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The Complete Guide to Setting Up Your First Email Autoresponder Series

What’s the one thing marketers love and hate at the same time? 

Autoresponders and automation. 

It’s like the proverbial solution that makes life easier, but we are always in a dilemma — how much should I rely on automation. 

As a marketer, no matter how good you are at automating your campaigns, it means nothing if people don’t engage with your emails. 

Keeping the audience engaged through email is a complex art. Most of the email campaigns out there are ineffective due to being irrelevant and too salesy.

In this blog, we’ll look at the practice of creating an autoresponder series that has a chance at engaging your audience. We’ll explore the basics of this marketing tactic and show a step-by-step tutorial on how to implement autoresponder series in your marketing automation strategy.

Let’s start with the concept itself:

What is an email autoresponder? 

An auto-responder is an automated email reply sent to visitors, leads, customers, or users who choose to opt in to hear from you. Autoresponders are triggered automatically based on pre-determined rules or logic. 

The term comes from autoresponder tools — essentially, an email marketing platform that sends automated emails.

An autoresponder email could be a single email — like an automated confirmation email to download an eBook or a series of automated emails, also known as email sequences.

Autoresponders reduce the manual effort of emailing and following up with your audience

In short, you save time. And that’s the best thing for a marketer (or a founder) swamped up with a million other things!  

Benefits of an autoresponder series

Autoresponders are a boon for busy entrepreneurs, B2B marketers, and anyone who wants to nurture their leads

A well-synced relevant autoresponder series ensure that your audience doesn’t forget you, even when you don’t have time to message them. You can still build a great relationship with your audience and keep them hooked.

Here’s what an autoresponder series can do for your business: 

  • Make your audience feel valued: Instant response powered by marketing automation gives them a sense of association and respect. It’s like someone greeting you back with a smile when you smile at them. 
  • Nurture leads: A well-planned autoresponder series would qualify leads and move them further into the buyer’s journey. 
  • Improve your conversion rates: Companies that nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads, thus boosting conversions. 
  • Filter the right audience: Autoresponders using double opt-in techniques and inline surveys can help you filter your audience almost instantly, minimizing chances of “knocking at the wrong door.” 
  • Boost your overall email deliverability: Autoresponders allow you to strike a conversation. Two-way conversations improve your email reputation score, tell email client algorithms that you’re important to the recipient, and thus, ensure you won’t end up in the spam folder.

What are the different types of email autoresponder series? 

Setting up an autoresponder sequence is integral to any marketing automation strategy. The best marketers understand that a well-structured autoresponder series opens up floodgates of opportunity (that convert into MQLs and SQLs) for the future. 

Before you set up an autoresponder, you should think about your goals. Are you looking to grow your audience, increase your sales conversion rates, convert more email subscribers to trial users, or maybe something else? 

Having the right goals will give you a lot of clarity about setting your autoresponders and what content should go in them. 

For instance, a basic autoresponder series for any SaaS business that wants to convert leads to trial users can look like this: 

  • Email 1: Introduce yourself and say thanks to people for becoming a subscriber.
  • Email 2: Share the benefits of subscribing to your emails.
  • Email 3: Share a success story.
  • Email 4: Give informal content related to the product.
  • Email 5: Make an offer.
  • Email 6: Make the same offer differently.

Observing the standard lifecycle funnel for any SaaS company and the buyer’s journey, these are some of the autoresponder series/sequences you should plan on setting up: 

The length of each autoresponder series varies according to the goals. Check out our blog on what is the ideal length of an autoresponder series.

Now, let’s look at some autoresponder series templates and examples to help you set up your first autoresponder. 

Email autoresponder series templates & examples 

1. Lead nurturing autoresponder sequence 

A lead nurturing sequence is one of the most popular autoresponder sequences. Most startups drive leads using ethical bribes (also called lead magnets), nurture them through marketing automation and try to get them to buy.

Companies that use lead nurturing tactics are known to generate 50% more SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) at 33% lower costs. 

A lead nurturing campaign helps you move a visitor further into the buyer’s journey. You ask people for their details in return for some value you provide (lead magnet like an eBook, worksheet, infographic). 

Here’s a lead nurture sequence example: 

Autoresponder sequence objective: Turning a visitor into a lead by giving them a lead magnet through a form on the website and nurturing them via an email sequence. 

