Though they’ve been around for a while, not all small business owners are familiar with the capabilities that autoresponders offer. To help businesses start reaping the benefits, this post provides important definitions, different types of autoresponders and 13 specific examples of how they can be used right away to increase engagement, leads and sales. 

How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.

Flexibility is necessary, but not always easy—especially when you’re trying to get both your marketing and sales teams up to speed. Best practices around the many complex things that comprise marketing today, including website best practices, mobile viewability, email, SEO/SEM, marketing automation, content marketing, and social media change so swiftly that many people find it difficult, if not downright impossible, to keep up. http://www.thebridgecorp.com/wp-content/uploads/emailgraphic.png
These metrics give you a high-level overview of how your subscribers are interacting with your campaigns and allow you to compare the success of one campaign to another. If you want to go deeper and see the exact people who opened and clicked your campaign, what links they clicked, etc. you can do so by choosing some of the other reports from the right hand side menu.
I got an email today from a marketer…. subject line “Don’t Worry, I won’t email you again” Huh? I was never worried in the first place and is I found it insulting to my intellect to assume that in my daily busy life I would actually take the time to worry about a lame marketer trying to get under my skin. I’m not going to open it because it simply sounds pathetic and self serving. Maybe it’s me but I just don’t like time wasters and nonsensical drival.
Marketing Automation is now a mature marketing technique, but across businesses many of the available tools are not fully exploited. Learn how to improve your marketing across the customer lifecycle by successfully leveraging B2B and B2C marketing automation techniques. Through B2B and B2C business cases, you will learn: how to review their current marketing automation maturity, how to prioritise their future investments in the year ahead, how to map their current approach against different customer touchpoints to identify new techniques.

If rounds of split testing, segmentation, and resends still result in low engagement scores for some of your subscribers then don’t be afraid to clean your list. Review subscriber data regularly to monitor activity and engagement ratings. Remove or further segment those who aren’t engaging in order to improve the overall open rates of your primary subscriber segments.

ToFu: Leads at the top of the funnel need awareness. They know nothing about what you offer and what domain you operate in, so you’ll need to create a conversation around both these focus points—without selling your product up front. If you sell CRMs, you attract ToFu leads by talking about how SDRs (sales development representatives) can do their job better using CRM software. Blogs, ebooks and guides are content types that work well at this stage.
With the new buyer it is important to note that your marketing efforts don’t end once a new lead comes into your system – what we call Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing.  Many companies do a good job at generating leads, but the problem is that most new leads are not ready to buy yet.  And if a sales rep does engage and the lead isn’t ready to talk with them, it reinforces the notion that marketing sourced leads are not great. As a result leads get lost, ignored, or snatched up by your competitors.

Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM),[9] the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.


Don't use CTAs to drive people to your homepage, for instance. Even if your CTA is about your brand or product (and perhaps not an offer like a download), you should still be sending them to a targeted landing page that's relevant to what they are looking for and includes an opt-in form. If you have the opportunity to use a CTA, send them to a page that will convert them into a lead.

Whether you are hosting a small private function, a large-scale international tradeshow, or an executive-level webinar, event marketing needs to be an integral part of the lead generation mix. After all, events are a critical component of an outbound marketing strategy. Essentially, events offer you the chance to define your brand, clarify the solutions you provide, and establish personal connections with participants. And while they provide you with an invaluable opportunity to engage with prospects and customers, events also give attendees the chance to interact with each other. As every marketer knows, there is no better advertising than the direct words of a satisfied customer. Events also provide a venue to deliver speeches and content that convey your company’s thought leadership and raise your perception in the eyes of buyers.  Compared to other marketing tactics, events are more likely to quickly turn a prospect into a strong lead. As a lively, interactive, educational forum, events position your business as a trusted leader in a field of many.
If you’ve been following along from the beginning, you have now learned how to grow your email list to epic proportions, you’ve segmented your list so that your emails are highly relevant to each individual subscriber, and you’ve learned how to send amazingly effective emails that have a high open-rate. Now you are ready to automate the process and turn your campaigns into money-making machines!

