Set up an Email Marketing Auto-Responder Campaign

Auto-responder email campaigns are something that should be in every company’s sales and marketing plan.

An auto-responder email is one that is automatically set out when a person takes a specific action.

For example, a restaurant might send an auto-responder email out to customers on their birthday offering a free appetizer or dessert or a store might offer a discount on the customer’s next purchase.

Auto-responders can be much more complex than that, though.

You can set-up an auto-responder emails to trigger as soon as someone fills out your lead gen form (to educate and convert them), or after a certain amount of days from when they last made a purchase (to encourage customer reviews or even repeat sales).

Auto-responder emails don’t need to just be one-off emails. In fact, many times they should include multiple emails over a particular period of time.

 Zales email

For example, in August of 2013 I signed up to receive some information about pet health insurance from the ASPCA. Over the course of the next four months I received a number of auto-responder emails providing me more information about pet health insurance, its benefits and its costs – all of which had the express purpose of turning me from a lead into a customer.

Here’s a monthly breakdown of the campaign:

  • August – I received five auto-responder emails

  • September – I received two auto-responder emails

  • October – I received four auto-responder emails

  • November – I received six auto-responder emails

  • December – I received two auto-responder emails

The August auto-responder emails were mostly focused on educating me on the benefits of pet health insurance. This makes sense since I had just become a lead and probably needed more convincing.

After August most of the emails focused on “time running out” for me to sign up, rather than educating me on the reasons why I should sign up.

Time running out email:

Setting up auto-responder email campaigns is easy as long as the email softawre you use has the auto-responder feature.

As long as it does, all you need to do is set up triggers.

Once someone enters their email address and becomes a lead, send email #1 one day later, then send email #2 three days later, then send email #3 seven days later, etc.

Most auto-responders should be set up similar to the ASPCA campaign. You want to begin with educational emails and then move your way into sales driven emails.

Use Instagram to Grow Sales & Put a Face to Your Name

Did you know that Instagram has over 150 million active users? The photo-driven social network receives about 55 million photo uploads per day and those photos receive about 1.2 billion Likes daily!

Is your brand ready for the spotlight?

If you aren’t yet using Instagram to promote your products/service and increase your brand awareness… what are you waiting for?

E-commerce companies like Diamond Candles have tens of thousands of followers and are promoting new products, contests and sales every single day on Instagram, and the sales are flowing in.

Beyond sales promos, e-commerce and retail stores can also promote new products:

And even share behind-the-scenes photos that give your biggest fans an insider look into how their favorite products are made (customers love these kind of VIP perks of being a social media follower).

If you’re a software or services company, Instagram can still be used to effectively market to your customers and humanize your brand.

Marketing software company HubSpot uses the photo social network to share pictures from conferences, to show off their company culture and to put a face with the names of the employees that customers interact with each day.

When customers feel like they know the people they work with, an emotional connection is started that makes it hard(er) for them to leave you.

Agencies can also jump into the photo fun by sharing a portfolio of their work, awards and team members!

No matter what industry you are in, if your customers love you and fit the demographic of Instagram users, then your company should be on the network!

Speaking of demographics, as of November 2013 over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. That being said, the social network is still fairly new and early adopters tend to skew younger.

As the network continues to grow in popularity (and make no mistake, it is on the up and up), the age demographics should spread out more evenly.

If you already have an engaging social media presences on Facebook, Twitter and maybe even Pinterest, 2014 is the time to jump on Instagram!

Don’t worry, Instagram won’t take up too much of your time. The same photos that you share on Facebook (and other networks) can easily be repurposed to work on Instagram.

Once you know which hashtags work for your industry on Instagram, you won’t need to do much work. Just upload a photo, apply a filter, add a caption and hashtag and hit publish!

(You can find a list of the top hashtags here.)

If you’re wondering how you’ll grow your community on Instagram from 0 to thousands of followers, read this great guide from Neil Patel.

Host Giveaways on Social Media to Increase Engagement

If your social media engagement is lackluster, 2014 should be the year of the giveaway for you!

It may sound counter productive to give away a product or service in an attempt to get people to buy from you, but it actually is beneficial.


Because giveaway posts on social media tend to draw a lot of engagement and along with engagement comes word-of-mouth marketing through comments, Likes and social shares.

When your customers spread the word about the giveaway to their friends, you increase your brand and product awareness.

Additionally, when you feature products or services in a giveaway, you are promoting that particular thing to your audience.

In my experience, some customers will see the giveaway, get excited about the product/service and make a purchase without even entering the contest. Others will wait to see if they win, and if they don’t they will then be likely to purchase.

One tactic I really love is when a company announces the winner of a giveaway but then offers a small discount to everyone else who entered. What a great way to encourage sales from people who have already expressed interest in a product or service!

Let’s Get Started!

This should help you jump-start your marketing for 2014. Now you need to get out there and put these ideas into action.

If you need some hep, please let us know.

Otherwise, maybe leave us a comment and share one killer marketing tactic not on this list that you’re going to execute in 2014!


Greg is the founder and CEO of Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.