How to Use Email Autoresponders

Kristi Hines on Email marketing,

One of the best ways to solidify your relationship with your mailing list with marketing automation is through the use of autoresponders. Autoresponders are simply emails that you set up ahead of time to be sent to specific segments and subscribers in your mailing list in response to particular events. In this post, we’re going to look at why you should use autoresponders, examples of great ways to use them, and best practices.

Why Your Business Needs Autoresponders

The main goal of setting up an autoresponder is to keep your mailing list subscribers active and interested in your business. While you don’t want to be obnoxious, you also don’t want your subscribers to forget about you. Less really isn’t more when it comes to email marketing - people will actually unsubscribe from your list if you don’t email often because they’ll forget why the subscribed in the first place!

Autoresponders, when used correctly, can also help increase conversions by turning your subscribers into buyers. This can be through both providing valuable content as well as appropriately timed mentions of products, services, and special offers.

Examples of Great Autoresponders

There are a lot of different ways to use autoresponders. Here are just a few. The availability of most will depend on what email marketing service you choose for your business.

Welcome Email

Welcome emails are pretty standard across all email marketing service providers. After someone subscribes to your mailing list and confirms their email address, a welcome email will thank them for subscribing.

Other information you can include in this email is what the subscriber can expect from your mailing list, other ways they can connect with your business (such as your Facebook Page or Twitter), and a call to action that leads them back to your website to learn more about your products and services. If you encouraged people to sign up in exchange for a free download, discount code, etc., then this is the email in which you would give it to them.

Free Course

As opposed to offering a one-time download of free information, you can instead break that information into parts and offer it to new subscribers as an autoresponder course. For example, a hosting company can set up an autoresponder course that explains to new subscribers how to set up a website on WordPress using their service. Each piece of the course, if written with a specific goal in mind, can entice subscribers to wanting to learn more about your products and services.

Tips About Product During Free Trial

Many businesses offer a free trial period for their products. If you want to increase the chances of converting the free trial users into regular customers, then you will want to help them during their free trial period as much as possible.

Autoresponders allow you to create a series of emails that you can send to help the user get to know your product better. If you help each of your users see how easy your product is to use and how valuable it can be, then you can expect more conversions in the long run.

Follow-Up About Purchase

Do you want to send a quick thank you or special instructions to people after they purchase a product? Autoresponders can make that happen. You can even include a coupon code to ensure that otherwise first time buyers become repeat customers.

Incomplete Purchase Reminder

One of the best autoresponders for increase conversion rates is the one that you send to people who start checking out but don’t finish. This is a great way to remind people they were in the process of buying something (in case they were interrupted) or encourage them to buy an impulse item that they might have been wavering on.

Birthday and Holiday Specials

Boost sales throughout the year by capturing your subscriber’s birthdates and sending them Happy Birthday wishes along with a special coupon code. Also, take advantage of the holidays using the same approach.

Weekday Deals

You know how restaurants have Tuesday lunch specials? Your business can have regular specials for specific days of the week or even specific times each day. To keep it evergreen, make sure it’s something that is always available, or just offer a coupon code.

Autoresponder Best Practices

Autoresponders are meant to be set it and forget it in the world of email marketing automation. But you can’t quite completely forget about them. Here are two things to keep in mind to make sure your autoresponders don’t have the opposite effect of driving your subscribers crazy.

Keep your autoresponders up-to-date.

Unless your autoresponder content is 100% evergreen, then you will want to set up regular reminders to check your autoresponders and update them as needed. For example, if you’re the company that has an autoresponder email series set up for free trial users of your product, and your product goes through a major upgrade, then make sure that your autoresponder gets upgraded as well.

Especially keep on top of your welcome email - the last thing you want to do is make a bad first impression with new subscribers.

Be aware of your autoresponder scheduling.

Many email marketing services allow you to schedule a specific date and time for emails in your autoresponder series to be sent out. Keep this in mind when scheduling your other emails so that people aren’t bombarded with several emails at once.

For example, if you generally send out new emails once a week, consider setting up your autoresponders on Mondays, then have your new emails sent out on Wednesdays (or vice versa). Or, if you generally send out new emails daily, consider setting up your autoresponders at 2pm, then have your new emails sent out at 7am.

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Kristi Hines
Freelance writer, business blogger.