A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Autoresponder That Subscribers Can’t Wait to Open

email

Email autoresponders are the holy grail of marketing.

You set up a sequence of emails once, and you’re done.

Thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of people will get exactly the same emails from you, in the same order.

This allows you to create an unbelievably consistent level of service.

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of autoresponders is that they exist within email marketing, the most profitable channel of marketing.

Want to create an autoresponder that subscribers can’t wait to open? Then download this quick step by step guide to do so.

Capterra found that every one dollar spent on email marketing resulted in $44.25 of revenue. So, not only can autoresponders save you a lot of time, but they can also be extremely effective in driving profit for your business.

Of course, there are two sides to everything, and autoresponders are no exception: they have some limitations.

If you don’t understand these limitations and take appropriate action, you will end up with autoresponders that suck.

Remember that an autoresponder is just a tool. It’s how you use it that counts.

One marketer can achieve amazing long-term success with an autoresponder, while another will never make a sale.

I want you to be in that first group.

And if you follow the five steps in this post, you’ll be well on your way to efficient and effective communication with your email subscribers. 

How does an autoresponder fit into your business

As you might know, there are two main types of emails you can send with any email marketing platform:

  • broadcasts
  • autoresponders

Broadcast emails are written to your list and sent once at a particular time.

Autoresponders, on the other hand, are all automated. You create a sequence of emails to send to your subscribers after they sign up for a list.

The downside of using broadcasts to email your list is obvious: it takes time—time to create emails on a regular basis.

Sometimes you should use broadcasts—typically for one-time, time-sensitive events and news.

However, a few situations are perfect for autoresponders, and that’s what I’m going to focus on in this post.

Situation #1 – Introduce new subscribers to your content: In a distant past, any new subscriber you got already knew your content and loved it. They had to; otherwise, they would have never filled out a plain opt-in form.

But now, with the use of tactics like content upgrades, blog owners can double, triple, or even quadruple their opt-in rates.

You offer an attractive free bonus in exchange for a reader’s email address. As a result, you get way more opt-ins.

This is great!

However, there’s a downside to this.

A large portion of your subscribers have only read one or two pieces of content on your site.

So while they might like you, they mainly signed up because of the free bonus. In other words, you don’t really have much of a relationship with them.

To fix this, you want to show them your absolute best content that you’ve written over the years.

Blow them away so that they recognize the value you have to offer and let you start building a relationship.

Obviously, you don’t want to have to send each new subscriber an email of your best posts manually.

And since you want to deliver it soon after they sign up, an autoresponder is perfect.

A great example of it is this email you receive from James Clear after you join his email list.

He sends an email early on dedicated to his best articles:

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Not only does he show his subscribers his best content, but he also organizes it by category so that the subscriber has the best chance of finding content they are most interested in.

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Situation #2 – Create an automated sales funnel: Selling a product through an email sales funnel is a delicate process.

You need to consider the types of emails you send as well as their timing.

With some launches, you have no choice but to send emails manually. If you open and close a course at specific times, you have to stick to broadcasts.

However, if you’re selling a product or service continuously, you can build it right into your autoresponder (which is what I do at NeilPatel.com).

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Situation #3 – Use it as a lead magnet course: In general, the more valuable the free bonus you offer to your new subscribers, the more likely they are to opt in.

The most valuable thing that most bloggers could offer would be coaching or consulting help. But giving that away just isn’t viable. Not only would it take a ton of time, you’d sacrifice a lot of profit as well.

However, with an autoresponder, you can provide a fairly good level of coaching or training and automate it.

Email courses are highly valued in many different niches.

Assuming your course is actually good, you get one more benefit: you’ll “train” your subscribers to anticipate and open your emails.

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Step 1: Understand the 4 factors that affect open rate over time

Before even thinking about making any sales through email marketing and using autoresponders, you need to get your emails opened.

There are many reasons why subscribers might want to open your emails:

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Your name is an obvious one, but it is often messed up, even today.

If you write all the content on your site under your name, your subscribers expect (and want) to get emails from you.

They don’t want to get emails from “support,” “customer service,” or someone else they don’t know even if that person works with you.

People mainly open emails because of relationships, so always send them your emails using a name they know.

Beyond that, four other factors influence long-term open rates (which is what you should be aiming for).

Factor #1 – Enticing subject lines: In a typical email box, a user will see the subject line of an email, followed by the sender.

In certain emails, they will also see the first line of the message, but it’s not as prominent.

Obviously, the subject line matters a lot.

Somewhere around 35% of email users will open emails based on the subject line alone.

So, how do you create a good email subject line?

First, make is short.

Subject lines with 6 to 10 words get the highest open rate.

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This is mostly because most email inboxes only show about 10 words at the max before cutting off the rest of the subject line.

The second important part of a good subject line is that it induces some curiosity—it’s interesting.

Here’s where many email marketers mess up.

They see that they can use certain tricks to get great open rates.

For example, if you send an email with “(No subject)” as the subject line, it will get opened by nearly everyone.

