The best autoresponder sequences have a lot of shared characteristics. After subscribing to hundreds (maybe thousands) of email newsletters over the past decade, I’ve become adept at noticing what works, what the best people are using, and what steps are used by everyone. Here’s a standard email template you can use for a follow-up autoresponder sequence, one that you can use with just about any email newsletter signup autoresponder:
You Are Confirmed
Here’s My Services
Survey To Segment You Into A Group
Here’s Some Good Education
Book a Call
If I’m working with a new client who doesn’t yet have any content on their blog, this is the outline that I use to set up their email autoresponder. I make a copy of my Stellar Email Template, spend an hour or two writing some good copy, and then migrate the content into their ESP. In an afternoon, you can have a completely custom email newsletter autoresponder sequence all set up and ready to go, using this template.
Note: this template can be used for an entire sales funnel, and it also includes copy templates for thank you pages, confirmation emails, and more. Some of the pre-written email autoresponder templates in this doc may not apply to you or your business. But if you want to flesh out your email autoresponder sequence with CTAs to follow you on social media, book a call, or buy your services, there are templates for those emails in this document as well. Delete the ones that are not relevant, and add sections if you want to promote more blog posts.
This easy, step-by-step process outlined above can give you a brand new email autoresponder sequence with just a couple hours of attention. Passively nurturing your sales funnel is definitely worth this investment of your time; successful bloggers and entrepreneurs are always tweaking and optimizing their onboarding autoresponder sequence.
Can I send autoresponders and newsletters at the same time?
Personally, I have no problem with this overlap, in the emails that I send or that I receive. I like to leave a long interval between email autoresponder messages (unless it is a 5-day or a 30-day course, which often needs to be every day) so any email newsletters sent will likely be in between the delivery of the autoresponder.
Besides, many times, your new subscriber cannot tell the difference between an immediate newsletter and a pre-scheduled autoresponder.
There are ways that you can exclude someone from your newsletter sends until the autoresponder sequence has completed – the specific method of doing so depends on your email service provider – but generally, I don’t bother with that unless the newsletter would really interrupt the flow of the autoresponder sequence.
If you ever wonder, “How are others doing this well?” You can just collect some examples to find out.
How To Collect Autoresponder Email Examples
The best autoresponder email examples are only a subscription away. I’m sure you follow some people who are good at email. (If you don’t, there are a number of them quoted in this article.) Go subscribe to a bunch of their email newsletters, and if you like, use a filter to automatically tag their emails as they arrive. In a few weeks, you can search your inbox for this tag, and you will have dozens of the best autoresponder email examples to review.
Pat Flynn’s autoresponder sequence examples
Autoresponder Series #1: The Bait and Hook Autoresponder Series #2: The Ground and Pound Autoresponder Series #3: The Pat Flynn
“The real magic of my approach is two-fold,” says the mastermind behind Smart Passive Income. “I’m establishing credibility and building relationships in a non-evasive manner, which keeps people on my list and opening emails. This obviously helps increase the open rate and responsiveness of my broadcast emails; and some of the content emails get people back onto another platform where opportunities for affiliate sales and product sales exist.”
Pat Flynn is one of the best in the business. If you want to make money online, I recommend you subscribe to his newsletter, just to watch what he does, and how he does it. Read his article explaining these 3 Autoresponder Series here.
Best welcome autoresponder email examples
Dan Wang collected 13 of the best Welcome emails on the web, and laid them out in a nice visual progression. Give this article a scan so you can see how some other successful email autoresponders are doing their thing.
Other talented email marketers that I follow include:
Caelan Huntress helps people sell their stuff online. As a website designer, sales strategist, copywriter, and digital marketer, he works with entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and public speakers to bring them more calls, more clients, and more customers.
If you have been blogging, then you already have an easy email autoresponder sequence that is 85% done. Writing email newsletter autoresponders doesn’t have to take a long time; you can repurpose your best blog posts, using the 10-step system in this article. Before I describe the step-by-step process for converting your best blog posts into email autoresponders, let’s take a second and remind ourselves why email autoresponders are so effective.
Email autoresponders convert strangers into customers, automatically.
You’re facing a problem, and you’ve met someone who is solving that problem. They offer you a solution: it’s an intriguing lead magnet, giving a step-by-step solution to your problem, and you only have to subscribe to their newsletter to get access. Shyly, you hand over your first name and email address, and your relationship begins.
