What’s Better Than Blog Updates? Autoresponder Series That Rock!

by Vernessa Taylor on October 31, 2014

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They are filling the seats. Hanging on every word that proceedeth from your lips (err, pen). Because you’re sending them an autoresponder series that rocks, not just ‘blog updates’. Right?

Is your email marketing audience looking for blog updates or informative autoresponder series?

Is your email marketing audience looking for blog updates or informative autoresponder series?

Email Marketing: It’s The People That Matter

We’re almost at the close of 2014. We’re looking forward to filling our calendars with engagements for 2015. Some of us are in the midst of mobile marketing for the holidays or thinking about how to incorporate responsive email design in the coming year.

All those activities are worthwhile but totally worthless unless you add major value to those outgoing emails.

What This Article Covers:

  1. Respectful Email Marketing
  2. Only Blog Updates? Really?
  3. The Case for Using Autoresponders
  4. Autoresponder Series That Rock
  5. Where to Find Good Autoresponse Systems
  6. Go Deeper: Quora Question

When we become strategic in our thinking, removing the sensationalism, we will experience a fundamental change in why we do what we do and in the way we do what we do. Applying this to email marketing, we should not be interested in following the pack or using this precious commodity irreverently, disrespectfully or trivially.

This is the methodology for getting in touch and staying in touch with the people who matter the most to us — outside our personal circles and peer groups. With that in mind, is your audience looking for blog updates or informative autoresponder series?

Only Blog Updates? Really?

Your landing page is being wasted if all you are doing with it is using it to entice someone to sign up for blog updates. In fact, that is a lazy way out. If your subscriber box is only for that purpose, it relieves you of the responsibility to create compelling content, specifically as future-proof marketing assets, and lulls you into a false sense of who your target market is, your buying public. (How many sales do you make from people who subscribe to blog updates?)

It is entirely plausible that your blog updates will bring you customers. Well, maybe.

Conventional wisdom certainly indicates otherwise. In fact, for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been around the block a few times), both online and offline marketing sages say it takes potential customers numerous times of viewing your offer before they take you up on it.

Hey, I don’t have anything against blog updates. I subscribe to those from my favorite blogs and I offer them from my own, as well. But, as I mentioned in another article on a similar topic, if all you’re doing with your landing page is using it for blog updates, you, my friend, are wasting prime, revenue-generating real estate.

Blog Updates Don’t …

But think about it: your blog updates rarely sell anything. They don’t have blatant offers. They don’t have calls to action that go to sales pages. They don’t present your consulting services in an in-your-face bid for business.

Yes, they cover topics of interest to your audience.
(BUT, they don’t cover the facets and nuances of your products, services, podcasts or webinars.)

OK, they also spark discussion and generate comments.
(BUT, the comments are not talking about your products, services, podcasts or webinars.)

Is this wrong? No. Not exactly.

That other conventional wisdom tells you to do it exactly the way you’re doing it. They say, don’t sell. They say, it’s not about you. They say … (Any wonder most blog owners aren’t making money from their blog presence?)

Listen, I realize that adding a Feedburner or Feedblitz blog subscription box was a big step. If your blogging model is only about sharing information — it’s not meant to undergird or complement a business endeavor — updates are the way to go. The rest of this article won’t mean much to you (unless you’re just curious.)

Blog updates are what they are; blog updates. They are not email marketing, in the purest sense. Let’s move away from them for a bit and talk about using the real power of autoresponders in your email marketing.

Better Than Blog Updates: The Case for Autoresponder Series

People waiting to read your autoresponder series

People waiting to read your autoresponder series

You need a strategic, pre-planned sequence of emails

You need to nurture your leads so they stay connected, build their confidence and increase trust. You need to have a sequence in place which does all those things. … If you wait till the next time you update your blog post or send out a promotion, your subscriber would most likely have forgotten all about you.

What you need is a strategic, pre-planned sequence of emails to keep your new leads warm and happily waiting to consume more. — How to Create a Simple Autoresponder Series to Keep Your Leads Hot, Marya Jan, GetResponse

Did you get that?

What Can You DO With Autoresponders?

We’re really looking at this all-important question:

Now that you have their email address, what are you doing with it?

Oh, and this question: Are you creating permanent marketing assets that can be used over and over again?

First of all, just so we’re on the same page, let’s see what can you do with autoresponders. (Hint: Anything that you can do with e-mail.)

These are a few of the ways autoresponders are being used. I’ll give you two or three examples of how I’ve used them for clients’ email marketing campaigns a little further down.

  • education about solutions
  • lead nurturing
  • customer retention
  • answer questions (before they’re asked)
  • tutorials
  • industry facts and stats
  • case studies (briefs)

The Autoresponder Effect

You want your subscribers to get that warm-fuzzy feeling when your carefully-crafted email messages land on their tables. Blogger Andrew Warner is in total agreement with me about the updates but he also metes out this dire warning:

Typically, when people subscribe to your email list, they usually want much more than just “updates of your blog posts.” A lot of people want to receive emails that will help them get better at something . . . or at least some practical advice. They want the type of email that has a clear focus and is something that’s a quick take away that they can benefit from.

So if this is the case, maybe you should be asking yourself this question, “What is it that I can include in my next email that someone would value and wouldn’t want to delete it or unsubscribe?” — Andrew M. Warner, 4 Surprisingly Common Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Email List

Warner didn’t pull any punches: don’t give people value and they will eventually unsubscribe from your email list.