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But that’s the wrong kind of curiosity.

With tricks like these, the reader opens your emails just to see what they are.

Unless you have the most interesting, compelling content inside, the reader will feel tricked. Tricked readers are not happy ones and won’t be opening your emails much in the future.

If you’re going to use tricks like these, use them very sparingly.

The alternative, and better, option is to send your readers valuable content they are interested in.

If you’re on any of my email lists, you know that I don’t get cute with subject lines. I simply put the name of the post or topic I’m writing about in the email:

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Why?

For two main reasons. First, I know you’re already interested in the topics I’m writing about if you’re on my email list. As long as it’s clear that I’m writing about a relevant topic, emails will get opened.

Secondly, I’ve already spent a good amount of time crafting a powerful headline. Because of that, I know that the message will be clear, and there will be some sort of a curiosity gap built-in.

Getting emails opened is not about tricks.

Factor #2 – Your topic matters: Although you may want to send all your most popular posts at once, you can also spread them out over time.

As we’ve discussed, sending information on interesting topics is the best way to build a relationship with your readers and get your emails opened now and in the future.

The best place to get the best email ideas is from your most popular posts.

Go to Google Analytics, and navigate to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.”

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You’ll see a list of all your posts sorted by pageviews. Make sure that you set the time period to at least the last year.

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Use these top posts as your email content, or just give these links to your subscribers. You can be reasonably confident that they will enjoy them just as much as your past visitors did.

Factor #3 – Deliver on your promise: I’ve mentioned that you need to be building a relationship with your subscribers over time.

You need to prove that you can be trusted on an ongoing basis.

As soon as you betray that trust by tricking your subscribers or not living up to your word, you destroy that trust and the relationship.

So yes, sending emails about interesting topics is important. But so is what happens after that.

If I wanted a great open rate for an email, all I would have to do is make a crazy promise in the subject line.

If I delivered, readers would, of course, love it. But if my content didn’t live up to that promise, I would lose a lot of trust immediately.

An email by CoSchedule promised 21 ways to increase an email list by 552%.

That’s a big promise:

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Did they deliver?

You bet. You can see so in the comments of the article they linked to in that email:

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The next time CoSchedule sends an email, those happy readers will be excited to open it. That’s how you build a relationship.

Factor #4 – Give much more than you take: At the end of the day, email marketing needs to produce sales.

And it can.

But you need to be careful about how often you’re promoting products.

In general, subscribers don’t like pitches, but they don’t mind them as long as the value of your overall communication heavily outweighs the pitches you are sending.

If you look at the emails that someone like Bernadette Jiwa sends, you’ll see they are almost all value, no pitch:

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Over time, your subscribers will see that you’re not just trying to make a sale from them, but that you actually care about improving their lives.

Once that barrier of skepticism gets knocked down, your subscribers will start opening your emails without worrying that you’re just trying to profit from them.

Future pitches will be much more welcome because subscribers understand that you want to help them, not take advantage of them.

Step 2: The often misunderstood purpose of emails

The first lesson of all modern copywriting is that you should write to your readers in a conversational tone.

Your blog posts as well as your emails should sound like something you’d send to a friend.

It’s not bad advice, but you need to remember that you can have many different levels of friends.

You wouldn’t talk to someone you’ve just met (even if you liked that person very much) like you would talk to a close friend you’ve known for years.

But, of course, some marketers take this advice way too literally.

They’ll send their new subscribers something like:

Hi (name),

What’s up? Just heading out for the weekend to the cottage! :p

If you’re in San Diego next weekend, let’s grab dinner. 🙂

-N

That might be okay if you were writing to a really close friend with whom you talk often.

For a new relationship, this is not even close to being okay. New subscribers would think, “Ummm..okay? What the heck was that?” and be creeped out by it. Unsubscribes would follow.

Bottom line: Be friendly, write in a conversational tone, but remember that there are many stages to a friendship. Your typical email subscriber is a good acquaintance at the most.

Your style reflects you: For some reason, many marketers have a hard time writing good emails.

They write great blog posts, but when it comes to composing an email, they panic and end up producing emails that sound as if a robot wrote them.

Email may be a different from a blog channel, but you should write emails just like you write any of your other content.

Your subscribers opted in because they like how you write.

Why would you change that?

Your emails should both sound and look like you (the way you write on your blog).

Let’s look at an example…

Brian Dean writes in a unique style on Backlinko. He uses extremely short sentences and paragraphs as well as very casual phrases like “I’m pumped”:

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You’ll even notice in the above picture that he capitalizes words to add emphasis.

Guess how he writes his emails?

You guessed right—exactly the same way:

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He uses short sentences, casual language, and a similar font and even capitalizes “PUMPED!” to add emphasis.

An email doesn’t have to be an announcement: There’s one part of writing a great blog post that is always difficult to overcome.

Blog posts are typically one-sided: the writer writes, and the reader reads.

This can make it difficult to get your readers to engage with your content. Additionally, you can’t build a relationship without having some communication from both sides.

