Self Promotion Tips: How to Set Up an Autoresponder Sequence

This tutorial will help you set up autoresponder emails. In our last promo tip, we discussed setting up an email opt-in on your website so that you can start building your mailing list. If someone comes to your website and is interested in your content—free or paid—they need a way to keep in touch with you. And you need a way to keep in touch with them—that way, when you publish a new blog post, book, video, or Udemy course, you can send them an email and they’ll have the opportunity to read, watch, or buy your content. Email is an incredibly powerful communication tool to do this, but it can also be time-consuming to manually send emails. Services like MailChimp and AWeber make it possible to automatically send emails based on times or triggers that you define ahead of time.

Step 1: Plan the structure of your autoresponder sequence

Take a birds eye view of the content you’d like to share with your email subscribers. In planning your structure, you need to decide how many emails you’ll send and what needs to be included in each email to the subscribers who opt into your mailing list. We recommend including 1-2 content emails (e.g. share free and interesting content related to your course topic) and 1-2 offer emails (e.g. follow-up emails promoting your Udemy course with a limited-time discount code) in your autoresponder sequence.

Step 2: Write email copy and subject lines that stay true to your voice

There’s no one way to write email copy and subject lines. We recommend that you stay true to your authentic voice. If you tend to be a bit silly, let that come through in the tone and voice of your emails. If you prefer a no-frills approach, just give a quick intro and cut to the chase. Use a consistent layout and subject line. This reinforces that each email is part of a series. Emails shouldn’t be very long; 1-3 short paragraphs is a reasonable length. For your offer emails, include a discount and a deadline. Be sure to include the name of your course, a short description and call out the limited time discount for people who have opted into your mailing list. You can also consider highlighting some benefits of purchasing the course such as a 30-day refund policy (so people can buy risk-free) and lifetime access to the course.

Step 3: Use a program like MailChimp to set up the autoresponder email sequence

You need to use an email management service like MailChimp or AWeber to set up an autoresponder sequence. The steps to set up the sequence will differ from service to service, but we’ll go over the steps for MailChimp here in this resource.

  • You’ll need to create a workflow. A “workflow” is just the name for how your email sequence functions. You’ll define the parameters for the system to follow. To do so, go to the Automation tab in MailChimp and select “Create Automation Workflow.”
  • Choose a mailing list when asked “Which list do you want to use?”
  • Choose a workflow type. You can do this multiple ways. For the sample email flow described above, you would use an action-triggered workflow. The trigger, in this case, is the act of subscribing to your mailing list. All your email send times will be based on the number of days that have passed since that action was taken. For example, Email #1 could be sent immediately after the subscription trigger, which is 0 days, and Email #2 sent on day 3, etc.

autoresponder sequence workflow

  • Set your “Workflow name,” “From name,” and “From email address”
  • Plug in the content of your emails.
  • Designate the number of days after a subscription is made that each email should send.

Once your autoresponder is in action, you can track your open rate, clickthrough rate, and any other statistics to find ways to improve its performance.

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