You’ve written your free eBook, you’ve recorded audio downloads… you’re all set to grow your community by offering an incentive to your audience to provide their email address so you can continue marketing to them.

People are signing up and enjoying your free content… and your list is growing. But what next…?

Are you regularly reminding your community that you are there and can ease their pain? Do you have an auto-responder campaign in place that takes care of your follow up with your community?

Or do you rely on remembering to send the occasional broadcast message?

Auto-responders are an incredible way to keep in touch with your community, share even more content or promote your offers. Plus you only need to do the work once and the automation takes care of the rest of the work for you.

So, let’s talk about what auto-responders are… and think about what your auto-responder campaign could look like? What information can you provide to your community to keep you in the forefront of their mind?

What are auto-responders?
Auto-responders are a series of automated emails that are sent to your community at varying intervals. You will need to use an email marketing system (such as AWeber, MailChimp, Constant Contact etc) to organise and manage the distribution of your scheduled emails.

You will also need to set aside some time to write and schedule your auto-responder campaign in your chosen email marketing system.

How often should you email?
The length of auto-responder campaigns vary between 10 and 20 (your email marketing system provider may impose a limit on how many you can send so check this out before you begin planning your campaign) It is usual for the first 3 or 4 emails to be daily… then every other day, petering out to weekly so as not to overwhelm your audience and risk being flagged as a spammer.

Your auto-responder campaign will begin in the first day or two following their download email confirmation and your email frequency is greater during the first month… becoming less frequent for the following few months.

What content could you include?
It is important to get the balance between sharing informative content and sales promotion right to reduce the risks of your community unsubscribing… I’d recommend no more than 1 sales promotion message to every 5 or 6 emails sent.

I invite you now to think about what kind of informational content you can provide. Here are a few ideas for you to consider;

Did your free download contain exercises for recipients to complete after reading/listening to your message? Can you prepare any worksheets or link to resources that might make the task easier/quicker/more rewarding?

Blog posts:
Do you have any blog posts that offer useful tips or strategies that your audience would benefit from knowing about? It’s wise to assume that your community won’t have spent enough time on your site to have read your posts already… highlight one blog post per email and explain why you feel it is to their benefit to take notice.

Is your free download part of a series?
If not, would there be a benefit to your audience in creating a further eBook or videos to explain areas covered in your original download in more detail? You can use your auto-responder campaign to schedule the delivery of the remainder of the series over the next few days/weeks.

Are you using any third party resources that would also benefit your community that they might not know about already? Why not share the details on your favourite resource?

TIP: You may find it useful to write a blog post reviewing your favourite resources (one per blog post)… you can describe features and benefits easier in a blog post… and it will be a permanent resource you can direct traffic to.

If you aren’t following up with your growing community, you are missing opportunities, so I invite you to give consideration to how you can use auto-responders in your marketing campaign and take some time to plan and schedule relevant content.

If you are already making use of auto-responders, what content do you find is working best for you? Please share your tips in the comments area below