That’s why email is an amazing medium.

It’s designed so that people can respond to your communication—they expect a two-way conversation.

But if all you do is write your content and link to your posts in your autoresponder, you’ll get some replies, but not many.

To fix this, you need to encourage responses and actually reply back to any emails you get. Although this will take time because you can’t automate it, these interactions will help you build strong customer loyalty.

You can encourage a reply by asking your subscriber to either answer a question you pose in your email or let you know something.

For example, in one of the first emails Derek Halpern sends his new subscribers, he asks if there is anything they are struggling with:

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He specifically asks his subscribers to reply to him to begin a dialog.

Step 3: You don’t need to sell in your emails

Email is amazing for driving sales, which you probably already know.

The mistake, though, that most marketers make is selling directly in an email.

People don’t really buy in emails.

They discuss ideas, they learn new things, but they don’t buy.

People are wary of email scams these days and don’t want to purchase anything through links placed directly in emails.

So, how do you make money from email marketing if you can’t sell in an email?

You send subscribers to pages, where they can buy safely and confidently.

Essentially, you want to use your emails as a pre-sell to warm up your subscribers before they get sent to a landing page.

That way, they don’t just get a buy button slapped in their face without expecting it.

You can pre-sell in emails in a few main ways.

Option #1 – Link to reviews: If you’re promoting an affiliate product, you can either link directly to a landing page for it, or you can create a review of a certain product and include affiliate links throughout it.

A few weeks ago, Jon Morrow created a new list for subscribers who care about WordPress site speed.

In all his emails about this topic, he linked to a thorough review:

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In the article he linked to, there are several affiliate links pointing to the hosting company he is promoting. He gets paid whenever someone signs up through those links:

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Option #2 – Link directly to a landing page: Alternatively, you can warm up your subscribers and send them to one of your landing pages.

Talk about the benefits of your product or service, and tell your subscribers that if they want to learn more or to purchase, they can check your landing page.

Instead of feeling tricked or pressured, the subscribers will feel in control. Since you’ve hopefully built a relationship before pitching something, they will typically give your offer a fair shot.

Here’s an example: Peep Laja is a conversion rate expert. When promoting his coaching program, he sent an email with the most important details and benefits of his coaching.

Then, at the bottom of the email, he made it clear that anyone who clicks the link would be going to a landing page about his program.

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No one gets tricked, and you still drive a lot of targeted traffic to your landing page.

Step 4: Don’t be the “boring” friend

We talked about the fact that you need to write emails as if you’re writing to a friend.

There’s one part of it that we haven’t looked at:

Don’t you like getting emails from certain friends more than others?

Maybe you wouldn’t tell them that to their face, but I bet you occasionally ignore emails or other types of messages from certain friends (or at least delay your response).

Conversely, you probably get excited when other friends send you a message.

Obviously, you want your autoresponder emails to fall into this second group of emails.

To do so, you need to avoid all the things that your “boring” friends do.

Emails are reserved for value: I realize that everyone is different, but for the most part, email isn’t used for much “chit chat.”

If you want to ask someone about their day, you text them or use some other messaging app.

Over time, you get conditioned to pay attention to those emails that you know will give you some value.

This also means that when you read an email that just wastes your time, you are less likely to open another one from the same sender (your “boring” friend).

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  • Email frequently about nothing in particular
  • Send any email without a point
  • Send emails about everyday topics (not of high interest)

My subscribers want to learn about SEO, marketing, and a few other related topics.

Every single one of my emails needs to be about one of those topics.

It’s fine to include some personal details to try to build more of a connection with your subscribers, but you need to always tie those back in with your main topics.

Do you only contact “friends” when you need something? Everyone knows that one person from school or work who only ever talked to their peers when he needed help with something.

The first few times, you’d give that person the benefit of the doubt and just assume they are having an unusually difficult time with something.

However, as time goes on and behavior doesn’t change, you realize that if this person gives you a call, comes up to you, or sends you an email, she wants something.

Don’t be this person.

Everyone gets sick of them at some point and stops giving them any attention.

Instead, be the person who gives others value and offers assistance more often than asks for help.

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Fifteen out of the 17 emails in the picture above are asking the subscriber to do something.

If you do that, most subscribers will either unsubscribe soon after they realize what’s going on or just mark your messages as spam.

Step 5: Don’t let your emails lose their impact

There’s one last main problem we need to address.

Have you ever been excited to sign up for a list in the past, only to slowly lose interest?

I know you have because we all have.

As the email sender, you’ll find it’s one of the hardest things to prevent, but it is possible.

Length should match value: When it comes to the length of your communication, you need to consider two aspects.

First is the length of your emails.

Second is the length of your autoresponders.

Despite what some will claim, there’s no perfect length for an email.

The length of your emails should depend on a few key factors:

  • How interesting your topic is – the more interesting it is, the more willing people are to read more about it
  • What they expect – if you always write short emails, subscribers will expect short emails. Don’t expect long ones to get as much attention as your regular email would.
  • What needs to be said – If you’re simply linking to another page that you want your subscribers to visit, less is more. Only include what is necessary to prepare your readers and build up curiosity for that page.

