before.
And, always remember to keep the end goal in mind. Don’t confuse the process with too many CTAs (calls to action). You want the actions that you’re asking them to take in each email to make perfect sense and be logical progressions in the readers’ minds.
(Not too confident in your copywriting skills? Get the cheater’s kit for writing emails that get opened, get clicked and generate sales in the Email Marketing Quickstart Kit. Download a copy for free right here.)
Step 4: Determine a Send Schedule
Now, we’ve all had this situation.
You sign up for someone’s ebook and then you get 5 emails on day one, 4 on the second day, you lose count on the third day and on day four, enough is enough and you hit ‘unsubscribe.’
Don’t be that marketer.
Check out the infographic below from emailonacid.com. Email frequency is the #1 reason you lose subscribers so be SMART!
Determining a send schedule for your autoresponder is critical to how it will be received and, ultimately, your conversion rate.
Send too often and people will be annoyed and unsubscribe.
Send with too many days in between and people will forget about you or write you off as too easy to ignore.
There secret sauce?
There’s no holy grail.
Test your send schedule and be smart.
If they’re already buyers, you have a little more permission to send more often, but once a day is typically the limit.
If they’re new to your list, you definitely want to write to them right away, while you’re top of mind, but then maybe give them a break in between sends so that you do not overwhelm them before they truly get to know you.
Again, that subscribe rate and even your open rate will be huge in determining if you’re sending too much or too little.
Watch the engagement with your emails and if complaints go up, slow the sends down. If open rates die, revive the series with less of a delay in between sends and use cliffhangers to keep them waiting for more ( read about this trick in the Email Marketing Quickstart Kit).
Step 5: Determine How to Move People in and Out of the Email Series
This is probably the most commonly forgotten step and when it’s forgotten, your opt out rates on the emails you worked hard on begin to skyrocket.
Chances are, you’ll end up with a few series that you’ll want to run at the same time. (When you see that you can generate an income on autopilot while working on the parts of your business you’re most passionate about, it’s hard not to find more emails to set on autopilot.)
Make sure that individuals are not ending up in too many series at the same time. If they end up in multiple series, the chances of you bombarding them with emails, confusing your message and writing to them about the wrong things tends to go up.
Spend a few minutes to think about exits.
How will you decide when a subscriber should leave one series and enter another?
When they take the main action you were wanting them to take in that series, how will you remove them from that series and which series should come next, depending on the action they took?
How will you keep subscribers that are in one series, out of that of another?
If you decide to keep them out of one series in order to complete another, when will you move them into the other series?
All of these things are typically easy to set up in your ESP, but you must give it thought first BEFORE you turn the autoresponders on.
Step 6: Set up the Email Series
This one is a bit of a given. If you put the work into it, don’t be afraid to hit send.
WARNING: You may never think that your emails are perfect. That’s okay. Send anyway.
You never get the sale you don’t ask for.
Step 7: Test, Test and Test Again
Are you seeing a recurring theme in our posts?
Test out different subject lines. (Get some ideas here.)
Vary your CTAs.
Try different send schedules.
Test out every piece of your series. It is your FUNNEL. (Yeah, I bet you never thought that you’d have funnels so quickly in your business, did ya?)
Let the audience tell you what to sell them and how to sell it.
Test. Adjust. Test again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat!
Cheater’s Guide: Make Every Email Count, Every Time
If you’re new to autoresponders oR maybe even emails in general, the task of writing one email, let alone a series of emails, may seem daunting.
It shouldn’t be.
Email marketing is nothing new.
It’s tried and true, which means that you don’t have to start from scratch or even guess about what you should be writing, how to write it and whether or not email marketing will work for you.
We’ve been using email marketing to create 6-figure businesses for years and we’ve compiled our best secrets, steps and down-right (ethical) cheats in the Email Marketing Quickstart Kit.
Your instant kit download includes:
- The Ultimate Subject Line Swipe File
- The Rapid Email Results Cheatsheet
- The Email Marketing Terminology Guide
- The Email Optimization Guide
- Email Marketing Fasttrack: 5 Must-Have Email Marketing Resources for Beginners