How to Maximize Your Email Marketing Using Autoresponders (and Get a 70% Open Rate!)

Learn how email blasts can limit your conversion potential and why autoresponders are a more effective strategy for email marketing.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・4 min read
Best Practices
Business & Marketing Strategy
Email Marketing

Blast \blăst\: verb.

  1. blow up or break apart (something solid) with explosives.
  2. make or cause to make a loud continuous musical or other noise.
  3. send one, homogeneous email message to your entire email list and miss out on the conversion potential of an automated email marketing campaign.

Ok, I made the last one up.But it’s true!There’s a time and a place for email blasts, but if they make up the bulk of your email marketing, you’re missing out on a whole lot of customer-converting potential.Think about the last time your phone rang but you didn’t recognize the number. Did you answer it? When I get a call from a number I don’t know, I hit that “decline” button faster than Manny Pacquiao can hit his opponent.On the other hand, if you recognized the number, or were expecting a call - you’d be more inclined to pick it up, right? Imagine if you recognized the caller and were expecting the call. Autoresponders are a lot like that familiar, expected caller. Since they’re sent as a follow-up to an action the receiver has already taken with your business, (perhaps they entered a contest, signed up for a free trial, or RSVPed to an event) when they see the email in their inbox, they're inclined to open it and see what it says.

How effective are autoresponders?

To assess the success of an email marketing campaign, the numbers to look at are an email’s open rate and click through rate. The open rate refers to the number of people who actually opened the email. The click-through rate tells you how many openers actually clicked on at least one link or call to action (CTA) button within the email. According to MailChimp, the average open rate across all industries is 20.81 percent. The average click through rate is 2.43 percent.Ready to be blown away?

Autoresponders (sent from ShortStack) have a near 70 percent open rate AND a 7.5 percent click through rate.

You read that right! When combining an autoresponder with a sweepstakes, contest, quiz, or other interactive marketing campaign, the success of your email is nearly triple.

Think beyond the open rate

The magic of the autoresponder doesn’t lie in its massive open rate alone. Think of that figure as an opportunity that leads to further conversion opportunities. Within your autoresponder, send exclusive discounts to products in your store, deliver exclusive content like an eBook or guide, offer a second opt-in opportunity (so they can officially be added to your mailing list), or, heck, do all of the above!Combining an autoresponder with an interactive campaign is effective, but to take it a step further, append more follow-up emails and add personalization to create a powerful conversion incubator. Here’s a simple example of how this might look:

Giveaway Contest

View and Create Your Own

  1. Create an online contest or giveaway (with an entry form) to collect entries.
  2. Send an autoresponder to say to “Thanks for entering.” Offer a second opt-in opportunity with this autoresponder.
  3. When the contest is over, send a scheduled email to announce the winner and include a discount code or a coupon (as a .pdf download) to use in your store.

Try a variety of interactive campaign + email marketing recipes

Voting Poll + Status Update + Winner Announcement with Discount Code

If you need a little help picking something new - a new flavor, tagline, logo design, etc. - poll your audience to see what they like best.

Vote to Enter Template

View and Create Your OwnOnce you have collected their vote an entry in a campaign (here’s a template you can start with), send an autoresponder to get a second opt in with a promise of important updates to the contest. As the voting progresses, send updates on the vote tally with a call to action for participants to reach out to friends to weigh in as well. Offer a prize to a random entry, or even extra votes or chances to win for those who can get more referral entries. (Here’s how to do that.)Once the winner of the poll (and/or of the giveaway component) is selected, send a follow-up email, including a discount code, to come in and try the new flavor, or to make a purchase in your store.

Sign Up for Free Download + Autoresponder with Download Link + Follow Up with Discount Code

If your business distributes digital content such as eBooks, guides, webinars, videos, etc. Incentivize lead collection with free content. Stary by collecting an email address in an online form. Here’s a template you can start with. Send the download link in an autoresponder along with a second opt-in.Schedule an email to be sent a few days after they have received the download link for the free content. In this scheduled email, include a discount code to purchase further content.

Monthly Giveaway + Thanks for Entering + Reminders to Enter Again

Running a regular giveaway or contest is a great way to keep your brand fresh in your customer’s mind. Start by setting up a Monthly Giveaway. Send an autoresponder as an entry confirmation which includes a second opt-in.Set up reminder emails prior to, or at the start of each monthly giveaway.

Event RSVP + Event Updates + Thanks for Coming

Collect event RSVPs or even “more info” opt-ins via an online form. Check out this Event Countdown Template to start with.

Event Countdown Template

Send an autoresponder to collect the second opt-in and an RSVP confirmation. Then, schedule follow-up emails with event info and exciting event announcements. You can even send a link and discount code to an online store to purchase event swag prior to the big day.After the event is over, send a “Thanks for coming” email with photos, videos, and links to other events or additional calls to action. Save this list and send a “Save the date” to announce your next event.Email marketing is a vital part of an overall marketing strategy, but when strategically combined with an interactive, online contest or giveaway, automated follow up emails can keep the channels of communication open, priming your audience for a pathway to life-long customer loyalty.

Try a ShortStack template to create your first contest fast and easily.

Get Started Today. No credit card required. Risk-free.

About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・4 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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