Once you’ve decided your business should engage in email marketing – sending marketing messages to your prospects, clients, and former clients via email – you’ll be faced with choosing whether to create your first message as a broadcast or an autoresponder. But, what is the difference?
Let’s examine your inbox for examples:
That email from your sister about the upcoming family reunion that was sent to you and your entire extended family? That is an example of a broadcast email. It was composed for a group of people and then sent out soon after it was written.
The “out of office” message you received from your boss? That is an example of an autoresponder, which is really just an email sent out automatically in response to the receipt of another email. It was composed ahead of time, stored in the system, and then sent out only in response to an action.
How do you use the differences between a “broadcast” and an “autoresponder” in your business?
Broadcast Message Basics
Broadcast messages are the easiest to implement in your business. These are the standard marketing and communication messages that you send to your clients: newsletters, sales notices, special offers, and announcements. These communications are sent based on a date (in the case of a sale) or a publication schedule (in the case of a newsletter), or simply when appropriate (in the case of a special announcement).
Broadcast messages are usually written and sent the same day, but they need not be. Most Email Service Providers offer the option of scheduling your message to go out at a later day and/or time. This allows the business owner to pre-write messages to be sent out later, which increases your ability to be “right on time” with your message.
The simplest autoresonders are sent out in response to a purchase, either of a physical product, a digital product, or a service. These messages typically contain the customer’s purchase details and provide the “electronic” receipt of their purchase.
But autoresonders are more than just receipt generators. Autoresponders can actually help you deepen your relationship with the people who are most interested in what you offer: those who recently purchased something or signed up on a list.
You can use an autoresponder to:
- Deliver a digital product or download link to your customer.
- Deliver bonuses and extras not included in the original purchase.
- Offer hints and tips for using the product that was just purchased (helps reduce buyer’s remorse).
- And, if you put a series of autoresponder messages together, you can create a mini-course that you can offer for free or for purchase.
One of the best things about an autoresponder is that you can deliver valuable content to your customer right when they need it, all automatically. When you deeply understand what you customer’s needs are it becomes easy to meet those needs. And an autoresponder can help you do it in a way that deepens your relationship.
How To Create a Mini-Course to Deliver By Autoresponder
Let me illustrate how this could work by using one of my customers as an example. Dona runs a dog day care and training facility. She gets a lot of business from people new to dog training. In particular, most of her clients come to her after they just got a new puppy.
We can create a mini-course for new puppy owners. To get started, we need to brainstorm all of the things that a new puppy owner would need to know. Here’s a partial list:
- House training
- When to start dog obedience
- How to deal with behavior issues
- Sleeping arrangements
- How to introduce the puppy to your other animals
- Puppies and children
- How to protect your puppy from extreme weather
- Are dog doors a good idea?
Then, after you have a list of topics, put the list in order based on when a new puppy owner would need to know this information. From our list, one of first things you’d need to know is how to introduce your puppy to your other animals, followed by what to feed him. And if one of the items follows another by a certain time period note that as well (in this case, you’d work on socializing your puppy for several weeks before you’d start any dog training class, so you want to note this relationship).
Next, write a short article for each topic; just 200-500 words is fine. You want to make each article short and to the point and readable in just a few minutes. If there is more information that you want to convey that fits into a short article, put the rest of the material in a post on your website and link to it in your article. This way, you make it easy for your reader to get the important parts of what you want to say, and give those who want more information a way to get that information.
This too, is how you link your free mini-course to what you sell. In Dona’s case, she can put links in her mini-course content to her puppy socialization class as well as her dog training classes, plus her one-on-one coaching for behavior problems. In this way, she is leading with highly valuable content from the reader’s standpoint, but she is also letting them know that support exists and where to find it.
Once your content is ready, all that is left is to load it into your Email Service Provider account and link it to a sign up form. Then, your autoresponder is ready to deliver valuable content whenever someone needs it.
Marketing is so often seen as being complicated when it is really simply knowing what your customer needs and then delivering it to him. Autoresponders (and broadcast messages) can help your business deliver what your customer needs right when he needs it most – and all automatically.