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
Auto-responders are awesome. They are a great way of outsourcing a whole lot of very important work to an automated system.
If you want to conquer the world, you need to work with the robots.
You need to be one with the robots.
I’m not suggesting you become overly prosthetic or anything… I’m talking about teamwork!
Very informative article. I literally just finished adding my autoresponder set up to my new blog a few days ago. Would’ve been a lot easier if I had read this first!
Very interesting model you have. I suppose the name of the game is insight. Knowledge is power. Gathering the list of people who want the emails is the trick.
I would say a very informative post and I was looking for this kinda post as gonna start email campaign . Thanks a lot for sharing this
the main task in email marketing is how you handle your each campaign and how you look different in each. Your entire sales letter for each of your campaign must have different ideas, different level of appeals and more importantly different style of writing to give a fresh look to your customers who are already fed up with plethora of such campaigns they find daily in their inbox
Auto-responders are provided with almost every hosting service and they are easy to setup. But if you want to create some attractive subscription forms then I will suggest using gravity forms and aweber. They are easy to use and easy to setup.
Finally its all upto you how you build your list .The best is using blogs and social media. Or you can even offer something for free of cost, like eBook, software, webservice, theme or plugin.
Really great info but such a shame that there are so many typos/grammatical errors. Doesn’t seem like anyone read it over at a before this was posted.
Speaking of typos, “read it over at all.”***
Building your listand relationships with subscribers.This is why autoresponders are such an important part of your business.
Awesome post, thanks! I’m adding this to my already long list of things to implement :)
Building trust with your subscribers via auto-responder emails is quite important as if you take care of them for the first few weeks they will stay on your list for a long time and will bring other too.
It is so important to use auto-responders. They can be used in so many ways and you can use your existing content to continue to connect with your customers. It’s all about building a relationship with the list, so it important not to overlook this.
Awesome Post! Thanks :)
Great post Asher.
Definitely putting more and more effort into building my email list, as I have come to realize how important it is to getting people back to your site.
Thanks for the info.
This is great – it will help me save a lot of time!
i was also thinking email marketing was wastage of time, but today i genuinely convinced and plan to market like this, thanks for such informative article
Auto responders are awesome. It is great way to attract traffic. Till now, I didn’t use building email list because of Google Policy. But, now i am searching more on how to gain traffic by email subscription list. Thanx for sharing.
In autoresponder, especially in online marketing today, timing of submissions is important. Often people’s circumstances change and whilst our offer may not be appreciated initially after a while it may become more of interest to them especially if their financial situation changes.
If we have several products we can automatically make different offers through your autoresponders. If they are not interested in product A then we can offer product B in the same niche. This might be just what they are looking for. Also we can use a few of the autoresponder emails to give free pertinent information to our contacts thus building up trust.
Thank you for this wonderful post till this time I was thinking that a robots not only attract customers but more often they attract panda and penguin as well.
Great information, thanks Asher! I think a lot of small business owners believe email marketing can be a waste of time, however you’ve clearly illustrated the opposite to be the case. Auto responders nurture and continue very valuable relationships with your subscribers (which is something not to take lightly, as it’s the backbone of your business).
Thanks again for laying this out so clearly!
Another point to consider is the fact that a person doesn’t consider you relevant until they have heard of you several times or more. An autoresponder can do this for you.
Thanks for explaining auto responders I honestly had no idea how they worked I am going to bookmark this and share this with readers.
I’ve been using autoresponders for years. Nice article. A good primer for building a list from the ground up.
Thanks, great advice on email marketing.
Now I’m understand more from this article, Great post
Quick question for you about auto-responder e-mails. Do you think that affiliate links are good to add to e-mails when sending out messages to your subscribers. And, do you also find that if you do do that, are the affiliate links converting faster, versus just having affiliate ads on your blog or website? What do you think? Thanks for your input.
Excellent and very informative post for me. I have setup a ln auto responder by following your post moreover now I have also started focusing on Email Marketing. Thanks.
Thank god that autoresponders exist, it makes the work a lot easier!
now a days this is necessary to grow our busniess.
Nice sharing for the post
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Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips, i was helpless before