4 Ways to Research Your Ideal Customer

4 Ways to Research Your Ideal Customer

Why does a customer buy from you? If you can discover this golden reason, the journey from Stranger to Customer will be much easier to follow. In this article, I’ll share with you 4 ways you can research your ideal customer, to improve your ability to sell to them. First, let me ask you a question:

What do you know about your customer?

  • What’s bothering them?
  • How do they make decisions?
  • Where do they go for help?
  • What makes them decide to buy?

If you know the answers to these questions, you can guide people into doing business with you. If you don’t know…you’re guessing.

Here’s how you can cut the guesswork:

  1. Competition research
  2. Go to their forums
  3. Make Facebook Audiences to build your list
  4. Survey your customers

Are you selling, or are you marketing?

There is a difference between sales and marketing. Sales is when you convince one person in front of you to buy something from you, right now. Marketing is when you convince groups of people to buy from you, anytime.

The lines can blur between sales and marketing, which causes confusion about what you actually…do. Marketing often adds urgency, with a limited time offer, and makes it more of a sale. Making a sale, research tells us, can take 7 or more touches before the close, so it can seem to take the same amount of time as marketing. But they work in two distinctly different ways:

Sales is one-to-one, and Marketing is one-to-many.

The best marketers are good salespeople, and good salespeople are also good marketers. Find the best marketers and salespeople in your field, and you can discover what’s working, by doing what they do.

Next time, I’ll help you do some research one-to-one. Today, we’re going to research one-to-many.

Competition Research

Henry Ford had a tremendously difficult job to do. He introduced the first mass-produced automobile to the American market. “If I had asked people what they wanted,” he said, “they would have said faster horses.”

Creating a brand-new market is daring, perilous, and complicated. Don’t build a new market from scratch, unless you have successfully entered a saturated market a few times. For most entrepreneurs, you want competition in your field.

Competitors help you to identify trends, generate ideas, and harvest customer research. In most cases, you should be able to find someone who is already doing what you do, and doing it well.

If you are not pioneering a new market, and you can find 3-5 rock stars in your industry, pay attention to what they are doing. Follow them on social media. Subscribe to their newsletters. Read their content.

Take notes.

The most effective strategies I’ve implemented in my digital marketing agency are adapted from other experts. I pay close attention to people who are better than me (like her and like her and like him and like her), because they are investing time and money and resources into researching what works.

If these people do something clever, the result of six months of customer research, I adapt their tactics for my own business. The best part is, I don’t have to spend six months figuring it out.

Big Caveat: Don’t just cut and paste from your competition. It’s dishonorable, illegal, and lazy.

If you learn the difference between repurposing work and copying work, you gain a big advantage. You can model the successful systems of your predecessors – but be careful not to cut too many corners. Do the work.

As Kaleigh Moore says on the Shopify blog, “Keeping an eye on your competitors helps you anticipate shifts in the market, spot new trends and successful tactics, and stay on the cutting edge of what’s working within your niche.” They even have a competitive analysis template here

Once you know what your competition is doing, go to your customers.

Go to their forums

Reddit and Quora are treasure troves of newbie information. These forums don’t have a lot of spammy sales pitches, because the forum architecture naturally discourages them (thanks to upvotes and downvotes). This raises authentic content to the top of the feed, making it more likely that people will read posts relating to the topic at hand.

What does this means for you, doing your customer research? You can go into one of these forums, and search around on keywords related to your topic. What you will find are a bunch of newbies, all asking basic questions that you are uniquely qualified to answer.

This is valuable for two reasons:

  • First, you can answer these questions and make some connections.
  • Second (and more importantly), you learn how your prospects phrase their problems.

You can amplify the effectiveness of your marketing copy by using the phrases your customer uses to talk about their problems.

As James Mulvey says on the Hootsuite blog, “Reddit can help you observe what people really think about your industry and products, reveal what frustrates customers, and help you create marketing campaigns and content that kill those pains.” 

