Scheduling Autoresponder Messages

By: Doug Smith

Introduction

The extreme versatility of autoresponders is that the messages are pre-written and sent automatically. This saves the internet marketer a great deal of time and effort. Even better, the messages are programmed to be sent at intervals designated by the internet marketer. These intervals are relative to the initial request by the recipient.

Once the messages are written, the time intervals set, and the opt-in form installed on a web page, the marketer does not need to bother with the system again. Other than tweaking the content and intervals of the messages, and possible unscheduled broadcasts, the system runs automatically. What is the best way to schedule autoresponder messages?

Scheduling Autoresponder Messages

This article offers three methods of scheduling autoresponder messages: 1) steady intervals, 2) decreasing frequency, and 3) content-based.

1. Steady Interval Scheduling

Scheduling autoresponder messages at steady intervals means that the interval between messages is the same for all messages. This method is useful for delivering information on a periodic basis, such as a weekly e-course or a monthly reminder list. Remember that your subscribers are likely receiving other autoresponder courses too, so daily messages are probably too intrusive. When delivering content that is not time-critical, steady intervals is a method that works well.

2. Decreasing Frequency Scheduling

Use decreasing frequency scheduling when you want your subscriber to get lots of exciting messages after subscribing. Then you gradually increase the time (decrease the frequency) between messages so your messages don't become annoying. This method is good for autoresponders describing an online product or service you are selling.

You might initially schedule a message to be sent immediately, and then the next three are sent on Days 1, 2, and 3. The next few messages can be slightly delayed, such as being sent on Days 5 and 7. If the recipient hasn't purchased your product or service by then, have some long-term messages ready. Long term messages can be sent, for example, on Day 14 and Day 21, then monthly for 3 months after that.

This method initially gives the recipients lots of information to keep them excited about your product. The increasing time between the long term messages provides reminders to the recipient without clogging their inbox. If they haven't purchased by the end of the autoresponder sequence, they probably won't. However, these subscribers are ripe for follow-up offers and upsells you might offer in the future.

3. Content-Based Scheduling

If your autoresponder messages don't fall easily into one of the previous two categories, consider content-based scheduling. This simply means that you must picture yourself as the potential customer, and consider how fast you would want to get the content. This is best illustrated with examples.

Example 1: Assume you are providing the content of an e-book through your autoresponder. You have placed each of the e-book's 25 chapters in its own autoresponder message. Now think about your own e-mail inbox. If you were subscribing to receive these chapters by e-mail, would you want a lot of them arriving quickly? Most would not, because recipients need time to read and digest the material.

Most subscribers would likely click delete, or worse, unsubscribe, if your messages begin piling up in their inboxes. This type of material does not require urgent delivery, and a periodic schedule is probably best.

Example 2: Assume you have written an e-book on interview tips, and made an autoresponder series to promote it. To entice subscribers, you've promised them your top five interviewing tips directly from the e-book. Someone who has just received notice of a job interview in two days is frantically searching for tips and finds your site.

Would weekly scheduling help this person? Of course it won't. You might choose to deliver the tips daily, or even twice a day. Of course, you would have some long-term follow-up messages in the autoresponder series too. If the recipient doesn't get this job, he or she will certainly need your interview tips in the future.

In Example 2, you could even set up two different autoresponders. The first would be your normal product promotion series of messages, set up with decreasing frequency scheduling. The second could be your "hot tips for desperate job seekers," which would deliver the tips every few hours, then automatically subscribe the person to your first autoresponder sequence.

Some autoresponders have a "get next message now" function. This is a link at the end of the message that allows the recipient to manually request the next message in the sequence, instead of waiting for it to be sent. This feature is perfect for urgent or time-sensitive information.

Conclusion

Think of your potential customers, and how desperate they might be to get your information. Then decide which method of autoresponder scheduling is right for your product. If you are not sure, ask your subscribers if the scheduling was helpful to them. After all, they are the ones with the money to spend.

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