Build Engagement With a Powerful, 6-Email Autoresponder Sequence

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In this article we go beyond the initial opt-in, and learn how to build an automated email sequence that drives engagement from new subscribers.

 

If you’re like most email marketers building their first email marketing strategy, you’ve likely decided that putting together a good lead magnet is key to building a strong list. And you’d be right. Lead magnets are great at adding interested subscribers to your list and are a great starting point for any budding email marketing rockstar.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite time to pat yourself on the back. Your next challenge will be keeping your list engaged. After all,

“it’s not the size of the list that matters, it’s how responsive it is”

— Pat Flynn, smartpassiveincome.com

But how can you build engagement with your subscribers? How can you motivate them to open your emails, click on your links, and even reply to you asking for more info?

As with anything in the world of digital marketing, these are questions best answered with a variety of tactics, strategies, and techniques. Today, we’ll share a simple—yet powerful—autoresponder series that helps promote engagement from your subscribers.

 

The 6-Email Engagement Sequence

The autoresponder sequence we’re about to build is geared towards getting your subscribers to respond. To get started, you’ll need a minimum of three pieces of content that you can give away to your list. Ideally, this content should be related. For example, you could create a three-part eBook series, a short three-part course, or simply share a few great articles with your analysis.

Whatever you decide to share, make sure it’s relevant to your list and valuable— it needs to be worth reading! We’ll send the first two pieces of content, pause, send the final giveaway, ask for engagement, and then reward subscribers who respond.

Ready to get started? Let’s look at the first email…

 

Email #1 – The Initial Lead Magnet

Email Goal: To provide value and set expectations.

The first email in your autoresponder sequence should go out immediately after a user subscribes. If you already have a lead magnet (and corresponding landing page) this email shouldn’t be unfamiliar to you.

Here, you want to give them their free eBook/checklist/tool and let them know they’ll be hearing from you soon. It’s also a good idea to let them know that they’re going to a receive more free content within the next 24 hours.

the initial lead magnet email - autoresponder sequence

 

Email #2 – Lead Magnet Follow Up

Email Goal: Reward them for opening your previous email and tease the last giveaway.

Schedule this email one day after your subscribers received their initial lead magnet. At the end of this email series, we’re going to ask our subscribers to take a small action. But before we do, we want to provide enough value that they feel at least a little obligated to do so. We also want to reward them for opening and reading the last message. This second email does exactly that, providing a piece of giveaway content to follow up the initial lead magnet.

However, this email is also key because it teases the final giveaway. Here, you want to write a couple of sentences about the third and final piece of content, and why your subscribers will love it. Don’t be overly hypey, but definitely try to build some anticipation around your last piece of content.

the lead magnet follow up email - autoresponder sequence

Email #3 – Engage

Email Goal: To plant the seed of engagement and continue to build anticipation.

Send your third email a day after your subscribers receive Email #2. Make this email a plain-text, low-formatting email that feels like it’s arrived from a friend. The idea is to take all the formatting and fancy design work out of your emails so your subscribers know they’re talking to a real person— not a marketing machine.

In this email, ask for their thoughts on the last two pieces of content. Ask if they have any questions. Let them know that they’re welcome to reply to your emails if they ever have a question. Close by building anticipation, reminding them that they’ll receive their third and final piece of free content within the next 24 hours.
the engage email - autoresponder sequence

Email #4 – Deliver

Email Goal: Make good on your promise of great content, prepare for engagement ask.

Schedule the fourth email in your autoresponder sequence to send one day after subscribers receive Email #3. In this email, provide a link to your final piece of content and tell them you’ll be in touch as soon as they’ve had a look.
the deliver email - autoresponder sequence

Email #5 – The Ask

Email Goal: To cash in on the value you provided and get a response from your subscribers

Send this fifth email one hour after subscribers open your previous email. This email should look different from the rest of the series, and should congratulate them on completing your free content series.

But, the key to this email is to ask them a question using a survey tool like SurveyMonkey. This question can be anything you like, but should be both simple to answer and interesting to your subscribers. They shouldn’t feel like they’re investing a lot of time into responding; right now you just want to get them in the habit of replying.

SIDENOTE: Try to avoid using the word, “survey”. Instead, ask your readers to, “answer a quick question.” Surveys sound long and boring. Questions sound like a fun opportunity to give your opinion on something.
the ask email - autoresponder sequence

Email #6 – The Reward

Email Goal: Encourage future engagement through a reward.

This final email is where you’ll see the sequence show its true power. Send email #6 to subscribers who answered your survey question. Ideally, you’ll want to address them by name in a plain-text email that feels like it’s coming from you, a human being.

Thank them for answering your survey and offer something of value in return. You could do this with another content giveaway, an exclusive discount, or simply by sharing a relevant and valuable article that might interest them. The key is to reward your subscribers so they’re excited to engage with you in the future. This reinforces the habit of engagement and will make it easier for them to justify the time spent engaging with you in future.

reward email - autoresponder sequence

Moving Forward

Keep in mind that this technique is great for setting the groundwork for high engagement. To make it really effective, you’ll need to then follow up with your subscribers and continue to provide value, offer help, ask for a small action, and then reward them when they comply.

You’ll also want to put together a strategy for dealing with subscribers who don’t engage with your call to action (the survey question). How can you encourage them to re-engage? At what point do you scrub them from your list? These are all questions we plan to address in future articles. If you’d like to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter for the latest tips, tricks, tactics, and trends, including highly-effective email marketing strategies that we simply can’t share on the public blog.

And as always, if you have any questions, feedback, or thoughts about this article, feel free to let us know in the comments! 🙂

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Dave Bender

Dave Bender

Director of Operations at Sendlane
Dave is Sendlane's Project Manager. Raised in sunny San Diego, he has worked in all aspects of Internet Marketing for the last 12 years. He has acquired a deep understanding and knowledge that covers SEO, PPC, Social Media, and Digital Marketing.
Dave Bender