How to Set Up a Proven, Automated Email Sequence

by Kristen Burgess
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Many beginning information marketers come to me with this question:

“How do you know which order to place the emails in your autoresponder sequence in? And how do you know when to tell those emails to go out? Why do you send certain content pieces at certain times?”

Here’s my answer: What I do is probably different than what most people will do. Here’s how I do it:

I’ve done live campaigns for 10 years: every week a new campaign. Over time I’ve found certain 5 day campaigns convert better than other campaigns for people that were in their first week.

I’ve run a live campaign before and a strong percentage of people that have only been on the campaign for one week purchase that item. I’ll take that 5 day campaign and I put it into my automated campaign for week 1. Now, everybody who comes into week 1 gets that campaign. Then, I don’t do any of the manual campaigns for those people until after they’ve been on my list for a 7 day period.

Then I went back to my live campaign records, and I found which performed 2nd best? I’ll put that in the 2nd week. What’s the 3rd best, I put that in the 3rd week. What’s the 4th best, I’ll put that in the 4th week.

After about the 4th week, generally it’s whatever the live campaign is. In theory the automation forever and ever works, but not many people can actually pull it off. Most people cannot. I’ve had a hard time pulling off total automation after the 4 week mark. And, most other digital marketers experience about the same thing. It’s very, very difficult to automate after that first 4 weeks.

Managing Your Content Campaign

There’s two components in designing the campaign. I actually use two different delivery lists. I want to keep them separate. When somebody joins my list, they’re actually added to the equivalent of two lists.

One list has my content in it. So, my content is 30 days, and it’s not every day, it’s about every 2 out of 3 days. They’re going to get content emails, and for me there’s a 9am and a 9pm email. So, day 1 they get a 9am email, day 2 they get the 9pm email, day 3 they get a 9am email, day 4 they get a 9pm email.

What’s the significance of a 9am or a 9pm email? The only significance is: it has to be a different time than I send out the sales emails. So, to protect my own sanity, I just know that all emails in my content campaign go out at either 9am or 9pm, every other day. Okay, so why different times? I don’t want people to become conditioned to getting something at a certain time.

Now, obviously, the best way to do this would be to randomize it every day, but since I’m merging it with another campaign, it’s easier to have the same time, for me, but, because I want to vary the time, I use AM and PM. Could we do a time-frame? 7-9am and then vary the times it goes out, have some go out at 7:15, some at 8:15. Yeah, you could do that as well. I just use AM and PM for my content campaign.

Managing Your Sales Campaign

Now, simultaneously with the content campaign, what I’ve discovered in my niche is that Tue, Wed, Thu, is an ideal setup for a 3 day sale.

Tue, Wed, Thu:

  • You introduce the sale on Tuesday
  • You do Q&A on Wednesday
  • You do final chance on Thursday

I queue the sales campaign up for the 1st Tuesday after somebody joins the list, and they get the 1st day of the 3 day campaign. So they’ll probably get 2 emails on Tuesday, one introducing whatever it is I’m selling, and then another explanation email. Wednesday they’ll get 1 email. Then Thursday they’re going to get a final email: “this is your final day to get this.”

The following week, the next Tuesday that rolls around, then they’re going to get sequence 2, and then the next Tuesday that rolls around, they’re going to get sequence 3, and then sequence 4.

Remember, I chose 9am and 9pm for the content campaign. But for this campaign, I’m going to do 11am, 4pm, or 11pm. So, if I mail an email, it’ll either be at 11am, or 4pm, or it’ll be 11pm.

I know that my content campaign is always at 9 and 9. If I wanted to send a 7pm email, I could, I have the freedom to do that.

We know we’re not going to have 2 emails go out at 11am, we know we’re not going to have 2 emails go out at 4pm, because of the fact that we’ve set this up so that each one of these lists that somebody is on has a different time segment during which they would receive emails.

This helps me to balance my content campaign and my introductory sales sequence, but keep both automated for new customers coming onto my list.

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