It takes work to build a list but in the end it’s worth it. This is the gold mine of your online empire. Why is it so important to have that list? There are many reasons but to name a few: you need to encourage your customers to consume, you need to provide helpful tips so it builds your expertise among them, and you should always be pointing them to the next steps. But how do you do all that in a timely manner and a way that doesn’t consume huge chunks of time every day?
By automating the process! Think about it - you would be doing a lot of ‘crunch’ work if you didn’t automate this process. For example, you want to “bribe” people to sign up for your list by offering them a special report (or something they’re interested in). But could you imagine if you didn’t have an email marketing software tool to use? You would be building your “list” by having to manually email people when they told you they were interested in your freebie offer. Or if you wanted to tell them about a new blog post with helpful tips, etc. you’d have to do it all manually. Not only would this be a crazy process, most email providers will not let you send a bunch of email – they’ll flag your account as spam.
But just exactly how do you automate the process?
The first thing you need to do is decide on which software suits your needs. Below are a few options to choose from.
$29 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers
ConvertKit is gaining a lot of attention recently. And with good reason – it’s full of a lot of the bells and whistles other email marketing software providers don’t have.
One of the really sweet things about ConvertKit is the ability to create as many opt-in forms as you want and each one can be used to give away a different gift (incentive/bribe – whatever you want to call it). And even better than that - you can choose a custom opt-in form for each of your blog posts by using their WordPress plug-in!
ConvertKit has many different resources available that make it worth the monthly cost. But one that is especially worth it – being able to segment your list and exclude people that have already purchased a product from you. This is a great way to be able to send a sales pitch out but not ‘annoy’ those who have already purchased it!
$1 a month for up to 100 subscribers; free 21-day trial
Drip is the new kid on the block (at the time of this writing). It’s brought to you by LeadPages, the popular landing page software and is another platform full of bells and whistles worth checking out!
They’ve simplified managing your subscribers for you. Instead of having to manually move a subscriber from one campaign to the next, this process is all automated for you. The software even integrates with different platforms such as CRM (customer relationship management) software, shopping carts, landing page software, payment processors and more to make your email marketing even more profitable.
And they’re now providing visual workflows (think mind map) with easy to use drag and drop features. This will allow you to create a workflow that is organized, easy to understand and help you plan your goal(s) for your email marketing campaign(s).
$19 a month for up to 500 subscribers; free 30-day trial This software has been around for ages and has lots of satisfied customers. It’s one of the more “basic” options when it comes to email marketing software and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but definitely has a lot to offer! The drag & drop feature makes it easy to build either a plain text or HTML message for your list. They’ve recently released a new feature – campaigns – that lets you target your list even more by adding tags to ‘flag’ your subscribers according to an action they take. A tag will then trigger a campaign (learn more here: https://help.aweber.com/hc/en-us/articles/212677877-How-Do-I-Use-Tags-With-Campaigns-). If you’re looking for a very basic email marketing software, Aweber is a great solution.
$15/month for up to 1,000 subscribers; free 30 day trial This software has a lot of features that make it a really good option… if you need all theYou’ll find things like marketing automation (BETA mode) - this drag & drop feature will let you set actions that trigger something specific based on what a customer does. Responsive email design - no matter how someone is reading your email it'll look great with their automatic responsive design. Landing pages – this is also a drag & drop builder feature making it easy to publish landing pages in mere minutes! And those are just a few of the available options.
$25/month for 1,501-2,000 subscribers (Note: they do offer a free option but it is very limited in what you can do & they’ll charge $ for add-on items you need for automation so it’s better to just sign up for a paid account,
) Similar to the other options above, you’ll find drag & drop features to build your mailing. They offer easy to understand stats (how many emails opened, how many people clicked through, etc.). If you’re an ecommerce, they have ecommerce integration. Those are just a few of their features.
Now that you know a few options available, let’s talk about using autoresponders as a way to automate your email marketing.
Autoresponders (in Aweber they’re called Legacy Follow Up Series)
In the beginning of building your list, it’s going to take some time to create the content for your follow-up series. The very first email you create should be welcoming your new subscriber to your list and providing them with the freebie offer you used to “bribe” them to sign up. Add a personal touch – ask them to reply and let you know a little about them (ask them to answer a question for you – what is your biggest struggle with building a blog or something that fits your audience).
The next autoresponder message could be a message that goes out one week after they sign up with a simple message like hey, have you had a chance to download your gift yet? If not, be sure to pick it up here (link to freebie). Your next message could go out one week after the previous one and you could use this message to highlight something important in the freebie offer you gave them and make mention of the page # they’ll find it on.
Once you get the first few emails created and added to the autoresponder series you can start building out your content. Now it’s time to start thinking about products or services you have that provide solutions to what your list is looking for. This is also a good time to make affiliate recommendations too.
Over time, keep adding more content to your follow-up series. For example, if you’re using Aweber and send out a broadcast message about something new (a service, product, etc.) that is considered evergreen content, make sure to also add that to the autoresponder series so people signing up later will get an email about it.