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The autoresponder: converting subscribers to customers

Using an email autoresponder is a crucial step in not only welcoming new subscribers but also converting those subscribers into customers. SIMON DELL reports on how to develop a winning email strategy.

An autoresponder is a collection of email marketing messages that is sent to subscribers in a particular order and frequency. The email messages are created ahead of time and then scheduled to send at regular intervals or in response to certain subscriber behaviours, such as when someone subscribes to the mailing list.

This article details how to create and sequence a powerful autoresponder series that will make a business’ subscriber list more responsive and profitable.

Welcome to the club

It’s always important for a business to acknowledge and congratulate subscribers when they join that business’ email list. Putting a consumer’s insecurities at ease with a great welcome email can lay the foundation for a long, profitable and valuable relationship between business and prospective customer.

This is also the perfect time to manage expectations; retailers don’t want their prospect to unsubscribe because they started receiving emails in great quantities on subject matter that doesn’t interest them. Subscribers should know up front if they’re going to receive daily, weekly or monthly emails as well as in what context.

Finally, any welcome email should include a call-to-action that links directly to a product, service or website. This gets subscribers engaged with the business’ offerings and provides a chance to jumpstart their journey.

Give and one shall receive

Before asking subscribers to make any purchases, now is the time to offer them value. Examples of value-giving emails might be actionable advice, industry education or simply entertainment – anything that improves the quality of the consumer’s life and trains them to open emails in the future is fair game here.

Such an email establishes the retailer’s authority and knowledge, which underlines credibility. It also uses the law of reciprocity; essentially meaning that prospects feel obligated to repay the favour when provided with something helpful.

Businesses should avoid asking for a commitment in these first few emails – subscribers need to be primed appropriately first. Repurposing blog posts and videos is one way to give value.

Create unresolved tension

A great television series will always cut to an advertisement right at the height of the drama, leaving viewers in suspense. This is called unresolved tension and it’s effective in keeping an audience’s attention throughout a story. The technique can be used in autoresponder emails as well – pose questions and leave ‘open loops’ that readers must resolve in later emails. For example, a jeweller’s blog may mention that an amazing new brand will be revealed in a later newsletter. Small clues as to the name of the brand can be dropped to build tension and create desire.

The big ask

Now that value has been provided and desire built for the store’s offerings, it’s time to cash in. When retailers ask for the sale, the trial or any other big action, it needs to be framed in a way that highlights the benefits to the subscriber. A variety of persuasive techniques can be used to entice subscribers to take up an offer, such as limited-time offers and social proof.

Segment for success

In a perfect world, an autoresponder series would have a conversion rate of 100 per cent; however, in the real world, only a certain percentage are going to buy any particular offer so businesses need to respond accordingly. The best way to improve the conversion rate of an autoresponder series over time is to segment the subscriber list. Each time an offer is made, a business should be tracking who acts on it and who doesn’t, which will then inform future newsletters. ?
It’s segmentation that takes an autoresponder series from good to great.

Set the sequence

Now armed with strategic tricks to make their autoresponder systems more effective, retailers need a blueprint of how to schedule their emails. Each business is different but this structure can be used as a starting point:

  • Day one: welcome email
  • Day two: value-giving email
  • Day four: value-giving email
  • Day six: big-ask email
  • Day eight: value-giving email
  • Day 10: value-giving email
  • Day 11: big-ask email
  • Day 14: value-giving email
  • Day 18: value-giving email
  • Day 21: big-ask email.

Business owners who master the art of the autoresponder will provide more value, create more engagement and segment subscribers properly. As a result, they’ll be more active and profitable than ever before.

Simon Dell

Contributor •

Simon Dell operates his own agency, focusing on digital marketing strategies and customer engagement. Learn more:

Friday, 19 April, 2019 06:20pm
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