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What is an Email Autoresponder?
Email autoresponders are a workflow that automatically sends emails under certain conditions. A new subscriber receiving a welcome message is an example of an autoresponder.
Email remains one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your audience. Automating campaigns can increase your efficiency and improve your marketing results.
In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, the average ROI is 40:1. According to a study by Message Systems, 63% of marketers cite email as the channel that offers the best ROI. And our own experience, here at Westchester Marketing Cafe, shows that clients who send regular email campaign improve traffic to their website and get a higher response rate than those who don’t.
Setting up an autoresponder isn’t complicated, but it requires some planning. There are four key steps to creating a successful email autoresponder campaign.
Step 1: Establish your goal.
You should have a specific goal in mind for each campaign series. Some ideas for an autoresponder campaign:
- Welcoming new subscribers
- Building awareness for a new service or program
- Increasing sales
- Boosting event registration
Step 2: Segment your list.
I can’t say this enough. You need to segment your email list so you can create personalized, targeted emails. And its not only me. According to a study by MailChimp, segmented campaigns are far more effective than non-segmented emails. Specifically, they found their users saw:
- 14% higher open rates
- 55% higher click through rates
- 7% lower unsubscribe rates
Segments are easiest to build as part of a new list strategy. And there are ways to add data to established lists to create the necessary segments.
Step 3: Create a road map.
This is just what it sounds like; you want to create an outline identifying each email that will go out as part of your autoresponder campaign.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Create an outline identifying every email that will be a part of the campaign.
Determine the number of emails, send frequency and timeline based on the end goal. Each campaign will be unique with different numbers and frequency.
A welcome series might be two or three emails, sent every other day and over the course of a week.
A donor cultivation series might be ten emails over a six month period leading up to an annual appeal.
Each email should have its own clearly-defined call-to-action. The reader should know what their next step should be. Actions might include:
- Clicking through to an offer
- Saving the date
- Sign up for a workshop
- Download an article
Step 4: Write great copy.
Writing is hard enough but writing excellent copy for emails is even harder. You already know that you have only a few seconds to engage your readers. To grab, and keep, their attention you will want to:
- Craft a strong subject line that will draw readers to your message.
- Use personalization to connect with your audience.
- Write with your audience in mind.
Be respectful of your readers’ time. Your email should provide value so you remain a welcome visitor to their inbox.
What does that mean? It means you should not use emails to only sell. Think about the knucklehead at the last networking event you went to; the one that was trying to sell you. Did it make you want to stay connected with them? Probably not.
What about that person who spent a few minutes getting to know you and even offered a tip or two that you could use. How was that experience different?
Step 5: Track and adjust
The final step is always the same. Pay attention to your analytics and adjust to keep getting better. See what emails are working. Check where there might be a roadblock. Make changes to improve your results.
Email autoresponders are powerful tools to help make the most of your marketing. It is well worth the time it will take you to plan and put in place a strong strategy.
- MailChimp Email Marketing Field Guide
- Artillery Marketing: The Two “Must Haves” For Successful B2B Email Marketing Campaigns
Need more? Give us a call to see how we can help you set up your email marketing autoresponder workflow.