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How to Mix Broadcast Emails and Autoresponders (without Pissing Off Subscribers)

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Mixing Broadcast Emails with Autoresponder MessagesThis is a follow-up to the recent post: how often should you send email to an affiliate list.

Having a preset email sequence is a great way to provide automatic content to list subscribers.  But sometimes you want to send a broadcast message to your list.

Unfortunately this can be hard to do – Especially when you run the risk of sending multiple messages on the same day.

As you know, sending too many messages is the quickest way to overwhelm and ultimately piss off your subscribers.  You lost all credibility when that happens.

Fortunately there is a way to mix broadcast emails with a lengthy autoresponder sequence.

Here’s how to do it…

Why Broadcast Messages?

Autoresponders are the best way to deliver specific content to brand new subscribers. When a person joins your list, he or she gets the emails that provide niche education while promoting your top affiliate product(s).

The problem with autoresponders is they don’t talk about what’s new in your business.

Every niche changes.  You change.  Your market changes.  Your subscribers change.

Simply relying on an autoresponder sequence is a quick way to become out-of-touch with subscribers and current events in the marketplace.

As you can guess, the solution is to send broadcast messages to your list.  With this type of email you can:

  1. Promote brand new affiliate offers
  2. Give updates on current posts
  3. Notify subscribers about a contest or drawing
  4. Increase following on a social media channel
  5. Presell an information product you’re about to publish

There are countless things you can do with broadcast messages.   But like I said, it’s dangerous to send them when you’re worried that subscribers will be overwhelmed by too many messages.

Fortunately I have a solution…

Start by Choosing an “Autoresponder Only” Time Length

List subscribers should get a certain number of autoresponders before you send them a broadcast message.  This is super important!  You see, the biggest benefit to an autoresponder sequence is you get to present YOUR brand and personality to subscribers.  This is how you build a solid email relationship.

For example, my email list emphasizes the importance of focusing on a single affiliate marketing business.   This is a different strategy than what’s recommend by most affiliate marketing ‘experts.’  So the first part of my autoresponder sequence is dedicated to TEACHING subscribers on how to dominate one affiliate niche.

My point is simple.  You want to deliver a consistent marketing message to every subscriber.  And the best way to do this is through autoresponders.

So how long should a subscriber be in an autorepsonder sequence?

At least a month.  Personally, I prefer two months.  But a month is long enough for you to give subscribers an idea of who you are and how you can help them.

Typically a month’s worth of autoresponder content works out to a total of ten emails (You’ll want to read the last post on how I do email frequency.)

Once the month is up, you’ll start to send these subscribers a mix of broadcast and autoresponder messages.

Let’s talk about how to do this…

How to Mix Broadcast Messages with Autoresponders

I gave another piece of advice in the last article:

After a month limit your email messages to four or five days.

This is wrong if you want to send both broadcast and autoresponder messages.

Instead of doing this, you want to send one broadcast message and one autoresponder every ten days.  That averages out to be a message every five days.

The trick  is to make sure you’re not sending an autoresponder and broadcast message on the same day. Again…this will piss off subscribers and result in a lot of unnecessary unsubscribes.

With Aweber it’s not that hard to make sure you’re not overwhelming subscribers.  Here is a four-step process for setting this up:

Step 1: Decide “Who” Receives Broadcast Messages

It’s important to deliver an uninterrupted stream of messages to new subscribers.  So your first step is to decide when a subscriber stops getting “autoresponder only” messages.

My advice is to select a range of subscribers based on a monthly basis.  (ie: after 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, etc.)  This will make it easier to compute when you get to step #3.

For “month-old” subscribers this works out to around ten messages.

Step 2: Deliver Autoresponders on Certain Days

So you’ve identified “who” will get broadcast messages.  Now you need to change the settings on every autoresponder after this message.  (ie: autoresponder #11, #12, #13, etc.)

Start by setting the interval to 4 days (or longer.)  I like this number because it lets you deliver pre-written autoresponders while also giving you the opportunity to deliver broadcast messages.

Next you’ll select two consecutive days when a subscriber won’t get an autoresponder message. I prefer Wednesday and Thursday because they are the days when something “new” typically occurs with my personal brand.