Over the next few weeks, this person courts you. They send you interesting and useful emails, that seem like they were written just for you. Over time, you begin to know this person. Then you like them, because they are funny, and engaging, and real. Finally, you trust them, and when they ask you to buy something, you agree.
This is what an email autoresponder sequence is supposed to do.
“Autoresponders allow you to build ‘know, like and trust’ before you ask for the sale. That way, you can convert more customers, and you can do it without being overly ‘salesy’ or pushy.” – Mary Fernandez
Research tells us that it can take up to 7 touches to close a sale. So don’t try to sell your services right away in your confirmation message – treat this new relationship like a courtship.
Butter them up. Demonstrate your expertise. Tell some stories. Share some photos of you and your life. Give them time to get to know you for a few weeks, and then, when they are interested, ask them to buy something.
What is an email autoresponder, and how does it work?
“Autoresponders are the hardest-working, unsung heroes of content marketing. They’re a series of emails you write once and set up to send out at pre-set intervals to anyone who asks for them.”
Simply put, an email autoresponder is a series of pre-written email messages. They are sent at specific intervals after someone subscribes.
You can think of email autoresponders as evergreen newsletters – rather than sending them out once a month, or every Friday, email autoresponders are sent in a predetermined sequence after subscription.
The Secrets of Great Autoresponder Messages
The best autoresponder emails are repurposed from your best content.
They can be short, or long, but they typically only ask the reader to take 1 action.
Use a testimonial or a PS at the end.
“The very first email you send to a new subscriber sets the tone for how they see you for the rest of their time with you – so you want to get this one right. It’s also the single best email for getting them to look at specific pages of your site, like popular posts or product pages.” – Naomi Dunford
How do you write the best email autoresponder, without creating tons of new content? Simple. Don’t start from scratch. Use your blog.
Your blog is a pre-written autoresponder series waiting to happen
Every time you write a blog post, you have a free email autoresponder message.
This is a piece of content that your future email subscribers would be happy to read, if it’s on-topic and relevant. Chances are, they are not going to subscribe to your newsletter, and THEN go read every blog post you’ve ever written. The likelihood of doubling up here is very low, and the likelihood of presenting useful and interesting information is very high.
“An email autoresponder easily makes use of the blog content you’ve already created. Most readers haven’t read everything you’ve written, nor have they read it in sequential order. Your email autoresponder groups related topics together and packages it neatly for the convenience of your readers, delivering it right to them.
You don’t have to create new content in order to make this happen. You can use what you’ve already written for your blog.”
You can pick your own favorite blog posts, and decide manually; or, you can follow the data. The blog posts that are most successful on your blog are typically the ones that will make the best autoresponder emails.
10-Step Blog-To-Autoresponder Email Series Writing System
Go to Google Analytics, and find your most popular posts.
Create a card for the title of each post in Trello, and link to the article on the card.
Drag and drop the subjects until they make a sensible progression.
Scrape a couple paragraphs from each post, and paste the content onto the card.
Create a copy of the Stellar Email Template in Google Docs (linked below)
Paste the content from the Trello cards into the template.
Edit the copy in Google Docs. Add connectors, like ‘I’ll tell you all about X next week,’ and ‘Remember last week, when I talked about X?”
Add a CTA (Call-to-Action) to each message. Sometimes, this is just a link to read the full blog post, but it may be ‘book a call with me’ or ‘reply’ or ‘buy this product.’ Make sure there is only 1 CTA.
Migrate the content from Google Docs to the email autoresponder delivery platform.
Subscribe with a testing email, to review the results.
This final step is critical. There are so many moving pieces in any autoresponder email series, it is inevitable you will find things to tweak and edit only by being on the receiving end.
Setup an email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to your own newsletter. Make note of what you find, what needs to change, and what can be better.
Caelan Huntress helps people sell their stuff online. As a website designer, sales strategist, copywriter, and digital marketer, he works with entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and public speakers to bring them more calls, more clients, and more customers.
If you are looking to learn about Gutenberg in advance of the WordPress 5.0 release date, the best thing you can do is install the Gutenberg Ramp Plugin and give it a try for yourself. There are plenty of WordPress Gutenberg tutorials out there, but until WP 5.0 drops, we don’t really know what the effects will be. But so far, it seems to be mostly positive.
“For most casual users, it will, after some growing pains, bring a more flexible content creation experience.