The comment threads on forum posts can be a goldmine of information for you. You can eavesdrop on people who are trying to solve the problems that you can solve, all laid out in a threaded conversation, on a free website.

When you read through these conversations you will see how they interact with their problem. They will talk about the types of solutions they try, and where they encounter obstacles. You can read the solutions that other people offer, and see how they react. You can make note of what works for them, and what makes them lose interest.

Forum research opens your customers’ minds up like a book. This gives you a deep understanding of how they are currently searching for answers.

Make Facebook Audiences to Build Your List

Facebook allows anyone with a minor amount of technical aptitude to create a ‘Lookalike Audience.’ Use their sophisticated demographic and behavioural data algorithms. You don’t have to be a social engineer, all you need is a list of your current customers.

Do you have a spreadsheet of customers? Does it have enough contact information (name, email address, zip code, and so on) that Facebook can identify their user profiles? If so, then you can enter one of the most sophisticated marketing research games in the world.

All you need to do is create a Facebook ad campaign. Upload your .csv of customer data, and Facebook can create a Lookalike Audience. This is a group of people who have similar interests, similar activity, and similar data collected about themselves.

Using this Lookalike Audience is limited to the Facebook platform – you can’t export these lookalikes and start cold calling them. But you can advertise to them.

As AJ Agrawal says on the Forbes blog, “I highly suggest running a series of low-budget campaigns to see which ads and messages work best. Only increase the budget once you find one with a low acquisition cost.” 

What messages make these kinds of people respond? Learning from your Lookalike Audience helps you hone your Ideal customer avatar template.

If you already have a working Sales Funnel, then you can advertise a Lead Magnet to these folks, and start filling your pipeline. If not, you can still use a Lookalike Audience for customer research, through surveys.

By asking similar people a series of survey questions, you gain valuable marketing intelligence. You can use this to sell to them in the future.

Survey Your Customers

Ryan Levesque is a master of customer research. He has worked with a Deep Dive Survey for years, and his book “Ask” is a wealth of information. He describes how (and why) asking good questions on surveys will lead you to copy that makes high-converting headlines.

Whenever he is entering a new market, Ryan will offer an incentive for people to take a detailed survey. The first question, all by itself – before he asks for their name, or email address, or any contact info – he asks, “What’s the #1 challenge you’re dealing with in relation to _____?”

He puts this question first because – it’s the most important question. If the user leaves the survey before completing all the questions, at the very least, he gets the answer here.

The responses to these questions are framed in the customers’ language, using the terms they use, and the way they think about their problem.

These specific phrases can become marketing copy, so when similar Customer Avatars see a headline with that specific phrase, they think, “This was made for me! I’ve got to get this.”

Remember, the ultimate goal of any piece of marketing is to make someone say: “Shut up and take my money!” If you can create that reaction, your marketing is a success.

Ryan uses many sophisticated techniques to gather customer intelligence. If you are planning to do a survey campaign, I highly recommend reading his book, Ask.

Setting up complicated surveys does take a lot of work. While it can reward you with qualitative data, the technical complexity to gather it might not be worth it.

That’s why many businesses prefer the old-fashioned, tried-and-true method. Gather customer research by interviewing customers one-on-one. I’ll talk about that in an upcoming article – subscribe to my newsletter to get notified when it’s ready.

About The Author

Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on https://caelanhuntress.com.

Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

The awards for this contest, the Best Email Subject Lines of 2018, is totally biased and skewed. To even be considered for this award, you have to:

  1. Publish a newsletter regularly, to which
  2. I happen to be subscribed, and
  3. One or more of your subject lines has to make me go, ‘Wow!’

Last year I did a round-up of the 170 best email subject lines from 2017. Now that we’ve faced another New Year, I clicked the same Gmail label in my inbox to pull up a list of all the best emails that got my attention in 2018.

Email Subject Line Contest Judging Criteria

  • 3rd place – You show up in this list. Sometime, in 2018, you sent me an email with a subject line that made me say, ‘Wow, that’s good.’
  • 2nd place – You show up in this list more than once.
  • 1st place – You show up in this list more than anyone else.

