Creating an Auto-Responder Series
An auto-responder series is a series of pre-written emails that every new subscriber receives in sequential order after signing up for your mailing list. A new subscriber might receive your welcome email on the first day of their subscription, another email on the third day of their subscription, another on the fifth day of their subscription, etc. The purpose of an auto-responder series is to send a consistent set of content to every new subscriber so that they can become familiar with your writing and your company’s products and services.
There are six different ways that you can use the emails in your auto-responder series:
- Promoting your company’s products and services
- Providing additional educational content to your subscribers
- Asking them to add your email address to their safe sender list
- Promoting other company’s products as an affiliate
- Highlighting existing content on your website to your new subscribers
- Asking subscribers for feedback about your content and your company’s products
Creating an auto-responder series is more of an art than a science. There is no perfect length for an auto-responder series and there is no perfect number of emails to include in your auto-responder series. You will be able to track the performance of any particular message in your series, but it’s notoriously difficult to split-test an entire auto-responder series. I recommend sending out messages anywhere from 3 to 6 days apart in your auto-responder series and having a total length between three and five months. This may mean that you are including as many as 30 emails in your auto-responder series, but it doesn’t have to be daunting task if you simply write a new email every 4-5 days as your oldest subscribers near the end of your auto-responder series.
Every major email service provider (ESP) includes the ability to create a series of auto-responder messages that new subscribers will receive automatically over time on the dates that you specify. Typically, you will just need to enter the subject line and body of your email into a form provided by your ESP. You will also need to specify when a new subscriber will receive a particular email, such as on the 10th day of their subscription. Some email service providers will also let you push an email to the next day when an auto-responder message is scheduled to go out on a weekend or holiday when someone is unlikely to check their email.
If you want to see how an auto-responder series works in practice, consider creating a new email account and using it for the sole purpose of watching auto-responder emails come in from lists that you have signed up for. Use the single-purpose email account that you created to sign-up for mailing lists of some of your competitors and well-known marketers to get ideas for your auto-responder series. You can see all of the auto-responder emails sent out by MarketBeat or USGolfTV just by completing an opt-in form on either website. Pat Flynn (www.smartpassiveincome.com) also has a particularly good auto-responder series that’s worth checking out.
Here’s a sample layout of what an auto-responder series might look like:
- Day 1: Send your welcome email.
- Day 5: Highlight some of your website’s “best-of” content.
- Day 9: Provide an introduction to your company’s products and services.
- Day 13: Ask subscribers to add your email address to their safe-sender list.
- Day 17: Provide a piece of educational content or training material.
- Day 21: Promote one of your company’s products or services.
- Day 25: Ask subscribers for feedback about your content.
- Day 29: Promote another company’s products as an affiliate.
- Day 33: Provide more educational content or training material.
- Day 37: Promote one of your company’s products or services.
- Day 41: Provide links to helpful stories and resources around the web.
- Day 45: Reintroduce some older content on your website to your new subscribers.
- Day 49: Promote another company’s products as an affiliate.
- Day 53: Promote one of your company’s products or services.
- Day 57: Provide more educational content or training material.
- Day 61: Ask subscribers for feedback about your content again.
- Day 65: Promote one of your company’s products or services.
The biggest mistake that you can make with your auto-responder series is not having an auto-responder series at all. If you don’t regularly email your list, they will become disengaged with your content and will forget that they gave you permission to email them in the first place. If you try to email a mailing list that you haven’t contacted in six months, invariably some subscribers will forget who you are and accuse you of spamming them. Sending regular emails every two to five days for the first several months of a user’s subscription is arguably the best way to keep them engaged with your content and interested in your company’s products and services.