You Got An E-mail List… Now What?

You've got an email what? || How to Write a Successful Autoresponder Series #AccessAlly #entrepreneur #emailmarketing
What happens after somebody joins your e-mail list?

Do they hear from you right away, or do they get silence?

Maybe you’ve spent some time going through my free 30 Day List Building Challenge and growing your email list…

But you’re stumped with what to do next.

E-Mail List, Check. What’s next?

You already send regular newsletters to your list (or you should be)…

Newsletters are important touch points to provide value and stay in touch with your tribe.

But an autoresponder series works like a charm to build that relationship early on after somebody joins your e-mail list.

The Key to a Successful Autoresponder Series

There are many different ways to set up an autoresponder series, some that will build a great relationship with your customer… and others, not so much!

What you want to aim for, especially if you have products or services that people can purchase on an ongoing basis, is to set up a sequence that gets people to buy your offerings.

Usually when I talk about this topic, people feel resistance to selling via email because they don’t want to send a bunch of promotional e-mails to their list and ruin their chances with this new subscriber.

However, following up early and often after somebody joins your list is really important because that’s when the person is the most interested in solving a problem you can help them with.

Every email that you send should have a valuable piece of content in it, even if the goal of the e-mail is to sell something.

The most important thing you can do to make sure your autoresponder series is a valuable and successful one is to start with the story in mind.

If you think about it, a series of e-mails could be like a television show series.

You want each email to build on the previous one, and to include cliffhangers so that people are looking forward to the next e-mail in the series.

How can you write emails so people feel like they’re watching their favorite TV show?

Usually a show will have an over-arching story that keeps you hooked from episode to episode, or in this case e-mail to e-mail.

Yet, each episode has its own beginning, middle, and end with a self-contained take-away.

This gives readers some satisfaction in every e-mail, because they get a piece of great actionable content, and it also answers some of the curiosity from the overall story, too.

Sample E-Mail Sequence

Here’s an example of an e-mail sequence that you might write:

1. Start out with the story of how you got to where you are today and why you started the business that you have. Everyone is curious and wants to know the back story, especially if they’re interested in your business, working with you, or buying your products.

2. Next, you’ll want to go into something that is super actionable, and preferably ends with a cliffhanger so that the next piece of content in the e-mail series will quench someone’s thirst for knowledge.

For example, if you have a process that has three steps, you can have three different e-mails that go into each of the three steps, and why they are so important to someone’s success with your method.

3. Another email I like to include in this series should contain a case study of somebody who has gone through your process and experienced great results.

4. The last email in the series is the only one where we actually ask for the sale by telling people about your product or service.

You’ll notice that none of the other e-mails were pitching, or asking people to buy your program, they were simply educating and delivering value.

This last e-mail is timed perfectly to take advantage of the reciprocity you’ve built by giving away great content… before asking for anything in return.

5. To increase conversions, add another e-mail after the last one that reminds people about your offer, and gives them a deadline to sign up for your product or service.

People are busy and it’s easy for us to put off making decisions, so giving them an incentive to make a decision is a really important part of the sales process.

That’s it!

Writing an e-mail autoresponder series is as simple as that.

This email autoresponder should get you off to a good start, and the good thing is that you don’t have to manually contact each new subscriber… it’s all done for you.

Over to you now…

Do you have a great auto responder sequence in place? Leave your opt-in page link in the comments below so we can check it out!



  1. Caroline Frenette Intuitive Leadership Coach on March 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Congratulations on POPUPALLY Nathalie! I know we’ve tried a lot of pop up plug-ins (and by we I mean my genius programmer fiancé :) and that a lot of them were a pain in the ass. Some pop ups even broke my website!

    I’m creating a list of resources for my clients and will make sure to add POPUPALLY and recommend your 30 day list building challenge as it was really helpful to build my list.


    • Nathalie Lussier on March 19, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Aww yay thanks so much Caroline!

