A Primer on 3 Types of Email Autoresponder Campaigns
by Robert Bly
The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Digital Marketing Handbook. Buy it now fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound
Whenever one of your prospects or customers clicks on a link and makes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter or membership in your program, or even when first subscribing to receive your email, there should always be a response sent via autoresponder from you to show your appreciation for their efforts.
Simply put, an autoresponder is software or SaaS (software as a service) that sends a sequence of emails to a person who has taken some action. You write the emails, enter them into the autoresponder system, set the action that triggers the sending of the autoresponder email series, and also schedule when each effort goes out.
Following are the three types of autoresponder campaigns you might want to consider setting up:
Don’t presume that just because readers bought your ebook that this is all they want to know about. For instance, if your ebook was about canning fruit, you could do a sequence of emails, with one on the best types of cookware to do canning with, the next email on types of natural pesticides to use on your fruit in the garden before picking them for canning, a third email on how to optimize soil mixtures for best fruit production, and so on.
You could set up a whole automated sequence email campaign on just that leading to a landing page for your new book that incorporates all that information — and more. You can call it, “The Complete Guide to Growing and Canning Your Fruit.” The goal with sequence emails is to keep customers interested in the information you have to share – and the products you have to sell.
Lead-nurturing (drip) autoresponder emails
People who sign up for your emails probably fit into several groups: those who are ready to buy something from you, those who are thinking about it but want more information, and those who are interested in being on your list but don’t know if they want to buy anything right now.
For these readers, sending out automated emails on interesting subjects related to your products and services is the most important part of keeping readers engaged with your brand and learning more about what you offer.
Here’s how a drip email campaign would work: Let’s say you had a recent campaign to capture more leads by offering a free white paper that discussed one of the components of the new service you’re offering.
Once you’re captured these leads, send this new group a series of emails, which show engaging content about how this service was created to solve a common problem that many readers had found while running their business. You may give a case study in one email, then another in the second email, rather like story-telling sessions.
At the bottom of these first two emails, offer a short piece of content about the book and a link, or CTA button, to a landing page for the book you wrote about how to solve this problem for your readers. (They’ll still need to hire you to get the solution implemented properly, of course.)
At this point, split the readers into two groups: those who bought the book (Group A), and those who didn’t (Group B). Group A now receives automated emails referencing components of the book shown in emails as to how hiring you can help them be more successful. From here, once they’ve received a few of the supporting email sequences that may also have links to videos, you can offer your readers a product demo and a free consultation.
Meanwhile, Group B receives the occasional automated email like Group A got, but they also get other emails with different content about other services you provide, including links to content with more information such as a video. Those in Group B who click on the book link show they’re still interested in the book and, potentially, your personalized service but just may not be ready yet.
Webinar autoresponder email series
Webinars are very popular for marketers who like to show their followers how they can carry out something in their business that will help them make more money. In the earlier lead-nurturing email example, a webinar can be offered at some point for Group A because they showed the most interest in the product. So, let us see how one fits this into the channel.
Group A has already seen a video or two as part of the sequence emails they received. You can then send an email inviting readers to attend a webinar where they can see the service in action and how it can help them decide on hiring you. Once the webinar invitation goes out, readers fill out the form and send it back. This generates the reservation acceptance email that carries a link that is automatically code-created with that person’s identification and takes the person to the webinar link when the time comes to join up.
A reminder email is sent a day before the event, again on the morning of the event, and again right before the webinar event begins. All readers need to do is click on the link several minutes before it starts, which goes right to the webinar page where each reader is recognized as a pre-registered attendee (because of the ID link code).
Once the webinar is over, get the list of attendees — including those who didn’t attend — and create separate channels for each group. For now, we put aside those who attended but didn’t sign up for the service.
For the registered nonattendees of Group A in the lead-nurturing campaign, now moved into a Group A short-term email subset, you send an autoresponder saying they were missed at the webinar but there’s a link for a replay if they’d still like to see it.
If your short-term subset group members clicked on the replay link but didn’t click on the provided link to get your service, send an automated email several hours later, asking if they’d like to have a consultation to know more. They can click on a link in the email to generate a callback from you or set up an appointment to meet with you.
After 24 hours, send out another autoresponder that reminds them the discount will be over in 24 hours, so they need to act now. From there, if no actions were taken, you can move nonresponding people into another email channel to receive regular emails of interest in products and services you have to offer, including emails that just offer valuable content without any sales approach.