The last point is perhaps the most important.

If you send an email with a lot of fluff in it, you might not realize the problem at first.

Your readers will still read it if the topic is interesting enough.

However, they will lose interest in your emails over time. It will become a chore for them to sort through the junk in order to find the gold.

If you see your open rates decline significantly over time, that means you are driving off your subscribers for one reason or another.

What about the length of your autoresponders?

If you’re offering a course or introduction to your content, your autoresponder has to cover that specific topic.

If it’s a complex topic, it might take 30 emails to cover it.

If it’s a simple product, it might only be a 5- or 7-email series.

Match the complexity of the product and the interest your subscribers have in it with the length of your autoresponder.

If you create an autoresponder course about “how to format a blog post,” don’t send 50 emails.

By the time you get to your third or fourth email on a simple topic, most subscribers will lose interest.

All autoresponders must come to an end: All autoresponders should be about one or two specific topics.

They should be used only for those cases when visitors to your website want to learn about a specific topic and signing up for those targeted emails will give them those answers. 

We just discussed what happens if you send too many emails about a topic.

In addition, if you start talking about different topics, most readers will stop reading your emails.

They’ve learned what you have to offer about topic “A,” and that’s what they wanted. They didn’t ask to learn about topic “B,” which is why they are no longer interested.

Whenever you create an autoresponder, determine the scope of what you’re covering, and divide the material into however many emails you think is necessary.

Then, write those emails. Don’t add more emails to the autoresponder in the hope of automating 100% of your email marketing.

What happens at the end of an autoresponder? You’re probably wondering what happens to these subscribers once they hit the end of an autoresponder.

That’s a great question.

There are two main options that you can use either individually or together.

The simplest option is to move your new subscribers to your main subscriber list. Then, you can continue sending them emails when you publish a new post or want to send out another broadcast email.

If you’re on my main broadcast list on Quick Sprout, for example, you get three emails per week letting you know there’s a new post published.

The second option is to give your autoresponder subscribers the chance to join a new autoresponder.

Instead of assuming that they would also be interested in topic “B,” you can send them an email saying something like:

This is the end of your course, and I hope you got a lot out of it.

I also have a few other free email courses you might be interested in. If you are, just click the link below, and sign up for the one(s) you’re interested in:

  1. Email course about topic “B”

  2. Email course about topic “C”

  3. Email course about topic “D”

I mentioned Jon Morrow in this post. He did something very similar.

He knew that a large portion of his broadcast list is interested in WordPress hosting. So he sent a broadcast email that offered a free email course about this specific topic.

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So, although all autoresponders must end, that doesn’t mean that a subscriber couldn’t keep signing up for other autoresponders you’ve created.

They’re an easy way to continue to provide value and generate sales without any repeated effort.

Conclusion

Autoresponders are a fantastic tool for businesses to use in their email marketing.

However, it’s still just a tool.

If you want to get great results, you need to know how to use it properly.

If you follow the principles and concepts that I’ve broken down in the five steps in this article, you’ll be able to create an autoresponder that subscribers enjoy and that actually produces revenue for your business.

Creating a solid autoresponder isn’t easy, so if you have a question about any part of the process, leave it below in a comment, and I’ll try to answer it.

Comments

  1. Great post Neil. You never fail to deliver fantastic, well-written and useful content on important marketing topics. Keep up with the good work.

  2. Eduardo Cornejo :

    Hey Neil,

    Awesome article!

    I was just starting to read a lot on email marketing, considering how I aim to monetize in a month or two. I’m also really curious to know how you will present your first product to the nutrition blog, how the email marketing will go for that product, and all else.

    I wish you good luck, and I hope it starts soon! 🙂

    • Eduardo, still hashing out that strategy — should have something more concrete by the next blog post. Stay tuned and let me know if you need any help with your strategy along the way.

  3. WOW! What a great post Neil, I just bookmarked it so that I can read it again and again to find more insights.

    This is one of the best post I’ve read in a long time and I can’t wait to dig deeper and implement these tips.

    Thanks for sharing this Neil 🙂

    • Manpreet, I look forward to seeing how it works out for you.

      This is a pretty in-depth guide so you’re right in revisiting it at a later time.

  4. I have tried an autoresponder on my website http://www.casinobonusbob.co.uk and have just made things up as I have gone along (with the help of an article that you wrote about the value of pop-ups!) and it has generate decent responses.

    But this article is an eye-opener – brilliant! Thank you for your hard work!

    • Dragan, that’s great that you were able to hack into a strategy on your own. Would love to hear the specifics of how you formulated it.

      Let me know if you need any help with anything else.

  5. A lot of things to learn Neil.A long way to go 🙂 But your guide will definitely save everyone’s time.
    You included some new things that I didn’t know before.But, happy to know them now 🙂
    I Don’t send every update of my blog to email subscriber.Since, sometimes I write for Google & I also set the fix time to send mails to ShouterBuzz Subscribers 🙂
    Thanks for all the great info.