The best autoresponder series I have subscribed to and read almost religiously read like a never-ending white paper filled with solutions from trusted, knowledgable advisors. Experts, if you will, to whom you do not pay a retainer, who are not sending you exorbitant bills for the one-on-one consultations it feels like you’re getting. They share industry facts and best-practices. They answer my questions before I ask them. (Speaking of white papers, one of those series happens to come from That White Paper Guy.)

Their reward? I look forward to opening their emails when they arrive. I miss their emails if they don’t show up within the timeframe that I expect them (and I will go hunting in Gmail’s social or promotions tab, in case they got mislaid). I immediately seek them out as my go-to resource when something lands on my plate where their kind of help is needed. And I have never considered unsubscribing from their email lists.

Seriously.

Am I aware that this or that company whose autoresponder sequence I’m consuming didn’t write this just for me? I am. Do I know that just because they used my name in one or two places within those emails, they don’t know me? I do.

Still.

I am not immune to its magic because the magic works, regardless.

So.

Autoresponder Series That Rock

Now, those are autoresponder series worth reading, and you can rock your email marketing campaigns, too.

We’re about to wrap this episode up in a neat package. Here are some ideas for autoresponder series that get results and show forth better than blog updates.

  • Timeless, evergreen content that answers today’s problems
  • A phased building of knowledge (how to, step by step, in small bites)
  • An introduction to a series of experts in your field
  • A series of solutions (that effectively introduce different facets of your services)
  • A book you’ve written where you share selected chapters over some pre-determined time frame
  • Reviews of white papers that your audience might not know about

Can you think of others?

In case you don’t already know, let’s point out where the really useful autoresponse systems are hiding.

Where Will You Find Autoresponse Systems?

You can do a quick search for autoresponder and email marketing software and turn up numerous online, offline, standalone and all-in-one products. I’ll just mention a few here, but if you’re not already using one, take some time to try out the features.

Don’t just take my word for it; and, please, don’t just choose one based on commission-inspired advice from the “internet marketing gurus” splayed across the ‘net.

A Few I Know About

The Really Big Boys

Marketing automation services like Pardot and Marketo have built autoresponders into their services. Unfortunately, their cost is too steep for the average business but those that use them, swear by them. (If you haven’t reached a certain income threshhold, you can’t even signup for a test drive at Marketo and the baby plan at Pardot starts at around $1,000/mo billed annually. Yikes!)

More Affordable Options — Slow down your your heart rate . . .

  • My favorite online autoresponse system hands-down is GetResponse because (in addition to a reasonable price point), they use video tutorials and an extensive library to get you up to speed and keep you moving along.
  • However, since 2002, I’ve used a standalone system (chalk it up to the tech in me) dubbed arpReach (formerly AutoresponsePlus). I was a charter member during its development a decade ago and own a lifetime multi-domain license. It works well for my needs. (But I do recognize that most folk will not be going down this self-hosting road.)

There are so many others. Just do your homework. Test drive, make a feature short-list according to your needs, and be sure to factor in responsive display on mobile devices.

Warning: Do stay away from the “free autoresponder scripts” unless you personally know how to vet them, can confidently vouch for their security, and are willing to stay on top of the developers who create them. Bad scripts on your website — just like broken links and spammy content — can impact your search results and cause penalties.

SELL Your Series

I haven’t forgotten about the landing page or subscription box.

You could occasionally mention your stellar series. You could put a subscription box in the sidebar, near the top. Or under your post as is common with Genesis themes. Or, you could take it to another level — dedicate a page to your series that encourages signups and makes a solid case for having your series in hand. You want your email and content marketing strategies to have a good chance to succeed.

Dedicated Landing Page

Your signup box on the blog sidebar could be use for your marketing series, not entirely for blog updates. Better still, why not create a dedicated landing page?

There are excellent landing page tools available. The same online tools you use to create your series will likely have a landing page creation tool. You can take it further by writing compelling content — even for your landing page — that excites a potential subscriber so much she’ll take you up on your offer.

Go Deeper: A Quora Question

Want more? There aren’t a lot of resources out there about writing good autoresponder series or using them as permanent marketing assets, intangible assets or intellectual property. But I did find (and enjoyed listening to it so much, I retweeted) the short audio below about how one Australian company is using autoresponders in their business.

Quora Question

Quora has an active email marketing group but not many questions about autoresponse use. So I posed the question in a new Quora topic to see if others will share their experiences, so check that out, too.

That’s A Wrap

Bloggers are writers and, therefore, uniquely qualified to craft engaging autoresponder series for themselves and their products or services. If you are a local business coach or small business consultant, you can do your clients a huge favor by helping them create strong, meaningful email marketing materials and steering them away from “just blog updates.”

Remember, your autoresponder series is intellectual property which represents permanent marketing assets that can be used over and over again.

Questions? Insights? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image Source: Pixabay. Public Domain.

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Iyabo
Twitter:
February 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Hi Vanessa,

This article resonates so much with me. Why? I’m an email marketer at heart. I first got introduced to email marketing before blogging. And, I have kept faith with my first love. Why? It has faithfully served me over the years. I also believe in email marketing because it’s more personal than blog updates. You can use it to effectively market any business. I agree with your view points in this article. I appreciate the share.
Iyabo recently posted..10 Critical Life Mistakes You May be Making as You Read thisMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Hi Iyabo,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like you have a lot of experience with email marketing. I have to confess that I don’t do a lot of it. That’s why when Vernessa offered to author this post for my blog, I jumped at the opportunity to accept it.