Non-developers will be able to intuitively craft more complex layouts with extra elements like buttons, content embeds, and lots more. And that will, hopefully, help WordPress to continue to grow.”
Gutenberg was revealed in mid-2017 by Matt Mullenweg during an interview with Om Malik, and ever since then, there has been a lot of anticipation for this new editor. Because WordPress is open source, none of this has been secret, and friendly geeks have been investigating the ins and outs of the software as it develops. Some of the links below have detailed tutorials on how to use Gutenberg for your WordPress website, with some tutorials in text, some in video, and a few in gifs.
How do I install Gutenberg on my website?
First off, let’s determine whether or not you have WordPress 5.0 or not.
How to install Gutenberg on your WordPress 5.0 Website
Step 1: Install WordPress.
That’s it. The WordPress core will have Gutenberg standard on every WordPress installation.
How to install Gutenberg on your WordPress 4.X site
Go to Plugins → Add New
Search for “Gutenberg” (I used Gutenberg Ramp plugin, it worked fine)
Click Install Now
Wait – Install Now button will change to Activate
Installing Gutenberg early will give you the chance to see what it does with your website; if things will break, if things will go smoothly, or if it’s way above your head.
What will Gutenberg change in my WordPress site?
After WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will change the Post Editor (and Page Editor) that you use to create new posts and pages. All the remaining WordPress functionality will be unchanged.
Can I use my page builder with Gutenberg?
Yes and no. Yes, on the website, but no, not on the page.
Yes, you can use a page builder on a WordPress 5.0 website that uses Gutenberg as the core editor. No, you cannot use the Gutenberg editor and your Page Builder editor on the same page.
This website is built in the Divi theme, and uses the Visual Builder as the page builder for many pages (and even some posts). If I compose a post in Gutenberg, and then try to transition that post to the Visual Builder, it used to remove all coding in the easiest way possible: it will delete all the content in the post.
I tried a Gutenberg-to-Visual Builder conversion, and it refused to convert, I couldn’t even access the Visual Builder. But it did preserve the Visual Builder shortcodes.
I tried a Visual Builder-to-Gutenberg conversion, and this is what the screen looks like when you try to go to the Classic Editor:
If you try to return to Default Editor, or get to Gutenberg, you’ll lose it all:
Will Gutenberg change my eCommerce Store?
Since Products are a Custom Post Type, they will not (currently) be able to use Gutenberg without extra enhancement.
However, since I use WooCommerce on as the shopping cart on this website, I did see a neat little notice on here after I installed Gutenberg:
I did this to get one of my basic page-builder functions in Gutenberg, and it is something I can already do with WooCommerce shortcodes, but this is what a Product Block looks like in Gutenberg:
Can I keep the old version of WordPress instead of using Gutenberg?
I am quite sure there will be a plugin to attempt doing that, as there is always a plugin to handle any feature the user base wants; but since the old Tiny MCE editor is embedded in the core, it would take quite a hefty piece of code to transition it back.
If you really need to keep the old editor and refuse to use Gutenberg, your best bet is to stick with WordPress 4.9 and manually install any security updates, keeping your website increasingly obsolete. I’m sure this will be an appealing option for many to begin with, but I suspect that most people will upgrade in due course.
How hard is it to learn Gutenberg?
Try one of the Gutenberg tutorials linked in this post, you’ll see how easy it is. Like any learning curve, though, it depends on your aptitude and your interest.
Writing a blog post in Gutenberg won’t be much different than writing a blog post in Medium, but it will have a lot of the core WordPress functionality and integration. Getting all of the new features to sync up will take a little study, but it’s not very difficult. I’ve found it to be very user-friendly – read the first post I wrote in Gutenberg, with glitches, here: https://caelanhuntress.com/2018/08/12/gutenberg-is-coming-to-wordpress/
How long does it take to learn Gutenberg?
It’s not long. After 3-4 posts, a novice blogger should have the hang of it; experienced bloggers will only need 1-2 blog posts to pick up all the differences.
If you like video, the Yoast team put out a great video series of Gutenberg tutorials for free on YouTube:
Will my old WordPress posts be affected by Gutenberg blocks?
Will Gutenberg affect the SEO of my WordPress website?
What’s New: Gutenberg Blocks
The Blocks are the most fundamental change to the editor. The Gutenberg tutorials linked above go into them in some detail.
Users of Medium will recognize the interface intuitively; but because it’s WordPress, you have much more flexibility and control than with a typical Medium post.