The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials.
Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.
Form-Scraping Tool: A form scraping tool that collects submissions on your website's existing forms helps you automatically consolidate all your leads into your contact database, regardless of which form visitors submitted on your website. HubSpot customers can create and embed forms using HubSpot, which automatically populate into your CMS. Non-HubSpot customers can use a form creation tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use HubSpot's free collected forms feature to automatically capture form submissions and input them to a contact database.
The first thing to do, of course, is consider whether you want to include auto responders in your marketing mix. You'll need to be sure to find an email marketing provider that supports auto-responder functionality (not all of them do, though Comm100 does support auto-responder functionality). Then, when considering developing an auto responder program, you'll want to consider all of the following points:
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, buyers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through content resources, today’s buyer can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever having to even speak to a sales person.  So businesses must make sure that they build their digital presence.

In addition to satisfying legal requirements, email service providers (ESPs) began to help customers establish and manage their own email marketing campaigns. The service providers supply email templates and general best practices, as well as methods for handling subscriptions and cancellations automatically. Some ESPs will provide insight and assistance with deliverability issues for major email providers. They also provide statistics pertaining to the number of messages received and opened, and whether the recipients clicked on any links within the messages.
Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it. Especially since it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website. Subscription forms should be on your home page, blog page and everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from more important content.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was passed by Congress as a direct response to the growing number of complaints over spam e-mails.[citation needed] Congress determined that the US government was showing an increased interest in the regulation of commercial electronic mail nationally, that those who send commercial e-mails should not mislead recipients over the source or content of them, and that all recipients of such emails have a right to decline them. The act authorizes a US $16,000 penalty per violation for spamming each individual recipient.[17] However, it does not ban spam emailing outright, but imposes laws on using deceptive marketing methods through headings which are "materially false or misleading". In addition there are conditions which email marketers must meet in terms of their format, their content and labeling. As a result, many commercial email marketers within the United States utilize a service or special software to ensure compliance with the act. A variety of older systems exist that do not ensure compliance with the act. To comply with the act's regulation of commercial email, services also typically require users to authenticate their return address and include a valid physical address, provide a one-click unsubscribe feature, and prohibit importing lists of purchased addresses that may not have given valid permission.[citation needed]
Use personalization. Personalizing the content of your emails (depending on your segment from Chapter 3) will make it infinitely more relevant and valuable to them. Personalization is so much more than inserting your subscriber’s first name into the email. You need to tailor the actual content of the email to address their needs. For instance, an online retailer will find it much more valuable to read an email with the subject line, “How to build backlinks to your eCommerce store” than just a generic subject line, “How to build backlinks.”
You may think direct mail is a thing of the past. But it’s still effective for targeted communications. Consider a content asset developed for high-level executives. Executives don’t usually browse the web for information. And it can be hard to get through to them via email. That means they may not come across the content you’ve developed with them in mind. This is where direct mail can prove powerful. You could send a direct mail piece to this audience to make them aware of your new, targeted content asset.  Direct mail also gives you a chance to grab the attention of a hot prospect by being creative and interesting with your message and presentation.
Beyond incentives, often a key part of the conversion funnel that can be optimized is the lead form. Although it is beneficial from a business standpoint to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, more forms fields leads to a reduction in form submissions. Experiment with different form lengths to see what is optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information. https://royalexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/email-campaign.jpg
Focus on the reader first. You should always write your emails to address the needs of your subscribers, not yours. Offer ways to solve their problems, don’t simply talk about your products and how great they are. (This is a part that so many companies get wrong.) Ask yourself, what are the biggest pain points/struggles for my subscribers? How can I solve their current problem in this email?
ConvertKit is specifically designed with creative people in mind, and that’s why we’ve chosen it as our email marketing software here at Copyblogger. Any member of our editorial team — no matter how technically challenged — can easily perform any task that needs to be done, including sending messages, creating automated sequences, using tags for message segmentation, reviewing analytics, and identifying personalization opportunities. https://www.emailmanager.com/files/upload/blog/imagensblog/email_francisco01_ingles.png
Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
Recently,[when?] there has been a rapid increase in online lead generation: banner and direct response advertising that works off a CPL pricing model. In a pay-per-acquisition (PPA) pricing model, advertisers pay only for qualified leads resulting from those actions, irrespective of the clicks or impressions that went into generating the lead. PPA advertising is playing an active role in online lead generation.
It’s also important to understand that operationally we need to break down silos. Effective lead generation relies on marketers’ ability to connect the website user experience your site serves up, plus what you’re doing with SEO and SEM, email marketing, content marketing, and social media strategy, with a well-integrated blend of sales expertise. None of these things can be effective on their own, although we see companies separating out these services and failing to integrate them all the time. Big mistake.
Though they’ve been around for a while, not all small business owners are familiar with the capabilities that autoresponders offer. To help businesses start reaping the benefits, this post provides important definitions, different types of autoresponders and 13 specific examples of how they can be used right away to increase engagement, leads and sales.
When a new approach to marketing takes marketers by storm, some marketers make the mistake of moving into new strategies full force, leaving methods that have worked well in the past smoldering in the dust. The best marketing campaigns use several marketing forms simultaneously. The key to maximizing results with every effort is to know your purpose, target the right customers and learn from your results.
Virtual Assistants. “There are many virtual assistant companies and individuals available to help you with your seller and buyer calls. I struggled through three of them and was ready to throw in the towel. Then I found an amazing company that trains well and is very well scripted and constantly improves. I hired them and have been with them almost six years with the same person. They will become an integral part of your team when utilized properly. They all charge differently. I personally spend between $125-$135 per week for six to eight hours of calling. This produces approximately 12-18 leads weekly for me so two to three per hour counting the sourcing time they have to do. They send me on a daily basis fully filled out property information sheets. This assures you that you’re only speaking with quality leads that want to speak with you.”
I find that people who waste my time on their initial email usually end up being unsubscribed. Maybe it’s just me but I like to get to the point fast and need value. I’m not your buddy, your pal or want to engage in a “whats up” salutation scenario, I’m busy. The “take away” “ends tomorrow” from email sequences I have not had a chance to go through end up in that big circular file known as trash.
The form on your landing page consists of a series of fields (like in our example above) that collect information in exchange for the offer. Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site. Once a visitor fills this out — voila! — you have a new lead! (That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.)
This is probably the most common use of the Autoresponder feature, or really any auto-responder functionality, in general. When something exciting happens (someone subscribes to your list), you want to react (send them a welcome email)! Who doesn't? In order to make sure that your Welcome Email campaign sends automatically to your new subscribers, you just have to connect your signup form to the same list that is associated with your Autoresponder. (For details about signup forms, see Signup forms .)
At a certain point, the prospect’s online behavior – their Digital Body Language – will indicate that they’re ready to engage with Sales in a discussion about purchasing. Marketers can identify this readiness through lead scoring, which matches the individual’s behavior to activities that are known to indicate buying intent. The resulting conversation with Sales will rest on a foundation of buyer education that has been built in the earlier stages of the lead generation process.
If things go as planned, your email autoresponder series will build trust with your prospects. Your messages will make regular appearances in their inboxes. And, you’ll be sharing useful lessons and progressively gaining mindshare. If your content is well received, you’ll essentially be training the reader to open your emails, visit your website, and ideally, do business with you.

