Using Automatic Email Responders As Part Of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is an important but often rather under-exploited online marketing channel.  For a comparatively small level of effort, businesses can see big gains in their marketing efforts with just small email marketing initiatives.

There is too much to say about the whole topic in a single blog post, but here’s a quick introduction and some suggestions for how you might be able to achieve some easy wins.

Why Use Email Marketing?

The phrase “email marketing” no doubt makes many people think of over-frequent, annoying and spammy attempts by unscrupulous businesses to catch your attention. But email is just another channel for customer engagement, and there are many ways to engage with your customer base while avoiding spam, and which benefit them and you.

For example:

For building brand presence, trust and reputation – “selling-without-selling”

  • Relevant news emails
  • Helpful information, how-to advice, expert opinion
  • Daily blogging on topics of interest to your audience
  • Fun, humour, entertainment

For sales increases and promotions

  • Product or services special deals
  • Time-limited promotions
  • Affiliate offers and deals – Offers and promotions are more effective when you have proven yourself worth listening to and already have the attention of your audience

In short, if used well, email can be a good way to increase the regularity and depth of engagement with your potential customers. This makes them more likely to think of you, to return to you, to tell your friends about you and what you do – and of course to buy from you.

Better Engaging With Customers Means More Sales

Email can be a highly subtle and effective way to gradually win strangers into advocates of your business, and to increase the likelihood of passing site visitors turning into customers and returning customers. This is often most effective when you’re not deliberately selling directly, but rather working on your relationships with your customers, and concentrating on providing them information that is helpful, interesting, or entertaining.

Many businesses are focused on constantly acquiring new customers and leads. But with a pre-qualified and interested email database, regularly and effectively engaged with, the work of marketing can gain a lot more traction.

No Spam Please

Unless you’re in the Viagra or millionaire-Nigerian-princes game, unsolicited spam isn’t really in vogue – and most decent businesses don’t want to engage in it.

So making sure your email marketing is permission-based is important. This means building an opt-in mailing list of people interested in your products or services, which will provide you with a group of people far more likely to respond to anything you have to say. (It will also help you sleep with a better conscience at night!)

Spam is also about the way you engage with your opt-in mailing list. Finding the right tone of message in your email for your market, the right frequency of communication, and the right way to interest your audience is fundamental.  It’s difficult to generalise about this – every market and customer base is different – and you’ll need to use a combination of market intelligence and repeated testing to learn what’s effective for your business.

Building a permission-based email list brings us onto web-based sign up forms and email auto responders…

How Email Auto Responders Can Be A Useful Tool For Email Marketing

What’s an auto responder?

It’s a pre-scheduled email that is sent automatically with pre-prepared content, often in a sequence of separate emails sent at scheduled intervals.

The point of setting up automatic email sequences is that you can benefit from some of the advantages of email engagement with your customers, but keep the workload to a minimum and increase your efficiency. Sometimes drastically.

A simple example: you’ve got a great cleaning service business, and you do some specialist small niche stuff. You get plenty of website traffic , but only a small fraction of that ends up in email enquiries or phone calls.

Introducing a sign up form to your website can allow you to capture more of the “not quite sure” visitors, inviting interested people into an automatic sequence of email engagement that can win them over.

In this case for example, you could introduce a simple customer offer of a guide to cleaning, for example, followed up by a short but interesting / highly useful / funny set of emails over the following days or weeks. A portion of those sign ups will turn into customers you would otherwise have missed.

Importantly, once set up, this customer engagement is all done automatically.

It’s important to keep this trustworthy – as automation in general sometimes smacks of spam. Allow people to opt out and unsubscribe. Be polite. Don’t hard sell them to death, and you won’t scare people off. 

How To Set Up Automatic Email Sequences

This can be done very quickly and easily.

There are good services available allowing you to offer sign up forms on your website and implement email sequences. Aweber is a popular one, but there are others too.

Write your sequence of auto responders, ideally guiding visitors who have signed up into a sales funnel. Keep your objectives in mind and try to guide customers into a specific end action. Include calls to action at select places to drive visitors into specific actions.   

Old But Gold: Some Tips To Help Make Sure Your Email Is Effective
  • Titles: like newspaper headlines – make your titles interesting. Lists can work well. For example, if your business is hiring out domestic skips, “5 Essential Skip Hire Tips”
  • Content: Focus on adding value and interest. Answer FAQs, give away knowledge
  • Message to market – remember your audience
  • 3 seconds to win people’s interest – keep your message focused
  • Connect emotionally with readers if you can
  • Consider plain text or html emails – different markets have different results. If you can, test the results of both

The author works as part of the team behind TheGoalkeeperCo.com website.

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