What you need to know before you start your first auto-responder campaign!

Contributed to this article
Jordie van Rijn
Independent email marketing consultant at www.emailmonday.com

I have invited Jordie van Rijn, a well known independent email marketing consultant at www.emailmonday.com, to do a quick round up of auto-responders.

Autoresponders are the first step towards automated email marketing, but also one of the least used tactics to increase ROI for email campaigns.

Starting with autoresponders

Well, looking at autoresponders or triggered email or event driven email as they are also called, a company should make their own analysis of what to do first. This begins by taking a good look at the current and potential touchpoints you have with your clients and where you could add the most value, both in a service and financial perspective.

It doesn’t hurt to start with the quick wins though: those mails that bring lots of value and at the same time are fairly easy to implement. Two of those that almost every marketer can implement are the welcome email and a birthday email.

Birthday emails

Birthday auto-responder example from Hallmark.

Birthday auto-responder example from Hallmark.

A birthday email is triggered based on a date in the database. These emails are a great way to touch someone on a personal life event. Even if your product isn’t birthdate or gifting related, you can always send a birthday greeting or a discount.

Check out this whitepaper about birthday emails with all kinds of examples and tips on my site, you need to sign up for my newsletter, but that also means that you will get a great example of a welcome email ;). Some more info about event driven email campaigns and business rules can be found on the site too.

Welcome emails

eBay welcome email example.

eBay welcome email example.

A welcome email is sent to new subscribers or clients, and is triggered by their addition to the database. Almost all email service providers have this functionality built in these days. Welcome emails can be very effective because of the heightened attention in the early stages of the relationship.

The Welcome campaign is the most used autoresponder: 31 percent of marketers use it according to a study by eConsultancy.

Here’s a hint on what to put in your welcome email and amaze your new recipients.

Purchase based event triggers

A bit less easy to implement are product purchase based event triggers. This requires the product data to be available or linked to the ESP. An example would be a coupon offer just after the product is bought (5% off next purchase). Or a follow up survey two weeks after. These can be generally the same for each purchase the first time you implement them and can be refined and refined after.

second level product purchase based event trigger for instance can feature specific cross sell offers based on the product you bought. Did you buy a suit? Here is a great tie and socks to go with that. Did you buy a game console, consider these games and accessories. As I said, these types of emails are a bit trickier.

It’s good to know if your email software provider can handle these and transactional email campaigns. Upfront is the best time to check this, even if you are just thinking about doing it in the future. In that respect choosing an ESP is like selecting a spouse.

Going pro

Once you have an overview of the touch points and events, life cycle messaging is a great next step. Based on their relationship with you and your company and “scoring” different triggers can be used. To do lead nurturing, cross and upsell or loyalty retention and activation emails. Things can become fairly tricky, quite fast, though the effort is worthy.

So maybe start of by doing these selections (like an RFM analysis) by hand at first and once you have seen the first results roll in, automate and create the trigger based emails.

Happy triggering!

Your turn now!

Ever wanted to start using autoresponders but something kept you from doing it? Let us know your questions by replying to this email and either us or Jordie will get back to you.

What you need to know before you start your first auto-responder campaign! by