How To Create Awesome Autoresponder Sequences

So what do you do next after people give you their email address? Set up autoresponder sequences.

Creating an autoresponder sequence helps improve email open and click-through rates. It builds a relationship with your subscribers and gets them to open your emails habitually.

In today's article, we're going to deep dive into the following topics:

  • What autoresponder sequences are.
  • The benefits of using autoresponder sequences in your email marketing.
  • The reason why subscribers open your email.
  • How to set up autoresponder sequences.

What Are Autoresponder Sequences?

An autoresponder sequence is a series of pre-written emails typically sent to new subscribers in an email list in a pre-determined order at pre-determined intervals.

When you create email autoresponder sequences, you determine:

  • The content.
  • The send sequence. (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • The recipients.

Remember that creating autoresponder sequences takes time. You may spend days, or even weeks, developing an effective autoresponder sequence especially if it's your first time.

Once you set up an autoresponder sequence, you will have confidence that your email subscribers will receive a consistent set of messages every time.

The Benefits Of Autoresponder Sequences In Your Email Marketing

The goal of any automated email campaign is to increase the sales and revenue for your business.

Autoresponder sequences can help you:

  • Welcome new subscribers.
  • Onboard new subscribers.
  • Nurture leads.
  • Convert leads to customers through email funnels.
  • Confirm customer purchases.
  • Encourage referrals.
  • Promote an upcoming event or webinar.

Why Subscribers Open Your Emails

Subscribers open your email for one of two reasons:

  • They value your relationship with them.
  • It's habitual.

1. Relationship

Subscribers open your emails because of your relationship with them. They remember your name, and they know that your email content is helpful.

Subscribers also open your email because your subject line is compelling, making them want to learn more. Whatever you do with your email marketing campaign, your emails should always have a great subject line.

Autoresponder sequences - Subject line sample

If your subscribers open your emails because they're from you, your open rate and click through rate will skyrocket.

Look at your email inbox; I bet you will see several email lists you're subscribed to that you will always open the emails, just because of the person or brand that sent them.

Let me repeat this - to get your subscribers to open your emails based on your name alone, you need to build a relationship with them.

Building a relationship with your subscribers is not that difficult. Just think about it this way, we all have favorite TV shows, podcasts, or books that we "relate" to and that we'll always watch, listen to, or read no matter what. You're also building that kind of relationship with email marketing.

2. Habit

The other reason subscribers automatically open your emails when they see your name is because they are conditioned to open your email. It's out of habit, in other words.

In psychology, they call this Operant Conditioning, a learning method that uses rewards and punishments for behavior.

Autoresponder sequences - Operant Conditioning

You can use autoresponder sequences to condition your subscribers to open your emails.

In email marketing, here's the three-step process to make your subscribers open your emails habitually: 

  • Trigger - A subscriber receives your email, which has a clear subject line. 
  • Behavior - The subscriber opens and reads your email. 
  • Reward - This is the value your subscriber gets from the email. (new knowledge about something, entertaining content, etc.)


How To Create Awesome Autoresponder Sequences

Now let's talk more about how to create autoresponder sequences.

1. Define Your Goals

As previously discussed, an effective autoresponder sequence will increase your open rates because you'll build a relationship with your subscribers and because they will develop the habit of automatically opening your emails.

Both of those are excellent goals, and reaching them will help your business a lot—especially if email is one of your primary marketing tools.

Also, autoresponder sequences will help you achieve the following goals: 

  • Follow up with new contacts from trade shows and conferences or online: You can use an autoresponder sequence to introduce new contacts to your business instead of merely sending them your monthly newsletter.
  • To boost brand awareness: You can give away a limited special offer, like an ebook that you deliver via autoresponder, to encourage people to sign up for your email list.
  • For subscriber segmentation: You can segment your list based on links that subscribers click in your autoresponder sequence if you use an advanced email service provider

Once you define your goals on autoresponder sequences, proceed to step 2.

