Everyone seems to have a slightly different opinion when it comes to how often to email your list. If you email too often – marketers argue – you’ll annoy people into unsubscribing. If you don’t mail often enough, subscribers forget who you are and you lose money from not mailing more often, etc.
Rule #1 – How often you mail is going to depend on a whole host of factors, from which niche you’re in, how you got the subscribers in the first place, whether you write friendly emails people love or nails-on-chalkboard emails and so forth.
Rule #2 – Because every case is different, nothing beats testing for finding out exactly how often you should mail to your list.
Rule #3 – That said, we do know from experience that the following autoresponder schedule works well for most marketers. It’s based upon what it takes to build a long term positive relationship. Feel free to adjust it according to the results of your own testing.
Stage 1, Day 1 – Brand new subscriber. Send out your friendly welcome/thank you email that reiterates how smart they are for subscribing and tells them where to pick up any subscriber bonus you offered them.
Continuing in Stage 1 – Begin building tremendous value. Every email in stage 1 should be all about giving value while asking for little in return. For the next 10 to 15 days you’ll be sending out 1 email every other day, beginning with Day 2. This means they get the welcome email on Day 1, and the first content-rich email on Day 2.
When we say “content-rich,” this does not necessarily mean it’s a long email. Rather, it gives information that is exceptionally valuable and ideally immediately usable.
As always the content of your emails should be strictly tailored to the subject matter they originally joined for. For example, if they joined your list from your video marketing website to get more info about video marketing, don’t send them information on pay-per-click unless it somehow relates directly to video marketing.
Don’t sell anything during stage 1 – it’s simply too soon.
The ONE exception to the previous statement is if your new list members joined because they purchased your product. In that case, you can make offers to your list during this stage. The offers must be directly related to their purchase, and should not be the main focus of your emails. For example, let’s say you sell a video marketing product. You send out an email to those buyers with a great video marketing tip, and then in your P.S. you mention a tool that – while not required – would make that tip work even better. In other words, it’s a very soft sell. More of a casual mention/recommendation than anything else.
Stage 2 – Continue building the relationship by providing great content, but slow down the frequency. Let’s say you’re dating this great guy or gal, seeing each other every other day. Then she or he doesn’t call for a couple of days – what happens? You miss them. Building a relationship through email can work the same way.
This stage can last 12 to 21 days, and you can send emails every 3 days. If your list consists of people who have not purchased from you, tread lightly with the selling. Only use very soft selling technique and continue to provide plenty of great content.
One email in this stage should ask them for feedback. For example, do they want to know more about “x?” How long have they been doing “y?” What’s the biggest problem they face in “z?” Ask them to hit reply and give you a quick answer. After all, real relationships are a two-way street. And when they do reply, send a quick thank you back to them. Yes, this will take you a minute here and there – it’s worth it.
Stage 3 – You probably already know what comes next – continue building the relationship by providing great content. The relationship is becoming established and that’s terrific. List members who make it this far are learning they can trust you and hopefully like you.
This stage lasts for about 3 weeks, and you can send an email every 4 to 5 days. And yes, you can do a little more selling here – but again, don’t push. Simply suggest and nudge – no poking or prodding.
Stage 4 – This is the stage you’ve been building towards. Subscribers who are still reading your emails are loyal fans who know you, like you and hopefully trust you. Continue sending emails every 5 to 6 days, and occasionally more often when you really have something to say.
Continue sending great content, and also feel free to send sales messages, too.
Increase Your Opt-ins AND Your Open Rates
Now then, since you’ve read this far, I’ve got a great trick to share with you. Of course, you already offer visitors an incentive to opt-in to your list, right? It’s probably an ebook, or it could be a video or recording.
What I’m going to suggest is you create a SECOND incentive for them to opt-in – something just as valuable as the first incentive. But this second incentive will be delivered OVERTIME to them via your autoresponder series.
Here’s what happens when you do this:
First, your opt-ins tend to increase, since you are offering two bonuses of high value.
Second, new subscribers more readily open and read your emails because they opted in to get this special incentive.
Third, if you use a product you already have for this, then you have pre-made content for your autoresponder. Simply break it up into emails.
Fourth – and this is ingenious, if I say so myself – if you are willing to record videos of yourself for this second incentive, your readers will quickly get to feel like they really KNOW you. For example, your second incentive is 10 ways to get traffic via social media. Instead of writing each one out in an email, you can record yourself explaining them in short 5 minute videos. After watching these, your list is far more likely to remember you, your name and what you do. And they’re also far more likely to open your emails in the future, as well.
But even if you don’t record videos for your second incentive, it’s still a very powerful technique for getting your readers in the habit of opening your emails.
One last tip – occasionally attach a short pdf with some valuable content to your emails. This tends to grab attention and increase your open rate.