TOOLS: Email autoresponders – keeping your brand Top of Mind

Email autoresponders might be one of the more powerful – and simple – tools for keeping your brand top of mind with your prospects.

How often do you respond to an inquiry, only to hear… crickets. Nothing. You wait days, and you wonder how much longer you should wait. Do you send a follow-up email? What do you say? What do you ask? How do you keep in touch, without being annoying?

Autoresponder

Our favourite email marketing tool, Mailchimp, has an Autoresponder feature known as Mailchimp Automation.

(Other email marketing tools all have similar features.)

An automation suite doesn’t need to be any longer than 2 or 3 emails, but will keep the conversation going, and keep your brand top of mind.

The following assumes you are sending your inquiries into an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, either via an API, email integration, using a tool like Zapier or ITFTT, or just via direct email.

Setup

Within Mailchimp, you create a new Email and click the “Automated” tab, selecting one of the automation email options.

Keep it simple – you can change and tweak almost everything later – I like the ‘Subscriber Activity > Welcome new Subscribers’ option:

I suggest setting up just a few emails – you don’t want to overwhelm your inquiries, but you want to be top of their mind. In marketing, top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) refers to a brand or specific product being first in customers’ minds when thinking of a particular industry.

Top of mind awareness helps make you their first choice.

Timing

Immediately

When an inquiry is received, it probably takes you some time to respond – right?

You’re probably not at your desk at that exact moment. You probably need to read through the inquiry details. You probably need to check your calendar. You probably need time to load your canned response, attach your price list, personalize some details, etc.

An immediate autoresponder will send through an email within minutes. It will hit the prospect’s inbox and give them something to remind them of you.

And, hopefully, it’ll be something a little useful too!

1 week later

It’s very possible that you’ve made a meeting, or even booked the client, within one week. But statistics show that most meetings & bookings actually take longer than one week. Sending another automated email within 4-5 days will keep you top of mind, and hopefully also be something useful.

I love the idea of a small guide: “How to pick the best wedding photographer”, or “Things to look for in your wedding photographer”, or “What makes great wedding photos”, or “The best time of day for beautiful bridal portraits” – something relevant to their photographer search, something that shows you know this wedding photography thing, something that helps position you as an authority.

Or be like the mofos at Bayly & Moore and send them “20 new album recommendations and a recipe for slow-cooked pork tacos.”

Funny, interesting, useful – and a little bit left-field.

3 weeks later

Some prospects and clients are very organised and want things to happen very quickly, but some take weeks, even months to make a decision.

People are busy.

How often have you chased up an old inquiry, only to find they’re still working through things, and your email was exactly the nudge they needed to book a meeting with you?

It’s happened to me more often than you’d believe. A follow-up email can do wonders for your booking rate.

Automate it. Send out a 3-week reminder that you’re still here.

Continue on the guide idea: “Some recommendations for other wedding vendors”, “The best way to schedule your wedding day”, or anything else you think is helpful and useful and keeps you – your brand – top of mind.

Or keep up the personal recommendations – “What we’re listening to – bop of the week”, “Creative things that excited us this week”, or “This new pinot noir I just discovered”.

Good marketing is simply helpful marketing.

You’re not trying to sell. You’re just being helpful.