No one loves blogs more than I do. They’re a great way to build your authority, attract an engaged audience, develop trust and rapport, attract links, and stake your claim in search engines.
I love blogs. But like babies and kittens, two other things I love, they’re also a lot of responsibility.
Blogs take time. You’ve got to write terrific content that stands out from the general noise, promote it intelligently, and cultivate reader relationships. And that’s in addition to everything else you do in your business, from producing your product to getting your taxes filed.
That’s why there’s another content marketing tool that I always recommend having in place — ideally before you write your first blog post.
It’s the email autoresponder.
What is an email autoresponder and why do I want one?
An autoresponder is just a sequence of email marketing messages that gets sent to subscribers in the order and frequency that you decide.
Let’s say you have a seven-part autoresponder that delivers a great tutorial for your potential customers — something that they’ll find beneficial and valuable, and that lays the groundwork for you to make a sale.
That autoresponder creates a great experience for your first subscriber. And it creates the same great experience for your 100,000th subscriber.
It never gets tired. It never needs the weekend off for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day (or Email Autoresponder’s Day).
It never gets bored with your marketing message. It never gets snarky. It never gets sick of newbies.
It delivers your best content, in the best possible order and frequency, to every new reader who finds you. Forever.
That’s why I say it’s the lazy marketer’s friend. Whether you want a day off to head to the beach or a month off for a life-changing adventure, your autoresponder is back home taking care of business.
What goes into a really good autoresponder?
Most autoresponder sequences aren’t all that good, because most of them are about the marketer.
Your autoresponder needs to be about the reader.
The autoresponder’s most important function is to take people who are curious about what you do and turn them into raving fans.
That means an autoresponder needs your best content — the kind of content that makes readers glad every time they click through.
It doesn’t have to be funny, witty, charming, or poetically written.
It has to be damned useful.
It has to solve problems your readers need to solve. It has to give them small, quick wins toward what they want to achieve. And if it can show you’re a nice, relatable, trustworthy person — not just an expert but a likable expert — that’s even better.
Autoresponders make your case for you
You can use autoresponders for anything you need to educate prospects about before they buy.
Explore the pain and problems they’re facing today. Paint the picture of what their life will look like with that problem solved. Address and overcome objections, build trust, outline features and benefits, and create intense desire for what you have to offer.
And if your prospect isn’t ready to buy right now, great email content will keep her “parked” until she is ready … whether that takes her six months, a year, or ten years. As long as you keep adding to the sequence, you can keep prospects engaged and interested until the time is right for them.
Build it first
There’s no such thing as free traffic.
You either pay for web traffic with money — with advertising or affiliate commissions — or you pay with time and creativity.
Blogging is particularly demanding of that time and creativity. So you want to make sure you capture each and every true fan you attract, from the very first days of your blog.
That’s why if you’re starting from zero in a new topic, I recommend you build your autoresponder first, before you start blogging or doing any other social media marketing.
And if you already have a blog going, the second best time to build your autoresponder is today.
How about it?
- Do you have an autoresponder in place right now?
- If so, does it have the kind of content that’s going to turn your readers into raving fans?
- Are you happy with the number of messages in your sequence, or do you think you could extend it a little and deliver even more value?
If the answer to any of these is No, let us know in the comments when you’re going to fix that. You have my permission to be as lazy as you like after you get it done.
About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on twitter.
P.S. OK, how about an example?
Want to see what an effective autoresponder looks like?
Ready to discover the smartest ways to mix social media, content marketing, and SEO for lead generation and developing new business?
We’ve got you covered on both counts, with Internet Marketing for Smart People.
It’s a free 20-part course and email newsletter that delivers the techniques and strategies you need to know when marketing online. Find out more and sign up here.