Again, this is a highly subjective list, and it’s skewed towards digital marketers and salespeople (since they are the content creators I like to follow the most, and they are usually the best at writing subject lines that make you want to open the email) and the joy of having your own award show is that you get to award them however you please, so without further ado, here is…

3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

I kept this secret way too long – Mira Kelly

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur – Stu McLaren

DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT – Kartra

Can we talk about getting you leads? – Dan Faber

Announcing major new services for your site. – Jetpack

How I Generated 800 Booked Calls With A Four Page Website – James Kemp

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one – Joseph Michael

How to get 10 paying Clients Now – Ted McGrath

New for you. The Mozart Pack is now ready. – Divi Den

The bad advice I followed at the start of my business – Melyssa Griffin

Full-time author within 12 months (how she did it) – Nick Stephenson

Question – Holden Qigong

did you miss it? – Jill Knouse

You are guest speaking on TED in 3 days (you’re ready, right?) – Dominika

Write me back if you want one of 7 test drives – Amber McCue

I know Keto is hot. Here’s a simple way to do it. – Pedram Shojai

Surprise! Unlock a Free Membership Upgrade When You Join Today – Trusted Housesitters

[pdf download] Get paid to share your message – Ben Kniffen

Why I love it when my clients are afraid – Laura Simms

Steal this sales email – Shenee Howard

You won’t believe who just joined the Naturopathic CE Faculty! – Naturopathic CE

I recorded a video for you – Fab Mancini

“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard” – Vishen Lakhiani

You’ve acquired FIFTY PERCENT OFF 😉 It’s confirmed, CAELAN – Expedia

Can we put your name in the raffle? – Danny Iny

Day Six – “ABANDON SHIP!” (and other launch lies your brain tells you) – Kyla Roma

[Explosion noises] – Digg

Don’t buy this course! Guerilla Publishing is NOT for you if… – Derek Murphy

Your “Start Here ” Page – Pat Flynn

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN – Susan Peirce Thompson

Now I’m obsessed. – Nick Stephenson

Changes – SARK

do you believe me yet?- Cory Huff

Announcement : Introducing Unstoppable with Kerwin Rae – Kerwin Rae

You have a $603 credit – Michelle Shaeffer

The Productivity Hack That’s Made Me Millions – Bob Allen

Can I give you $1000? Two people are going to win…might as well be you. – Kelly Poelker

You’ve always wondered ….Now you can find out for yourself – Team Tony Robbins

The ultimate list building short-cut (PDF DOWNLOAD Inside) – Navid Moazzez

BOOM! This is how you make money from a tiny list – Meera Kothand

Something BIG is coming – Steph Crowder

Write better emails TODAY-Here’s how – Derek Halpern

You’re not in yet 🙂 last chance today! – Aaron Morin

Can you come as my guest? (VIP invite) – John Assaraf

did you hear the news? – Dustin W. Stout

Why do customers really buy? – Donald Miller

Did you see this? – Andrea Leda

10x your book revenue without selling another book – Ty Ward

Get my best speaker training tips! Here’s how… – Sage Lavine

do you need a raise? – Lisa Sasevich

The hardest decision I’ve made in my business this year. – Caleb Wojcik

Make Your Website a Well-Oiled Machine – Pia Larson


While some of these subject lines look like they were addressed to me personally, or seem to be a personal request, I can assure you, they are not. Some of these were so good because they insinuated a personal connection so well, but these were really all mass emails.

The email subject lines in this list – these are examples of really good mass emails.

2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

These authors showed up multiple times in my inbox this year, and more than once I said, ‘Hey, that’s a really good subject line.’


Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, the Queen of Cold Calling

Wendy Weiss runs a sales training and coaching consultancy, with an expertise in new business development.