    • Deepak, glad to help.

      Segmentation really is key and it’s great that you mentioned that. It’s important to figure out what type of content resonates with which crowd before you just toss everything at your list.

  6. Very good article. I am providing online services at http://www.islamicclasses.com and was thinking to set autoresponder for customers, and this is great article to set autoresponed emails. Thanks for sharing this article.

  7. Ivailo Durmonski :

    Hi Neil, I see that you send emails several times a week. Doesn’t that make people unsubscribe from your list?

    • Ivailo, I provide valuable content (so I think 😉 ) and provide value so my unsubscribe numbers are very low.

      At the end of the day provide value and people won’t unsubscribe.

  8. Hey Neil,

    Great article and love it. My takeaway from this post is really simple. It is all about how you use the autoresponder which you highlighted at the end.

    Most of us see the stats, open rates etc. We are just too obsess with those and did not think about auto responder sequence.

    Oh yes, the type of content that you share especially with the right audience matters a lot as well!

    Good stuffs mate.

    Keep it up!

    • Reginald, great point.

      The process and sequencing really matters at the end of the day.

      It’s important to segment and only provide content to those that want it — else we are losing valuable subscribers.

      Thanks for the insights.

  9. Diane MacEachern :

    Your email sequence is much longer and more complicated than Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula. Why?

  10. Thanks for the advance posting

  11. Another great post, Neil. And the timing couldn’t be any better – cuz I’m currently working on getting my web tech startup off the ground – http://irememba.com and we just finalized the Mockup for our Pre Launch Signup Landing Page and were playing around with Confirmation Page and Autoresponder copies. Some very good insights for me to keep in the back of my head.

    Thanks a bunch! You rock!

    • Gaurav, glad to help. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

      Your site look good — keep me posted on progress.

  12. Alecia Stringer :

    There are so many pieces to the reason why people create a relationship with you, your service, etc. and this is a critical piece many miss out on. Thanks for your ideas in ways to implement.

    • Alecia, there are definitely a ton of reasons why people will come to your site — it’s a marketers job to find out which ones work best!

  13. Nice and effective article sir
    After reading this article, I think that I should provide a free guide to visitors by Autoresponder method. which will also help me to increase email subscribers list of a blog.
    Thanks for publishing it.

  14. Sure, as usual great content Neil, Autoresponders are really useful for sites like your’s ( i open every single Email i get from NeilPatel.com or quicksprout ) or ecommerce ( occasionally ) , but i’m seeing many subscribers of my site http://www.tnpscnow.com UNSUBSCRIBE if i sent every post i publish , even though my niche is in Jobs .

    I’ve changed my mind & planning to send weekly updates here after for . Also what i came to know from your previous post & this one is , we have to use professional services ,shouldn’t be depend on free services like Feedburner 🙁

    Thanks for another awesome post . Eagerly waiting for your next post on something new.

    • Mohan, you bring up a great point. You really have to test and see what works for your audience. It’s great that you transitioned once you started seeing people unsubscribe.

      Let me know if you come up with any other insights. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  15. Great post Neil, tons of awesome advice. Question for you on autoresponders ending– how about a pitch to a product? Is that something you’ve tried?

    • I think, it is a good idea, if your autoresponders are related to the pain that your product going to solve.

    • Katrina, I’ve tried it in the past. I would test things out to see how hard of a sell you can make in your emails. Sometimes it doesn’t work as well.

  16. Great content usual! I wonder, Whenever I think of learing a specific topic, I receive email about your new post on that topic.

  17. I find that people who waste my time on their initial email usually end up being unsubscribed. Maybe it’s just me but I like to get to the point fast and need value. I’m not your buddy, your pal or want to engage in a “whats up” salutation scenario, I’m busy. The “take away” “ends tomorrow” from email sequences I have not had a chance to go through end up in that big circular file known as trash.

    I got an email today from a marketer…. subject line “Don’t Worry, I won’t email you again” Huh? I was never worried in the first place and is I found it insulting to my intellect to assume that in my daily busy life I would actually take the time to worry about a lame marketer trying to get under my skin. I’m not going to open it because it simply sounds pathetic and self serving. Maybe it’s me but I just don’t like time wasters and nonsensical drival.

    So perhaps gauging your marketing email sequences by truly understanding your target market is a huge factor as always.

    Is there a hard and fast rule regarding target audiences and delivery times and frequency? Also I know there are ways to not bombard a recipient until and if they open the initial email. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Jan,

      I think the points you bring up are very poignant. You shouldn’t be trying to make friends — you should be providing value. Pinpointing what makes your subscribers tick should a marketers only concern.

      I like your point about nonsesical drivel especially.

      In regards to your questions:

      1. It’s all about testing. What works for one audience may be a failure to another.
      2. Segmentation is key. Make sure you are doing that so you can figure out what they want to hear and how.