On Wednesday I’ll send out the broadcast message.  And on Thursday, subscribers “get a break” from ALL email.  Again…this is all about not overwhelming them.

Finally you want to make sure the message is sent from Midnight to Midnight (or at a time range that you prefer.)

Okay…this might be little confusing.

So here is a screenshot on how to set it up:

Interval Setting for Aweber Email Marketing Program

Step 3: Created a Segmented Broadcast List

Go to your subscriber lists.  In Aweber this can be found at Subscribers –> Search

What you’ll do here is create a segmented list for the 1 month+ subscribers.   Choose the date when you’ll send the broadcast message and go back one month.  Then save this segmented list.  I prefer to save it as the day that I target from a month ago.  So if I sent a message TODAY (May 1st, 2012), I’d save the segment as: 1apr12.

Here is a screenshot of how to do this:

Creating a Segmented Email List in Aweber

Step 4: Send a Broadcast Message to a Segmented List

Finally you’re ready to send a broadcast message.

Go to Messages –> Broadcast Messages –> Create a New Broadcast Message.

Write whatever broadcast message you want.  Then find the Send to Segment feature and choose the segmented list you set up in step #3.  This will deliver the broadcast to every subscriber who has been on your list for at least a month.

See how it looks here:Segmented Email List in Aweber

Putting it All Together…

It can be confusing to figure out who receives autoresponders and who gets broadcast messages.  So I mapped out a simple chart that demonstrates what we’ve discussed so far:

MessageInterval
Autoresponder #10
Autoresponder #22
Autoresponder #32
Autoresponder #43
Autoresponder #53
Autoresponder #62
Autoresponder #74
Autoresponder #83
Autoresponder #94
Autoresponder #104
Broadcast #13
Autoresponder #114
Broadcast #23
Autoresponder #124
Broadcast #34

Unfortunately I can’t provide an exact interval between these emails.  These numbers vary according to: When a person joins, the interval between autoresponder messages, and what days you send out broadcasts.

So use this table as a general idea – Not as a “mandatory” thing to do with an email list.

In summary, the best way to mix broadcast emails with an autoresponder is to:

  1. Deliver an autoresponder sequence for a predetermined amount of time (Usually a month)
  2. Set the remaining autoresponders so they’re not delivered on certain days
  3. Send broadcast message on the days when subscribers don’t receive an autoresponder

This step-by-step blueprint is the best way I’ve found for educating subscribers while sending them relevant, up-to-date email.

Your thoughts?

Comment below…

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Rashmi Sinha @ TechInitio

Nice article. You have to avoid being annoying and autorespoders are causing this effect sometimes. But i guess that if you follow these guidelines, you won’t have a problem.

Reply

Steve Scott

Rashmi,

Absolutely.

In my opinion it is VERY important to treat your customers well with email marketing. So many people use email marketing far to aggressively and therefore get NOTHING from it. WHen you try to deliver quality content and not overwhelm your readers, you actually get a lot more from it.

Thanks for the comment!

Steve

Reply

Tobi

Excellent post Steve.
Getting a huge email list is one thing and knowing how to win their respect is another.
I liked how you have presented it, and the overall look on you site.
Thanks
Tobi

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Tobi!

I appreciate your stopping by and the positive comment!

Steve

Reply

Darren

I think I am limited with getresponse because I don’t seem to have these options to send the autoresponder emails only on certain days or times of the day. It simply sends it to them x number of days after the previous one and at the time that they signed up at .

Reply

Steve Scott

Darren,

I would assume there might be “some” way to do this with their service. Not sure, though, since I have used Aweber for…well, since I started.

If you call their customer service and tell them what you want to do, maybe they can tell you how to do it with their system.

Steve

Reply

Jane @ thesis vs genesis

Steve, that’s a brilliant outline of doing autoresponders and broadcasts in a nice way. I’m sure however, no matter how careful we are, we always do piss off someone in our list.

But being careful helps a lot. Thanks for the wonderful tips!

Jane.

