How To Set Up A Successful Email Autoresponder Sequence

In my last post, we went into some of the technical limitations of using autoresponders, as well as the various ways they boost the productivity of your affiliate marketing business.

In this post, we'll look at the three stages of relationship building.

One of your main objectives with using autoresponders is to help you build trust and rapport - two essential ingredients for an ongoing and successful relationship with your customer.

By setting up a sequence of email autoresponders that gradually build on your relationship in stages, you can increase the likelihood that someone will buy from you in the future.

These stages will cross over to some degree - there's no rule that says you have to send "x" number of one sort of email before moving to the next stage. However, be very aware of the type and quality of information you email your new subscriber both before and during the sending of more promotional style emails. If you start the selling stage too soon, you're likely to put people off.

The other thing that can also lose you points (and ultimately, subscribers) is sending communications too frequently.

Unless someone has specifically signed up for something that will be delivered daily for a short time, for example, an e-course - don't start bombarding them with emails.

Treat the fact that they have given you their email address with respect, and make sure each communication is well worth receiving.

Don't take their sign-up as permission to email them every day or even several times a day, as if you're their new best friend. You'll quickly be shown the trash bin.

People can feel burned out by the ongoing amounts of stuff arriving in their email every day. They are constantly deciding what to remain subscribed to, and what to get rid of to restore a sense of peace to their in-box.

Make sure your autoresponder has interesting information
Send quality info to subscribers to make sure your marketing efforts don't go up in flames.

Make sure that what you offer means that you're on the right side of that decision-making process!

Let's now look at the three "relationship" stages your autoresponder email sequence needs to move through with each new subscriber:

1) The "Getting To Know You" Stage Emails:

Your first contact with your new subscriber is a welcome email that thanks your reader for subscribing to your newsletter, or whatever they've signed up for.

This lets them know they have actually subscribed. Make sure that you include the details of what it was they signed up to receive, and remind them of this.

In your introductory email, it's important that you include the same name or company name that they saw on your site. Otherwise they may have no recollection of who you are, and may send you to the "recycle" bin. Even worse, they may accuse you of spam, having forgotten who you are and why they signed up!

Having a record of having sent this email helps provide you with a record of their sign-up details, should you need it.

In either your first or a subsequent email, you can choose to give them an idea of some of the things you've got in store for them.

Whet their appetite for all the interesting things they're either going to learn or receive from you. Give them a "taster" of things to come.

Another subsequent email might contain a valuable surprise gift for being a new subscriber.

2) The "Providing Valuable Information" Stage Emails:

This is where you lay the groundwork for future sales. You're not selling anything at all during this stage, you simply give useful information.

When it comes to providing information, you want to give till it hurts! And we're not talking so much about the quantity of info you send - it's more the quality. Don't be afraid to give really useful information.

For example, if there's news that relates to your niche that you think will be of use to your subscriber, give them the low-down on it. If you can organize a joint venture with someone who can offer a free gift, tool, tips, or opportunity for them, tell them about it. If there's some research that's likely to interest them, make sure you send it to them. You get the idea!

How many emails you send at this stage can be influenced in part by the dollar value of the product you promote. You may need to provide more information at this point if your product is expensive. For example, it takes a lot less to persuade someone to buy a $27 ebook than a $5,000 seminar.

By providing insightful, in-depth information on your particular niche, you have the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in it.

This is where your marketing metal "hits the road".

What you provide at this stage will not only reveal to your subscriber just how much you know about a topic.

The quality of the info you send them will also firm up the decision in their mind on whether or not they want to stay subscribed.

Like it it or not, the quality of your actual product will be judged on the quality of the information you provide. Make sure it's good stuff!

3) The "Offering An Opportunity To Buy" Stage Emails:

Once you've started sending a few pure valuable info emails, you can then start mixing things up a little by including some that relate to the product you're promoting as an affiliate.

It's important that you don't send these sorts of emails until later on in your autoresponder sequence. You want to have already established a relationship with your subscriber. They need to have received a number of "information" emails before you send more product-related ones.

You're not trying to to "sell" in these emails. Simply provide information, and say why you recommend the product. For example, as part of your email sequence at this stage, you might want to have one email that makes comparisons with other competing products. Another could offer a "warts and all" review of it, or include a success story of a customer who's purchased.

Tell your subscriber what you've personally found useful about the product you're promoting. You can then give them a link to your site, or your affiliate link as part of this.

Even when you've built a strong relationship with your subscriber, remember to send communications to them that continue to offer valuable content. That way, you can afford to pepper your sequences with more product-focused emails as well.

By having both of these sorts of emails as part of your autoresponder marketing sequence, you'll have a good ratio of "pure info" emails to those which also recommend a product as well.

Getting the right balance with an autoresponder
It's important to get the balance right between info and product emails.

