A no-stone-left-unturned guide to everything you've ever wanted to know about creating and using autoresponder email sequences
When I first sat down to write a guide on creating successful autoresponder sequences, I thought I could cover everything in a quick blog post.
But I soon realised one short post was nowhere near enough. I would have to create a mighty post if I wanted to create an autoresponder resource to be used my marketers for years to come.
Whether you're self-employed or in charge of a busy marketing department, whether you're new to autoresponders or you've sent dozens already, you're here because you have questions about automated email sequences.
You might be thinking about hiring a professional autoresponder copywriter, or you might be planning to create your email series yourself.
Either way, you want a guide that goes deep. A guide that gets into the nitty gritty of what an autoresponder is, how it works, how long it needs to be, what it should do and a whole load of other stuff.
If that's the case, you're in the right place.
So get comfortable, make yourself a cup of tea and read through this monster guide to the humble, heroic email autoresponder, every online marketer's best friend.
The main problem with emails is getting the darn things read in the first place.
As an email copywriter, there is nothing more disheartening than taking hours over constructing the perfect email only to find out that no one has opened it.
That's why smart marketers have created a range of techniques to give their open rates a boost.
Because once you can get your email opened, you stand a chance of it being read. And that means the link might get clicked. And then a conversion becomes a distinct possibility.
So how do you get emails opened?
One of the techniques I like to use is often referred to as the open-loop method.
Here's how it works.
Calls to Action (CTAs) play an important role in most forms of sales copy, from sales letters to ads to emails.
But how exactly can you use them?
Whether you want to attract leads, sales or shares, here are some of the different ways you can make use of a strong CTA.
The problem is a common one: a shopper arrives on your website and browses your products, they see something they like, they add it to their basket …
… and then they disappear, never to return.
The phenomenon of cart abandonment is one you will be well aware of if you operate an online store.
In fact, 68.81% of shopping carts are abandoned online.
It happens because:
But while you won't know why they abandoned their carts, you can definitely do something about it.
This is where the cart abandonment email comes in.
There's no doubt that emails are one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your customers (and potential customers) and encourage them to return to your website more often.
But sometimes subscribers lose interest. Sometimes they start ignoring your emails and deleting them without opening them.
It's frustrating, but they may have just had enough. They may not be interested in what you have to offer any more.
And that's fine.
If so, there's little point in keeping them on your list.
But what if you could tempt them back? What if you could encourage them to open a final email and turn them back and into an active member of your list?
Re-engagement emails are designed for that purpose. Here's how to write a good one.
I am not the best example when it comes to a typical email reader.
I open every email that lands in my inbox. I don't use Google's system of separate tabs for Primary, Promotions and Social emails.
My inbox is a to-do list of sorts. I get edgy when emails remain in the inbox unread. It means there is something to be dealt with.
Inbox Zero is not something I celebrate, but the daily norm.
And yes, I know very well that I am something of a novelty (or a freak?). For the vast majority of people, Inbox Zero remains something of an urban legend (“My friend's cousin once had nothing in her inbox…”)
And they most certainly do not open and file away every email they get.
I know that because I send emails to them. My clients send emails to them. And these emails never get opened all of the time.
In most email inboxes, chaos reigns.
Emails mean work. They battle with tweets and WhatsApp posts and SnapChats, which have the double bonus of being shorter and more interesting.
What happened to all those hilarious email forwards I received on a daily basis? I haven't seen one in years.
With everything else going on, with all those work emails to answer, all those hilarious social media posts, emails have a tough job.
Getting your marketing message out there by email, getting it read and getting people to act on it is a challenge up there with Leicester City challenging for the Premier League title.
But, just like Leicester City, great things are possible when you get the formula right.
The right offer. The right copy. The right subject line.
And, most importantly, when you are consistent.
Sending consistently good emails is one of the most important elements of success in any email marketing campaign.
Leicester City only won the Premier League because they were consistently good. You will only win with email marketing when your emails are of a consistently high quality.
But whatever the contents of your emails, there is one thing standing in your way to them getting read: first they have to be opened.
And to be opened, they have to get noticed by standing out from a chaotic wall of subject lines all screaming for attention.
And that means your subject lines have to stand out and inspire the recipient to open them.
In fact, 35% of email recipients will open the email based on the subject line.
So how do you go about writing subject lines that get your emails opened?
I receive a lot of emails (who doesn't?)
Even discounting all my work-related emails, I still receive a lot of marketing emails from various lists I have signed up to over the years.
But while most of these are either deleted or ignored, there are a few I will always open – often as soon as I see them in my inbox.
Because they 'get' it. The senders 'get' email marketing. The people behind the emails know that they provide enough value that I am always going to at least open the emails and scan through them, just in case I am missing out on something good.
And that's it – the 'secret' behind getting more of your emails opened: make your subscribers look forward to receiving them.
Let me ask you a question: How many promotional emails do you actually read? How many arrive in your inbox and make you think: "Yes! I cannot WAIT to read that."
Very few, I'm sure.
But some do … and these are where you need to start your research. What is it that these emails do that others do not?
A bribe can nearly always be described as a Very Bad Thing.
There are exceptions. One is the bribe I offer my 4-year-old daughter (10 minutes of cartoons) to get her to sit down and clean her teeth before school.
Another is the bribe you offer visitors to your website to encourage them to sign up to your email newsletter.
Okay, so you may call these Lead Magnets, but ‘good bribes" is what they really are.
I am not against these in any way. In fact, I recommend using a lead magnet every time you want a visitor to your website to part with their email address (or any other information you might be after).
The big problem for most businesses is: what on Earth will encourage people to sign up?