An autoresponder is a series of emails, usually focused on a specific topic, delivered in a pre-determined sequence at pre-determined intervals. The process can begin when someone subscribes to your general email list. Alternatively, you can create new lists catered specifically to those who want the content.
Generally, the autoresponder aims to transfer know-how, but making offers and attempting to sell are not out of bounds. You’ll probably need to experiment to arrive at the right balance of educational and promotional copy. You’ll want to consistently address your prospect’s needs and stress the benefits of your products or services.
If things go as planned, your email autoresponder series will build trust with your prospects. Your messages will make regular appearances in their inboxes. And, you’ll be sharing useful lessons and progressively gaining mindshare. If your content is well received, you’ll essentially be training the reader to open your emails, visit your website, and ideally, do business with you.
This is the formula, simply stated:
Repeated touches and visits = familiarity = trust = sales.
Select a Smart Topic for Your Autoresponder
If your autoresponder series is to be a hit with your readers, it has to satisfy an informational need, so you’ll want to choose your topic carefully. As you would smartly plan the development of any content, you’ll want to tap into your audience’s needs and uncover leading pain points.
To find these, try some combination of the following:
Ask readers – Your current readers are a logical starting point. You might use a reasonable sample of current customers and simply question them via email or telephone. You also can use a survey. Another possibility: tap into a group you lead or participate in on a social network or via a forum.
Listen to social media – Social media is your ideal market research tool. Look at some of the better blogs in your industry to see what generates the most sharing and commentary.
Pay attention to the hashtags being used in your niche. Dig into question sites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers.
Assess your own content – You might get ideas for your autoresponder series simply by assessing the interest in your existing content. Which posts have performed best? Look at the shares, comments, and your analytics.
If your site includes a search tool, you can look at what visitors have searched for. Chances are, you field questions via email and/or chat. Take note of the questions and look for common threads and themes.
Research keywords – The Google Keyword Planner tool won’t literally tell you the topics your readers are interested in, but you can test your hunches by using it to check the popularity of various keyword searches.