If you want to engage with the people who opt in to your email list, and become someone they know, like, and trust, think twice about autoresponders. Do you EVER want to be “auto-responded” to? Me neither. Your leads want to be nurtured; guided. They desperately want your expertise — in ways that are relevant to them; in ways that will get them one step closer to their nirvana.
The term, autoresponder, has been so over-used, many people think that lead nurturing and autoresponders are the same. They’re not. The difference between them could be the difference between hitting your revenue goals for the year and… not.
Yes, both are a series of emails sent on a schedule, usually triggered by some action and sent automatically – the “automation” part of marketing automation. But that’s the end of the similarity.
The fundamental difference is this: an autoresponder sends emails no matter what. Lead nurturing gives you the ability to send – and to stop sending – emails in response to the actions of your lead. This difference is HUGE.
Autoresponder emails are all about the SENDER
Have you ever met someone who just starts talking AT you – and doesn’t seem to hear a word you’re saying? Assuming you can ever escape, how do you feel when you finally walk away? Impressed? Ready to be that person’s best friend? Or are you thinking something along the lines of “Wow, the ego on that guy!” or “Note to self – never get cornered by that gal.” Right?
Take it a step further. Imagine that person asks you something… like “Do you like orchids?” but doesn’t even pretend to listen to your answer. You could be the foremost orchid expert on the planet, or you might detest orchids, but the person just keeps going on and on about orchids without paying any attention to your reaction.
That’s what autoresponders do. Autoresponders deliver a set of emails over a set schedule, to a specified list in your email system.
In fact, each email in an autoresponder series has different content and a different call to action. That’s because the email system has no way of knowing if you respond to the call to action. Most email systems don’t track beyond the click. And that’s bad for your email results. Since your email system cannot know what, if anything, your lead(s) did in response to email #1 in the autoresponder sequence, email #2 should not ask you to do the same thing – so it’s a different call to action in every email. And your autoresponder series is a train heading for the destination… there is no stopping it, or changing directions — everyone on the train – goes to the same destination.
For example, if the first email says “How to keep orchids thriving – not dying,” and you love orchids and download it right then and there, an autoresponder can’t “respond” to that. So the second email in the sequence is all about using orchids in a flower arrangement – ok… fine, but that’s a completely different subject, when being guided would have taken you a bit deeper down the “thrive don’t die” thread, and helped you gain a bit more traction — move a bit closer to being that master orchid grower. The sad thing is that the autoresponder doesn’t know that and can’t adapt to that action.
In other words, the recipients of an autoresponder sequence get what the sender wants to send, without regard for what the recipient might actually want to know.
Doesn’t sound very engaging, does it?
Lead nurturing is all about the RECIPIENT
Now imagine that you’ve met someone else who asks you “How do you like orchids?” and you respond “I don’t like orchids at all.” If the person you’re with then says “Okay, what flowers do you like?” and then switches the conversation to talk about something you DO like, how do you feel? Acknowledged? Heard? Respected? Do you start to feel a sense of trust with this person?
That’s what lead nurturing is all about. It’s like having a conversation with your best friend, a trusted colleague, or a family member who is genuinely interested in what you have to say. When you say you love orchids, lead nurturing says “I love them, too, and here’s a great orchid resource for you.” When you download the great orchid resource, lead nurturing says “You know the basics or Orchid care? Here’s the way to get started with orchids.” And when you politely decline the the Basic guide, lead nurturing suggests understanding how to get your orchids to rebloom might be more up your alley.
BUT – and this is a biggie – if you opt-in for info about orchids, then take the Basic Guide To Orchid Care, lead nurturing can automatically switch from sending general info about orchids to sending info about caring for and growing orchids. See how that works? Or if you start looking at orchids and switch to looking at roses, lead nurturing will shut down the orchid sequence and offer you a rose sequence instead.
Because lead nurturing LISTENS and ADAPTS.
Now replace my example orchid topic with whatever you sell and all its many flavors. Whether you sell complex solutions to big businesses or online courses to stay-at-home-moms or anything in between, you want to send your leads emails about what they’re actually interested in, not what you want to say.
Increase your revenue
The key to email marketing is getting your emails opened, READ, and acted upon. The money – your potential for increased sales – is in the click (not the open rate, as we discuss in other posts). You want your email recipient to click, because clicks are not only trackable, they are actionable. A click in an email – and the ability to track page views caused by that click – set you up to really LISTEN to the people on your list and respond accordingly.
When the people on your list feel listened-to and valued, when you’re sending them information that they’re truly interested in, when it’s all about THEM, not you… what happens?
And that deserves an orchid centerpiece.