      I love hearing that a few others are also collaborating with their fiance/husbands. :) And thank you so much for including us in your resource list!! :)

  2. Heather on March 19, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I love this topic Nathalie! I was inspired by your Real Foods Witch autoresponder series and created my own. It’s great to see how you break it down in this video… MEGA helpful!! Here is the link to opt-in for those who want to see my autoresponder series: 3 Steps To Get Out Of Your FUNK & Stop Eating JUNK!

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

      I love the wording of your opt-in Heather! I do feel like we can get stuck in a funk of eating junk, so happy that you’re helping people break out of that, woohoo!

  3. Karen Ward on March 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Hi Nathalie,

    SUCH an helpful overview of what a great auto-respondent sequence could/should be, thank you! I do have one question for you…

    If someone has signed up explicitly for your newsletter, do you run the risk of feeling spammy if you send them anything other than the newsletter?

    Would love your thoughts, I know you’ll have some good ones!


    • Nathalie Lussier on March 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Thanks so much Karen!

      I think as long as you tell people what to expect from you in the first welcome email and/or on the thank you for subscribing page, it’s totally fine.

      For example you might say “you’ll receive my newsletter each Wednesday and for the next few weeks I’ll be sending extra emails about XYZ to help you ramp up” – or something along those lines. :)

  4. Marsha from on March 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Woah! So many EXCELLENT ideas here! I love that you took us through a series – it feels totally do-able!

    I’d love to know your thoughts on how far apart each of these emails should be spaced out. If we’re also emailing them once a week as part of our general mail-outs, should these also be once a week, just on a different day?

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

      There are a couple ways of doing this depending on your email service provider – you could exclude them from getting your weekly newsletter until the series finishes (I do this with 30 Day List Building Challenge because it would be way too overwhelming)…

      Or you could make sure that your service doesn’t send 2 emails on one day, so skip certain days in your series.

      In terms of days apart, I’ve found that 2 emails per week works great. I’ve also been on lists with daily emails and loved it, so it really depends on how you’re doing it / the content. :)

  5. Katy on March 19, 2014 at 11:38 am

    As always great stuff Nathalie! I have been tossing around ideas and this really helped with me being able to see them more clearly :)

  6. brian on March 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Came across this blog post from Navid. I really enjoyed this, actionable steps that I can apply to my autoresponder today. And you have even more great content in your responses to people’s comments.

    Thanks for the write-up – looking forward to building that list!

  7. Alycia Wicker on March 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I was just thinking I needed to create a new autoresponder series, but was stuck. This is going to help me develop just the right one. :)

  8. Natalie Sisson on March 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    So awesome. Love that you’ve done this.

  9. Maia on March 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Great video! I’m still working on the list building challenge but I’ve already started an autoresponder series for new subscribers. I make shea butter skin care so I start off with an email explaining my why and how I got started in natural skin care. Looking forward to building more targeted autoresponders to help solve a particular need that are separate from just the new sign ups. Nathalie, do you have a recommendation for how long a series should last for new subscribers?

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Maia!

      The good thing is that you can add new emails anytime and keep it going as long as you want, but I think a few weeks is generally a good start! :)

  10. Alycia Wicker on March 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    How do you go about putting in a deadline in an auto responder when it will be constantly sending out to new subscribers and a set date would eventually expire?

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      There are software plugins that start counting down when you visit a website and might take a sale offline after a set amount of time.

      So that’s definitely an option Alycia, but you can also just go the “in 3 days the offer will expire” and hope that people take you up on it. :)

  11. claire stone on March 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Oooh, thank you for the pop up – I’ve been thinking about one of those for a while, but wanted to get a good one, and voila – here’s a great one.
    My optin autoresponder sequence is, I think, ok, but definitely has some work to do on bringing people to a place of buying from me. At the moment, it gives a lot of information, some background on me (including a very short snippet of me surfing!) but no real way to encourage people to buy.
    I shall now go and see what I can do to improve this!

