A guide to understanding autoresponders

Wouldn’t it be great if you could engage, nurture, and convert new leads without taking too much of your time and effort? That’s possible thanks to autoresponder emails. 

An autoresponder email is possibly the best tool marketers can possess to increase new subscribers and convert prospects. This handy marketing automation feature is simple to put into effect and can generate more revenue and leads than a regular email strategy.  Let’s deep dive and learn everything about autoresponders.

What is an autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a series of automated emails that are automated and sent to segmented subscribers on your email list. These emails are triggered by certain actions performed by your subscriber within the variables you’ve defined. These could be events like someone joining your mailing list, shopping from you, an abandoned cart, or even providing their details on your website. 

The purpose of sending an autoresponder email template is to create a substantial base of subscribers you can engage and build a relationship with, and hope to convert into customers in the future. Since autoresponders are transactional emails, they have a context and purpose and are meant to be highly engaging and creative, so that your subscribers are hooked to your brand from the get-go.

Importance of autoresponders

Autoresponder emails enjoy an average open rate of 29.7%, and if used correctly, can be a game-changer for your email marketing strategy. Autoresponder emails are so successful because they’re targeted emails sent to customers expecting an email from your brand. Automated transactional emails save marketers a lot of time and generate a considerable amount of revenue for minimal effort. 

Every business aims to keep its customers happy and informed, and autoresponders do just that. Let’s look at some of the top reasons why autoresponders are important for your business.

Increased engagement

Autoresponders, paired with email personalization, is one of the best ways to connect with your subscribers. Since your subscribers trigger these emails, it shows they’re interested in receiving communication from your brand. You now have an excellent opportunity to provide them with relevant information and direct them to your website or blog as a CTA in the email.

Build brand credibility

Emails are one of the best ways to share authentic information about your brand and communicate with your subscribers. You can set expectations through these emails and stick to them; consistency is the key to building credibility. You can also use these emails to share a new product launch, offers, and exclusive discounts to subscribers.

Save time

It’s no secret that marketing automation saves marketers hours of productive time. When it comes to autoresponders, you only spend time and effort creating a sequence of emails that will be sent to your subscriber. After this, all that’s left is to automate them using a marketing automation software that’s best suited for you. Of course, while you don’t have to send out these emails manually, it’s still important to track and analyze the results to make sure they’re truly effective.

Nurture and convert leads 

As with any marketing strategy, the goal of your autoresponders is to nurture and convert a prospect. Leverage the high open rates of autoresponder emails to continuously engage with your subscribers while guiding them through the marketing funnel. It’s important to note the different stages of your customers’ journey with your brand while creating these email sequences because sending the right email at the right time is the trick to ensuring your subscribers convert. We see the importance timing and relevance have in converting customers when it comes to welcome emails and abandoned cart emails. A little delay, and you lose your window of opportunity to convert.

Popular ways to use autoresponder emails

Businesses use email autoresponders to communicate with subscribers on various occasions. Different types of autoresponders can be engaging and drive traffic to your website. Let’s look at some of the most popular and also the most essential autoresponder emails.


Welcome Email

A welcome email is the first impression you make on your new subscriber. This is an automated email template sent immediately after someone signs up with you. Welcome emails have an average open rate of about 50%, making them an essential part of your email strategy. You must send the welcome email seconds after customers sign up or subscribers leave their email IDs. You can use this opportunity to introduce your brand and let them know what they can expect from you. Effective email personalization requires you to understand your subscribers and their preferences. You can use the welcome email and request subscribers to set their email preferences. This allows you to segment your subscriber list so you can send targeted and personalized emails.  

Here’s an example of an excellent welcome email from Brightly. The email is engaging, asks customers to set their preference for what they’d like to receive, and leads them to some of their best posts.

Abandoned Cart emails

Abandoned cart emails are reminders sent to customers who added products to the cart but did not complete their checkout process. These emails enjoy a high open-rate and are a great way to bring back lost customers. They serve to remind customers of the incomplete transaction if they are abandoned by mistake or errors. By sending them an abandoned cart email, you show them the product(s) they picked, reassure them that it’s still saved for them, and they can quickly check out by clicking on the CTA in the email. 