It’s always helpful to hear from other bloggers. I hope you’re having a great week!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Sell Online? Want To?My Profile

Sunday
Twitter:
January 3, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Hi David/Vernessa,
Just stumbled upon this awesome post. It really rocks with the creative information shared. After going through it, I now have a fresh perception about maximizing my landing page.

The idea of subscribing to autoresponder series seems to be highly rewarding than what obtains with just blog updates.

I guess this will help me to improve my email marketing!
This comment was left in kingged.com where David posted!

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
January 4, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Hey Sunday,

Did you know that whenever I see your face (or name) around the web, I’m immediately reminded that some article has been “kingged”? And that inspires me to visit Kingged and leave a comment for the author. That’s a good thing!

Again, thank you for your kind words. I agree with you that subscribing to well-written, relevant series are so much better than just getting blog updates.

(I like to qualify my thoughts about “getting blog updates” — I’m not against them. I subscribe to plenty of them because they remind me to visit the author’s blog and weigh in. So, they are useful, just limited when it comes to engagement that ultimately helps with sales.)

BTW, I’ve followed you on Twitter and I’m checking out your blog. As mentioned before, I’m very happy to discover it.

Happy New Year!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Hi Sunday,

It’s always nice to see you here and to be reminded of Kingged! I need to get over there!

Thanks so much for dropping by and letting us know that you enjoyed Vernessa’s guest post.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What SEO Tools Do You Use? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Ron Killian
Twitter:
December 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Fantastic post Vernessa!

Couldn’t agree more, so many marketers leave it up to only updates and as you said, it sure doesn’t build any kind of relationship. I know from my own experience, a non-update series, follow-up or broadcasts is where the relationship and the money is at.

I love it when my subscribers reply to my emails, updates don’t have that same affect, not even close.

Thanks for the reminder 🙂

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
December 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Hi Ron,

Glad to make your acquaintance. You’ve hit it on the head: those series help build relationships. Sometimes they are building upon relationships begun previously (in blog comments, LinkedIn groups, Skype chats), but just as often they are the catalyst for brand new relationships.

Thanks for dropping by.

BTW: Your article on The Great Subject Line Myth is on target, too!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Hi Ron,

Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Vernessa’s post. I think she did an awesome job (as always).

I love that your post about the “Great Subject Line Myth” stresses the importance of relationships. That is definitely the key.

I confess that I do not make the most of email marketing (which is why I jumped at Vernessa’s offer to write about it for my blog). I plan on doing a better job in 2015.

Are you familiar with the “Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer” tool by the Advanced Marketing Institute? I’ve been using it for months now and I’ve been receiving good feedback about my blog post titles. I can’t help but think that it would be a good tool to use when writing email subject lines too. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation. I’m following you on Twitter and circled you on Google+.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
December 26, 2014 at 11:53 am

Thx for writing the very informative post, Vernessa, and thx to Sherryl for running it. I’m behind as far as being up to date with being in touch with my readers, and so far, have only been sending out blog posts. But I have resolved to create an e-newsletter early in the new year. I don’t see myself doing auto-responders in the near future, but at least now I have more one thing to consider in serving my readers and expanding my reach. Cheers to both of you for the great content.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..chocolate ecstasy at the Pure Jungle SpaMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 26, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Hi Doreen,

I’m excited for you that you’re starting a newsletter in 2015. You’re a wonderful writer and I’m sure your new letter will be enjoyable.

I have to make the same commitment. Honestly, I only send out blog updates too. I did send out a newsletter in the past but I didn’t stick with it. Vernessa has inspired me to do better. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
December 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I didn’t know you used to send out a newsletter. 🙂 If you decide to write another one, I’ll be first in line to sign up!

Happy New Year! (we’re almost there)

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Thanks Vernessa. 🙂 It was kind of a boring newsletter. I never really found my voice on it. I’d like to think I’ll start a new one in 2015 but I’m feeling so non-committal today. LOL

Happy New Year to you too!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Re-Thinking Your After Blogging To-Do ListMy Profile

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
December 30, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Happy Holidays Doreen and Sherryl!

Doreen, it’s wonderful to hear that you’ve already planned an e-newsletter for 2015. Your adventures shared through your chocolate travelogue are exciting so I can’t wait to see how you use a newsletter to keep in touch with your readers.

Of course, as autoresponders are a sign-up and delivery mechanism, your newsletter(s) can easily be delivered in that manner. 🙂

And thanks for your comment!

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hey Sherryl!

In case I haven’t said it enough, thanks for giving me the opportunity to engage with your readers. What a lively group of entrepreneurs and bloggers!

Every time I pen a guest contribution here, I’m rewarded by the engagement — from the warm “thanks” to the excellent, thoughtful questions. And I learn from the insights and experiences shared, too.

I’d like to encourage anyone who wants to delve deeper into writing (or revamping) their autoresponders to check out two other articles I wrote around the subject and dig into the resources listed at the end of the articles.

(1) Email Autoresponder Series: Permanent Marketing Assets
(http://bluewiremedia.com.au/blog/2014/10/email-autoresponder-series-permanent-marketing-assets) (And also pick up the free templates these marketers have designed for bloggers, business owners, and email marketers.)

(2) Creating Responsive Email Design: What to Watch Out For (http://comluv.com/creating-responsive-email-design-watch/) (Less about creating a series, more about the “look” and “display” on various devices.)