Reply

Steve Scott

Jane,

Sure, there is no way to comppletely eradicate people dropping you. All you can do is work to minimize it, and get the best responses from those who DO care to see your email messages.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

Steve

Reply

Eugene

Good stuff Steve. I’ll have to figure out how to do this with MailChimp because that is what I use for one of my niche sites. Although I had the foresight to switch over to Aweber for CSH – switching from MailChimp to Aweber is an incredible pain in the ass by the way.

I’m still testing out the frequency of emails. Right now they are every few days. I think I might make them a little more spread apart like you suggest. How many emails do you follow up with? It seems to be that a 12-email autoresponder seems to be something a lot of people are promoting.

Reply

Steve Scott

Eugene,

I don’t have any set high end for an autoreponder sequence. 10ish is a good place to start, but when you mix in auto and broadcast like this you can just keep adding autoreponders and it will not overwhelm your email list.

Sorry to hear switching from mailchimp is such a pain. I definetly think it will be worth the effort you put in for the long run, aweber really is better in a lot of small ways.

But I bet there SHOULD be some way to at least do something similar with mail chimp!

Reply

Eugene

Yeah, I can’t say that MailChimp is all that bad. And the price tag of free isn’t too shabby either :). Unfortunately it’s only free up to a point and then you have to pay a price pretty comparable to Aweber, so the advantage is gone. And I’m hoping the site gets to that point :).

Reply

Jas Kaur

Hey Steve,

Nice follow up to your previous post (which I implemented btw- thanks!). So far I’ve created 7 autoresponder series and whilst writing them I was thinking about how the broadcast emails would fit in.. I came back to your site and it’s like you’re psychic, you’ve posted about what I wanted to know!
I think it makes perfect sense to have 10 autoresponder series set up for a month and then space them out further to allow days in which to send out broadcast emails. Great blueprint, thanks very much for sharing!

All the best,

Jas

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Jas,

Glad you liked it and glad you are using the system! I think this all works pretty darn well to get the message out and not overwhelm your list.

Thanks for the comment,

Steve

Reply

Jeevanjacobjohn

Awesome post, Steve!

After reading your previous post, I had deleted my list and started a new one (I was sort of confused on mixing broadcast emails with autoresponsder emails, but I finally figured out a schedule to work with). I have an auto responder series (7 emails) running for the first 14 days of subscription. After that, I will be emailing them manually, once every week (Since I am not doing any affiliate marketing right now, I think this will work perfectly, for building my list of loyal subscribers).

Anyways, thanks for the advanced tutorial,

Jeevan

Reply

Colin Shedwick

People used to say ‘The money is in the list’ however, I think the game has changed now. You have to strike a balance between giving valuable information for free or at a reduced price. If you send out too many emails in a short space of time, people will just hit the unsubscribe button. I find that sending 2 automated emails spread out through the year is OK. This also gives you the option of using additional broadcast emails as and when needed.

Reply

Jamie Alexander

Hey Steve,

Great article. Funnily enough I was just thinking of this today. I love the way you explain stuff here. Very easy. I was wondering if you might be able to answer this because I had kinda thought of something else earlier one.

I was going to set up my broadcast messages and only use the dates Monday and Friday. I would then set the intervals at 2 days.

I was thinking this would mean that when someone joined my list at anytime during the week, they would start receiving the messages on either day then they would continue to get one every Monday and Friday, so twice per week.

I was also going to set the time between 6am and 12noon so they would get it at work.

Then I was going to use Wednesday for broadcasts, which by the way I did not know you could segment the list to make sure new subscribers got offers so thank you very much.

This seems by far a great strategy compared to other marketers.

Cheers

Reply

Steve Scott

Jamie – Yes, it gets a bit technical. But you can select certain days and times for autoresponders. In Aweber, there is a little box you have to tick on the days you don’t want people to get email.

From there, it’s a simple matter of sending an email on the other days

Reply

Angela

Great article, Steve. And Thanks for the screen shots. I’m still to finish setting up a weekly email series for subscribers.. one for freebie list, another for 1st level buyers. I’m completing a couple more products first and then I’ll sequence them to match the products.

I agree that it’s important not to email too often. I’ve unsubscribed or just set the emails to archive so I don’t see unless I go into the folders. ;-)

Reply

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