A follow up sequence or auto responder is a series of pre-written emails that are set up in advance and sent to subscribers or consumers automatically after they opt-in, sign up, subscribe, register, purchase, etc. They are a way to continue to provide value, build relationships, and stay top of mind.
Business owners love follow up sequences because it allows them to leverage software to automate tasks and create stronger, better brand experiences with their clients, customers, and subscribers. With a follow up sequence, you can do the work once to create it, then you put it on autopilot and let is do it magic over and over again automagically — yes, automagically — saving you time energy, and money.
Almost every business owner using a shopping cart or email marketing service provider in their business has the ability to use auto responders and follow up sequences. But they don’t.
Why business owners don’t leverage follow up sequences.
Do you have the ability to send follow up sequences and auto responders to your list to stay top of mind and strengthen your relationship with them, but you’re not taking advantage of it?
If so, that’s okay. You’re definitely not alone. There are literally thousands of business owners that pay for marketing automation software like Infusionsoft (whom we use), 1ShoppingCart (whom we recommend), Ontraport, and others — but don’t really use it!
They don’t use the capabilities they have at their fingertips because:
- They aren’t sure what to say
- They don’t know what to include in a follow up sequence
- They are confused at how to use auto responders to create more sales or build their brand
I get it. Setting up and writing follow up sequences can be really difficult.
I know just thinking about mapping out a follow up sequence, writing all the content, designing and creating the emails, and setting it all up to run automatically can feel really intimidating and scary — I’ll be honest, it’s not as simple as a lot of these online marketers make it out to be.
But I can make it easier for you. I’ve written a lot of successful email auto responders since Bourn Creative opened in mid-2005 — some were really successful, some were failures. And with every one, I tweaked, and adjusted my approach and plan, improving it every time.
I’ve also worked with A LOT of online marketers, online business coaches, and copywriters over the years — and I’ve been lucky enough to peek behind the curtain and some incredibly successful email campaigns, complex follow up sequences based on behavioral actions, and conversion funnels that convert at simply insane percentages. While I do plan on sharing what I’ve learned on this blog in a future series, this topic is much too big for one post!
Get Started With A Simple Follow Up Sequence Outline
Yep. I am going to give you a sample email marketing follow up sequence that you can use for ebooks, information products, opt-in offers, and more — one we have used over and over with stellar results. (This is just an example of a simple follow up sequence — it doesn’t contain advanced behavioral triggers or anything really difficult, and it doesn’t require you to invest in crazy expensive software. Your exact follow up sequence may require fewer/more steps, or different content, based on what it is used for.)
EMAIL 1: Confirmation/Success
For purchased items, the first email sent is a receipt of purchase. For anything requiring an opt-in, you should always use a double opt-in, so the first email you send will be a confirmation message asking subscribers to verify their email address. When they click the link, they are then taken to a Thank You page on your website where they can access/download your content.
EMAIL 2: Get Started
The next email sent is the “Let’s get started” email. It includes a link to the Thank You page where they can access/download your content — just in case they missed it on the thank you page or left the site too early. Include any basic instructions on what to do first and tips to help them get started.
Also consider including an invitation to connect with you or your brand on social media if they aren’t already.
EMAIL 3: Reminders and Expectations
This is the “Did you download it yet?” email with another link to access/download your content. It’s amazing how many people will miss the first two opportunities completely, and this will reduce support requests and the “I didn’t get it” emails.
Consider including benefits-focused reminders about what they are getting and what they should expect. Let them know they will be receiving a few more emails from you with more goodies, that they will also get your email newsletter (only if it was part of the offer), and that they can unsubscribe or opt-out at any time.
EMAIL 4: Tips For Success
The goal of this email is to build customer and client satisfaction, and reinforce the belief that signing-up or buying was a good idea.
You want and need subscribers, clients, and customers to consume and use your content/product. You want them to gain value from it, have a positive experience with it, and be happy they took action — you want them to feel that the opt-in or purchase was worth it.
So help them out with this “How to get the most out of…” email. Share tips, tricks, suggestions, examples, and ideas with them to get the best results. Consider getting them back to your website by sharing links to use cases from others who have subscribed or bought the same thing, success stories, or how-to blog posts that will inspire them to take action and use what they invested in.
For the best results, be sure to have a subsequent offer or upsell to a companion product, program, or service on the pages you send them too.
EMAIL 5: Bonus Gift
Send them something extra — a surprise bonus gift! Delight them with something awesome they weren’t expecting, and if you can, make it relevant to the item they bought or opted-in for. Ideally this would be an add-on, a next steps resource, or an exercise to help them even further — it could come in worksheet, checklist, video, audio, report, guide, or even tips sheet format.
The idea is to make them even happier they took action — even if they have done nothing yet or haven’t even looked at the item they bought or opted-in for.
EMAIL 6: Additional Resources
This is the “If you liked this…” email. If you have other products, resources, programs, or services that would be perfect for someone who opted-in for or bought this item, share it with them! They already took action to engage with your brand once, and if you have blown them away with value, they are more likely to take action again (and tell their friends about it).
If possible seal the deal by including a testimonial from someone who bought or opted-in for the same item, then invested again in the upsell, and had success.
EMAIL 7: Testimonial Request
Your prospects are more likely to take action when they can see that others before them have done so and experiences success and happiness as a result.
So you need testimonials — and you need to ask for them! Use this message to invite them to share their experience with you by providing a testimonial, and remind them that it’s a win-win because they’ll gain exposure on your website as well.
Understand that simply asking for a testimonial isn’t always enough because writing a quality testimonial takes time. Consider offering them another high-value bonus gift in return for their testimonial.
EMAIL 8: Just Checking In
About 30 days after this sequence ends, send a final “Just checking in…” email — and send it in plain text, with no fancy graphics. This is just a personal message from you to them checking in, touching base, and showing them that you care.
Share that it’s been about 30 days since they opted-in or purchased, and that you just want to see how it’s going. Ask them if they have had success, if they have any questions, of if they ran into any challenges or problems.
If they respond and and answer your questions, their feedback can be very valuable in helping you identify holes in your offer, new content and resources that can be created, where your follow up sequence or product needs to be adjusted, etc.
Your Auto Responder Is Not An Optional Extra Or An Afterthought
Think of your follow up sequence or auto responder as an opportunity to engage a new member of your community — to mature and deepen the relationship. It is your opportunity to provide more value and solidify your brand reputation in their eyes. It is a critical tool in welcoming new tribe members to your brand.
What about you? Are you currently using follow up sequences successfully in your business? Have you yet to set them up? Did you find this example helpful? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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