Again, thanks Sherryl and everyone! ~ Vernessa

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing these Vernessa. I’ll check them out more thoroughly and share them.

It’s me that should be thanking you. Your posts are always well received and you tackle topics that I normally wouldn’t. So, having you here as a guest blogger is a “value-add”. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Andrew M. Warner
Twitter:
November 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

Hi Vernessa,

I have no idea why it took me so long to come here and comment on this post. Something always came up, but I put aside time to do that today.

First off, thank you for the kind mention. Secondly, everything you said is correct. I’ve been look at my autoresponder series and I see holes in it, and actually during the holiday break, I’m going to start breaking down my autoresponder series into groups. The way I have it now is too cluttered and I know it’s not as effective as it should be.

Plus I’m going to add to that list and make it go on a little longer.

I use GetResponse as well and I really like what they have there. Question for you. How long do you think an autoresponser series should go on for?

Meaning, when they subscribe to your email list, should they be receiving autoresponder messages for 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc. before you start to send them actual messages? And by actual messages I mean from time to time, letting them be aware of your blog posts?

This is something I have to seriously look into by the New Year.

Great post again. And thanks Sherryl for having Vernessa share this post with us.

Have a great weekend, the both of you.

– Andrew
Andrew M. Warner recently posted..8 Proven Strategies That’ll Accelerate Your Audience’s Trust ImmediatelyMy Profile

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Hey Andrew,

Your post about why people unsubscribe from email marketing letters was fact-filled and well-timed. One reason it resonated with me is because it reminded me of an article I wrote for GrowMap a few years ago: Your Newsletter Tastes Like Spam (http://growmap.com/email-marketing-your-newsletter-tastes-like-spam/). Among other things, I ranted about being allowed to unsubscribe without jumping through hoops.

As I said in my comment on your article, you nailed it by letting marketers know that unsubscribes really represent a key marketing metric.

Your question: “How long do you think an autoresponser series should go on for? … before you start to send them actual messages . . . letting them be aware of your blog posts?”

You can actually have 2 separate series: one for blog posts (use GR to set up an RSS feed series), and one (or several) for your autoresponse series that has a specific focus/goal. The trick is in getting folk to request both but if you create an informative landing page for your series, that shouldn’t pose a big problem. And your non-blog post series can be as long as you think necessary to reach the goal(s) of the series.

Thanks for your comment, Andrew, and the questions.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Hi Vernessa,

I am so glad that Andrew asked that question! I really need to set up an autoresponder series myself. (I’m guilty of just sending out blog updates.) I’d be curious to know if there’s an easy way to send newsletter updates to the same subscriber list that receives the blog updates.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Also, I wanted to thank you once again for guest blogging here. By the amount of comments that you’re getting, you can tell that your articles are well received.

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Yes, my weekend is going well. I’m still in Atlanta visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids (they have 5!). We’re all adjusting. LOL

To answer your excellent question:

“I’d be curious to know if there’s an easy way to send newsletter updates to the same subscriber list that receives the blog updates.”

It depends on what service you use. If your service does not require “double-optin” AND if your service allows you (the list owner) to subscribe your existing subscribers to a new list, then it’s easily accomplished in the backend of your service.

However, even if those things are not in place, it is not hard. You can simply create your new autoresponder series, create a new landing page/signup page/signup box, send out a one-time message to your blog update subscribers asking them to visit that page to sign up.

Keep in mind that it is better (far better, in fact) to have your fans, followers, readers, customers OPT-IN to your series — as opposed to you automatically adding them to your new series. Why? Your series should be tightly crafted with specific goals for a specific audience … and your blog update subscribers might not truly represent that audience. Does that make sense?

********* On Another Note *******

Because we had a technical glitch when this article was first published, we removed the section that had the audio referenced in this line: “I did find (and enjoyed listening to it so much, I retweeted) the short audio below about how one Australian company is using autoresponders in their business.” For anyone who caught that seemingly stray reference and wants to listen to that podcast, it can be found at the beginning of the first article linked to in the comment above. (It’s actually an interview with the founder of that company and I was impressed with the way he and his partner not only bootstrapped their online endeavor, but grew their mailing list by using autoresponders.

Plus, the dude is the first one I ever heard, other than myself, say that the content created for your autoresponders should be viewed as “marketing assets.”)

********* *******

Back to your question: In light of the notion of marketing assets, you can see why you might want to create different series for different segments of your blog readership. Exciting stuff! 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi Vernessa,
That’s wonderful that you’re still visiting your daughter and her family. You look too young to have five grandchildren!

A double-optin! It hadn’t occurred to me that you’d need to have permission for both (but of course you do).

I’m thinking that I should model my newsletter (when I finally commit to one) after Adrienne Smith’s. Hers is one of the few that I look forward to. I don’t know if you subscribe to Adrienne’s list but when she posts a new article, she simple notifies us in her normal “newsy” voice. She’ll share something personal and/or interesting and then mention her newest post with a link. That seems pretty seamless to me.

I know that I should be sending updates crafted to specific audiences but honestly, I don’t see that happening in the near future. The thought of it overwhelms me at that point. Although, that could be something I do in the future. I still have hopes of writing an eBook geared to CommentLuv users and I can see how an autoresponder geared to them would not be of interest to a lot of readers here.

That was a shame that I had to strip the podcast out of your article. At first, I thought the glitch was on my computer but when Jeannette Paladino emailed me to tell me that the post was locking her computer, I had to do something. That seemed to have fixed it. (I knew it had to be affecting others because we weren’t getting any comments and this post is awesome!) I am grateful to Jeannette for alerting me and I always appreciate it when something goes awry here.