Wendy’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • Your message = your money
  • This will be your last chance

Eben Pagan headshot

Eben Pagan, Entrepreneur & Teacher

Eben Pagan teaches advanced strategies to grow your business to the 6 and 7 figure per year level.

Eben’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • Email me back
  • Did you still want this?

Jon Morrow, 7-Figure Blogger

Jon Morrow gives cutting edge advice about blogging to smart bloggers.

Jon’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • [Blog Launch Tookit] Please don’t pay full price for this
  • [FLASH SALE] The Ultimate Training Library for Beginning Bloggers

Benji Bruce headshot

Benji Bruce, Motivational Keynote Speaker

Benji Bruce shows an audience how to create a psychological advantage so they stay sharp and stay ahead.

Benji’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • Send me your pitch
  • Cancel my membership

John Lee Dumas headshot

John Lee Dumas, Podcaster

John Lee Dumas hosts the daily business podcast EOFire for the Fire Nation.

John’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • Secrets to selling from pages, stages, and webinars
  • Get ready to learn Facebook Ads!

Alan McKenna, Business Strategist

Alan McKenna is a sales & marketing strategist with over 20 years experience in turning companies around and exploding their growth

Alan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • Can I send you $3000?
  • Wednesday March 21st-Add to your calendar
  • I changed the date of the meeting

David Siteman Garland headshot

David Siteman Garland, Online Course Creator

David Siteman Garland helps experts create and sell online courses.

David’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  • (super time sensitive) Create Awesome Online Course is open
  • The biggest mistake I made in my business (plus deadline)

1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

Marisa Murgatroyd headshot

Marisa Murgatroyd, Brand Builder and Marketing Strategist

Marisa Murgatroyd provides done-for-you branding, website design, and training on becoming the most bold, colorful, vibrant expression of who you are online.

Marisa also has one of the best platforms on the internet, IMHO. She’s got crystal-clear messaging, top-notch website design, excellent sales funnels and creates a TON of content. So it’s no big surprise that she showed up in this (highly subjective) list a total of NINE times.

Marisa’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2018

  1. Can we work together on your business?
  2. I hit 7-figures because I did this…
  3. what Luke Skywalker can do for your business
  4. this common product creation mistake can lead to zero sales
  5. this is not a trick question
  6. I’ve got an idea for you!
  7. {true story} How I hit zero….
  8. 2 inconvenient fact that should disqualify me as a coach
  9. {urgent} change of plans….

About The Author

Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on https://caelanhuntress.com.

Follow Caelan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube.

The Stellar Email Template

The Stellar Email Template

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: 

  1. You Are Confirmed
  2. Let’s Connect
  3. Here’s My Services
  4. Survey To Segment You Into A Group
  5. Here’s Some Good Education
  6. Book a Call
  7. Referrals

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.

Get the Stellar Email 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

stellar-email-template-pin

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:

Subscribe to their newsletters and take notes. And download the Stellar Email Template to work on your own.

About The Author

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.

Relaunching – The Make It Happen Mastermind

Relaunching – The Make It Happen Mastermind

The first Make It Happen Mastermind was a success!

After 15+ years of leading and facilitating my own mastermind groups, I decided to formally offer a group coaching mastermind as a service for entrepreneurs, online businesses, service providers, and thought leaders. As an experiment, I launched the first cohort of the Make It Happen Mastermind in Q4 2018, from September 15 – December 15, and decided I would do it again in 2019 if it was a success.

Based on the testimonials below, I think it was successful.

