How to Engage New Email Contacts, Right from the Start

Derek Gerber, senior account executive at Tallega Software had a goal to reshape the way his software company communicated with its audience online.

“We’ve been in business for almost 10 years, and are constantly on the lookout for new technologies to help us grow,” Derek explains. “We’ve been using email for the last few years, and have seen some great results. But we really wanted to take things a step further.”

With over 8,000 email contacts, Tallega Software, which offers solutions to help clients store documents and keep their business running smoothly, had already seen the power of email to generate new and repeat business.

But Derek also knew there was one opportunity Tallega had been missing out on.

“My goal was to create a system to help introduce potential clients to our company when they join our email list,” Derek explains.  “I had learned a lot about nurturing leads and what I really wanted was to find a way to introduce people to our business right from the start.”

In April, Derek found out about a feature from Constant Contact called Autoresponder.

“Autoresponder is really exciting because we’re able to create an automated series of emails, and know that we’re reaching the right people with the right message,” Derek explains.

Using Autoresponder, Derek set up a series of 12 emails, each with a different piece of content to help educate potential clients about the benefits of working with Tallega Software.

The first email provides an introduction to new contacts with details about setting up a call to learn more. This is followed by a series of emails with strategically timed assets including a downloadable white paper, helpful tips and information, and links to articles on the Tallega Software Blog.

“What I’ve tried to do is to create a really unique, attention grabbing series of messages that drive people back to our website or encourage people to take another action,” Derek explains. “We’ve seen some great initial results and are really excited to do more with the tool.”

If you’ve been looking for a better way to engage your customers and generate new opportunities for your business — Autoresponder can help.

Here’s a closer at how Tallega Software set up their first autoresponder series:

1. Plan ahead

One of the biggest benefits of using Autoresponder is that it works on autopilot. This can save you time, while also offering an entirely new way to engage your base.

But while Autoresponder can certainly save you time in the long run, Derek explains that you also need to put in some effort at the start.

“You need to make sure you’re doing your homework,” Derek explains. “When I first got started, I knew what I wanted to accomplish but really wasn’t sure how I would do it. So, I focused on what I wanted to get across and then built a plan to help me do it.”

Derek estimates that it took about two weeks to plan out all of the content for his autoresponder series.

To help you save time, we’ve created a worksheet for planning your first series.

2. Put your audience first

Once Derek understood how he wanted to communicate, he then shifted his focus to the people who would be receiving his emails.

“One of the things we really try to do is to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer,” Derek explains. “We know that people will pay attention to messages that are relevant to them. So, we focus on what problems they might be facing, or possible solutions they might be looking for.”

One example of how Tallega Software puts its customers first is in an email with a simple subject line: Lost Information.

The email starts with a simple question: Have you lost any important documents or information in the past few days?

It goes on to explain that lost information is a problem that slows down businesses. Then, Derek provides a downloadable whitepaper with solutions for solving this growing problem.

Remember these three questions when planning your first series:

  • What do your contacts want to know?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What are their needs, problems, and challenges?

3. Use what you have

When planning his autoresponder series, Derek realized that many of the assets he needed were already available.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that it’s really important to have your content ready,” explains Derek. “We’re constantly creating new assets and collecting helpful information to share with our customers. That’s saved us a lot of time with creating our series.”

Take a look at the content you’ve created in the past. Does your website have a blog? Are there articles you’ve shared on your social media channels or in your email newsletter that could be repurposed?

Look to see what you already have available before spending hours creating something new.

This is true when it comes to your content, and is also true when designing the emails for your series.

“We thought that creating 12 different emails was going to take a ton of time,” Derek explains. “But once we designed our first email, we were able to copy and use the same template without starting over. That also saved us a lot of time, because we just needed to switch out the content and schedule.”

4. Track your results

As Derek rolls out his first autoresponder series, he’s also careful to keep an eye on how new contacts are responding.

With detailed reporting on the number of opens and clicks each email receives, Derek says that he is constantly identifying places where he can make improvements.

“We’ve been really excited with our early results, but we are already looking to do more with the Autoresponder tool,” Derek explains. “One of the things we’re really focused on is our clicks. How can we make sure people are opening and taking the next step?”

One of the ways Derek is looking to improve his results is to start planning a second autoresponder series focused on specific types of industries.

By tracking the results of your autoresponder series, you’ll be able to see what’s working, what’s not, and how you can tweak your strategy to improve your results.

Get started today!

Autoresponder makes it easy to increase engagement with your contacts by delivering personalized, timely, and relevant messages. Once an autoresponder series is created you’ll be able to eliminate parts of your manual campaign management, giving you more time to focus on other areas of your business!

We’ve created a ton of resources to help you start planning your first autoresponder series.

Visit the Autoresponder Resource Center and get started today!

Ready to get the ball rolling? Log in now to try Autoresponder.

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