When you pop the hood and look at the the code, the Blocks code is pretty simple. It looks like this:
<!– wp:core/text –> <!– /wp:core/text –> makes a text block. Everything within those bracket pairs can be moved around, drag-and-drop, within the Gutenberg editor.
“Previously, your content lived inside one big HTML file and for every enhancement there had to be something new: shortcodes, custom post types, embeds, widgets and the like. All with their quirky interfaces and weird behavior. Now, you can build your content precisely like you make a LEGO set: all from one box, following a standardized and straightforward set of instructions.”
This sounds great, on the surface, if you’re starting from scratch. But what if you have an older website?
If you use a lot of shortcodes in your theme, this could present some problems.
“Currently, shortcodes cannot be executed in text columns or paragraph blocks. They must be placed in the shortcode block in order to work. This can cause some problems if your shortcodes produce inline content like the year or an inline call to action.”
Making links doesn’t always work. The Link editor doesn’t always take my text, and I often can’t add a link easily.
Sometimes when I mean to backspace a word, it deletes the entire text block.
There is no undo when this happens; the text block I am working on is just gone.
The Fixed Background option to make images parallax often masks the image entirely in the editor
Sometimes deleting blocks is problematic, and I have to convert to HTML and manually kill it in the code
The images don’t display in the Editor the way they do in preview
An easy caveat: I created this post using the Gutenberg Ramp plugin, on a WordPress core that is still made to support previous versions of WordPress. This is also the early stages of rollout, and I made this post without reading any Gutenberg tutorials, so I am quite sure these glitches will improve over time.
Others have noticed some glitches and hazards too:
“Doesn’t support responsive columns yet. We really hope this is coming. A lot of times this is a reason people install visual builder plugins or shortcode plugins, is to get the column feature alone. It is definitely time for columns to be in core!”
“Since announcing the database on March 1st, 70 people have been granted testing status. However, of 5000 total plugins, we’re still at 4139 untested plugins. No companies have stepped up to contribute a significant amount of person-hours.”
Of the 861 tested plugins that Daniel tested in April of 2018:
219 (25.44%) are compatible.
518 (60.16%) are likely compatible.
25 (2.9%) are likely not compatible.
39 (4.53%) are not compatible.
60 (6.97%) are in “testing”, which means someone started test and abandoned the process.
That’s a decent spread, and the numbers may have improved. But as Igor notes below, this could cause big difficulties for Custom Post Types:
“If your plugin has a custom post type, then you may want to disable Gutenberg for that particular post type. To disable Gutenberg for your custom post type, you can just change your post type configuration.”
When will Gutenberg be a part of my WordPress website?
The answer to that question is very personal.
When WordPress 5.0 is released, every WordPress website that upgrades is going to have Gutenberg installed as its core editor by default. If you want it earlier, you can install a plugin, as described above. If you don’t want to upgrade to 5.0, you can probably coast on WordPress 4.9 for a number of months without facing any serious issues.
So, you will have Gutenberg on your WordPress website when you want it. Get ready, because it’s coming. Read some Gutenberg tutorials, or better yet, give it a spin.
This interview is the first episode of the Stellar Platforms Show! During this hour-long interview, I spoke with Sean Ogle of Location Rebel about the main tools he uses to run his membership website, the project management software he loves the most, and how he advises his members to identify their best target market.
We Talk About Location Rebel
Sean goes over the progression he’s gone through since launching Location Rebel in 2011, when it grew into a Frankenstein-like collection of tools. In 2016 he moved to an all-in-one system, the Rainmaker platform by Copyblogger – and in 2018 he moved back into WordPress, splitting off his tools into ‘best in class’ components.
We Talk About Running A Membership Website
When building a membership website, is it best to cobble all the pieces together, or do an all-in-one platform? Sean has some interesting perspectives on this idea. “It’s best to go with something that is best in class at what they do,” he reasons, because any all-in-one platform that’s trying to do 10 different things is going to do each of them 10% as well as it possibly could, and all these components could be 90% better.
Sean also advises against trying to sell too much right away in the early stages, and instead, focus on building a real connection with your audience. “If you can build up that core audience early on, and they trust you, they will buy your stuff early on when you’ve got it,” he says.
“Another benefit you get from waiting,” he continues, “is you get to know your audience better.” This can be very helpful for publish-happy content producers, the types of people who often want to start a membership site.
