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Autoresponders are traditionally thought of in terms of email; you get a subscriber to your list and a series of emails goes out to them.
Or, a customer buys a product so they get a series of emails, either general emails because you also put them on your list, or specific emails related to their purchase, or both.
But, autoresponders can also be thought of in terms of other mediums, like text and chat messages that go out in sequence.
I like to think of autoresponders sequences for any customer contact, like from someone I meet or hear from via voice or email for the first time. What is the sequence that I want to deliver to them after that first meeting/email/call?
My general goal with an autoresponder sequence is to help me develop and deepen the relationship. In particular, I want to create some sort of emotional connection between my customer and me and my company. Emotional connection helps in creating a long-term customer.
But, I don’t want my autoresponder sequence to be too long. Short, simple and to the point.
What is ideal length of an autoresponder sequence?
Everyone has their own opinion, but for me, I think it is somewhere between 3 and 7 individual messages in an autoresponder sequence.
Don’t use 4, because in Asian cultures, it’s pronunciation in Mandarin and Korean sounds similar to the word of death.
As a rule we humans prefer even numbers to odd, but 7 seems to buck that trend.
I have gone as high as 12, but after 7, I have noticed a big drop off in open/response rates.
So, between 3 and 7, but not 4.
Next is content
In general, the earlier part of my communications in the sequence are to try and create a connection between me and the recipient. I try to give them a little of my personal backstory about me, my work, or my personal life, as long as that backstory has relevance, or context, to how they originally came to meet me, email me, call me or subscribe to get my communications.
That relevance is usually the storyline that goes something like:
- I use to have this problem…
- then I came to an epiphany…
- created the solution…
- and here is how it helped me.
In this way, I am trying to tie my backstory to my current recipient, so they too can get my solution to help them out.
But the backstory is also to help me be more open, authentic and down to earth with the recipient. I want them to know more about who is the person behind the product/company, because that is one of the greatest advantages for small companies, which is to personalize their business.
Later in the sequence, I try to give them real value through content that can help them. If I can get them to identify with me through my backstory and be truly helped by giving them something, then that sets up the future much better so that they are more likely to open and respond to my communications.
For one-to-many sequences, like to new email subscribers, I also find that telling them how many emails they will get in this opening sequence.
This helps people know there is an end to your sequence, otherwise, they might unsubscribe before the sequence ends because they think they are going to get something from you everyday…forever. Knowing there is an end means that people are more likely to stick to the end of your sequence. My unsubscribe rates have gone down considerably doing it this way.
See here for the current autoresponder sequence I am using with my dog business:
I also adapted this sequence for social media subscribers. I auto-post a weekly message to Facebook for new subscribers, which drives them to this page.
Here is the originating Facebook post:
At present, I average a 63% open rate and 21% clickthough rate with my email sequence.
But I also want to use sequences to help screen out people.
Maybe someone signed up for my list, but in the course of the sequence, they decide they do not like me or want my content, in which case they unsubscribe, which is good, because ultimately, I can’t be everything to everyone. Best to get those people to remove themselves early on.
An autoresponder sequence is really just personal selling that is programmed into a sequence and delivered through a variety of mediums, like email, text, instant messaging, direct mail, and voice.
This sequence can be adjusted and modified based on the audience, delivered in a one-to-many fashion, like to your email list, or customized and delivered one-on-one to each specific person if the opportunity for personal selling arises.
The goal is to think through your own sequence and then set it up across your communication mediums that you want to use.
And your sequence does not have to be email, email, email…email; but can be something like, email, email, personal call, snail mail, email…
Be creative and use sequences and delivery mediums to help you stand out and capture attention.