As always, thanks for your in-depth response! I’ve been told many times that the conversations that go on here in the comments are often as valuable as reading the post.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Safe Are Your Backlinks? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Hi Andrew,

It’s so good to see you here. It’s never too late to comment! At least I don’t think so. I know some people close comments after a while but to me (unless the post has outlived its usefulness – in which case it should probably be deleted) why not keep the conversation going?

I do not send autoresponder messages other than blog updates. So, Vernessa’s post really hit home with me. I’ll be taking a serious look into this for the New Year too.

Thanks for asking Vernessa questions and I’m glad you liked her post. Vernessa always does a great job doesn’t she?

You have a great weekend too Andrew!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Mi Muba
Twitter:
November 13, 2014 at 2:22 am

Hi Sherryl

Very important point you raised in this post and those who believe that with their great contents they can achieve their business goals are absolutely wrong.

This is an era of outbound marketing. Earlier a marketer just needed to tell people what he has at his shop to sell. But now competition has grown an lot and one needs to take the sample or complete product at the doorstep of buyer for selling it at his convenience

In blogging the role of autoresponder has rise enormously. Now it doesn’t mean to just thank for the action of a visitor but to keep him connected with your blog as much as you can.

Thanks a lot for this very wonderful post on significance of outbound marketing in blogging.
Mi Muba recently posted..9 types of interview blog post and how to create themMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Hi Mi,

I’m so glad you found Vernessa’s guest post valuable. I think that she has done an excellent job of building a case for creating an autoresponder series that isn’t just blog updates.

Thanks so much for weighing in on this and sharing your insight too. I hope you had a great weekend.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Hi Mi Muba,

You’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment. As you said, we have to go beyond “thanks” and find meaningful, valuable ways of connecting.

Connecting “autoresponse” with outbound marketing is significant; I’m actually seeing more discussions around it as an “inbound” marketing technique.

Thanks a lot for sharing your insights. I really appreciate it.

Ashley Faulkes
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Epic Vanessa, I think I will need to reread this. My series are many and varied and have varying retention rates. It is time I too a long hard look at them all again.
thanks
ashley
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Hi Ashley,

You know I’m a big fan of yours but I have to admit that I don’t subscribe to your email newsletter. (When I get a chance, I will check it out.) My main reason is that I have a spam problem with my main email account and the thought of subscribing to another list is almost enough to send me over the edge. 🙂

Since we’re in (at least one) Triberr tribe together and we’re connected on all the major social networks (plus we both leave CommentLuv links on some of the same blogs), I pretty much know when you post a new article. However, I may be missing out on something. So, I should subscribe. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by! As I’ve mentioned below in the comments (and shared on a couple of other blogs), recently, I’ve been tied up with family matters. In the past month, Vernessa has guest blogged twice for me and Jeannette Paladino once. I’m just now starting to see the light. So, you know I’ll be by your place soon.
~Sherryl

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Hey Ashley,

After reading your and Sherryl’s comment, I skipped over to your blogs and signed up for your various series. I have to say, “bravo!” You pack some powerful tips and info into each one of your autoresponder series. (Thanks for the one about the previewer; I know of some others but not that one.)

Glad this article offered some encouragement to look at your series again. If you decide to make any changes, would love to hear about them.

Cheers!

Mustafa Gaziani
Twitter:
November 9, 2014 at 1:15 am

Hi Vernessa,

Thank you for sharing this great content.
It just comes to my mind after reading this post that why I was not using this great kind of autoresponder service? It’s a great tool to get more visitors to your blog.

Moreover, Email marketing plays a vital role in the success of blogging.
It’s my first visit on your blog and I found your blog very helpful.
Great stuff,
Thanks for sharing !

-Mustafa
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Hi Mustafa,

Ahhh, that’s a good question to ask yourself! But even more important than getting visitors to your blog (if there is anything more important), is firmly planting yourself as a resource or an expert that makes your visitors buy products or services from you — when they’re ready to buy whatever it is you offer. Does that make sense?

Thanks for coming over and for taking the time to leave a comment.

BTW: Your hostess here at KeepUpWithTheWeb.com is actually Sherryl Perry, who was kind enough to allow me to contribute an article here. Do come back and visit again!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Hi Mustafa,

I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed Vernessa’s guest post here. I’m in agreement with her in that to be successful, we need to present ourselves as a resource or expert. The key to this lies in providing quality content whether it be in the form of blog posts or newsletters. We have to somehow add value.

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation.
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andleeb
Twitter:
November 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Hello Vernessa

It is nice to get updates of blogs that we like to read. I read about landing page last time and now about auto responder emails.
There is so much to learn about it. It is nice that emails marketing to give idea to people about the stuff that they do not get from blog. Very informative post.
Thank you.

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Hello Anna, so nice to see you here!

Yes, I’ve had email marketing on my mind lately. There are many facets to learn about (and write about); I’ve tried to hit lots of the touchpoints: landing pages (as you mentioned), mobile responsive emails, writing autoresponder series.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on each of them. 🙂

I have at least one more in mind which would give some more in-depth examples of autoresponse series, maybe how to actually write one. We’ll see!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Hi Anna and welcome to my blog. I’m glad you got some ideas from Vernessa’s guest post and I appreciate your taking the time to oin the conversation.?
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Marquita Herald
Twitter:
November 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

Terrific article and couldn’t be better timing for me. I’m in the process of developing a new members only content section on my website similar to what Copyblogger has done. It will have exclusive content, downloadable special reports and training tools in various formats. All good stuff but my biggest concern has been how to keep my followers engaged after they visit the “learning center” a few times and reading your article has given me some great ideas on creative ways to provide updates to draw them back. Whew!
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Hey Marquita,

Wow, you are on the ball! Happy to see you’ve gotten some ideas that will help you keep your followers and clients engaged after they visit your learning center.