Mastermind Testimonials

My business has blossomed over the last three months. I’ve gotten a lot of help with strategy and organization, and everything that seemed to be impossible on my own now feels possible because of this network. It’s not an expensive investment of time or money, given what you get at the end of 3 months working with other business owners helping you work on your challenges.” – Kathleen Celmins, MIHM 2018 Alumni

Because of joining the Make It Happen Mastermind, I’ve had some really great changes. I’m a lot more focused, and that’s been super important for me, because I tend to work on too many things at one time. Making me focus and drive to one thing has been very helpful and successful.” – Jonathan Logan, 2018 MIHM Alumni

I was a little reluctant to join when I first started, because I have a coach, and I wasn’t quite sure I needed any more support, but I’m glad I did. One of my biggest challenges is feeling like I can accomplish everything by myself. I’m a one-man-show, it’s me, myself, and I, and a bunch of freelancers, trying to make things happen. Having a cool group of people to kick ideas off of has been profound for me. My business was already doing really good, but I really look forward to this meeting every week and checking in and having regular accountability. It’s been a really positive experience for me and my business. I’m so glad I joined, and it’s been a lot of fun.” – Michael Riscica, MIHM 2018 Alumni  

Mastermind FAQ 

Q: ) How often does the Mastermind meet?
A: ) Once a week for 60 minutes a group of 4-5 people (including us) will meet in a group call, and you and I will meet again for 30-minutes, just the two of us. We do this for 12 weeks.

Q: ) What time are the group masterminds?
A: ) The time depends on the preference of the group, and can be selected from one of the following three recommended slots:

  • Monday at 4 pm Pacific time (Tuesday at 1pm NZ time)
  • Wednesday at 1 pm Pacific time (Thursday at 10am NZ time)
  • Friday at 12 pm Pacific time (Saturday at 9 am NZ time)

Alternative times are available, depending on the group preferences.

We start meeting the week of January 15th, and finish the week of April 15th.

Q: ) How many people are in each Mastermind group?
A: ) Every Mastermind group will be capped at 4 participants, plus myself as the host. I have space for up to 3 weekly cohorts, and only enough time for 6 hours of 1-on-1 coaching throughout the week, so there are only 12 spots available for this quarter. After 12 people enroll, it’s full until later this year.

Q: ) What happens during the 1-on-1 coaching calls?
A: ) I will be your own personal webmaster and digital strategy consultant, for 30 minutes per week. We can review your goals for the quarter, and I can keep you accountable for your progress. More importantly, I can troubleshoot issues on your website, I can help you revise your copywriting or CSS, I can help you review and compare different platforms you are considering, I can train you on how to use your website, or I can make specific changes for you, while you watch me on a screenshare.

Q: ) What happens during the mastermind calls?
A: ) Each mastermind call follows a very structured agenda. After reading the opening (the same one Andrew Carnegie used to open his mastermind sessions) a group of 4 people will share:

  • Wins
  • Challenges
  • Commitments

Andrew Carnegie’s Mastermind Opening

Every session begins with the same opening read by Andrew Carnegie at the start of his own Mastermind meetings, as chronicled by Napoleon Hill in his book “Think And Grow Rich.” Listen to the opening of Andrew Carnegie’s mastermind below:

“Mastermind Groups are the single most effective way to regularly surround yourself with remarkable people.”

“Mastermind Groups are the single most effective way to regularly surround yourself with remarkable people.”

Barrett Brooks

"Working from home does not mean that you have to be alone."

"Working from home does not mean that you have to be alone."

Charles Bordet

Ready to join the Make It Happen Mastermind?

Applications close January 5, 2019

About The Author

Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on https://caelanhuntress.com.

The Easiest Email Autoresponder Sequence for Bloggers

The Easiest Email Autoresponder Sequence for Bloggers

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.”

Beth Hayden

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.”

Julie Neidlinger

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

  1. Go to Google Analytics, and find your most popular posts.
  2. Create a card for the title of each post in Trello, and link to the article on the card.
  3. Drag and drop the subjects until they make a sensible progression.
  4. Scrape a couple paragraphs from each post, and paste the content onto the card.
  5. Create a copy of the Stellar Email Template in Google Docs (linked below)
  6. Paste the content from the Trello cards into the template.
  7. 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?”
  8. 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.
  9. Migrate the content from Google Docs to the email autoresponder delivery platform.
  10. 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 testing@yourdomain.com. Subscribe to your own newsletter. Make note of what you find, what needs to change, and what can be better.

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email autoresponder sequence

About The Author

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.