The Science of Email Autoresponders: How to Nurture and Engage Your Customers

Brian Honigman on Email marketing,

Email marketing can quickly become a time intensive investment for your business to take part in, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated with the right strategy and toolkit in place.

Most email marketing platforms your business can choose from (like Jumplead) offer functionality to allow your team to establish email autoresponders to better prepare the right messaging for your audience ahead of time.

However, using an email platform alone is not enough to effectively make use of email autoresponders. Your business needs a powerful email marketing strategy in order to use your emails to better connect with your subscribers on a regular basis with engaging content and riveting promotions.

Here’s what it takes to tap into the formula for setting up successful email autoresponders for your business to help improve the experience your subscribers have with your messaging.

Formula: Provide Ongoing Value, and then Promote Your Offerings

The idea of an email autoresponder is to set up a sequence of emails ahead of time that mirror a customer’s journey with your organization, through a variety of triggers that alert your email marketing platform as when to best email a particular subscriber a certain message.

The formula for a successful email autoresponder varies depending on your goals, the type of organization, your audience’s preferences and more. However, a proven formula for an email autoresponder for most businesses is for each message to provide ongoing value to subscribers, then eventually inserting a promotion for your products or services.

It’s all about building trust with your audience by providing them with valuable insights for the first couple of emails, whether that comes in the form of free product samples, industry insights through videos, relevant content in the form of blog posts and anything else that might bring utility to your audience and relates back to the offerings of your business.

Overtime, your subscribers will come to associate your emails with value and will trust them more strongly than they would if your business just emailed them about your products right away after they subscribed to your list.

Once you’ve established trust with your audience, it’s time to send a promotional or sales focused email that promotes your products and services as part of the ongoing narrative you’ve created through your ongoing autoresponder emails up to this point.

Your business will likely see results from the more promotional email autoresponder if it’s included as a part of a larger sequence of emails that have driven trust with your audience.

Develop a Sequence of Trigger Emails

Creating the right sequence of email autoresponders is important because the pattern of emails must match the various experiences your audience is having with your organization, while providing relevant content that matches their particular interests.

To develop the right sequence of autoresponders for your audience, it’s really important to refer back to the buyer personas you’ve established to understand the motivations, demographics and interests of your audience.

These insights will help inform the types of content and overall messaging you’re sending to your audience with your autoresponders on an ongoing basis.

Most of all, it’s really important to understand how your buyer personas fit within the overall marketing funnel of your business.

As a customer moves across your company’s marketing funnel, different autoresponders should be triggered to best match the experience a person is having with your business.

For example, if a potential customer is in the consideration stage of the funnel and they request more information about your products, it’s prudent for this request to trigger an email autoresponder that contains information related to the person’s request.

This way your email is providing value in a timely manner, based on the exact stage of the funnel where a person is interacting with your business.

Create Sequences to Suit Different Segments

There isn’t just one sequence your organization needs to create to best serve subscribers, but instead a few sequences need to be developed to suit different trigger actions and help serve the variety of segments that make up your list of subscribers.

There are many different trigger actions that your organization should create autoresponders for, sometimes requiring an entire new sequence of emails.

For some common examples of autoresponders:

  • Sending a sales focused email when a trial runs out
  • Sending a birthday greeting to subscribers
  • Seeking feedback after onboarding new customers
  • Responding to customers who have been inactive for a certain time period
  • Share content from your archives with new subscribers
  • Promote products or services before they’re released

Also, the audience segments that make up your email list are different types of customers of your business; therefore their journey across the marketing funnel is unique across each segment.

Some subscribers may have interests in your B2B offerings, while others in your B2C offerings, which could greatly impact the type of messaging they should see, and the channels they’re interacting with your business on.

Again, refer to your established buyer personas for your customer base to best understand how to map different sequences of email autoresponders to the various paths your subscribers take with your business across the marketing funnel.

Image courtesy of ProBlogger and Garrison Everest.

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Brian Honigman
Content Marketing & Social Media Consultant