This example from Nomad uses witty copy combined with stunning visuals to grab the reader’s attention and encourages customers by reassuring them of their return/exchange policy and warranty program.

Email Course

An exciting way to keep your subscribers hooked to your content is by sending out a series of emails teaching them a specific topic. A series of emails are sent over time, and each email covers an important lesson about the topic you’ve picked. Autoresponder email courses are interesting since they educate your audience on topics that will interest them and demonstrate your expertise. 

Creating content for an email course isn’t that hard. All you have to do is look at your blogs, social media, and comments section. These are great avenues that give you access to understand what your subscribers want to learn from you. There’s a strong chance your subscriber hasn’t read every blog post, so you could turn one of the topics into an email course that reaches their inbox directly. 

Here’s an email course from InVision that details out how to use their freehand wireframe template. InVision sent a series of emails covering topics that would help its customers use the product.

Reactivation emails

A reactivation email is a lot like checking up on a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. They’re sent to a customer who hasn’t made any purchases from you in a bit. Brand retention is one of the most important aspects of marketing, and you don’t want your customers to forget about you. Bring them under your wing again with reactivation emails and top it off with an exclusive offer or discount. 

Another way you can benefit from sending reactivation emails is filtering email addresses that you get no response from. You can remove these inactive email IDs to maintain a clean email list. This reduces bounce rates and improves your email deliverability.

Clear, a brand that helps with a faster security check process at airports, sends automated reactivation emails to customers they’ve not heard from in a while.


These are emails sent after you’ve sent your welcome email, abandoned cart email, etc.. Follow-up emails are either sent as a continuation of a series or as a nudge if you didn’t get a response for the previous email. Most brands don’t follow up on subscribers and lose out on potential paying customers. The key to conversion is to ensure customers remember you.

An autoresponder email series saves you valuable time when it comes to following up with customers, and take little to no effort in converting them. Return Path sends a follow-up sequence if customers aren’t opening their emails. They ask customers if they’d like to continue receiving communication and request them to set their preferences.

Feedback emails

A feedback email is probably the most important email you send your customers. You’re asking for their feedback and opinion on your product or service. It’s a great way to find out what your customers think of your brand and product, and find ways to fix any pain points. Feedback emails can help you understand how close you are in satisfying your customers’ needs. With the information provided in these emails, you might even get better product ideas that could help beat competition because you’re directly addressing your customers’ problems.

Twitch, the live video streaming platform, sent its customers an automated feedback email to ensure they were catering to customers’ needs. This autoresponder covers some crucial details of a good feedback email, like, explaining why they want your feedback, how much time it’ll take to fill out the form, and a reward upon completing the feedback.

Cross-sell emails

These emails are sent to existing customers based on their past purchases. Cross-sell emails are recommendations for products similar to the ones the customer has purchased, or products that complement the past purchase. The purpose of automated cross-sell emails is to bring back customers and ensure they keep buying from you. 

For example, when you purchase something from Dollar Shave Club, this excellent notification email not only lets you know about an upcoming shipment but also upsells other relevant products that you could add to your order.

Steps to create an effective autoresponder series

Autoresponder emails are an excellent tool for marketing automation and can do wonders for your analytics if you employ the right software and strategies. Let’s look at the steps involved in creating an effective autoresponder series.

Set a goal

Every strategy needs a goal. Why are you creating these autoresponder emails? What do you aim to achieve through them? Once you’re clear about your objective, it’s easier to plan what kind of autoresponder emails you need to send. 

Having a goal for the autoresponder makes it easy to choose when you want to trigger your emails. For example, if you have a new sign up, you can trigger it to send a welcome email to the new subscriber. These are all important autoresponders that brands must have in their marketing arsenal. This guide aims to help you understand where to start and inspire you to look at other ways you can use autoresponders.

