Soon we will be going over the technical steps of how to install your opt-in box. But, before that I want to talk to you about two methods you will be using to contact subscribers who opt into your list. They are: follow up emails and broadcast emails.
Follow up emails are set up in advance and scheduled to go out at regular intervals when triggered by an action from subscribers. Some marketers refer to this method as “dripping” information to your list.
Broadcast emails are more spontaneous. These are timely and specific messages that you blast it out to your subscribers. Only those on your current, active list will see broadcast messages. New subscribers that come later will not see them, which is very different from a follow-up email series where the messages are sent out in order to all subscribers.
You can use either of them, or a combination of both. Do whatever fits your personal style the best. There is no perfect formula. Personally, I prefer combination of both follow-up and broadcast emails
Let’s look at follow-up emails first.
Follow Up Emails
Follow up emails work very well when you want to send out a series of messages. You create them in advance; post them in your auto-responder, and set-up a schedule for delivery. This is very convenient because you can create and schedule them when you have a block of time to do so; and then, move on to other things. Your auto-responder does the rest. However, there are a few drawbacks to using follow up emails that you should know about.
Technically, you can set-up your email autoresponder system to send the same series of follow-up emails from here to eternity. BUT . . . you have to pay attention to ensure that the content is timely. For example, you may create an email on a new diet in the news, but two years down the road, it is no longer new – and yet your email says it is. This is a drawback because it is easy to forget to update your follow-up emails.
Broken links inside messages can also be a problem. You send out a follow-up email recommending a product with a link; and, at some point people start telling you that the link is broken (if you are lucky). The problem could go on for a while and you would be totally unaware. So, messages with links must be checked periodically to be sure they are still working.
These are only two examples or potential problems; but, I am sure you can see how follow-up emails can be a pain to manage over a long period of time – especially if you are a one-man shop.
One way to avoid some issues is to be certain that all the emails in your follow-up system are evergreen (never go out-of-date). When planned well and written with care, follow-ups are a great way of communicating with prospects while you are working on other ways to add value to your subscribers.
You can also schedule in regular editing checks for your email series – possibly every six months or at the beginning of each year.
How to Schedule
Some marketers choose to have a set schedule for outgoing follow-up emails; and others use more random, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants scheduling. I definitely recommend the first method.
Work out a schedule that makes sense for you and your niche. You may decide to offer a free gift every other Monday – or to email tips or insights every Tuesday and Friday. It is your choice, but whatever you decide, be consistent!
AWeber suggests that follow-up emails are the perfect venue to talk about your products and services. You could create a series of FAQs and answer some of the most commonly asked questions you are certain your subscribers are wondering about.
Of course, your first follow-up message will be the “Welcome to your list” email. It should go out the same day a subscriber signs up. From that point on, you should schedule your follow-ups at intervals that work for you. Just don’t make them too far apart, or they will forget who you are.
Some people space them out evenly over time, and others are more aggressive in the beginning with a quick series (such as 7 days in a row) and THEN space out additional emails at longer intervals.
Follow-up Emails as a Sales Tool
The question always comes up – should you be selling in your follow up emails? You can – as long as the product or service you are selling is evergreen and not a trendy item that you will have to edit out of your email campaign at some point (that requires remembering to do the edit).
If you do sell – AVOID being PUSHY (the hard sell)! And . . . offer items that are relevant to the message and add value to the customer if they choose to purchase.
Watch Your Wording
Pay attention to your wording in all messages. For example, the new social media platform you want to introduce may be incredible; but, in your exuberance to share its possibilities, do not describe it as the “new” XYZ platform because in six months it will not be so new and your subscribers may think you are behind the times or not well-informed.
A best practice when creating a new follow-up email is to click the “Test” link after it has been saved to have a copy emailed to you. This will allow you to check for typos, grammatical errors, and other problems (like broken links), to ensure that you are sending out a quality, professional-looking email.
If you are struggling to find enough ideas to write about, visit forums related to your niche or check Yahoo Answers to see what questions are being asked. You can also use Google’s Keyword Tool to see what people are searching for that would be relevant to your niche. Use those ideas to create strong and useful content in your follow-up series.
When you are passionate about your niche, you should begin to enjoy this detective work and the process of writing. You may be surprised at what you learn and have the opportunity to share with others. When you get excited, you readers will get excited too. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.