New stuff, tidbits, reminders … all lend themselves to becoming part of an autoresponder series. Go get ’em!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Wow Marquita! You’ve been busy. Thanks for letting Vernessa and me know that you got some ideas from her guest post.

I promise to be by your blog (and as many others here as I can) in the near future. Recently, I’ve been dealing with family matters. So, I’m just now replying to comments that were left a week or more ago. I’m also woefully behind on creating new content here myself.

Oh well. Life goes on and we need to take care of our loved ones first. I’ll catch up soon. I do want to check out your learning center!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Did You Know Google Panda 4.1 Rewards Quality Content? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Ammar Zeb
Twitter:
November 7, 2014 at 8:16 am

Awesome Sherryl, I was really enjoying reading this article as I always do while reading your written articles because your conversation skills with your audience are so friendly and good.

Yes, blog updates are best and specially for your loyal readers because whenever they visit your blog and find something new and trending, its like a heaven on Earth for them.

Thanks for sharing, keep rocking 🙂

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi Ammar – Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Hi Ammar,

Thanks for letting Vernessa and I know that you enjoyed her article. One of the reasons that I invited Vernessa to guest post here is that her writing is similar to mine. She likes to delve deeply into a topic and then share it in an easy to understand fashion. That way, we can all benefit from reading it.

As always, I appreciate your dropping by and joining the conversation.
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Susan Cooper
Twitter:
November 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Hi Vernessa, This is new to me too, as it seems it is with many others. Lots to think about. Thanks for sharing!
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Hi Susan,

You’re welcome. Some of what you’re doing already lends itself to being recast as a marketing series that you can put into the hands of your avid fans. (You are one of the few who already has a marketable product. On that note, congrats again!)

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hi Susan, Thanks for taking the time to drop by and letting Vernessa and I know that you enjoyed her article!

Jeri
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I rarely follow via email. I prefer RSS feeds, but that being said, I have seen a few really impressive auto-responder campaigns from a few of the blogs I was tempted to follow that way. I learned a lot as well. It just seems daunting to create all the content that would be needed in addition to blog posts and the rest of life\’s demands.
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hi Jeri,

They call those of us who like RSS feeds “nerds”! I like getting updates in my feed reader but don’t mind the updates via email either.

No doubt, creating the content in advance can be very involved. But if you have a product or service you’re passionate about, or just love sharing info with your audience that will help them see you as an expert or a resource, it becomes easier to create this type of content.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Jeri,

I feel the same way you do! I prefer RSS feeds to emails too. (I guess I’m a nerd too.)

I often find my inbox overwhelming and there are very few blogs that I subscribe too. The ones that I subscribe to have to either add a lot of value (like the Moz Top 10 that I depend on for content curation) or personal and valuable (like Adrienne Smith’s and Kim Castleberry-Brink’s).

(BTW – I find the thought of creating more content for a newsletter daunting too but reading Vernessa’s article reinforces the opportunity that I’ve been missing.) Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this!
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Tim November 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

This is a new concept to me and one I would like to learn more about. I am having trouble wrapping my head around exactly what an e-mail series does. Tim
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Hey Tim –

Another good question! I think if you read the comment to Ken below (added before your comment was live), you’ll have a better idea.

Also, the comment to Jacqueline (a little further down), has an example of someone who uses an email series to promote a new book.

Let me know if those help you get a better understanding. Cheers!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you feel about autoresponders. It is a lot to wrap your head around at first.

I second Vernessa’s suggestion to read her replies. Another thought I have is to subscribe to some email newsletters for ideas and inspiration. Then, if you find one that resonates with you, you could model yours after it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Things You May Not Know About Google and SEO – #FridayFindsMy Profile

Carol Tice
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Good point, Vernessa!

At this point, only about half of my ‘posts’ publish on my blog…the other half I email out to my blog subscribers as exclusives only they see. They’re not autoresponders exactly…but I believe email exclusive content is very bonding and great for email list retention.

It also gives you material you can repurpose later, because it’s never been published on the blog. I’ve already done that a couple times — I turned one email marketing series into a handout that promoted a paid product, for instance.

I feared my blog traffic would go down, going from 3x to 2x weekly blog posts, but it’s only gone up.
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Hey Carol,

Thanks for coming over. Your comment during our Skype conversation intrigued me so I wanted you to share your techniques with Sherryl’s audience, too.

Giving your subscribers exclusive content (in addition to the unique articles published on your blog) gives them the best of both worlds.

Re-purposed = permanent marketing asset

Your email series cum handout is an excellent example of how content created once can become a permanent marketing asset, saving time while contributing to the bottom line.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Carol,

Offering exclusive content to your email subscribers is a great idea. Then, turning some of that content into a paid product is really strategic. You’ve got me thinking! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with us.