Segment your subscribers

Segmenting your subscribers is important if you want your email marketing to be effective because it allows you to deliver relevant and targeted content. You could segment your mailing list based on specific variables and characteristics they share, such as personality traits, geography, demographics, purchasing behavior, customer lifecycle stage, etc.

Let’s continue with our welcome email example. When someone signs up with your brand for the first time, allow them to set their preferences, so you know exactly how many emails they’re okay to receive and what kind of content they’re expecting from you. This helps with email personalization and ensures your subscriber is engaged with your brand’s content. By segmenting your customers and providing them content they’re interested in, you: 

  • increase engagement rates, 

  • retain existing customers,

  • lower unsubscribe rates,

  • increase open rates and click-through rates,

  • provide a personalized experience

  • increase ROI

  • improve email delivery and deliverability

  • become more customer-centric

These are just some of the benefits of segmenting your email list. Give people what they want, and you can rest assured they will respond positively.

Create an email sequence

Once you’ve segmented your customers and know where they’re in the customer journey, you can curate content that will interest them. Some important questions to ask while you’re creating an email sequence:

  • How many emails to send?
    There’re no hard-and-fast rules on how many emails you can send your customer. The thumb rule is to not overwhelm them with your communication to a point where they get annoyed and unsubscribe. Test your emails and see how many emails work for you and your customer and fix it. Depending on the type of autoresponder email you’re sending, you can decide how many emails you need to get your point across.

  • Over how many days?
    While the initial days of contact are the most crucial for a welcome email and abandoned cart email, depending on the number of emails you’re sending, you can spread them over 7-10 days. If you’re considering follow-ups or an email course, these could stretch into weeks. 

  • How to space the emails?
    You could consider being quick with your initial emails and space out the rest over your decided duration. For example: In an abandoned cart email, you would send the first email 2-4 hours after the person has first abandoned their cart. The second email would follow 24 hours after abandonment, and so on.

  • What’s the goal of each email?
    While you’re writing out your emails, keep in mind each emails’ goal so you can effectively put it across to the subscriber. Be clear in what you have to say and in what value you’re bringing to the subscriber.
    For instance, if you’re sending an email course sequence on using your latest product, split the topics you want to cover in each mail and end it with an appropriate CTA. Make sure they’re not too long to read and keep the layout simple and readable. 

Creating an effective email sequence broadly involves research, writing a winning copy, and stunning designs. Take your time doing this, so you have an effective autoresponder email sequence that generates new subscribers, leads, and revenue.

Automate, test, and analyze

Now that you’ve developed a brilliant autoresponder email sequence, automate it using your marketing software. Run multiple tests to ensure the number of emails, the duration, and frequency is suited to your subscribers’ preference. Analyze the results and optimize your emails for better results!

Autoresponder used by different industries

Earlier, we discussed some of the different types of autoresponder emails. Let’s look at what each of them will do for your brand so you can choose a goal.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at some of the commonly used autoresponders used in different industries.




  • Welcome emails
  • Newsletters consisting of guides/ reviews/ host details/ blog posts
  • Offer emails
  • Booking confirmation
  • Review/feedback emails
  • Order cancellation
  • Refund processing


  • Welcome email
  • Product launch
  • Order confirmation/cancellation
  • Shipment details
  • Delivery email
  • Refund processing
  • Abandoned cart email
  • Offer and sales
  • Cross sell emails


  • Welcome email
  • Order confirmation
  • Review email
  • Newsletters consisting of restaurant details or food reviews


  • Welcome email
  • Product launch
  • Email Course
  • Order confirmation
  • On-boarding email
  • Cross sell emails
  • Sales emails
  • Follow up emails


These are only a few of the commonly autoresponder emails used by these industries; there will of course be more. The best part of autoresponder emails is that they’re easy to create, so as and when you have a need to automate your emails, create, test, and automate!

Things to keep in mind while sending out autoresponders


An effective email autoresponder series is more than just staying in touch with your subscribers. These emails allow you to actively engage with them, help in brand retention without taking too much of your time and money, and automatically nurture and convert your leads. By personalizing each autoresponder, you benefit from better ROI than most marketing strategies. So go ahead and create an excellent autoresponder series!