4 Steps to Creating an Effective Email Autoresponder

For those who aren’t aficionados of email marketing, the autoresponder tends to conjure images of – perhaps slightly boastful – automatic responses informing you that the recipient of the email you sent is on vacation while you are hard at work. On the other hand, setting that out-of-office autoreply can also be a moment of joy when you’ve finally reached the end of a tough period at work, and are ready to jet off into the sunset for a couple of weeks. However, we are champions of the power of the email marketing autoresponder and feel you should learn just how valuable a tool this can be. Sending the right content to the right email subscribers at the right time can have outstanding results, and here’s how to achieve them.

In simple terms, an email autoresponder is, as the name suggests, an automatic email that is generated by your marketing automation software when a specified action occurs. So, you may want to show appreciation to new email subscribers by sending a sequence of email content. Maybe you want to send a birthday offer or an invitation to an upcoming sale. Whatever your reasons for using this particular feature of email marketing automation, make sure you’re doing so effectively.

Tip: Did you know that setting up an email autoresponder to welcome new subscribers could generate 320% more revenue than any other you send?

email autoresponder ideas

How to Create an Effective Email Autoresponder

1. Choose the Right Marketing Automation Software to Create Your Autoresponders

The first step to maximizing the clicks and opens you get from your email autoresponders is making sure that you have the right tools. It’s essential to use great email marketing automation software to optimize the return you get on your investment. Of course, how you use the tool is also incredibly important, but why make it more difficult than it needs to be? When it comes to planning an autoresponder series – for welcome emails, promotions, abandoned cart emails, and more – you need marketing automation that can:

  • Get your content to the right people at the right time (almost 80% of people say that content is key when considering a product or service)
  • Provide the level of customization that today’s consumers have come to expect
  • Enable you to segment your mailing list according to various characteristics
  • Allow you to implement cross-channel marketing, incorporating your social media accounts, emails, and more for maximum impact
  • Provide real-time analytics, so you can act on what works, and tweak what doesn’t
  • Offer smart code, where email autoresponders can be triggered by consumers’ on-site behaviors.

how to create email autoresponder

2. Choose a Purpose for Your Autoresponder Series

Notice we said autoresponder series and not simply autoresponder email. Why? In short, because you’ll need more than one autoresponder to ensure that your email subscribers receive relevant content, and don’t feel like you’re insisting on constant contact for no real reason. That’s a surefire way to end up in the spam bin.

We’ve already covered the welcome email, which can be automatically sent to all who subscribe to your mailing list, but there are numerous other ways in which the humble email marketing autoresponder can generate the opens and clicks you need. Here is just a selection of the most common uses of email marketing automation:

  • Start by sending a welcome email as soon as the new subscriber joins your mailing list
  • One week later, follow it up with another, offering an exclusive discount on your products or services. After all, you already know they’re interested
  • Around three weeks after this, use email marketing automation to send an invitation to join you on the various social media platforms you have a presence on. Cross-channel marketing is a powerful resource, so don’t miss out on it.
  • Send birthday greetings around one week before a subscriber’s birthday, to make sure you’re on time for their gift shopping
  • Keep email subscribers up to date on your latest offers, discounts, and sales
  • Create email autoresponders which are triggered by certain behaviors, such as visiting a product page on your website, or clicking a specific link
  • Send reminders to website browsers who have added a product to their online cart and then navigated away. Abandoned cart emails can be the prompt needed to convert a prospective customer into a definite one

example email autoresponder

  • Send a reminder one year after a purchase was made on your website. Maybe you have an extended warranty that could be purchased, or maybe you’d like to include a discount code for the customer to make another purchase.
  • Mark special occasions, such as the festive season, to remind your email subscribers that you value them. A simple holiday greeting can go a long way.

3. Segment Wisely for a Personalized Experience

We all want to feel valued, and this applies to B2C and B2B relationships as well as personal ones. Personalization is not only highly valued by contemporary consumers, but it’s also mandatory. If your email is not adequately personalized, well, you could be costing your business a lot in missed opportunities. Your personalization starts with your email headline, which should be:

Beyond that initial impression, you absolutely must make sure that each and every person on your mailing list feels like they matter to you, and this is where segmentation comes into play. Dynamic segmentation lets you filter your contacts by various criteria, which may include common demographics such as age, location, and past behavior. What’s more, you can even use marketing automation software to automatically add each new subscriber to the group which is most appropriate for them.

autoresponder dynamic groups

We all change over time too, so it’s also possible to have this segmentation change and adapt as your customers do – after all, it is dynamic!

4. Perfect Your Email Marketing Autoresponders before Sending (And Afterwards Too)

By now, you have a mailing list of people who are interested in your products and services, marketing automation software which enables you to personalize subject lines, and segmentation which ensures that each subscriber receives relevant content, so what’s next? Creating that relevant content of course. You know what you want to achieve, you know you have a mailing list full of people who want to hear what you have to say, so make it count. Of course, what you think is excellent content may not be exactly what each subscriber thinks is excellent content, so make sure to take advantage of the following features to tweak it to perfection:

  • Spend some time reading and editing your text and email design to find one that fits with your audience. For example, a brand new subscriber may want to know where your pricing starts or may be interested in an offer for a free plan, or trial period. This same information is unlikely to be compelling to a repeat visitor
  • A/B testing allows you to send different versions of the same campaign to different subscribers, before adapting to embrace what works best
  • Real-time analytics can (and should!) be used to explore what your subscribers respond well to, putting this to use in your next email campaign, autoresponder or otherwise

For truly effective email autoresponders, you should incorporate as many features of marketing automation, and tips for writing great content, as possible. Above all, pay attention to what your subscribers say and do in response, and act on it.

Remember, this is a general guide, and your own email marketing autoresponders should reflect your goals and what your customers want. Start by segmenting, personalizing, and creating great emails, use analytics to make them even better. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but with great email marketing automation software, and a clear objective in mind, your business could really benefit from this powerful digital marketing tool.


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