There’s something deliciously subversive about autoresponders. Once set up, you can sit back and relax, at least until the returns come in. You will have time to concentrate on other aspects of email marketing. What could be wrong with that?
In short, nothing. It’s difficult finding dependable detailed statistics for autoresponders other than they repay many times over the little bit of effort it takes to set them up. If you like high returns on investment, then invest a little time in setting up an autoresponder.
The main purpose of an autoresponder is to nurture leads and turn them into customers. They do this by automatically sending emails at specific times in the life cycle of a subscriber, or following a particular key incident.
Instances where autoresponders shine include when a customer has not opened an email for a number of campaigns. Another, the classic situation, is when a cart is abandoned. Here’s someone who liked the look of a product enough to go to the completion page, only to back out at the last minute. A little bit of encouragement via an autoresponder and you can convince them to buy that product, or else a similar one.
Let’s look at one of the simpler instances; when you gain a new subscriber to an email marketing list or an enewsletter. They will have a mix of emotions after giving their personal details to a complete stranger. They will be unsure whether they will be pestered by emails that don’t concern them. Then again, they will be excited by the bargains they will expect.
The first autoresponder email should thank them for their trust and promise not to betray it. You will point out that they can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the button at the bottom of every email you will send, ‘including this one.’ You might ask them how frequently they would like to receive offers, although point out that some will be time limited. If they’ve subscribed to a daily enewsletter, offer the alternative of a digest every Friday.
You might dangle in front of them something free that you think would assist them, such as an online course or ebook. We need to reassure them they’ve nothing to fear and everything to anticipate. Over three emails, tell them how you will solve their problems. For their first marketing email, offer them something special. It could be a price reduction, or a reduction in them going premium.
Plan the sequence carefully. Have a limit. It’s no good chasing a subscriber who does not respond. If they don’t open or respond to, say, five emails, then the best thing to do is remove them from your email marketing lists.
Work out what you want from them. If it is to complete when they’ve abandoned a basket, the emails will differ from those where they’ve not opened a marketing email for some days. An autoresponder can do this without any direct input from you. Set it up well, and all you have to do is review it on occasion.