This is a guest contribution by Asher Elran of Dynamic Search.
I thought emails were a waste of time and that they are ignored, but then I learned how to do it right and watched the numbers flip.
After you published a great post and pushed it through your social network, the third step is to leverage your email list too. This is where the auto-responders can help you gain new subscribers while you’re busy writing your next blog post.
The majority of email marketing services are the same. I prefer Constant Contact or Mobilizemail’s new email feature. Following the steps below you can use almost any email marketing service to set up an auto responder system in just three days.
Setting a Auto-Responder Campaign that Actually Works in 3 Days
Day 1 – Building Your Page Offer
If you want to bulk up your subscriber list, it can help to offer something in return. People online are impatient and can get irritated quickly if they feel that their time is wasted. Giveaways can spark interest, desire, and a sense of urgency.
You might consider a short eBook or report, or something like more adventurous like access to a web tool, a widget download, or access to a member’s only area with key features and valuable information. It’s really important to make sure your giveaway is relevant and valuable. During our auto-responder experiment, we chose to offer an eBook and built a landing page on our website to capture new subscribers.
On your landing you have the control to work on your CRO (conversion rate optimization) and here are some key factors that will help:
- Have a clear call to action
- Include a great offer with a visual element
- Include trust signals – testimonials are always great tool for this purpose
Also, the instructions to obtain your giveaway should be clear and relatively simple.
If you make your prospects leap through too many hoops, you’ll lose them. Use relatively simple language to ensure Simple is better if you’re really focused on good conversion rates. Here is how we did it:
Pay attention how we simplify the process and leverage the situation to gain likes on our Facebook page too.
Prominently display authority and trust signals to potential subscribers. This will not only show that your blog can be trusted, it will remind your potential subscriber of how good you are and why your appealing offer will help them with their problems.
Day 2 – Increasing your list size
Now you have an offer in place, attracting people to reach your landing page is the next challenge. It can take some time and resources. There are a variety of options out there but I’ll speak only on the ones we applied during our auto responder experiment. Effective methods can change from one industry to another; the key is to be creative and think out of the box.
Some of the methods we applied include:
- Using Facebook apps to collect email subscribers – your Facebook page connects with the people that like you. It also connects you with greater pools of prospects such as friends of friends. If you explore the paid ads section you will find that you can reach even millions of people.
- Leveraging current blog traffic by promoting subscription incentive in key places – your blog is a goldmine and you should take advantage of your new traffic and persuade them to subscribe.
- Consistently sharing our posts through social media – your post should always be found on social networks, as mentioned in the three steps to gain post’s exposure above. Don’t be shy about sharing old blog posts with new readers.
- Connecting with decision makers on LinkedIn and offering our incentive – this is particularly relevant to B2B blogs as LinkedIn is one of your best resources to grow you audience.
- Placing a subscription opt-in on our website – that’s a no brainer which you have probably already done but if you haven’t, it’s really important. The key is to make it easy for potential subscribers to action once they’re on your blog.
- Asking existing contacts to share our incentive with their connections – Harness the power of word of mouth. You can simply add a line at the end of each post or email.
- Running a contest hosted directly on our blog – If you have enough traffic this can be a great way to get new subscribers. The contest could alternatively be hosted on Facebook.
- Reaching out through a rented email list – Only CAM SPAM approved! You have to be careful about using email addresses on rented lists but it is an opportunity to let the world know about your blog.
Day 3 – Auto-Responders
Now we get to the good part – using auto responders.
It’s not enough to simply get the email address of a new subscriber. You need to nurture them into loyalty and that means consistent and relevant contact from you. But nurturing a new subscriber can be time consuming. Imagine that you have hundreds of them! Auto responders let you automate email messages to new blog subscribers.
Using auto responders, you can keep in contact with your subscribers for months if not years with almost zero effort on your side. You simply need to set it up and it will run for you until you turn it off.
You can see in the below table that we keep in contact with our prospect from day one, through the first 8 months. The auto responders are scheduled in advance and then put on auto pilot.
The setup can be different from one system to another, but the important part is what to include in each email:
1st Email (after one day)
Thank your new subscriber. Don’t write about the history of your company or brag about your credentials, just say thank you to remind him or her of what you are thanking them for.
2nd Email (7th day)
Remind your subscriber that you are still around and talk briefly about what you do (not who you are – they don’t care) and give piece of valued content, for example a tip, trick, or link to a good resource you found.
3rd – 10th Emails
Keep offering your subscriber value with free content like tips, relevant resources, or a good piece of advice with an attractive offer. Remember, that it’s a bit like keeping in touch with an old friend so don’t make these emails salesy. Invite them to ask you questions, or leave their thoughts on your latest post. How many emails you send depends on your audience but it’s important to keep them engaged, not turn them off with lots of irrelevant emails.
Email marketing services know the power of auto responders and offer it as an integral feature of their service. Other companies like fusionSoft and SalesForce are using it too and if the big guys are doing it, it must be something we should all do. This is especially true since the investment in the service is either free or costs very little.
We’ve put it for a test and experienced the following improvement:
The percentage increase in just three months is substantial. Clicks are on the rise, more than doubling the previous amount, and opens are showing a drastic increase from 12.5% to 17.9%. I think that most of us will agree that having 640 visitors vs. 183 visitors is a great improvement, and it took only three days to implement.
Auto-responders are a powerful method to increase visitors’ interaction, gain new subscribers, and improve conversions. Are you using them? Do you have a subscriber nurturing process? Share your thoughts!
Asher Elran Practical software engineer and the founder of Dynamic Search™, enthusiastic about all things involving creative marketing, CRO, SEM, and killer content. Follow me on twitter at @DynamicSearch