“Figure out the problem you’re solving, and do the bare minimum to solve that problem.” – Sean Ogle
I asked Sean about the people who join Location Rebel, if they are looking to find a way to generate income, or trying to find a way that enables them to travel more. His answer was really surprising.
We Talk About His Newest Project
Sean not only helps people improve their business, he also helps them to enjoy their hobby more. Our interview took place just as Hobby Hacking launched, a new component of the Location Rebel community.
Listen in on the biggest lessons learned from an experienced membership site owner. There were lots of questions answered in the whole 55 minute interview – watch it below.
Social media marketing can be done well, or done badly. No matter how good you’re doing, it could be really easy for you, or really hard. The easiest way to make sure your social media marketing is both easy and good is to follow the advice of people who have mastered the mediums.
6 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips
#1 – Say something valuable.
Seth Godin talks about ‘the trap of social media noise.’ Just because we can say things in so many places, to so many people, it doesn’t mean we should.
“Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares.”
– Seth Godin
#2 – Don’t spread too thin.
Every account you set up will cost you, in time, energy, and mental overhead. Ask yourself which accounts are really necessary, and if you should skip one, then do it.
Ashley Kemper wrote a comprehensive overview at Marketing Land comparing each social media platform, with specific guidelines on when these different platforms make sense. Her recommendations are very detailed, so read her article if you have any questions about a specific platform. Her guidelines were:
Use Facebook if you want to reach a massive audience with a diverse array of content types.
Use Twitter if you have frequent updates or content with a “timeliness” factor.
Use YouTube if your business could benefit from product demos, testimonials, or putting a human face to your brand.
Use Google+ if you have a physical location and want to appear in local search results.
Use LinkedIn if you are in a B2B space, or you want to speak to a more professionally-oriented audience.
Use Pinterest if you want to target a female audience and have great visual content.
Use Instagram if you can create interesting visual content on a regular basis.
Use Foursquare if you have a brick-and-mortar location.
Read her article for more depth on each platform, if you’re not sure whether or not one of them is a good match for you.
#3 – Variety is the spice of social media.
Posting the same thing, all the time, isn’t giong to keep your audience engaged or interested. On the 8Days blog, Jimdo recommends a 70-20-10 formula.
“Don’t be overly promotional: Nobody likes someone who just talks about themselves all the time. 70% of your content should add value for your followers (such as sharing blog posts, coupons, etc.), 20% should be sharing other people’s content (posts from other businesses or highlighting customers), and only 10% should be directly promoting your business (such as “come by our store we have a new shipment of handbags!”).”
Social Media Marketing Formula:
70% adding value
20% sharing other people’s content
10% direct promotion
For every promotional tweet you write, prepare to publish 10x that much content that is for connection and relationship-building.
#4 – Show Them The Wizard Behind the Curtain
Social media marketing is your opportunity to be seen by your audience, really seen. They don’t want to see your products; they want to see you, working at your craft. Share the stories of what it’s like to do what you do.
“Social media is a fantastic way to break down the barriers of facelessness. By showing your potential customers the people behind the business you are giving yourself a chance to be different from all the other competition. They will become loyal to you.”
#5 – Get Popular To Get Seen
Popularity snowballs. The more that people like you, the more they like you, and it’s not just momentum; it’s math.
On the Buffer blog, Alfred Lua gives 10 social media tips, and describes the importance of popularity:
“Social media platform algorithms, such as those on Facebook and Instagram, are prioritizing posts with higher engagement on their feeds due to the belief that users will be more interested in seeing highly engaging content.”
– Alfred Lua
Collect likes, retweets, and shares, and you will rank higher ion the algorithm of social media platforms, and get seen more often.
#6 – Stay Authentic
Most people can sniff a sell-out, and it stinks. A genuine, long-term relationship can be completely derailed by staying in sales mode all the time.
Everybody needs to sell. It is, most often, why we get on a soapbox in the first place. But the only way to keep authenticity is by staying authentic, regularly.
“You need to find that balance between popularity and business. You need to have a little bit of both and mix the more fun side that wants popularity with the serious and informative side that boosts the reputation of your business.”
– Timothy Sykes
Social Media Setup – Done For You, or DIY
If you need to get your new brand up and running on social media, you can hire Stellar Platforms to do it for you, or you can buy our DIY kit for a tenth of the price, and do it yourself.
I help people sell their stuff online. I'm a website designer, sales strategist, copywriter, and digital marketer. I work with entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and public speakers to bring them more calls, more clients, and more customers.