  18. Greetings Neil, I enjoy reading your insightful posts. They make sense and are relevant, not to state the obvious, just saying, great job. Thanks, Marko

  19. Will email marketing work in India for financial services, I am not sure if I need to build one or can go with free options for now, please suggest?

    • Hello Rajesh,

      Email marketing works every where even in India and in Financial Service also. Only conditions is that target should not be a sales. Relationship building is the most important. Once you have good relationship, they will come to you!

    • Rajesh, it will definitely work. Everyone uses email. Try it out 🙂

  20. Very interesting and informative post Neil! Thanks for being so detailed but still easy to understand.

  21. Nilantha Jayawardhana :

    Awesome Post Neil! Thanks for sharing.

    Sender name is very important factor to increase open rate.

    About 6 months ago, I used my name as sender name. One day, I received reply from a subscriber and he said, it’s better if I use my blog’s name instead of my name.

    Then I changed sender name and I have seen a increase about 2% (average).

    • Nilantha, it’s all about finding what your customers want. Your brand often speaks louder than anything — especially if people are familiar with it.

  22. Nice article Neil.
    I always find joy in reading your articles.

    Thanks

  23. Neil I apologize for busting on your shoes at a war room event last year. Thanks for helpful content as always it was great info at just the right time.

  24. Nice article Neil. Your articles are so well detailed. It helps to understand easily for new bloggers like me 😛 Thanks for the info, keep up the good work

  25. Neil, you keep on delivering superb content!

    My personal experience: email is gold. I have landed several consulting clients because of a “what´s your struggle”-line Derek Halpern-style in one of the first email in the autoresponder. No pitch, simply an invitation to a dialogue.

    By the way, your emails are short and to the point. They stand out as great examples on their own.

    • Thorstein, email when done right is definitely solid gold!

      Glad you find my emails helpful. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  26. WOW, you went to another level with this post Neil. Have no idea how you write all of this stuff. It’s incredible.

    I do email marketing myself and own a marketing and networking university and this is great information on how people should do email marketing correctly. If people follow this then there would be no issues with autoresponder services.

    Due to the MMO niche, they have cracked down and banned many big time marketers for there way of emailing.

    Why I created my own service and trying to teach people the right way.

    Thanks for this post Neil will be sharing it

    • Beau, I have just been writing forever — it comes second nature to me 😉

      I definitely agree that the guide is pretty comprehensive and if you follow it to a T you should see great results. Let me know how it works out for you.

  27. Really great content Neil! I love your stuff and truly appreciate you sharing so much info in such a concise manner!

  28. Neil, can’t speak highly enough about the value of your content for a new blogger. Great stuff!

    However, as it relates to email opt in offers, training courses make sense for “how-to” blogs, such as yours. But, for other types of blogs (e.g. history, gaming, photography, etc), those offers don’t translate.

    What kind of opt in offer can blogs like these offer?

    • For photography it could be about choosing the right photographer or selecting location, or general tips.

      Depending on what kind of gaming your are talking about it can be strategy or tutorials.

      For history it can be a lesson or a topic that is interesting to your visitors.

  29. Ralf seybold - sichtbar :

    Thanks you for the impressiv and complete Article. We all know that revenue out of email-marketing is higher than out of searchengine-ads and with your help bloggers can push their revenue. THX for this Article, best Ralf

    • Ralf, if you do it right email marketing can be a huge plus for any marketing campaign in regards to $$.

      Keep me posted on how things work out for you.

  30. Hi neil

    I did like your way for email marketing strategy. it was nice and i hope i should implement the same techniques for my new niche affiliate marketing site. I hope this new year will get good response.

    • Aman, great to hear. I am sure you’ll see some success in the coming year if you have made the right changes 😉

  31. Deepak Kanakaraju :

    I have created a free digital marketing course at my blog digitaldeepak.com

    It is a 25 lesson course with video and text lessons.

    How can I move them to another list based on what they click in my last email? Aweber doesn’t have such options. Are there any other tools?

    • You should try to use Infusionsoft. They have a lot more flexibility, even though the product is a bit complex to use.

  32. Great Article Neil.

    Wow… Very detailed and well written.

    Am amazed with how much value you add to my journey, and uhmm for free!

    Thanks buddy… Keep up the good work 🙂

  33. Neil, thank you so much for another awesome article! You helped me realize that I need to deliver more value in my launch series–I used to focus too much on the product being launched.

  34. Rajveer Singh Rathore :

    Hey Neil please give one link for go to the top when we are reading the blog and comments then we scroll more and more so please its my suggestion and opinion. If possible then do it as soon as possible.

  35. Amazing work as always, Neil, must take you a long time to put these sorts of posts together. Appreciate your efforts to help out us little guys!

  36. Hi Neil,

    This post is worth more than other email marketing course by so called gurus. If it possible what your advice to person who doesn’t have anything to promote, do they need also the autoresponder sequence?

