What’s an autoresponder?
An autoresponder is a series of emails that are sent automatically to the email list thanks to email marketing software. What does that mean in the real world? Here you have an example, step by step.
- A client reaches your blog (if you don’t have one, what are you waiting for?) and after checking the quality of your content, he decides to subscribe himself.
- Immediately, he receives a welcome email.
- A week after, he receives another email containing links to other posts describing different products, their advantages ,and how best to use them.
- After a few days, he receives another email offering him a 10% discount. Finally, the client decides to buy.
The best part is, that by using an autoresponder, once you compose the emails… everything else is done automatically.
How to use an autoresponder to get more sales and clients
An autoresponder can be used at three different moments, depending on the client’s situation.
1. From visitors to subscribers: lead magnet or the promise of a discount
Not everyone who visits your website is ready to buy. We know that already. But that doesn’t mean that we can just let them leave so easily. If we use an Inbound Marketing strategy, we should “take them by the hand and guide them to the purchase”, how?
You guessed it right, by using the autoresponder. In order to do so, we need to get their email address first. Let’s see how.
A. Lead magnet
A lead magnet is a gift we offer to the visitors in exchange for their email address. In this post about how to gain subscribers, we explained several options. For example:
- A template
- A guide
- A list of useful resources or tools
The most important thing about your lead magnet is for it to be related to your product theme, since it is what would guarantee that the leads we are catching are qualified ones.
Consumers are crazy about discounts. But, in exchange, we ask for their email addresses. When users receive the discount, two things can happen: they buy or they don’t. We will follow a different strategy for each case.
- They DON´T buy: the autoresponder is activated to send them information about the product so they come to the realization that they need them.
- They DO buy it: there is a sequence of emails offering them additional products to the ones they bought and some content to foster their loyalty.
As you can see, the options are endless.
2. Leads nurturing
Imagine that after reading our post about creating a contest on Facebook, you get lots of new people added to your database. They are not clients (yet), but you have their email addresses and you are going to take advantage of that.
Through a chain of automatic emails, we will show them the potential of our products, we will gain their trust, and we will encourage them to buy.
Check out the following sequence:
Day 1 – Welcome
After leaving their email address, the system will send them a thank you and welcome email. We can also add a quick introduction of our business and its history. It is important to transmit closeness and transparency (a video is really helpful for that matter).
Day 2 – Success case
In the following email, you can tell a client’s story. We all love to hear a well-told story and they help us to form a bond with the brand’s values. The storytelling combined with a success case will also favor building trust.
Day 3 – Best posts
Have you realized that we haven’t tried to sell anything yet? Our goal is for them to get to know us, to get to like us. Many times, selling is just a matter of gaining the client’s sympathy and that they give us credibility.
When sending them a list of our best posts, we are showing our knowledge about the field to make us look like leaders in the field.
Day 4 – Discount
If everything goes well, the client has read our emails and trusts us by now. He has a good opinion of us. Because of that, it is time to show them a time-sensitive, irresistible offer.
Day 5 – Reminder
Since the discount we sent them is time-sensitive, the last email that we will send them will be a reminder of the time they have left until the end of the offer period.
Extra: do you want to know if the autoresponder is effective? According to this study, there are 23% more options for the client to buy with an autoresponder than with just a welcome email.
3. Loyalty: from client to recurring customer
Just because someone bought something from us doesn’t mean that our relationship with him or her should be finished. We have to make an effort to create a bond that helps us to get more sales. Once again, the autoresponder will help us here. In order to foster the client’s loyalty, we have to create a long-term relationship, without pressuring them of being annoying.
Here you have some ideas for this sequence.
- Offering products related to their purchase or cross-selling (always in accordance with the client’s profile).
- Tricks to better use the product they have bought
- Information about how to maintain it well
Do you want to learn more about how to foster their loyalty? Then read this post.
Other autoresponder messages
Besides the ones we have just mentioned, there are more situations in which the autoresponders can be of great help.
1. Abandoned cart
There can be several reasons why clients abandon their carts:
- They are not ready to buy.
- They think it is too expensive.
- They don’t know how to proceed.
- They have doubts.
Whatever the reason, we can set up an email in which we offer more information about the product and answer possible questions they may have. Do you want to learn more about how to recover abandoned carts? Have a look at this post.
2. Follow up
After a purchase is made, a follow-up email may include:
- Information about the use: guides, videos, and material that can easy the use of the product
- Guarantee and customer service information
- Satisfaction survey
The follow-up email can be included in the loyalty autoresponder.
3. Special and customized events
You also have the option of automating emails for special occasions.
- Birthdays: automatic congratulations email with a discount
- Reminder: surely you have ever received a “we miss you” email after having bought something online
Let’s see how to implement all this (and for free).
How to create an autoresponder for free with Mailchimp
Mailchimp is one of the most well-known email marketing software systems and it is more than enough to start with. When your business starts to grow and you want to add new functionalities, you can upgrade to the paid version or other automated marketing tools such as Active Campaign or GetResponse.
Let’s see how to do it.
First of all, you have to create an account with Mailchimp.
How you have to connect it to your CMS (it supports WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce).
If you use WooCommerce, download this plugin. Now you just need to introduce the API keys that you will find in “Account/Extras/API Keys”.
Go back to Mailchimp and click on the upper Menu button for “Automation”, and, “Add Automation”, you will reach this screen:
Here you would be able to select the autoresponder you want. Once you have selected it, you just need to compose the emails of that sequence and program them.
You will also need to create at least one list to which you can add your clients. You can do this by clicking “Lists/Create list”.
And that’s it! You’ve got it!
Tip: for writing the emails, it will be helpful to know something about copywriting or persuasive writing. Don’t miss this post.
Five tips for using your autoresponder
Do you want to improve your conversion rate? Keep reading.
1. Simple, anti-spam design
The first idea when creating an autoresponder is to make it way too pretty – error! An email full of images and banners will not make it past the spam filter and it will go directly to the “trash” folder.
Tip: when you compose an email with Mailchimp, use the template “Simple text”, which will prevent a lot of email software, such Gmail, from sending your emails to the “promotions” folder.
2. Attractive subjects
If the subject is not eye-catching, the client will never open it. But, don’t go too far and promise things you cannot do. You would lose your credibility.
3. Comply with the law
Always add a link so they can unsubscribe from the newsletter. You can put it at the end, in small letters, but put it there! ;)
4. Let them breathe
An autoresponder with too many emails can be overwhelming; separate them with some time between each message and use common sense.
5. Check the statistics
Measure, decide, and act according to the results. If you want to know the opening and click rates of your business, check this table.
Are you ready to create your autoresponder?
An autoresponder can become your online shop’s best salesman. Remember that they work 24/7, 365 days a year, and that they never rest.