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Can I tell you a secret?

I don't think I'd be half as successful in online business if it weren't for my email sequence.

If you're not familiar with what an email sequence (or autoresponder series) is, that will sound really confusing, so we'll address the “what” portion in a moment. But if you are familiar with it, you may understand just how important they are.

So, what's an autoresponder series, and why do you need one?

An autoresponder series is simply a series of emails that are automatically sent from your email service provider on the days and times of your choice after somebody signs up for your email list.

Autoresponders are so important for your business for a few reasons:

  • They save you time and hassle: Could you imagine having to send out emails to each and every email subscriber you accumulate individually? That might be doable if you're still in double digits, but as soon as you begin to grow your list to hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of subscribers, it's impossible.
  • They keep your subscribers engaged: You can't just start an email list and then never send your new subscribers anything. They'll forget all about you and why they signed up for your list, so when you do send them something, they'll think your spamming them. Instead, you should be sending them specific types of emails regularly.
  • They even allow you to sell to your list after you've interacted with them for awhile: I guess you could sell to your list on the first autoresponder email, but that sounds sleazy to me. In any case, autoresponders allow you to automatically send out emails about your products and services that provide value to your audience after a certain amount of emails have gone out (hopefully also contributing to your audience's lives in a meaningful way).

My autoresponder is one of the few places I sell the 30-Day Unsettle Challenge and my coaching services, and I know that if I didn't have my autoresponder (as well, of course, as a great relationship with my readers and subscribers) I wouldn't be able to turn Unsettle into a business. So now that I've convinced you to set up an autoresponder sequence, you may be wondering how to set up an autoresponder. Below are step-by-step instructions to set up an autoresponder sequence. This guide uses Aweber as an email service provider. I recommend Aweber because you get a free month if you sign up, and from the moment you sign up you have access to all of the functionality required to set up an autoresponder sequence. Here goes:

1. Sign In to Your Email Service Provider

I don't need to show you how to do this. Just make sure that you have an autoresponder capability if you use a service other than Aweber. For example, if you signed up for Mailchimp (which is free up to 2,000 subscribers), you won't have access to build an autoresponder until you pay.

2. Choose the List You Want to Start the Autresponder Under

At the top of the screen, press the arrow on the drop down box called “current list”. Find which list you want to start your autoresponder sequence under.

3. Start a “Follow Up Series”

When you've chosen the list you want to start your series under, press the “messages” button and choose “Follow Up Series”.

4. Create a Message

Under the “Follow Up Series” page there will be a button called Create a Message:

  Choose “Drag and Drop Email Builder”.

5. Create Your Email

To personalize with each subscribers name or another detail, place your cursor where you want the personalization in the subject line or email, and press the “personalize” button at the top right corner of the email box. Choose “{!firstname_fix}” for the first name, for example.

You can add style details like headlines, buttons, and images in the body of the email on your left. Drag the element from the list on your left to the email:

  Note: many elements can only go in the footer of the email (ie signature, social media, buttons, etc). If you want your email to look more like a magazine or newsletter, choose a complete from the right hand side:

  Once you've finished with the details of the email, press “save and exit”.

6. Add The Email to Your “Follow Up Series”

When you've pressed save and exit, Aweber will take you to 

a screen that looks like this: You can then press the “Add to Follow Up Series” button to schedule the email. A box will appear:

This is where you set the timing of your email and when your email is sent during the day.

Intervals

I recommend sending an email at least once per week. I time mine to go out every 3-5 days. Any longer than a week and your subscribers could forget about you after they initially sign up.

Send Window

When I'm scheduling an email, I consider:

  • Overloading: I don't want to send an autoresponder email to my subscribers the same day that I send out blog teasers and updates, because I don't want them to get more than one email from me on the same day.
  • When they're checking: I want to make sure that I'm reaching my subscribers when they're actually checking their email. I happen to know that most of my people are checking first thing in the morning, so I schedule my emails to go out between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM their local time.
  • Balance: I know on weekends I'm not spending a lot of time paying attention to email, so I try to avoid sending my subscribers things on weekends. Weekends are for family, hobbies, and self care, not for blog updates.

Here's what most of my emails look like:

After you've set these details, you have your first email of your autoresponder!

Rinse and Repeat

You can have as many emails in your autoresponder as you want, but it's best to try to aim for at least a few weeks worth of emails. Rinse and repeat for every email you create and you could have months worth of emails to send to your list, making your life far easier and automating everything.  Good luck!]]>

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