Autoresponder series:

  • Email #1: Deliver lead magnet.
  • Email #2: Promised value — How the user can use the lead magnet to achieve a goal.
  • Email #3: Action steps — What to do to achieve the goal.
  • Email #4: Introduction to more resources — More complementary resources to move the lead further into the buyer’s journey.  

Email 1: Download your eBook

Email 2: Make [eBook] work for you!

Email 3: What to do next?

Email 4: More resources on [topic of the guide]

Read more: 8 Lead nurturing strategies that work in 2022

2. Trial follow-up autoresponder series

We all love free trials. Especially when they become paying customers. 

But we all feel sad when free trial users don’t convert into customers. Not that it is something we can control entirely. 

The industry benchmark for trial to paid conversion is around 25%

Well, probably the most successful trial conversion tactic of all times is to set up a well-crafted personalized autoresponder sequence following the offer. 

This series should: 

  • Guide users through the free trial products to experience value as soon as possible.
  • Create awareness about advanced product features.
  • Show them the additional value they can derive by converting into a premium customer 
  • Offer special deals, information, and case studies to influence their purchase. 

Here’s an autoresponder sequence to boost our trial conversion rates: 

Sequence Objective: This sequence is used by Divio for free customers who signed up for a trial but didn’t move towards a paid subscription.

Trial conversion autoresponder series: 

  • Email #1: Personalized follow-up: Trying to create a connection and show that you’re there to support.
  • Email #2: Product intro: What can one achieve with the product? 
  • Email #3: Follow up #1: Set up a meeting for a one-on-one demo.
  • Email #4: Solid promise: Shows expertise and experience in solving the user’s pain point.
  • Email #5: Follow up #2: If they need any more help/support.  
  • Email #6: Getting feedback: Asking questions to identify the future need for the service.
  • Email #7: Final outreach: Make a user feel valued and remind them that the support team is available. 

Though the sequence feels a bit long, such a series of regular follow-ups can nudge a user to respond, interact, and shift from just trying the free product to becoming a paying customer. Of course, it needs to be personalized to the use case and type of the user.

Here’s an example series from the cloud management platform Divio:

Email #1

Email #2 

Email #3 

Email #4 

Email #5 

Email #6 

Email #7 

3. Product onboarding autoresponder sequence 

The most critical stage in the SaaS customer lifecycle is the onboarding stage. If you can get a lead/trial user to your product’s “Aha” moment, you’ve got yourself a happy customer right away. 

A product onboarding autoresponder sequence can be designed to delight and ensure that your customers stay with you for a long time. 

The onboarding sequence is crucial for free trial users, too. According to customer success research by Groove, free users who complete the onboarding process within 24 hours are 80% more likely to convert to paid customers than those who don’t. 

Here’s how you can delight trial (and paid) users with an onboarding sequence: 

Series objective: Onboard trial users and get them to upgrade by leading them to the “Aha” moment (delight).

Onboarding autoresponder sequence: 

  • Email #1:  Welcome email — Introduce the product
  • Email #2: Personalized introduction — Extending help and asking the reason for trying the product
  • Email #3: Tip #1 — Showing how the most valuable feature can add value to their workflow/business 
  • Email #4: Tip #2 — Sharing yet another useful feature and showcasing how it can help the user
  • Email #5: Tip #3 — Sharing another feature and making them fall in love with the solution
  • Email #6: Sharing case study — Showing how others are leveraging the product for the success

Email 1: Welcome to [Product], {{ person.firstName | default: "friend" }}!

Email 2: A personal hello + a quick question

Further reading: 10 Of The Best Thank You Emails & Subject Lines (Examples, Tips & Templates)

Email 3: Tip 1: [Hottest and most valuable feature of your product]

Email 4: Tip 2: [Second value-based feature]

Email 5: Tip 3: [Third value-based feature]

Email 6: See how [Company X] is using [Product] to get [results Y]

An autoresponder sequence like the above helped our founder double the trial-to-paid conversion rate from 1.5% to 3% at his previous startup HeadReach. So, you know it works 🙂 

Curious to check more autoresponder examples and templates? We got you covered, download our eBook below:

How to set up an autoresponder series with Encharge? 

Encharge can help you set up contextual autoresponder sequences based on your growth goals. Here’s how to get started with your first autoresponder series with Encharge:

Step 1: Create an autoresponder email

First, you need to write the email copy and create your emails. 

The built-in email manager and email builder allow you to create beautiful mobile-friendly emails. 

