You can write new copy for your email series, or not. Consider your options:
Plan A: All new
Based on the research you conducted, you can write all new content for your autoresponder. While doing so obviously creates writing work for you or someone you hire, your new content can be offered as exclusive content unavailable anywhere else. Your readers might find the exclusivity an enticing reason to opt-in.
But you may want a shortcut or two.
Plan B: Your blog
Why not resurrect old posts? You can bet your readers, especially new subscribers, haven’t read everything you’ve published. Consider scouring your blog for posts that remain valuable. You might batch together several that cover a single category to make it easy to create a topical and thematic series. Or, you might have written a series of posts in the past that could be ideal for an autoresponder series.
Plan C: An eBook
You may have created eBooks. Or similarly, you may have written a mega-post to serve as a thorough guide for a specific topic. Either resource could make creating your autoresponder series a simple slice-and-dice exercise.
Tips for Delivering Autoresponder Emails
Set a schedule. Put some thought into the number of emails your autoresponder series will include and the delivery intervals. There’s no right or wrong way to make these decisions, so you might consider:
- Go with a hunch. You might suspect your readers can’t wait to get the content, so you’ll deliver them in consecutive days. Or, maybe you feel spacing them out by a few days or sending them weekly would be preferred.
- Test. You could put a schedule in place and keep your eye open for unsubscribes. You also could try two variations to see which is more effective.
- Emulate. Autoresponders are a common tactic of smart content and email marketers, so you might simply emulate the tactics of a series you liked.
Short Series? A short course will be easier to produce and may sound more appealing to your readers, especially to those who haven’t yet discovered how great your content is.
Long Series? A longer series can delve deeper into a topic. It might also serve your lead nurturing better because you’ll make more frequent visits to your subscriber’s inbox.
While it’s possible you’ll get more unsubscribes with a longer series, it might effectively work to separate those who actually are interested in your services or product from those who aren’t.
Sell it. Whether you go long, short, or somewhere in between, I suggest you use your plan as a selling point. For instance…
- Our short series of 4 emails will deliver a helpful crash course on (topic).
- Or…The (topic) 30 lessons in 30 days series will cover everything you need to know to (…).
The Length of the Emails
The length of your emails, like a number of the choices you’ll be making, is also worth considering carefully and testing. I’ve been known to say, “Don’t count characters, but make every character count.” Read: I believe there is no right or wrong length.
The right thing to do is edit your copy until you believe every line contains value. If you do so, hopefully, your readers agree the length doesn’t matter and will read longer works. Given the context of an autoresponder (that is, it should be the pinnacle of “permission based marketing”), you may find your readers embracing long copy emails.
That said, a lot of readers want to blast through email fairly fast. Again, your email can feature just a snippet of the article with a link that directs the reader to a page on your blog or website. But some will prefer to see all the copy in your email.
If you plan to rapid-fire your emails, say in five consecutive days, you might consider shorter copy.
It won’t hurt to ask your readers what they prefer. Or, you might add the issue of copy length to the variables you test and monitor. Actions speak louder than words.
How Autoresponder Emails Should Look
Here we go again examining what is clearly a matter of preference. HTML or plain text? Sidebar or single column? Generous use of images, or one, or none?
Regardless of the choices you make, be very deliberate about being kind to the eyes. Break up your copy into short paragraphs and feature ample white space.
Yes, screens are getting smaller. And yes, an ever-expanding percentage of email is being consumed on mobile devices. Understood. But all that said, readers are entirely accustomed to scrolling and will appreciate a tidy and uncluttered look. Use headers, bulleted lists where appropriate, captions, and any other tactics to help go easy on the eyes and communicate effectively with the skimmer.
P.S. Try using a P.S. after the signature. Time and again, research reveals how effective postscript messages are.
It’s Time to Go “Auto”
Autoresponder email marketing can be an effective tool for most types of businesses. You need not wait until you have a book or information course to sell. In fact, not having these types of things makes your autoresponders even more important. They’ll be instrumental in helping you build the email list you need.
“Your email course is how you go about building your email list, one agreeable reader at a time.”