Building Your "Stable" of Emails

If you take your time in getting your sequence of emails just the way you want them, you can then go off and do other things, knowing that you have this side of things handled. What you want to aim for is as much "set and forget" as possible.

To start with, write at least 7 emails for your autoresponder. Go through the three stages outlined above, and make sure you cover the basics with these in relation to your own situation. Set these emails to be delivered every 2-7 days over a 2-3 week period to your new subscribers. You can add to your "stable" as you go.

It's a good idea to make a note of any common questions or sales objections you receive about the product you promote. You can then cover these objections in an email.

For example, you're promoting a dog training product and a common question you come up against is whether a dog needs to be trained at a young age to do something. Let's say this isn't the case to get results with your training product, even though a number of people may think so before they're educated on it. Don't get frustrated - deal with the misperception!

Write an  email that completely covers this specific topic. Find the research that supports what you are saying about canine learning behavior and how new neural pathways are formed. You could even find a dog behavior expert to interview on the topic - after all, you know you've got an audience for this particular topic.

Doing this in a methodical way uncovers the unspoken questions, concerns, or sales objections that your subscriber may have, and brings a sale that much closer.

You can then either provide such information in a text form, or as a link to a video or audio that has your expert talking on the subject.

Whichever way you choose to handle things, make sure you always give a link back to your sales page in every email, regardless of its specific focus.

Now you know why it's so important to always stay aware of where you are in your relationship with a subscriber. Like any relationship, this one needs to be nurtured and fed if it is to be profitable.

Understanding the pyschology behind a well planned autoresponder strategy will reap you benefits down the track.

So spend a little time and attention in setting things up now. Your pocket will thank you for your foresight in years to come!

Photo Credits: symic, loop oh

November 23, 2009

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Comments (9)

Said this on November 25, 2009 At 03:25 pm
Excellent guide and thankyou for writing this. There is so much stuff out there about list building and not nearly enough about what to really do with a list when you have it.

I've been searching for some good solid strategies on email marketing for affiliates - if you were to elaborate on this into an info product I would buy it without hesitation.

We all hear that "the money is in the list" yet all the info products and guides focus on list building and glaze over what to actually do when people start signing up.
Said this on November 29, 2009 At 09:07 am
This comment form is itself a good relationship building tip that can be integrated in an autoresponder series.

Offer your readers opportunities to enter into a conversation.

I was reminded of this when a friend of mine who has a large list recently sincerely asked his subscribers for advice.

A not so secret tip, most people would rather be the teacher than the student, the advice giver rather than the advice receiver.

As example, each autoresponder message might link to a forum where readers can ask questions, offer feedback, talk to other users etc. Allan's forum has been an important part of keeping me connected to his publications for over a decade.

You do have to provide quality information in your messages. You do have to do your part to build the relationship.

In addition, look for ways to expand a one to many speech in to a conversation. Give readers ways to help you build the relationship.

Never forget, most of us prefer talking to listening.

[Excellent tips! Thanks. Allan.]
Said this on January 2, 2010 At 09:05 am
I am new into the world of websites. I had recieved emails and I joined on organization where they talked about using the autoresponders. I could not understand much of the technical language used by the professionals at that site. And was considering how to move ahead. Thanks to a great series of articles that do not use much of those technical language and still provide clear understanding. I have learnt quite a bit here.
Thanks again for the same. I will use this knowledge on my website :)
Said this on July 19, 2010 At 09:57 pm
Much thanks for these great articles and tips. Setting up an email sequence is something I have been putting off because of not really knowing what to mail next. You have answered a great deal of my questions.
Said this on September 2, 2010 At 06:52 am
Thanks Sally, All the info you covered here is great. I found it very useful.

Said this on April 17, 2012 At 09:52 am

I have been trying to become an internet marketer for years. I have only recently begun trying to build an email list. I have the technical part of the list (autoresponder, squeeze page) down but I had no idea how to set up the follow up sequences etc. The advice on your site has been extrmely helpful and I am going back and reading all of your other related posts.


Said this on May 1, 2012 At 12:00 pm

Great Post! Where can we find your post "must do tips for writing your email sequence?"

Said this on May 2, 2012 At 12:21 am

Hi Kat1, Sorry! Sally no longer works for us and the article she promised was never written. For some really good advice on writing email sequences, see if you can find an old ebook written years ago Yanik Silver. It's called Autoresponder Magic. It's old and some of the links will be outdated now, but if you can manage to get hold of a copy, you'll still find very useful advice on writing a series of emails.

Said this on May 4, 2012 At 12:18 pm

Hi Allan,

Thanks for the tip! I wil definitely hunt that ebook down... Shame about Sally... That was a really high valued blog post with tons of useful info. It's quite hard to find some good step by step information about writing email sequences. Ok thanks again for your tip!

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