Unsurprisingly, the more revenue a company has, the more leads they generate. The differences are most drastic at the highest and lowest end of the spectrum: 82% of companies with $250,000 or less in annual revenue report generating less than 100 leads per month, whereas only 8% of companies generating $1 billion in annual revenue report less than 100 leads per month.
The basics we've gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments. Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you're handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Last but not least, never stop testing. The more you tweak and test every step of your inbound lead generation process, the more you'll improve lead quality and increase revenue.
When an MQL displays sales-ready behavior, like requesting for a demo or signing up for a free trial, they become a sales qualified lead. These leads are usually handed over by the sales team to an Account Executive (AE). SQLs are close to making a purchasing decision, so the quicker the AE acts, the higher their chances of conversion. A good way to identify an SQL is by applying the BANT framework—do they have the Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe to buy from you? http://www.digitalvidya.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/email-campaign.jpg
One thing that hasn’t changed with email marketing is that you need to be strategic about how you word every part of marketing emails. One of the best things about email subscriptions of today is that you can count on your prospects having some level of interest in your product or service that encouraged them to sign up for your subscription list to begin with. https://media.sparkpost.com/uploads/2015/11/REI_BlackFridayEmailCampaign_2015.png
With the growth of the internet, the world has changed from one of information scarcity to one of information abundance.  In fact, according to Google chairman Eric Schmidt “there was 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization and 2003, but that much information is now created every two days and the pace is rapidly increasing”.  
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM),[9] the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.
Lead generation firms supply your company with the hot leads you need to acquire new clients, while freeing up your time to spend on other tasks, like product development or quality assurance. Conversely, you could double down on new leads, drumming up business in tandem with leads provided by generation firms. Business expansion is directly correlated to finding new clients and making them happy, and the free time gained to reallocate time on these pursuits is what makes lead generation so powerful.
Lead management is a combination of several things. First you need the right tool to store your leads. There’s no point generating a torrent of leads if you can’t view them all, with context, in one place. And then you need to nurture every lead before they can be convinced about doing business with you. Finally, you’ve got to be able to rank your leads—based on how much (or how little) they engage with your business—so you can reach out to the hottest leads first.
3. Email converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. In fact, email marketing has an ROI of 3800%. That’s huge! And if you are wondering if social media converts even better, think again: the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.
Flexibility is necessary, but not always easy—especially when you’re trying to get both your marketing and sales teams up to speed. Best practices around the many complex things that comprise marketing today, including website best practices, mobile viewability, email, SEO/SEM, marketing automation, content marketing, and social media change so swiftly that many people find it difficult, if not downright impossible, to keep up.
An auto responder is generally more similar in content to a newsletter than it is to a direct sales email, though it combines many of the elements of both. The content can vary wildly though based on your industry segment and what you've promised subscribers. The most common type of auto responder content will be tips or advice, but you can also do great things with recipes, serial fiction pieces, inspirational quotes and a variety of other topics. Essentially, you are looking for content that will engage users over a period of time while also providing a platform to encourage sales of your product or service or visits to your website.
Use personalization. Personalizing the content of your emails (depending on your segment from Chapter 3) will make it infinitely more relevant and valuable to them. Personalization is so much more than inserting your subscriber’s first name into the email. You need to tailor the actual content of the email to address their needs. For instance, an online retailer will find it much more valuable to read an email with the subject line, “How to build backlinks to your eCommerce store” than just a generic subject line, “How to build backlinks.”
Why does email list segmentation matter? We know that beyond relevancy, list segmentation is important from a revenue perspective. Data from the DMA indicates that segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all email revenue. On top of this, our research found that marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 76% increase in revenue–and more than 76% of marketers say basic segmentation is part of their email marketing strategy.
Focus on the reader first. You should always write your emails to address the needs of your subscribers, not yours. Offer ways to solve their problems, don’t simply talk about your products and how great they are. (This is a part that so many companies get wrong.) Ask yourself, what are the biggest pain points/struggles for my subscribers? How can I solve their current problem in this email? https://1hdejnvtunmo3ckr2kr3m0y8-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/14-Email-Marketing-Campaign-Ideas-1024x512.png

Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.
When thinking about the five types of email marketing described previously, auto responders are almost exclusively used for customer acquisition email marketing. Your existing customers may respond well to an auto-responder campaign, but chances are high that the best place in your marketing mix for auto-responders is when trying to acquire new customers.

With the vast majority of leads failing to convert to sales, companies can’t
afford to abandon prospects when they fail to become buyers. By nurturing these leads—providing them with the right information based on who and where they are in the buying process—Modern Marketers can directly improve sales success. By implementing a formal strategy for lead nurturing, instituting nurturing programs, and following the best practices outlined here, you can begin reaping the benefits of lead nurturing today. Based on the Grande Guide to Lead Nurturing.
Search engines also provide lead generation options. Any business with a website can appear on a search engine listing for related searches, and visitors can then click a link and be taken to that company's website. However, some search engines also offer a pay-per-click lead generation option. The search engine posts a link to the company's website at the top of the search results form, making it much more likely that prospective customers will choose to visit that website. However, when a visitor does click the link the search engine charges that company a small fee, as opposed to the free 'general' listings.
Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get -- who doesn't like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don't require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
Essentially, you can tell Office Autopilot what to do if certain things occur. For example, if a customer places an order, you can send an order to your fulfillment house to fulfill that order. Or if a customer leaves, you can send them a last minute special offer. Just select the trigger for the action, then select what list it applies to then select what to do when that action is trigger.
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