2. Plan The Type of Email Content You Will Send

Whatever your goals are for creating your autoresponder sequence, all your emails must provide value to your subscribers.

Remember the concept of Operant Conditioning? Your subscribers must get a reward or value every time they open your email to develop the habit of opening your emails.

Here are some ideas for autoresponder sequences that let you share valuable content in every email you send: 

  • A daily eCourse with fresh lessons: This is especially effective if each new lesson builds on the previous lessons. Always build up anticipation for what's to follow in future lessons.
  • A series of how-to guides: Subscribers find value in content that teaches them new stuff.
  • A series of special offers: Special offers make an effective sequence if you told your subscribers to expect promotions when they signed up to your list. 
  • A mix of valuable content and special offers: Here's an example - if you provide a service, you could share extracts from the service in your emails, followed by a special discount for that service.

3. Create Your Content

It's time to create your email content.

Creating autoresponder sequences requires a tremendous amount of effort, so always start small. A five to seven part series is ideal. You can still create more content later to extend your sequence.

To save yourself work, you can also repurpose content you've already created, such as old blog posts or an ebook. Simply rearrange the content into a series.

Remember that each piece of content is a reward to your subscribers for opening the email as you develop content. You can think of these rewards as treats. Let me explain.

Rewards content has three main characteristics: 

  • It makes life better because it's valuable to subscribers. 
  • It can be used immediately because it's crucial to your subscribers' lives and doesn't demand any special skills or products to put into practice. 
  • It's easy to read and digest. In other words, you need to use simple words, sentences, and paragraphs and have a sense of humor in your email writing style. 

When it comes to email writing, it's best to aim for shorter compositions. A forty-five character line is perfect.

It's also important to be aware of your content organization while you're developing your email content.

4. Organize Your Content

Organizing your content requires two critical decisions: 

  • Where to promote your content.
  • How to compose your content.

Let's discuss each topic.

Where To Promote Your Content

Promoting your content inside your emails is an excellent strategy in building a relationship and boost your open rate. It conditions subscribers to open your emails because they'll find surprises inside. It also prevents unauthorized content access without an email list sign up.

You can also share your content on a blog or website. Ensure to include a compelling content introduction and a link in your emails. It's an effective way to encourage subscribers to click the links in your emails. You can manage the accessibility of your content for search engines if you want to keep the content hidden from others.

How To Compose Your Content

The type of content you’re promoting depends on the email composition. Here are a few storytelling techniques to keep subscribers engaged: 

  • Foreshadowing: Create links between your emails instead of writing each email in isolation. Day one of your email sequence should already entice your subscribers. Doing so will keep your subscribers tuned in to find out what happens until the end of the series. It's all about building excitement. Subscribers become more engaged when there's anticipation. 
  • Cliffhangers: Your emails must always deliver value in each stage of the sequence. Drip-feed information to your subscribers instead of giving away everything at once. The wait time between emails creates cliffhangers, which keeps subscribers interested. 
  • Storytelling: Storytelling has been an effective email marketing tactic for many brands for years.

5. Monitor And Tweak

The final step in the guide is to track the performance of your autoresponder sequences.

Keep an eye on blips in performance because these are signs that you need to tweak the sequence. Does the open-rate drop at a particular point in the email sequence? Is the click-through rate surprisingly low in any of your emails?

When you've identified where things are going wrong, tweak your email content as needed.

And that's how to create awesome autoresponder sequences!

Check out the recommended resources below to learn more about autoresponder sequences. 

Recommended Email Marketing Resources

How to Create an Effective Email Autoresponder Series

How to Write a Heroically Effective Email Autoresponder Series

How to Create a Simple Autoresponder Series to Keep Your Leads Hot

So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to create an autoresponder sequence for your email marketing campaign?

Leave a comment below, and let's discuss it.

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Header image courtesy of Stockunlimited.

About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. We do this by creating and implementing a plan to communicate the right message to the right people. Marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the RIGHT plan.

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