You can start building your first email in one of two ways: 

Use the drag and drop builder

Encharge’s drag and drop email editor is a powerful HTML editor that allows you to create visually-appealing emails with fully-responsive layouts. Once you open the email builder, you’ll see the following screen:

Use the built-in features to start writing the first email of your autoresponder series. You can take inspiration from the templates shared above or check out more automated email templates.

Use the simple email builder 

The simple email builder can be used if you want to send plain text emails— the kind of emails you send manually to another person on Gmail. 

Open the simple email builder in Encharge and fill out all the details: 

  • Email name – this is only visible to you. 
  • Subject line — Subject. (Check out our free AI Subject Line Generator
  • From email – the email that your users will see. Note that you can use different emails, as long as you have permission to send from this email.
  • From name – your name.

You can also use more options to customize other elements like ‘reply-to’ email, name, etc. 

Use the text editor to create a plain-text email. You can use the formatting dashboard on the top of the editor to format your content. 

Once you’re done creating your email, test by sending a test email to check if everything is alright. Save the emails by clicking on the “Save and Close” button on the top. 

Create all the emails in the autoresponder series and save every email in the email manager within Encharge. 

Step 2: Set up external forms on the website 

External forms would bring people in your flow so you can start nurturing them. 

To add people to your flow, you will have to capture their emails using external forms on your website.

Encharge supports all major third-party tools like Instapage, Jotform, Landbot, Swipe Pages, and many more. 

You can use the External Form Submitted trigger to add people to the autoresponder flow while configuring your sequence. 

When someone submits a form, they’re automatically added to your Encharge audience. 

💡 Pro Tip: You can group your leads into segments based on common properties. Use the user segmentation features of Encharge for lead scoring, categorizing leads, personalizing your automated flows, creating better campaigns, and boosting your conversions from autoresponder series.

Step 3: Define the triggers

Triggers are steps in your automation that will start the autoresponder series. For example, when someone submits a form on your website.

You will have to define the triggers for your autoresponder series. Then, connect the trigger to a Send Email step. The person will automatically receive the autoresponder when the trigger is fired.

The triggers for your email series could be as simple as form submitted or as complex as behavior activity in your product. Before you start building your first flow for autoresponder, it’s best to define triggers for every based on your user journey. 

Let’s take a basic example of an autoresponder series flow for a B2B SaaS startup. The trigger events can be as follows: 

EmailEvent Trigger
Welcome emailWhen someone signs up for your email list, i.e., submits a form.
Benefits/Tips of signing upTime-based: 24 hours after they signed up 
Share a case study/success story Time-based: 48 hours after they signed up
Personal demo requestTime-based: 36 hours after they sign up 
Special offerTrial end trigger: On the last day of the trial (when the trial ends) 

Encharge supports 50+ trigger events for you to set up according to your buyer’s journey, growth goals, and sales funnel. Check out the complete list of trigger events here.

Step 4: Configure autoresponder automation

Once you have the forms, emails, and triggers, you’re ready to set up your first automated flow within encharge. 

Encharge Flow Builder allows you to create elaborate flows and sequences for various use cases. 

To create your first Flow, go to the Flows page inside the dashboard and click the Add button on the bottom left to add a new flow. 

You’ll get the option to start from scratch or use pre-populated flows based on email marketing best practices. Choose one according to your autoresponder sequence goals and start using the flow builder. 

Start by adding the Trigger, then a Send Email step. After that, you can add a Wait step and another Send Emal step to create a basic time-based autoresponder series.

Here’s what an example autoresponder sequence could look like in Encharge:

Tips for making your first autoresponder series

Here are a few basic ideas and tips for configuring your first autoresponder series:

  • Autoresponder series should be brief, informative, and engaging. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with longer emails, too, as long as you provide value.
  • Autoresponder content should be useful, rewarding, and concise 
  • Your autoresponders should be about the offer at hand, what’s in it for the user, why should they care, and how they can contact you 
  • Educating your audience about your product can be a great theme to start an autoresponder series  
  • The number of emails in your autoresponder depends on your goal, industry, and audience type. Check out this blog on autoresponder sequence length to clear all your doubts. 

Now that you know how to, it’s time to build your first autoresponder sequence

Using the steps above, you can set up your first autoresponder quickly. Once you’re proficient, you can create complex flows from scratch or use a pre-designed flow based on best practices. 

As you add more and more series, you’ll realize how peaceful it feels to nurture your leads, be more useful through the buyer’s journey, and delight your customers…all on autopilot.

Need more help? Book a free demo with us. We’d love to learn more about your business and help you create effective automated series.

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