~Sherryl
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Who Do You Listen to When Influential Bloggers Don’t Agree? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Jacqueline DuJour November 5, 2014 at 7:07 am

I’m a new blogger, so I guess that I’M my own autoresponder right now.I will definitely keep this in mind as my following (God willing! 🙂 increases.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Hi Jaqueline,
I am definitely not the poster child for successfully using autoresponders. (That’s why I eagerly accepted Vernessa’s guest post on this topic.)

You could set up a simple automated newsletter with a vendor such as MailChimp to get started (for free). I agree with Vernessa that just sending blog updates isn’t the best but at least it would get your feet wet.

For other ideas, you could read through the comments and replies here to see what others are doing. Another suggestion would be to get ideas by subscribing to a few newsletters for inspiration.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck blogging and thanks for joining the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
January 4, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Hi Jacqueline,

Somehow I missed your comment in the flow; my apologies!

Sherryl has some great ideas about how to get your feet wet. Add a +1 for starting out with blog updates.

In an earlier comment, I qualified my thoughts on blog updates: I’m not against them as I subscribe to my share so that I can in fact stay up-to-date on what authors are publishing.

Happy New Year!

Ken Dowell
Twitter:
November 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I understand your point about the value of creating a sequential series of communications to market effectively. But I’m a little lost on the discussion of what is a blog update vs. what is an autoresponder email series. Can’t you use exactly the same content and timing sequence for either?
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Hey Ken,

Man, if I had a prize for “Question of the Day,” you’d surely get it! This is a great question . . .

Let’s start with “Can’t you use exactly the same content and timing sequence for either?”

Yes and No.

The YES: If you use an email marketing system like GetResponse or Aweber, you can simply put in the RSS feed URL and tell those systems to send out an update whenever you have a new blog post. Or once a week. Or bi-weekly. So, your updates are in fact being delivered by an “autoresponder.” But they are only updates. There’s no (true) marketing going on.

The NO: An autoresponse system is much too powerful to only use it to send out content that is already posted on your blog.

“What is a blog update vs. what is an autoresponder email series”

See my answer to Jacqueline below for an idea on “creating a sequential series of communications to market effectively.”

Your phrase has the keys within it: market, effectively. In most cases, your blog post isn’t marketing anything. It’s not selling services or a product. It’s not aimed at getting anyone to buy anything.

While your autoresponder series does not have to be blatantly promotional, you have so much creative license that it can be whatever you want it to be. You use them to gently guide your customers and potential customers to your expertise, services, products. You use them to deliver audio, reports, ebooks, surveys. You schedule them according to a timeline that makes sense for what you are delivering, imparting, sharing, launching (6 days, 9 weeks, 7 months).

So, no, no need to use the exact same content or exact same sequence.

Thanks for your questions, Ken!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Wow Ken! I’m with Vernessa as far as your comment winning the prize for “Question of the Day” (if there were one). Thanks so much for asking it (and to Vernessa for her in-depth answer).

I’ve been MIA here for a while due to family matters. It’s an awesome feeling to check in and see that there are so many great discussions going on! Without input, thoughts and questions (like yours and those from other readers), there would be no comments. Without comments, this blog would be less interesting and offer less value. Bottom line, we can all learn from each other. 🙂
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Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
Twitter:
November 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm

This is a completely new idea for me…I hadn’t considered it. This would serve really well to serialize a book:) Thanks!
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Hey Jacqueline,

Don’t you just love new ideas? Especially those that move us closer to realizing our dreams . . . Your idea to use a series of autoresponders to serialize a book is top-notch. I mentioned to Adrienne (in a comment below yours) that I’d done something similar for a client.

To expand further, we put together a series that used excerpts from different chapters and gave the page number of where the excerpt originated (encouragement to buy the book). I also had the client prepare audio snippets in which she read the same excerpt (and added audio CTAs), then linked to the audio (bringing them back to the website).

There are so many uses for autoresponse sequences when we put some creativity into it!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Hi Jacqueline,

First, I’d like to thank you for dropping by. As a member of the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group (on LinkedIn), I know you are aware of why I’ve been MIA lately. Still, it’s important to me to take the time to personally reply to every comment left here.

I think it’s wonderful that you got an idea for an email series from Vernessa’s article. I love the fact that guest bloggers here share info that I normally wouldn’t. That’s music to my ears. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Are You Building Your Online Brand? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Adrienne
Twitter:
November 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Hey Vernessa,

Great to see you again here at Sherryl’s. I know she’s been busy and now family definitely calls. You are awesome to help her out and boy did you deliver my friend.

I have fallen down on the job with my emails lately. Now my opt-in does have a great report I offer but I mainly share the blog updates with them. I add my own spice to them and give a little extra from time to time. I’ve just been so busy trying to get this product finished that I had to back off my regular posting schedule until I can get this released. Which is only in a few more weeks by the way.

But Monday, I totally forgot to email my list! I didn’t think about it until mid morning which I jumped on and profusely apologized for. I’m so off my regular schedule right now that I’m all messed up.

Once I finally get my product released I think or hope things can get back to some type of normalcy. We’ll see what that looks like soon. I know I’ll still be busy with interviews that I have scheduled but you are right, I have really been ignoring my list some but I’ve been honest with them too. I always am so I know they understand but if I just stop giving them great stuff I’ll eventually lose them too.

You’ve given me a lot to think about so thank you for that. I will be creating a landing page for my product as well aside for the long old sales letter and then I’ll have to think about my autoresponder series for this too.

Great share, thanks again and enjoy your week. Give Sherryl my best!

