How to Manage an Autoresponder Series
In the last blog post, Jamie went into the Welcome Series Dos and Don'ts. This was focused on how to warm up subscribers to your list and brand. Here I will go more into the monetization component of an autoresponder series. This might be meshed in with your welcome series, or could be a separate series after the initial welcome series. In this post, I am assuming that the subscriber has already completed the welcome journey.
Autoresponder series are a great way to generate revenue in the background. A new subscriber joins the list, and a curated set of offers will automatically be sent daily. Here I’ll give my perspective on how to handle this process.
What do I put in my autoresponder series?
Your best-performing offers should go in the autoresponder series as early as possible. This guarantees that all new subscribers will see the offer. Just think, what if they stop opening or unsubscribe right before seeing that product they were about to purchase? So if you have a short list of offers that consistently do well to your list as broadcasts, consider putting them early on in your autoresponder series.
While the “tried and true” offers should definitely stay in the series, we like to add any “new high-performers” into the series on a trial basis. If an offer is performing notably well as a broadcast, then we will stick it into the AR series. If it is outperforming what was there previously, it stays. If not, it gets cut. Another option here is to set up new offers as a split test. If you are consistently checking things, this is the most exact option. However, too many tests can become overwhelming so I would advise easing into these.
How long should my AR series be?
This answer has two parts. Part 1: It should be long enough to include all messages that perform better to new subscribers than your typical broadcasts perform. Said another way, you want to keep subscribers in the series long enough for them to see all of the highest performing offers.
Part 2: It shouldn’t be so long that you avoid inspecting it because it’s so overwhelming. For us, more than about 25 messages in an AR series becomes unwieldy. Optimizations become harder to perform, and the series ends up getting less attention. After a month, looking back at a long complicated AR series can feel like looking at an old circuit board. What were all these crazy patches and wires connected to again? This overcomplication can lead to low-performers slipping through the cracks unnoticed.
How often should I optimize my AR series?
For us, monthly. Most of the lists we manage get enough traffic where we can see significant results after a month of subscribers funneling through. That being said, if your list gets low traffic, you might be able to keep things as they are for a couple months. You should at least check to make sure no links are broken or no red flags, but if everything seems to be humming along, it might take awhile to get statistically significant results. It isn’t worth poring over data and setting up new split tests if just a couple hundred people have received an email.
Hopefully this sets you up on the right path to a lucrative and pleasant AR series. Keep the “tried and true” offers, test any “new high-performers”, and don’t make it so long and complicated that you’re scared to “open the hood” to make optimizations.