Email Autoresponders - What are They and How to Use Them

Eman Zahra
Eman Zahra

Last updated on

April 4, 2023

Being a digital marketer today, you have to take care of many things at the same time. With a lot on your hand and mind, you can miss one or two, but one thing you can’t afford is losing a prospect.

Your potential customer or your paying customer may reach out to you, and let me tell you one way to lose that customer- not responding on time. I understand, we are all humans, and we only have 24 hours in a day. The prospect can be from any part of the world and can reach out at an odd time for you. You can be unreachable at times, but then again, you can’t leave them hanging.

But to solve this, you don’t have to become a robot that is up 24 hours or even hires resources that work around the clock to answer prospects and customers. I have the answer for you - Email Autoresponders. You might have heard this word being thrown around by many other marketers, so it’s finally time to explore it and what it entails.

What are Autoresponders?

Autoresponders are the emails that are sent automatically to your mailing list based on the triggers that you define. The subscribers get a series of emails sent out at predetermined intervals.

What triggers an email autoresponder may be a particular date, subscriber behavior, or a transactional action. The messages could reach the segments of your email list or target only one person at a time.

Consistency is simply one advantage of email autoresponders. Automated responses improve the email marketing process by liberating many resources for you to concentrate on different aspects. You'll be able to pay attention to crafting powerful emails and exploring performance metrics.

Even once you’re on autopilot, email campaigns meant to nurture leads and convert subscribers into customers can still run.

You won’t have to worry about choosing between making sales or building a relationship with the audience. You won’t have to take customers forward in their customer journey manually and to be honest, that is one of the essential tasks of email marketing.

Why Do you Need Autoresponders?

According to Chris Hexton of Vero, newsletters have an open rate of around 20%, whereas welcome emails can shoot up to 50%. Meaning if you make this email trigger-based, you can get 100% more attention than newsletters without the need for manual oversight. This is one reason you need autoresponders. Regular emails at a perfect time build trust in the brand.

Here are some email series that you can automate:

  1. Taking the subscriber to a certain level of the customer journey and switching him to another cycle if he clicks a specific link
  2. Moving the prospect to the customer cycle when he buys the product
  3. Sending emails about a particular product based on a prospect’s interests.
  4. Emailing prospects on their birthdays and special offers on special occasions

How to produce impressive email autoresponders

The best part concerning email autoresponders is that most subscribers settle for them as a part of the e-mail marketing campaign. This expectation affords you some leeway in pushing for conversions while not being sales-y. It’s also a lot easier to send out necessary product information.

Adopt the steps below for building effective email autoresponders:

Identify your end goal

An email series has to have a purpose. If you don’t have a transparent goal, it'll be tough to set parameters and write meaningful content. Note that one email autoresponder series could have multiple goals. It can be promotional as well as a way to build a customer-brand relationship. For example, a Christmas email campaign that is promoting a new product wishes the prospect a Merry Christmas and is also creating a positive image for the brand.

Divide your email list into possible segments:

Breaking down your list into smaller and optimized sets will increase conversions. You can group the subscribers using the information you collected from email signups (like age or location). You'll also be able to use website-derived data – like previous purchases or browsing behavior. Segmenting can increase personalization and hence a more significant ROI in your email marketing campaigns.

Map out your required sequence of emails:

It’s up to you to decide on the number of emails you want to send out and the order in which you wish to arrange them. The timing of the email is a critical factor you have to consider. Go with a single welcome message or a three-part onboarding series; autoresponders work with either. Some digital marketers use advanced email autoresponders that keep running for months and include over a dozen elements.

Make them effective

These messages must be of good quality, or they could hurt your campaign. Every email template has to be thought out – from the subject line to the email body. Personalization while crafting emails will work the best for you, so don’t forget to add it to your campaign. And of course, the number suggests the same when it says that customized email titles will improve open rates by over twenty-five percent.

Adjust and improve as needed

It’s okay if you don’t produce a highly converting email autoresponder promptly. Monitor its performance – especially the click-through rates and open rates – and tweak some parts if you feel it'll improve performance. You'll be able to even use A/B testing. Be mindful of the unusually high unsubscribe rate, too.

