Email is still one of the best methods we have of nurturing and communicating with your audience to progress leads along your sales funnel to the point of conversion. Email offers the benefits of being a low cost means of communicating to large audiences whilst enabling recipients to have an input into how and when they receive your content. By giving your followers the ability to opt in and out of content, you can keep them in the sales funnel for longer and tailor your communication to their interests, increasing your chances of conversion.
What are autoresponders?
Autoresponders are either a single email or series of emails that respond to an action trigger. For example, you may post an advert on Facebook offering a discount code to anyone that enters their details into a form. The submission of details is the action that triggers a series of follow up emails. These could be in the following form:
- An introduction to you, your company and confirmation of the discount code.
- A catalogue or information on your services
- Special offers, sale items or new products
- Articles from users, case studies and product applications
- Reminders of expiry dates
- Know-how’s, videos, tutorials, podcasts, webinars etc
By setting up a series of emails and conditions, along with timescales on when these should send, you can automate the process of responding to sign-ups. These are called “autoresponders” and should have an objective of resulting in a sale or equivalent end goal.
Autoresponders really are worth their salt in money. If you consider how time consuming it would be to respond individually to everyone that enters their details into a form, it becomes an all-encompassing job, but if you can nurture these leads without applying the time element then you’re on to a winner. And once you’ve set these up then they only require monitoring and management to improve conversion rates.
If you want to set up autoresponders for your business you’ll need a tool that can do this for you. I like GetResponse because it is easy to use and offers so much more than autoresponder functionality so it will grow with your business, whether you’re a small business or an enterprise. You can upload existing lists and use as many of the automation tools as you feel comfortable with. It’s a pretty extensive marketing automation tool that will drive your entire sales funnel. If you want to see how it can work for you, just read on.
Getting started with autoresponders
To get started with automating your sales funnel with autoresponders you’ll need to work out how to capture email address and build your list. The data capture or list upload will act as the trigger to the autoresponder. There are many ways of building your list but you’ll typically need to offer something of use in exchange for an email address. This can be a free trial, discount, piece of content, news subscription or anything worthy of exchange for an email address. You can insert forms into websites, adverts, landing pages and promote these via social media or online channels. Once you’ve got a good method of building your list of email addresses you can get going with setting up your autoresponders.
Creating forms to capture information
If you already have a website and can build landing pages, you can add a form into these which will capture data. I suggest only asking for necessary information otherwise it could put people off. A name and email address may be enough. Your landing pages can be promoted within a marketing campaign to drive awareness and increase signups
If you don’t have the ability to create forms or landing pages then you can use GetResponse to do this as part of the process. Here you can create landing pages, forms and emails and automate the whole of your marketing automation process. Watch the video below to introduce you to the tool and gain a feel of its capabilities..
Planning your autoresponder sequence
When it comes to setting up your first autoresponder sequence here are some tips:
- I like to introduce myself and/or the company from the outset to give your list an overview of who you are and what you can offer. It is also a good idea to include the item that they signed up for so that they have a reference copy.
- Don’t make your emails too sales heavy. The best auto responders should take users through a process of building trust and loyalty so that there is empathy for your brand. Plan out your customer journey to think about how you can give to your list. What would they be interested in and what do you have to offer? This would be tips & advice, videos, webinars etc. It’s a good idea to plot out your content pathways making sure you have a good mixture of media and fresh information.
- Gather more information about your prospects as you go if this is relevant to your targeting. You may have different target markets for your different products or services so it could be beneficial to target by other demographics such as gender, locality or age group. If you want your emails to be more relevant then you can ask for small bits of additional information within your autoresponders which can be used to segment your data further and create different user paths. The more relevant you can be the higher your conversion rates.
- Talk to your audience in their tone. If you’re a profession with a high level of compliance and regulation then you may want to talk with a more conservative tone and present compelling facts. A more creative community may respond better to a more friendly tone of voice. This may be fairly obvious but your brand tone should be consistent across all of your communication and in line with your audience.
- Think about the frequency of emails. Autoresponders allow you to dictate how often people receive your content. It’s important not to overdo the frequency – every day is often too much (unless you’re offering daily motivational or fitness services for example), but maybe once or twice a week depending on the nature of your business strikes a nice balance.
- Decide on the end objective of your autoresponders and ensure that your emails all lead towards this goal. If it is a sale then make it easy for people to buy. Maybe a final offer which is time dependant would be good. If you are looking to sign people up to programmes/webinars or courses then make the sign up process stand out and give people. If they don’t sign up then maybe you move them into another autoresponder sequence to try a fresh approach. Keep focussed on the goal in mind though!
- Monitor results and adapt. At every stage of the process you can see the statistics which will enable you to improve your sequence for maximum conversion rates. Open rates and click rates should be analysed so you can see what content, time of day and lists are providing the best results. The analysis of your data will give you the ability to develop your automation strategy.
Autoresponders are a great tool to save time and increase your communication with your contact lists. Here are some final thoughts and reminders when it comes to using autoresponders.
The Blurb covers the very latest in marketing technology to help grow your business. If you’re interested to hear the latest in marketing technology as it hits, sign up for our membership free of charge.