    Mine is titled: Six Easy (and nice!) Food Hacks To Improve Your Diet Without Any Hassle And To Make Your Life Instantly A Tad Healthier (And Not An Ounce More Boring)

    Thank you for a chock-full blast of tips and freebie!!


    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      I love it Claire! Excited to see what happens when you ask for people to take you up on a paid program or offer. :)

  12. Heidi Thompson on March 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks for this Nathalie! I’ve been thinking about revamping my autoresponder and you’ve got some great tips here :) I think the idea of thinking about it as a cohesive thing where you tease as to what comes next.

  13. Janet Kafadar on March 19, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I’ve been struggling with my autoresponder series so this is awesome – great tips Nathalie! I’m going to put them into action this weekend for sure

  14. Teresa on March 19, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Nathalie! I always look forward to your emails. Here is the link to my website with the opt in:

    Would love to hear your inputs on how to make it better.

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Hey Teresa!

      I think one thing I’d add for you is more information the “free articles” that you’re offering, so people know what to expect before they opt-in. :)

  15. Anna Fasting on March 20, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Hi Nathalie,

    Thank you for really helpful insight!
    I also have a q, although a bit technical – don’t know if you can answer this..?
    like the idea of the potential client to get an offer with a time limit in the last email. But how do I keep track on that – say, if they get 5 days to buy a service/product on a special offer discount – how do I figure out who buys withim the time limit and who doesn’t? Should they then use a link in the email, one that takes the person to a new page which will ‘go away’ after five days- and how do I make it ‘go away’ after five days…?
    I am not technical at all :-) But would love to figure this out..

    All the best and thank you again for the lovely insight and inspiration

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      My friends Nicky and Karl have a plugin that do that (I’m not sure when/for how long it’s going to be available)

      But there are also other countdown type scripts like these ones out there if you do a little googling. :)

  16. Andrea on March 20, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I love the tips and the 30 day list building challenge has great advice and tips. I’m enjoying going through the process. I also re-did my opt-in offer after listening to your video it feels like it is outlined so much better now. Very excited for people to see the new process when they sign-up.
    Is where mine is hosted, I hope, fingers crossed I did it right.

  17. Andrea on March 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Well apparently that is not where it is hosted, bummer here it goes again.

  18. Sasha Stone on March 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Nathalie I absolutely love this idea! I’ve been pondering ways to make the opt-in process more meaningful and this is definitely the missing link. I’m excited to work on this process. Thank you for the inspiration, and for Popupally. I love it! xo Sasha

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Yay Sasha!! This makes me so happy to read – more meaningful, indeed! :)

  19. Jessica on March 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    This is a great post – Natalie Sisson sent me here as I was asking her about how I should adjust my 3-email autoresponder series. This is very helpful!

    I offer a free 20 minute business planning session to anyone who asks, as a way to build a connection and get them into my funnel. While my 4th autoresponder will be a pitch for our DIY Business Planning Tool and Workbook, I’m wondering where I should put that free 20-minute offer in. Perhaps in the 2nd email – it’s actionable, right?

  20. Gwen on April 13, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Nathalie, this article came at just the right time. I just got my website up a few weeks ago and have a list of 25 people. I was feeling overwhelmed about contacting each person with their specific desires and concerns. This article and video gave me a solution to my problem and gives me confidence on how to move forward building my list without feeling overwhelmed. I really appreciate your work!

  21. Adele Spurgin on October 5, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Hey Nathalie,

    Thanks for the blog piece, nicely said!
    I’ve done a few on-line launches – some good some bad some not so great. All very excellent learning curves.
    Somehow though I find myself “doubting” the email sequences methodology though. Most of my online sales eventually happened via a skype or follow-up phone call.
    I truly get that my emails have to be full of value, informative and authentic. And I get that at any given time only 3% are looking for what you are wanting to sell and relationships are built over time.
    The email sequence thing though just seems so transparent. Follow a few online sellers and you can quickly pick who’s been through Jeff Walker etc (no disrespect at all).
    Is there another way? Or is it just plug away and find your own groove?