An email autoresponder is way more than a simple trigger email. It’s a proactive approach to interact with your subscribers in an exceedingly personal and affordable way.

Email autoresponder campaigns that do the job

Are you wondering where you will be able to embed email autoresponders into your digital marketing calendar? Here are some typical applications of email autoresponders.

The friendly and hearty welcome

Did you know that autoresponder emails have 50% click rates and welcome emails have more than 50% open rates?

Seeing these numbers, building a welcome email autoresponder is a no-brainer. Everybody expects a welcome message, even if it just confirms their subscription. This automation is relatively easy to set up, as it’s triggered by somebody opting in.

There are many ways you can use this email. Produce an email series that says thank you, includes an introduction to your brand, adds the subscription details, and informs the prospect about the content he should expect from you. You can also add visuals or colorful custom pictures to balance out the multiple links and chunks of text you’re going to add to the email.

The drip campaign

An email drip campaign will operate as a lead magnet to grow your email list or sales funnel to extend conversions.

This type of email autoresponder may support informational emails meant to precede a compelling call-to-action (CTA). The CTA could raise your prospect to volunteer his data or invite him to a special event and many other things. Let your imagination run wild.

Whether an email drip campaign’s end is a free downloadable or a sales effort, one factor is for sure: A marketing campaign of this type is way more challenging when run manually.

Running an email campaign that asks the subscribers or shows them how long a sequence will be and what it entails and then asks them if they want to stay for the complete series or not is a major step.

The personal touch approach

Emails that stand in this group need data provided by subscribers. Personalization may be as simple as mentioning someone’s name within the email subject line or body. To be effective, though, an email autoresponder can go for as many details as possible.

You can determine pain points and offer applicable discounts for your prospects to attract them more.

For example, you can use the fact that your prospect does not have a premium membership or that he has not bought anything. Using the fact that the prospect just turned into a customer and sending him some related suggestions, can be done through email autoresponders.

Sometimes, the trigger is not an action or behavior but an occasion. The autoresponders are triggered on every occasion.

The feedback request

Asking for client feedback through an email autoresponder is an important task because the results will be the base of your future marketing campaigns. You have to consider doing this if you want to improve your efforts toward making sales.

Keep in mind that you’re asking subscribers to share data in their time, so build the sequence short and make the queries relevant. You can also go the other way and ask for the product ratings or testimonials.

A typical trigger for this kind of selling automation is a recent purchase or a complete interaction.

The mild reminder

A reminder email autoresponder may be as easy as a bulk of invitation emails or as delicate as a complete re-engagement campaign for your brand.

You can definitely produce a one-time trigger email as an autoresponder alternate. However, generally, there are a lot of complexities involved in this type of campaign.

For instance, an email that gives the information about your products and asks the prospect when he wants to be reminded again can not be sent using a one-time trigger email.

The promotional material email

A common autoresponder email used by many retailers is the payment confirmation email. This is triggered when the customer chooses the payment method and pays for the product. This email can be used in other ways as well, upselling and cross-selling, for example.

The email can add more information about the products related to the one the customer just bought. This way, more products are added to the cart by the customer, increasing the brand revenue.

Wrap up

An email autoresponder works by employing marketing automation content to induce one or many pre-sequenced messages to send, following a trigger. The trigger could be behavioral or transactional in nature – or can even be based on particular dates.

To create an email autoresponder, you have to

  1. find the goal,
  2. Segment the email list,
  3. Find the right time to send the email
  4. Find the right length you should use for the email body
  5. Write the personalized email copy based on the segments

If you observe poor or even mediocre email performance, you can make minor campaign changes to extend engagement and potency.

Ready to get started with automated emails? Keep these styles in mind before you start working on them:

  • The warm welcome
  • The drip campaign
  • The personal bit
  • The feedback request
  • The mild reminder
  • The promotional material email

Happy email marketing.

Author Bio

Eman Zahra

Eman-e-Zahra is an IT graduate and has helped many businesses especially software development companies with their content marketing. Eman has managed to achieve a global clientele with her work by lending them a hand in the marketing strategy department.


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