Conversions are in the eye of the beholder. Some marketers with longer sales cycles will call a successful email opt-in a conversion. Although, technically it is a conversion, the fact is that an opt-in doesn’t equate to a sale. A real conversion, for most online businesses, will involve cold hard cash or a credit card number. If you want to land conversions that increase your bottom line, learn the art of the autoresponder.
Why Email is Still Your Highest Performing Conversion Strategy
To understand why email is still the top conversion tactic in online marketing, you have to look at the different types of messages that businesses use in the course of their email campaigns. In a MarketingSherpa survey of 1,095 marketers, the results show that the most common types of email messages were either welcome messages, thank you notes, or transactional types of emails. Of these, most marketers did not include autoresponder emails, which are a big opportunity in online marketing.
When compared to newsletters (which have a 20% open rate), transactional emails are twice as effective with a 50% open rate. The reason for this might be because transactional emails are triggered by a customer action, which implies a contextual conversation, not just an ad. Once a customer is engaged in this manner, the autoresponder emails tend to get more clicks and conversions as a result of the connection.
Autoresponder Emails Get People to Trust Your Brand
What’s the difference between a regular email and an autoresponder campaign of emails? An autoresponder campaign is generally more than one email focused on a particular topic that is delivered to the recipient at specific times and triggered by specific customer events. For instance, when a person subscribes to your email list, your autoresponder email can trigger a welcome campaign that, over the course of time, introduces your subscribers to your products or services at discrete intervals.
In the meantime, you will be providing information to your audience and getting to know their preferences. You will switch out between educational content and promotional content to keep things interesting. However, the primary aim is to learn your customer’s needs and give the benefits of your products and services. The mix of information can help to build trust with new sales prospects. You will be able to keep in touch with people regularly, as often as your email lands in their inbox. This familiarity can inspire confidence in your brand as people read the free content in email and begin to appreciate your messages. The more they read, the more you train them to keep you at the forefront of their mind, inspiring them to do business with you.
The basic formula for instilling a sense of trustworthiness is as follows:
Reach out frequently in email with links to your site. This will instill familiarity with you, your company, and your website. This can engender trust in your brand. That trust ultimately makes it easier to make that first sale.
Start with a Smart Topic
Not every topic will work. You have to pick one that is of interest to your subscribers and that ends up being shared widely. The way to start finding topics is to consider your audience’s needs. Areas that elicit a quick response, either because they are “hot” or hit some pain point, can be ideal starting places. To figure out what those area are, do the following:
Survey Your Readership – Your audience are the ones who know what topics interest the most, so ask them. You can do this via email, phone, or a simple online survey. You can also query group you participate in or lead, like those on a social network or online forum.
List to Social Media Conversations – Sometimes, hot topics will make themselves known through social network updates with a long comments list or many shares. If it has a hashtag associated with it, you can find out more about this topic using it. Try Quora or Yahoo Answers to research a topic more too.
Review Your Online Content – This can be easy if you have a blog with posts that performed better than others. If you just have pages, you can use Google Analytics to find out which pages have the most views. You can analyze the search keywords used on your site, if you have a search tool. Any questions or comments people post on your site or email to you can also help to define hot topics and themes.
Use Keyword Research – Keyword research doesn’t just tell you what Google is interested in, it also tells you what most people want to know when they search for content.
Three Options for Writing Autoresponder Emails
Option 1: Create All New Content
All new content is unique and valuable to readers who can’t find similar content elsewhere. However, the drawback is that you have to create all that content from your own resources or pay someone to write it for you.
Option 2: Recycle Content
You can snippets from a blog or pages to include in your emails, thus reducing the need to create new content for an autoresponder campaign.
Option 3: Slick Up an Ebook
If you’ve written an ebook, it can make the perfect series of autoresponders, when divided into mini-lessons.
You can use one or a combination of the above strategies to create a series of autoresponders that help you get your message out.
The Technical Details of Email Messages
You will need to work out the details of your email campaign, such as:
What schedule will you use to deliver your emails?
You can test various schedules until you work out the one that works best for your audience or use some other marketer’s successful email schedule. It’s up to you. Remember that a short series is easier to produce and can be easier for new prospects that aren’t familiar with you much yet. Reserve long series for loyal fans and people who have already bought from you.
How long should your emails be?
The more frequently you email your subscribers, the shorter your copy should be and vice-versa. You don’t want to send out long copy too regularly as people won’t have time to read it all. If unsure of a length, you can always ask your readers what they prefer.
What should the email look like (layout)?
Don’t get too fancy with HTML emails or heavily designed copy. Simple, elegant, messages tend to be read more than those that are hard on the eyes. Make it easy to read whether it is on a mobile device or a desktop. Don’t forget to include a postscript, as it tends to get a lot of attention.
Are You Ready to Automate Your Emails?
Even if you don’t have an ebook to cut up or a blog that you can raid, you can still use autoresponders to build your business quickly. The time you invest will reward you by helping you build your email list in half the time as other strategies that are even more content intensive, like newsletters. So, don’t delay. Give a go and get started today.
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