    Thanks

  37. What’s best auto responder service?

  38. I’ve set up an autoresponder (a free email course) but have not had any takers. I’m wondering what else I can do to encourage readers to sign up? I’ve been following a lot of advice but am getting nowhere 🙁

    • Tina, keep testing and don’t get discouraged. Have you thought of offering a free product or content for sign ups?

      • I did think about that, yes…kind of like a freebie to join up to a freebie course? Now I just have to come up with a freebie….:) Thanks!

  39. Hey Neil, thanks for the great tips.

    These tips are great to improve the quality and relevancy of emails, although what we’re struggling to find is a step by step guide to creating email workflows for ecommerce.

    For example, we sell a wide range of furniture in all different styles. If a subscriber signs up via our optin form, how could we differentiate our customers and create lists. Would you suggest to do this on brand, type of product or other.

    This would also obviously depend on whether they have already made a purchase or not as to what email workflows are triggered.

    Maybe you could create a post on this as I’ve not found much useful information out there on this topic?

    Cheers

    • I’ll consider a post on it.

      If I were you I would ask follow up questions, such as the type of furniture people like or need/want so you can start segmenting your list. You can then send them relevant offers.

  40. This extensive guide is one of the best thing I’ve read after a long time regarding how an effective email marketing campaign can turn out to be successful.

    Thanks Neil!

    • John, glad to help. It’s all about testing and finding the right formula with the right headlines. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Daniel Futerman :

    Simply superb as usual Neal! Talking about auto-responders… I always look forward to reading your emails because they constantly provide top quality value. You’re by far my favorite blogger / marketer / teacher.

    • Daniel, thanks for all the support. I look forward to hearing much more from you. Let me know if you need any specific help along the way as well.

  42. Khalid Ibrahim :

    Greetings Neil,

    Another excellent read. I happen to come across the right article at the right time. An email marketing strategy sometimes overlooked is actually very important for your success.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Khalid, glad we could connect at the right time. Email marketing is something that many people should take more time getting in to. Great point!

  43. Roberto Zanon :

    Hello Neil,

    Very nice and in-depth info as well, I really liked the point where you kind of “mask” your sale to an actual review.

    This technique really gives value and converts to sales.

    Thanks again 🙂

    • Roberto, glad to help. I think that strategy is one that many people find useful. Let me know how it works out for you. Looking forward to hearing great results from you!

  44. Brenden taylor :

    Thank you Niel this post helped me out lot as i was looking for a auto responder that can catch customer attention.

  45. Claire Greenhow :

    I am just writing a new email marketing strategy for my website http://www.professional-cv-writer.co.uk now it’s been re-designed and I have more time to work on my marketing. Having subscribed to numerous blogs, websites, etc. I agree with the poster above, you need to get the number and frequency right. I have often unsubscribed because of the constant barage of emails some organisations send.

    • Claire, when someone gets email down — it’s hard to unsubscribe. The goal is to be that person who gets it right so that it’s impossible to say no to them when they send us a message.

  46. I’ve just started to include a email list.
    I definitely still have a lot to learn in that front. Everywhere I look it’s telling me that it is one of the most important bits of an online business!
    This is a great post worth looking into !

    • Esteban, that’s an exciting time. You’ll learn so many insights from your visitors – I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  47. Thanks Neil. What I’ve learnt from you over the months and years that I’ve been on your list is a consistent message over email, blog post and social share so I can vouch for its effectiveness as a consumer, I still love getting your stuff.

    • Haroun, glad I can provide value. If you need help with anything else please let me know.

      You’ll find these tips for email marketing will be helpful — try reading the post over again. I always find more value when I do that.

  48. Akshit Wadhwa :

    Hey Neil,

    Great guide neil. It will definitely work as you shared but I would try it first thanks for sharing.

    -Akshit Wadhwa

  49. Great article. But exactly how do you “transfer” subscribers from an autoresponder for new subscribers offering a free gift to a longer-term list notifying them of new posts?

  50. Awesome Article. After I read it, I learned how to improve my blog’s autoresponder. After putting in practice some of the information I read here, I saw immediate improvements on the open rate.
    Thank You!

  51. Great article Neil! Really loved the way you broke down email automation. I have only been creating content for the last 6 months, building up an email list (a couple hundred) and just teaching myself as I go.

    I am struggling with “creating an online product now” OR “keep nurturing the list” before offering something to do. Give tons of value first, then ask.

    When do you know it is the right time to try to launch a pilot or beta course to validate said idea?? Or do you just do it, and test it…

    Love any suggestions or thoughts you might have in this regard. Keep up the awesome work!

    • You just do it and test it. Assuming your open rates are good and the responses are good when you email people, then your list is usually active enough to sell them something.

  52. Very good article. I already start implement some strategies from it 🙂

  53. WOW! What a great post Neil, I just bookmarked it so that I can read it again and again to find more insights.

    Thanks for sharing this Neil 🙂

    • FanRang, glad to help. Let me know if you have any additional insights. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  54. Hi Neil,

    Usually the first autoresponders are “welcome to the website” or please click the following link to validate your account etc. Then when someone does that they get a confirmation email. What do you recommend should be done in those sequences? Many times I don’t even confirm my account unless its a website which is really important.