~Adrienne
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hey Adrienne,

Sherryl definitely feels all the good vibes and group hugs we’re sending her way! She’s been a real trooper getting through all this; we’re all hoping things will lighten up and straighten out.

Wow, I’m so proud of your progress on your new product! I can only imagine the deadlines, rewrites, edits, creatives … You had your work cut out for you, but it will all pay off soon.

Your list is probably one of the most responsive I’ve ever heard a list-owner discuss. (Too often, list owners aren’t all that “in touch” with the people on their lists!) With a new product, you might have an easier time crafting an autoresponder series than someone who has had their list a long time but nothing new in the works.

Let me know if you ever need ideas: I’ve had the pleasure of writing some series for quilt-makers showing their creations around the country, a minister with a new book, amongst others.

Thanks and looking forward to your launch!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Hi Adriennne,

Your email list is one of the few that I subscribe to. You keep your newsletter personal (which is totally in line with your relationship building) and I always enjoy what you share.

I’m the one who should be apologizing to my readers for not keeping in touch with them. I have been totally lax and lazy in doing this.

At one time, I had a MailChimp newsletter set up but I eventually let that go. Now, all I send out are blog updates. So, I was really grateful to Vernessa when she offered to tackle this topic for my readers. (This is the kick-in-the-pants that I needed.)

I have a much better idea now of what I want to do with a newsletter. I’m thinking of keeping it personal like you do and sharing different news and resources that I discover through the week. I send myself so many emails of potential #FridayFinds throughout the week (that I end up not including). I certainly don’t imagine going into the depth that I do for that series but I could send a quick roundup sort of list that could add value to my subscribers.

Lots to think about here. As always, thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this. It’s great to see the conversation going on here while I’ve been dealing with all that’s been going on here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What’s Better Than Blog Updates? Autoresponder Series That Rock!My Profile

Lanet (The Bellie)
Twitter:
November 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

We’ve been in the process of better understanding how to use the e-mails we have received for a long time. We know enough to realize that plain blog updates just are not a great use of those e-mails, and we want to maximize the potential there. But we’ve been stalling on it…just because we know that this will take time and energy. But, once again, we’ve been reminded it’s worth it!

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Hello Lanet,

You’ve hit it on the head: “plain blog updates just are not a great use of those e-mails.”

I’m glad you see the value and plan to capitalize on the potential. True, it takes time and energy but you don’t have to do it all at once. After laying out a strategy, you can begin to create your series a little bit at a time (but do set a “launch” date so you have a definite diving in point).

Hope it works out!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Hi Lanet,
Thanks for letting us know that Vernessa’s post served as a reminder to take advantage of an autoresponder to keep in touch with our blog readers. There is so much potential there.

When Vernessa suggested writing this article for my blog, I jumped at the chance to accept it and it looks like it has been received extremely well.

BTW – I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and I’d also like to apologize for taking so long to reply to you. (Thanks to Vernessa for replying to each comment that was left for her.) I recently lost two family members and a friend (all in the same week) and it’s been a bit overwhelming for us.
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sherman smith
Twitter:
November 3, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Hey Vernessa,

You know I just got the idea as i was reading that I need to match up the value of my email serious with the blogs post i publish every week. Right now I just tell them a little about my newest blog post and leave it at that. I do what my emails to be like you described when you anticipate the next email from a blog you subscribe to. That would be the goal for my subscribers, right!

Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend!
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 3, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Hi Sherman,

Yes, yes! That would be an awesomely powerful goal to have for your subscribers.

An autoresponder email series doesn’t have to have lengthy discourses — bite-sized or snackable content works fine. Whatever your expertise, subscribers could benefit by having access to it.

Cheers!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Sherman,

I’m actually a little relieved to hear that you do about the same as I do when it comes to using our email lists for our blog posts. I really need to take this more seriously myself. It’s definitely a missed opportunity not to.

Thanks so much for letting us know that you enjoyed Vernessa’s guest post. (My personal life has kept me from replying to you sooner.)
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Robinsh November 3, 2014 at 3:38 am

I understand that email autoresponder series could do wonders for a blogger if he/she do it with a lot of researched data to help the subscribers, and no doubt that is nowhere nearby general blogging.

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Hi Robinsh

The whole idea of using autoresponders as part of your email marketing campaign is to share a “series” or sequence of information that is not necessarily found on your blog. Or, it could be information found on your blog but re-purposed to meet a specific goal.

Ultimately, an autoresponse sequence will educate your audience (visitors, customers) as you gently move them towards engaging your services, buying your product, joining your membership site, participating in your webinar.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hi Vernessa,
Thanks for doing such an amazing job not only on authoring this post but for keeping up with the comments.

I know you are aware of what has been going on in my personal life (losing my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and close family friend in a one week period). I’m trying to start catching up now.

Ammar Zeb
Twitter:
November 2, 2014 at 5:22 am

Awesome series, blog updates are the best your readers love the most and if they are trending, what your audience wants and to the topics, What can be more liked by the readers instead of it?

Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
November 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Ammar,

Blog updates are great. I like getting updates from the blogs that I enjoy reading … keeps me informed when they have new posts.

Still, using your autoresponders ONLY for blog updates could be leaving money, knowledge, and opportunities to serve your audience and clientele better.

Best to have the best of both worlds, don’t you think?

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Hi Ammar,
Sorry I haven’t been online to reply to you sooner. Thanks for weighing in on this. I second Vernessa’s suggestion that autoresponders are valuable. Having said that, I’m guilty myself of not taking advantage of them. I intend to soon though.

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