In the 2015 world of sales, automation is king.
What exactly does that mean in terms of sending out automated emails to your email list?
We can start with a few basic definitions and clarifications.
What Is An Autoresponder Sequence?
If you already feel confident that you are well versed in autoresponder sequences and their importance, feel free to hop on down to the next sections to learn how to write your welcome email effectively. But for those who are not familiar with the topic (or just need a little reminder), let’s brush up!
Autoresponder sequences are a series of automated emails that are sent to subscribers after they opt-in to your email list. These emails can serve to keep your brand top of mind, launch a new product, promote a limited time service, or accomplish a number of other goals your company is looking to achieve.
Most importantly, autoresponder sequences allow you to deliver personalized content as you are building a relationship with your subscriber.[Tweet “Are you using your autoresponder to deliver personalized content to each subscriber? If so, how?”]
Why Do I Need To Use One?
Can you imagine typing out each email to each one of your subscribers? Just the thought of that is daunting.
When done well, automated emails can be a wonderful tool for maximizing the efficiency of your sales operations. It only makes sense to leverage technology to keep in touch with your contacts, but the trick is to make these interactions feel personal.
Automated emails are detrimental to your sales efforts if they are hastily thrown together with little regard for the reader. These emails can quickly be considered spam (either by the email provider or the recipient of the email) if they are impersonal. No one likes feeling like they’re getting email from robots.
So what is the first step down a path of effective and personal email automation? Crafting the perfect welcome email for your autoresponder sequence.
How do I keep my emails out of junk mail?
It’s pretty difficult to engage your subscribers with great content if they never see it in the first place. Throughout the entire process of writing your welcome email, you need to think about how to avoid the dreaded spam folder.
From tips and tricks to spam laws, here are some great pieces of content that give some practical advice on how to keep your emails where they belong… in inboxes:
- Emails Going To Junk Folder? 10 Tips to Keep Your Emails Hitting the Inbox! from Comm 100
- 10 Tips to Keep Email Out of the Spam Folder from SendGrid
- How to Avoid Spam Filters from MailChimp
Specifically, Gmail has what is called a “promotions” tab in their email setup now. The “promotions” tab is defined as “Your deals, offers, and other promotional emails” This means even if your emails don’t end up getting filtered as spam, there could be a lower percentage chance that your email is seen if it ends up in this additional tab.
Here is some additional content that explains just how many people are using Gmail and how to navigate avoiding the “promotions” tab:
- By The Numbers: 12 Amazing Gmail Statistics from DMR
- How To Survive the Gmail Tabs Marketing Apocalypse from Marketo
- Gmail Does It Again: The New Promotions Tab from Litmus
Why Do Readers Need To Respond To My Welcome Email?
If you follow the methods above, you should be able to get past the spam security without any initial issues.
The real test is getting your subscribers to respond to your welcome email so the remainder of your autoresponder sequence can stay in their inbox and not get filtered as spam or “promotions”.
When a person responds to your email or they add you as a contact, the email provider will recognize that the contact wants to continue to receive your emails.
How Do I Get My Subscribers To Respond To My Welcome Email?
Grab their attention with your subject line
With people getting emails upon emails upon emails every single day, you don’t need us to tell you how important it is to cut through the clutter and have your subject line stand out.
There are differing theories on how to best grab the attention of your audience, but with a little research you can determine what the best approach is for your business. We’ve already done some of the work for you!
- 17 Tips For Writing An Excellent Email Subject Line from Business Insider
- The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates from WordStream
- 18 of the Best Email Subject Lines You’ve Ever Read from HubSpot
You talkin’ to me? Turn this into a two way conversation!
The best way to know the type of content your subscribers want is to ask them!
Think about it, if you’re socializing at a party, you don’t want to get stuck in a one-sided conversation where you can’t get a word in edgewise – you want to be heard! The same goes for your email list.
If you take the time to get to know your subscribers, they can steer your content strategy in directions you and your team would never have put together. This could allow you to not only improve future welcome emails, but it could improve your entire autoresponder sequence with content that your audience actually wants to read.
Ask effective questions
You really only have one shot to ask a great question in your welcome email, so make it count.
Here are some tips for asking effective questions:
1) Ask one question. If the recipient is overwhelmed by the number of questions in your welcome email, they won’t answer any of them. The question should be short, direct, and easy for them to answer quickly.
2) Ask clarifying and probing questions only if necessary. If the question could have a complex answer (like “what’s your biggest struggle in your business right now?”), then make sure to give examples after the question (like: “Is it sales? Marketing? Managing your team?”). By giving people examples, you’re making it much easier for them to answer, and making it easy is how you get engagement.
3) Ask about future content. As we mentioned above, you should be creating content that actually helps your target audience. Why not ask them directly what they want to learn more about… then be the person that gives it to them!
Can’t think of questions to ask based on our suggestions above? We’ll make it a little easier on you.
Here are some examples of questions to ask your new subscribers in your welcome email:
- What aspect of your blog do you need the most help with? Headlines, promotion, content ideas?
- What is your twitter handle?
- What type of content would you like to see in our emails?
- What are the best promotions you’ve seen from our competitors in the past?
- What kind of content do you enjoy sharing with friends and family?
What Should Be In The Body Of My Welcome Email?
Monica Montesa from AWeber has a great article entitled Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love that outlines what the remainder of your welcome email should entail.
Her list is below, and more detail on each element can be found by clicking on her article link above.
- Welcome subscribers and thank them for signing up to your email list.
- Provide details about the content they’ll receive in future emails.
- Include a brief description of your company.
- Deliver your incentive if you offered one.
- Provide contact information.
- Send from a representative of your business.
If you’re looking for welcome email templates, additional ideas for content, or anything else we might have missed in this article, check out these articles
- How to Write An Effective Welcome Email (13 Examples and 3 Templates You Can Steal Today) from Shopify
- 10 Examples of Highly Effective Welcome Emails from Vertical Response
- 11 Tips for Writing Effective Welcome Emails from Vinay Sahni
See, it’s not that difficult
Would you look at that? In just a few minutes you have become a pro at crafting welcome emails for an autoresponder series.
Armed with this knowledge, your list will keep your emails in their inboxes, engage you in conversation, and be blown away by the content you deliver them.
Don’t stop there!
Having a killer welcome email is only part one of having an effective autoresponder sequence. You have to give your subscribers a reason to keep opening your emails.
Check out some of our other blog posts to steal our blog post framework and learn how to write better blog headlines. The catchier your headlines, and the easier your content is to consume, the more likely you are to build a loyal and engaged email list.
Are you struggling with your company’s blog? Check out our free 5-part email course, and start turning your company’s blog readers into paying customers.