    • Sammy, I think giving them an email notification that they have signed up or “welcome to the website” is enough. Having them confirm any other steps after that is just going to a) annoy them or b) make them lose their attention span for your product. Great question!

  55. Theodore Nwangene :

    Great post Neil,
    For me, the major thing that usually compel me to open an email is the senders name. For example, i always open all the emails you sends to me even without reading the headline, once I’ve seen your name, i will open up the email immediately unless i didn’t see the email.

    Headlines is also another factor that i uses to open emails and like this post explained, I’m sure that the same thing also applies to other people.

    • Theodore, it definitely matters to me. Credibility and value are two things that mean a lot to me.

      I get a ton of emails so it’s easier to sift through and find what’s valuable first then go from there. Always great to hear your feedback!

  56. Very informative post . I like the idea of auto responders as it takes away most of babysitting and makes email marketing easier. Thanks Mr Neil for sharing this wonderful post.

  57. Great article.

    Have bookmarked for reading again and Tweeted it.

    Ultimately, open rates will depend on how much subscribers know/like/trust you. Very difficult to build long term relationships with subscribers who are only after a free ebook.

    Ray

    • Ray, true. But if you consistently provide value things can change.

      It’s all about developing that personal brand that people associate good feelings towards.

  58. Hi Neil,
    Another epic post mate and just what I needed to help me set up the autoresponder series for my new website.I struggle enough with the technical stuff for email so it will be great to use your post as a resource to get the finer details done just right.Please keep the good stuff coming and thank you,Scott

    • Scott, glad to help. It’s a tricky process but once you master it the sky is the limit.

      Keep me updated on progress and as always if you need help along the way please reach out 🙂

  59. Plamen Ivanov :

    This is a very useful article because email marketing is one the best strategies to get more & more clients. Thank you! 🙂

    • Plamen, it definitely is one of the best tactics to grow your client base. Let me know if you need any other help along the way.

  60. Hi Neil

    I always look forward to your updates because I learn something valuable. Thank you!

    I’ve got a question that I’d really appreciate your thoughts on – around email:

    Do you have any research data on the content of emails and CTR, etc?

    For example, I send out weekly emails with two tips in them (each inter-related and connected with the other but also standalone it their own right).

    I always start with a bit of rapport building (which is a *lesson* I’ve *learnt* during the week) …

    But I wonder whether perhaps it might be better to send out one tip per email and increase the frequency …?

    I notice that you have only the briefest of intros in your email body before the click-through to your article (as does CMI), but Hubspot (for example) have 3-5 topics/email.

    Like I said, I’m interested to know your opinion, thoughts, etc on this.

    Thanks!

    • I haven’t tested it with NutritionSecrets as there aren’t enough emails, but it worked well when I tested it with Quick Sprout 2 or 3 years ago. I don’t have enough data on the questions you asked such as including multiple URLs in the email…

      I will test that in the up coming months and let you know on the results though.

  61. Neil,

    As always, this is a super great article.

    I had a bit of a clarification question. If I’m offering weight loss coaching and I sent out, for example, 14 emails with my best articles, how does one transition to the sell of coaching (or the product in general)?

    Very interested in hearing your approach!

    Best,
    Mike

    • You have to encourage your readers with a call to action. Maybe show them what more they can get by buying paid products or services.

      EX: If you think these blog posts are great, than you have to check out XYZ.

      • Neil,

        Perfect. I kind of copied your P.S. line in some of my emails and blog posts to check out personalized coaching.

        Thanks for your insight!

  62. I started my blog in March 2014, but only started focusing and posting regular content from June this year. Traffic quadrupled quickly, then… a few weeks back, Google Quality Update slapped me hard and I’ve lost most of my traffic.

    Part of my ‘pick me up and dust me off’ strategy is to focus on building a list and setup a quality auto-responder sequence, which is something I regretfully neglected. I have in the interim setup an optin form which runs a sequence for a product launch, but I need to write my own sequence from scratch.

    Neil, the tips in this post are great and come at a good time for me – Thanks

    • Duane, glad you found the tips helpful.

      It takes time to get everything lined up — once you do though the sky is the limit. You’ll see great success when you don’t leave any stones unturned — it really is a challenge but well worth it.

  63. As always, great content!

    Any idea what’s the better choice: A one time optin bonus (pdf,…) or an email course? First might give faster results, while second creates the behaviour of opening emails an showing that you are worthy over a longer time period :/

  64. Great information, thank you. I just wanted to say this post has helped me tremendously and thanks so much for sharing such wonderful tips!

  65. Great Article Neil.

    I always look forward to your updates because I learn something valuable. Thank you!

  66. Joseph Barrera :

    Thank you Neil!

    I am new to affiliate marketing and am currently using email autoresponders to promote products. I plan on implementing your advice and look forward to reading more articles from you!

  67. Discover Gossip :

    Awesome bro. You have raised my level
    Thanks Neil

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