Setting up an email autoresponder isn’t nearly as hard as you think it is. How do I know you think it’s hard? Mainly because most people I talk to have absolutely no idea what to do with their mailing list. Sure, they’ve installed a plugin or two to help capture email addresses, but they panic when people subscribe, and they don’t communicate often enough. Which means when they do finally send a newsletter, their unsubscribe rate is high because people forgot why they ever signed up in the first place!
The cycle continues and the health of your mailing list suffers. So, set aside a few hours, put on your writing cap (it's so cute, you might as well wear it!), and let's get to it. If you use a different mail provider other than Aweber, keep reading. The bones are the same. I just happen to use (and like!) Aweber (affiliate links help me afford ice cream, thanks!).
How to Set up An Email Autoresponder
Step 1: Outline and Draft Your Emails
First, open Google Drive/Word/Mac Pages/Scrivener/Notepad/your favorite stone tablet. That's right, step one is not in Aweber.
You're going to outline each and every email in your autoresponder series. We wrote 15 emails in our autoresponder series, and subscribers got a new email from us every three days.
Here's the series we've followed:
- Welcome email: Tell your reader what to expect. Send this right after they confirm their subscription.
- Your big why: Why did you start your blog/podcast in the first place? Remember, even if you live and breathe your big why, your subscriber is new to this.
- A little about you: Who are you? What's quirky about you? Pull from your about page, then ask about your reader.
- We did this twice. Since there are two of us in our company.
- Required reading: Which books changed your life? There are so many books in your niche (because there are so many books in every niche!). Help your readers separate the wheat from the chaff. Write mini book reports on these, or at least your takeaways.
- Habits: Since Stacking Benjamins is a money brand, we sent a note about how your habits are making you rich (or poor). We gave little tips.
- Sign up for our course: This is the first time we ask you to spend money (aside from the book reports, but those make pennies). We talk about how the course will help you create better money habits.
- Skyscraper post: Send a link to your most popular post, and tell your subscriber why you like it.
- Subscriber freebie: Even if your subscriber joined your list in a different way, send them the PDF of something you use as a subscriber freebie. Stuck on freebie ideas? Here's a good place to start.
- Highlight of one of our favorite podcasts: We loved having Austin Kleon on our show, but it's been awhile, so it's likely our newest subscribers missed it.
- We did this twice.
- Come visit our flea market! We have a silly store on our website, and we told our subscribers about it.
- Another note about the course: One more note telling our subscribers about our online course.
- Another skyscraper post: Groups of tips are always well received.
- One more philosophy post: We don't believe getting out of debt is a goal. A bold statement, right? Our subscribers open it and understand why we say that.
After 15 emails, they've really gotten to know us better.
Step 2: Put them in Aweber
Click Messages, then click Follow Up Series.
Start copying and pasting your emails into this format. Once you're done, your screen will look like this:
That's it! You can see how many people read each email. The number tapers off after a few emails, but it's an awesome way to put a little more of you into your emails.
What are you waiting for?